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Battles of ancient Rome

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.

Battle of Adrianople

(9 August 378 CE)

The Battle of Adrianople (378 CE) was the clash between the Visigothic leader Fritigern and the Eastern Roman emperor Valens, who died during the battle.

Siege of Masada

(72/73 CE)

The siege of Masada (72/73 CE) performed by the Romans was one of the last points of resistance in the Jewish war. After the capture of the walls, a massacre appeared to the eyes of the Romans.

Battle of the Teutoburg Forest

(probably 9-11 September 9 CE)

The battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE) was a huge defeat of the Roman army in Germany. All three Roman legions and all other troops fell in the fight.

Battle of Actium

(2 September 31 BCE)

The Battle of Actium (31 BCE) was a decisive battle in the civil war between Octavian and Antonius and the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra who supported him.

Battle of Philippi

(3 and 23 October 42 BCE)

Death of Caesar in 44 BCE divided the country of Rome. Republic supporters found themselves under the command of Cassius and Brutus and took control of the empire's eastern lands. Opposing Caesar's murderers were Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus, who ruled the west. The battle of Philippi was a place where the fate of the Republic was decided.

Battle of Ruspina and Thapsus

(46 BCE)

The Battle of Ruspina and Thapsus were the next stages of the civil war, having a key impact on the further history of the Roman Republic. The Battle of Ruspina almost did not end with Caesar's undoing, and the battle of Thapsus ultimately brought doom to many Pompeian officers and leaders (including Cato the Younger).

Battle of Pharsalus

(9 August 48 BCE)

Battle of Pharsalus (48 BCE) took place between Caesar and Pompey's army. The battle decided about Caesar's victory in the civil war.

Battle of Alesia

(September 52 BCE)

The Battle of Alesia was further evidence that Julius Caesar was an outstanding commander. In Alesia, he had to face the simultaneous attacks of the besieged troops of Vercingetorix and the army of Gauls, coming to their rescue. The actions of the legions near Alesia constitute the largest siege operation in antiquity.

Battle of Pydna

(22 June 168 BCE)

The Battle of Pydna (168 BCE) was a clash between the Roman army under Emilius Paulus and the Macedonians. It prejudged the fall of Greece.

Battle of Thermopylae

(191 BCE)

The Battle of Thermopylae (191 BCE) was the victory of the Romans over the army of the Selucid king Antioch III. The clash took place in the legendary Thermopylae Gorge, where the Spartans defended themselves three centuries earlier.

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