Ancient Rome, a highly expansionistic empire, was involved in many wars. Led by brilliant generals, highly trained and superbly equipped Roman forces could win against an enemy army twice as strong in numbers. There were, of course, some defeats, like the battles of Cannae or Teutoburg Forest.
The Roman armies have already confirmed their imperial status at the beginning of 2nd century BCE, by massacring the Macedonian army at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, in 197 BCE Seven years later Roman legions defeated, at Magnesia in Asia Minor, armies of the Seleucid, considered the prime power of the Hellenic world. Thus the legions proved themselves the finest army in the region. The decline of legions’ power became apparent in the 3rd century of the Common Era. Eventually, the ‘Germanisation’ of the Roman army and consequential loss of fighting prowess resulted in the fall of both army and the Roman state.
The Battle of the Alia River, fought in 390 BCE (according to the Roman calendar) or 387/6 BCE (according to the Greek calendar), between the Romans and Senones (one of the Gallic tribes), ended in the humiliating defeat of the Roman army. Consequently, a few days after the battle, the Gauls occupied Rome, which they plundered completely.
The battle of Sentinum (295 BCE) was the victory of the Romans over the Samnites. The battle was reportedly the largest battle fought on Italian soil since the founding of Rome. According to Livy' account, the legions' victory was decided by "devotio" - ritual sacrifice of the leader in exchange for the victory of the legions.
Battle of Lake Trasimene was Hannibal's second victory over the Romans in the Second Punic War. The ambush led to the massive slaughter of the Romans. Apparently, a nearby stream supplying water to the lake, due to the mixing of a large amount of blood, was called Sanguineto, or "Blood River".
The capture of New Carthage (209 BCE) was a great success of the Roman army under the command of African Scipio, during the Second Punic War. Rome after a series of defeats regained faith in his own strength and proved determination.
Battle of Baecula was another victory of Scipio Africanus over the Carthaginian armies in Spain. The battle was important for the further development of Roman war art. Scipio copied Hannibal's tactics, placing stronger troops on the wings, leaving the center to the light infantry.
The battle in the Aoi Stena Gorge (198 BCE) is another characteristic clash characteristic of the wars in the Hellenistic East. Roman troops pushed Macedonian troops out of the gorge and forced them to retreat.
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