Battle of Tzirallum
|Battle of Tzirallum|
|Part of the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy|
|forces of Licinius||forces of Maximinus|
|Commanders and leaders|
The Battle of Tzirallum was one of the civil wars of the Tetrarchy fought on 30 April 313 between the Roman armies of emperors Licinius and Maximinus. The battle location was on the "Campus Serenus" at Tzirallum, identified as the modern-day town of Çorlu, in Tekirdağ Province, in the Turkish region of Eastern Thrace. Sources put the battle between 18 and 36 Roman miles from Heraclea Perinthus, the modern-day town of Marmara Ereğlisi.
The emperors Licinius and Maximinus were locked in a struggle for supremacy for the Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Maximinus had crossed the Bosphorus in 313, and taken Byzantium. Possessing an army of around 70,000, he proceeded to lay siege to the town of Heraclea Perinthus, which he captured after a siege of eight days. Maximinus moved ahead to the "first station", 18 miles beyond Heraclea. On arriving there, news reached him that Licinius, coming from Adrianople had already pitched camp with his force at the second station, 18 miles further ahead. After a period of fruitless negotiations, in which both emperors attempted to win over the loyalty of the other's armies, the emperors met in battle on 30 April. The battle location, Tzirallum, is identified with the contemporary town of Tzouroulon, which is the modern Turkish city of Çorlu.
Maximinus had brought over with him a highly disciplined and veteran army from the Asiatic provinces. Licinius on the other hand had collected an army of 30,000 from the province of Illyria. As the battle commenced, Licinius initially found himself overwhelmed by Maximinus' numerical superiority. However, his superior military skill and the firmness of his troops soon turned the odds to his favour. By the end of the day had completely routed the forces of Maximinus, thereby obtaining a decisive victory.
Maximinus did not hang around to enjoy his defeat. The incredible speed which Maximinus exerted in his flight is much more celebrated than his prowess in the battle. Twenty-four hours afterwards he was seen pale, trembling, and without his Imperial ornaments, at Nicomedia, 160 miles from the place of his defeat. Licinius took his time and soon pursued Maximinus into the Asiatic provinces.
- Gibbon, Edward (1776), "Chapter XIV: Troubles After the Abdication of Diocletian...", The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, I
- Lactantius, Venantius (1871), "De Mortibus Persecutorum" [Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died: Chapters XLV–XLVIII], The Works of Lactantius, translated by William Fletcher