Battle of Tarentum (209 BC)

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Roman Recapture of Tarentum
Part of the Second Punic War
Battles second punic war.png
Date 209 BC
Location Tarentum, Southern Italy
Result Roman victory
Belligerents
Carthage Roman Republic
Commanders and leaders
Hannibal, Carthalo Quintus Fabius Maximus
Strength
19,000 17,000
Casualties and losses
9,000 2,300

The Battle of Tarentum of 209 BC was a battle in the Second Punic War. The Romans led by Quintus Fabius Maximus recaptured the city of Tarentum, that had betrayed them in the first Battle of Tarentum in 212 BC. This time the commander of the city turned against the Carthaginians, and supported the Romans.

The Siege[edit]

According to Plutarch, a Greek biographer, Fabius Maximus won the city of Tarentum through treachery. One of the soldiers in Fabius's army had a sister in Tarentum who was the lover of the Bruttian commander Hannibal had left in charge of the city. The Bruttian was swayed to the Roman side and agreed to help the Romans gain entry into Tarentum. However Plutarch also writes that another story is that it was Fabius's Bruttian mistress who seduced the commander over to the Roman side when she found out that he was a fellow country man. Fabius Maximus drew Hannibal away from Tarentum by sending the garrison of Rhegium to plunder the lands of the Bruttians and to take Caulonia. He had hoped that Hannibal would go to aid the Bruttians and this is exactly what happened. One the sixth day of the siege it was arranged that the commander would help the Romans gain entry to Tarentum. Fabius take a cohort to the appointed place while the rest of the army attacked the walls luring the cities defenders away. The Bruttian gave the signal and Fabius and his men scaled the walls and took the city. (Plutarch does not mention what the Bruttian Commander does to aid the Romans)

Aftermath of the Capturing of Tarentum[edit]

In the Makers of Rome Plutarch writes that "At this point, however, Fabius's ambition seems to have proved stronger than his principles." This seems to be true, as after capturing the city, Fabius Maximus ordered that the Bruttian's stationed in the city were to be killed to ensure no knowledge of the treachery spread to Rome. After that a number of Tarentines were killed with 30,000 being sold into slavery. The Roman army ransacked the city, stealing 3,000 talents to enrich the treasury and taking anything else they wanted, though on the orders of Fabius the statues and paintings of the Gods were left apart from the statue of Hercules which was taken to Rome. Rome: Fabius's victory caused his to celebrate his second triumph. Hannibal: According to Plutarch, Hannibal was with in five miles when Tarentum fell to the Romans. He is said to have remarked in public that "It seems that the Romans have found another Hannibal, for we have lost Tarentum in the same way we took it."

[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Plutarch - Makers of Rome - Section 2: Fabius Maximus