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Gauls were Rome’s great enemies from north

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Gallic Horsemen from 1st century BCE
Gallic Horsemen | Picture: Bronti

Gauls were Rome’s great northern enemies many years before Gaul was conquered by Julius Caesar. In the 4th century BCE, they conquered and plundered Rome, which was a trauma and a humiliation for the Romans. Titus Livy mentions another tragedy of Rome that was almost unnoticed.

Well, in 216 BCE, a 25-thousand Roman army led by Lucius Postumius Albinus, a newly appointed commander and consul for 215 BCE. it was smashed to dust by the Gauls in the Silva Litana forest in northern Italy. There, the barbarians set a trap for the Romans, blocking the road with felled trees or throwing branches on helpless soldiers. The army was practically destroyed, few managed to escape, and the rest of the legionaries were captured. Postumius himself was killed and his skull was gilded and used as a goblet for drinking.

This defeat was a serious blow to the Romans in the North. Two legions and thousands of allied forces were destroyed in the battle. These losses were greater than the famous defeat of Varus in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE. Then the Romans also fell into a trap, this time set for them by the Germanic tribes. As many as three Roman legions were lost on the battlefield along with the eagles, which was a great dishonour for the Empire. The battle in the Silva Litana forest was a great tragedy for the Roman army. The lack of memory of this event is certainly due to the fact that in the same year there was a slaughter under Cannae, in which Hannibal destroyed a massive Roman army.

  • Matyszak Philip, Wrogowie Rzymu. Od Hannibala do Attyli, króla Hunów, Warszawa 2007

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