Battle of Lake Trasimene

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Battles The Battle of Lake Trasimene (June 24, 217 BC, April on the Julian calendar) was a Roman defeat in the Second Punic War between the Carthaginians under Hannibal and the Romans under the consul Gaius Flaminius.

After the battles of Ticinus and Trebia, Flaminius' army turned south to prepare a defense near Rome itself. Hannibal immediately set out to follow, but marched faster and soon passed the Roman army. Flaminius was forced to increase the speed of his march in order to bring Hannibal to battle before reaching the city. Another force under Servilius was due to join Flaminius, and Hannibal decided to attack before this could happen.

Hannibal chose a spot where the Malpasso Road passed along the north side of Lake Trasimene. To the north was a series of heavily forested hills that his forces set up in, waiting for the Romans to pass below. He then sent a small number of troops further north to the hills north of Tuoro to light fires and convince the Romans their forces were further from the river.

The next morning the Roman troops approached eastward along the road running across the northern edge of the lake. A fog hid the Carthaginians, although their location in the forest would have been enough. As they marched they eventually became strung out across the entirety of Hannibal's force.

Hannibal sent a small skirmish force to draw their van away from the front of the line, allowing the rest of the Roman army time to set up for an assault to the east. As soon as they started moving the rest of his force attacked from the forest, against their flank. The Romans were unable to get into their typical battle-formation and were forced to fight in open order.

The Romans were quickly split into three forces. The westernmost was attacked by the Carthaginian cavalry and were forced into the lake, thereby surrounding the other two groups. The center, including Flaminius, stood their ground, but were eventually cut down by Hannibal's Gauls after three hours of heavy combat. Flaminius' body was never found. The van saw little combat throughout, and once the disaster to their rear became obvious, they cut their way through the skimishers and out of the forest. Of the 25,000 or so Roman soldiers, an estimated 15,000 were killed.

The news of the defeat caused a panic in Rome once news reached the city. Quintus Fabius Maximus was elected dictator by the Senate and adopted a "Fabian" policy of avoiding conflict until Rome could restore its military strength. Hannibal was left largely free to ravage Apulia for the next year, until the Romans withdrew the dictatorship and elected Paullus and Varro as consuls. Cannae was the result.cs:Bitva u Trasimenského jezera de:Schlacht am Trasimenischen See he:קרב טראסימני it:Battaglia del Lago Trasimeno lb:Schluecht vum Trasimenesche Séi pl:Bitwa nad Jeziorem Trazymeńskim


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