Battle of Beneventum (275 BC)
The Battle of Beneventum (275 BC) was the last battle fought between the forces of Pyrrhus of Epirus (with Samnite allies) and the Romans, led by consul Manius Curius Dentatus. It was fought near Beneventum, in southern Italy, and was central to subsequent Roman expansion.
Pyrrhus had been drained by his recent wars in Sicily, and by the earlier Pyrrhic victories over the Romans. Although the battle was inconclusive, he decided to end his campaign in Italy and return to Epirus; as a consequence of this, many modern sources state that Pyrrhus lost the battle. Pyrrhus' departure resulted in the Samnites finally being conquered, and the eventual fall of Magna Graecia three years later, which resulted in Roman dominance of the Italian peninsula.
The exact numbers are not known. The Epirote force was scattered before the battle and the Romans were able to scare Pyrrhus's war elephants (presumably with fire arrows) and send them crashing back to the Epirote ranks.
- Kęciek, Krzysztof, Benewent 275 p.n.e, Bellona, Warsaw, 2001.
- Information about this war can be found in Plutarch's Lives, Polybius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Livy.
- Michael Grant, The History of Rome, p. 80