First Battle of Clusium (82 BC)

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For the Second Battle of Clusium of the same year, see Second Battle of Clusium (82 BC).
First Battle of Clusium
Part of Sulla's Second Civil War
Lucius Sulla.jpg
A bust of Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix.
Date June, 82 BC
Location Clusium, Italia
Result Indecisive Populares Victory
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Optimates Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Populares
Commanders and leaders
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Gnaeus Papirius Carbo

The First Battle of Clusio was a battle that took place in June of 82 BC during the context of Sulla's Second Civil War. The battle pitted the Optimates under the command of Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix against the Populares forces commanded by Gnaeus Papirius Carbo. The battle resulted in a precarious Populares victory.


Through the course of the campaign of 82 BC, the Populares forces had divided into two groups, those in the north under the command of Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, and those in the south who were commanded by Gaius Marius the Younger. Sulla had successfully defeated Marius Battle of Sacriporto and had managed to pin Marius and his fellow survivors under a siege at Preneste. Rome itself soon after had fallen to the Optimates. Soon after, the war had shifted to Etruria where Sulla engaged in a pitched cavalry skirmish against Popular forces near the Glanis River, emerging victorious.[1]

The Battle[edit]

According to Appian,[2] the two armies eventually met on the outskirts of Clusium. After a bloody battle, the armies separated at nightfall. The battle is generally referred to as a stalemate, but the German scholar, Theodor Mommsen affirmed the following:

The battle remained indecisive, however, Carbo gained a clear advantage as he detained his adversaries' march. - Theodor Mommsen[3]


The surviving Populares forces, including Marius, took refuge at Preneste to escape the pursuing Sullan forces. Sulla arrived shortly thereafter and besieged the city. The city fell on 4 November, holding out surprisingly until all of Italy was under Sulla's direct control.[4][citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mommsen 1856a, pp. 344–347
  2. ^ Appian, The Civil Wars, 1, 89.
  3. ^ Mommsen 1856a, p. 346
  4. ^ Appian, The Civil Wars, 1, 88.


Classic Sources[edit]

Modern Sources[edit]