Timeline of the Samnite Wars

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The military campaigns of the Samnite Wars were an important stage in Roman expansion in the Italian Peninsula.

Background[edit]

The Samnites were a group of hill-tribes occupying the central Apennines. In the mid-4th century they began to expand into the territories of their neighbors, especially in Campania and the Liris valley. At first, they had enemies in common with Rome in the Celts and Volsci, and this commonality of purpose led to the formation of a peace treaty with Rome in 354.[1] Once these threats were removed, Samnium expansion brought them into conflict with Rome's growing influence in central Italy.

First Samnite War (343-341 BC)[edit]

Event Details Ancient sources
343 BC - Battle of Mount Gaurus The Roman consul M. Valerius Corvus routed the Samnites near Mount Gaurus in Campania Livy 7.32-33, 37-38; Dionys. Hal. 15.3; Appian, Samn. 1; Auct. Vir. Ill. 26

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. pp. 196, 198–201. 
343 BC - Battle of Saticula The Roman consul A. Cornelius Cossus Arvina was ambushed by the Samnites near the Samnite stronghold of Saticula, but was extricated from a dangerous situation by P. Decius Mus Livy 7.33, 34-37, 38; Frontinus, Strategemata 1.5.14; 4.5.9; Auct. Vir. Ill. 26

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. p. 196. 
343 BC - Battle of Suessula The Roman consul M. Valerius Corvus defeated the Samnites near Suessula Livy 7.32-33, 37-38; Dionys. Hal. 15.3; Appian, Samn. 1; Auct. Vir. Ill. 26

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. p. 196. 
342 BC The Romans were occupied with other matters, and there are no reports of fighting in this year Livy 7.38-39; Dion. Hal. 15.3; App. Samn. 1

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. pp. 000–000. 
341 BC - peace treaty The Romans renewed their attack, and the consul L. Aemilius Mamercinus invaded Samnium. The Samnites sent envoys to Rome to negotiate, and the peace treaty of 354 was renewed. Livy 8.1-2

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. pp. 000–000. 

Second Samnite War (326-304 BC)[edit]

The Second Samnite War broke out in 326 BC over Rome's attempts at colonising Samnite territory.

Event Details Ancient sources
Foundation of Fregellae (328 BC) The Romans founded the colony of Fregellae refs

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. pp. 217–8. 
Battle of the Caudine Forks (321 BC) A Roman army under the command of T. Veturius Calvinus was trapped by the Samnite general Gaius Pontius at the Caudine Forks, a pass in the Apennines between Calatia and Caudium, and forced to sue for peace. Livy 9.1-7; Cic. Off. 3. 109; Cic. Sen. 41; Dion. Hal. 16.1.1-7; Valerius Maximus 5.1 ext. 5, 7.2. ext. 17; Gell. 17.21.36; Flor. 1.11.10; App. Samn. 2-7; Dio fr. 36.10; Oros. 3.15.1-6; Claud. Quad. fr. 18 (Peter)

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. pp. 223–33. 
Battle of Lautulae (315 BC) Q. Aulius Cerretanus, the Roman Master of Horse, was defeated and killed by the Samnites at Lautulae, a narrow pass near Tarracina Liv. 9.22-25; Diod. 19.72.6-7; Fasti Capitolini (Degrassi) 36f., 109f., 418f.

Historical literature:

  • E.T. Salmon (1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge U.P. pp. 000–000. 

Third Samnite War (298 to 290 BC)[edit]

According to Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus the war originated with a Samnite attack on the Lucanians. Unable to resist, the Lucanians sent ambassadors and hostages to Rome to plead for an alliance. The Romans decided to accept the alliance offer and sent fetials to insist the Samnites evacuate Lucania, they refused and the war began.

See also[edit]

List of Roman battles

Sources[edit]

  • T.R.S. Broughton (1950-1, 1986), Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Case Western Reserve U.P.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • T.J. Cornell (1995), The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to thee Punic Wars, Routledge 
  • E.T. Salmon (1967), Samnium and the Samnites, Cambridge U.P. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Livy 7.19.4; Diod. 16.45.8; Salmon 1967, 191.