Battle of the Cremera

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Battle of the Cremera
Part of the Roman-Etruscan wars
Date 477 BC
Location Cremera, Italy
Result Veientian (Etruscan) victory
Roman Republic Etruscan city of Veii
Commanders and leaders
unknown unknown
306 men unknown
Casualties and losses
306 men unknown

The Battle of the Cremera was fought between the Roman Republic and the Etruscan city of Veii, in 477 BC (276 AUC).

It most likely occurred on 18 July,[1] although Ovid gives a different date of 13 February.[2]


Main article: Roman–Etruscan Wars

Since the Overthrow of the Roman monarchy in 509 BC, the Roman republic and its neighbour Veii had been at peace.

Conflict erupted in 483 BC with a series on conflicts almost annually. Rome was victorious in a close-fought battle in 480 BC, however hostilities continued.

In 479 BC, the family of the Fabii offered to take the Roman responsibility for the war upon themselves, which the Roman senate accepted.[3] The Fabii built a camp on the Cremera, from which they harassed Veii and held back its raids on Rome.[4] The Fabii were successful in the fighting in 478 BC and 477 BC prior to the main battle which followed.[5]

Account of the battle[edit]

The Veientes, embarrassed by their lack of success, formed plans for an ambush of the Fabii. The Veientes led a herd of cattle along a road, at a distance from the Fabian camp at the Cremera, in order to lure the Romans from their camp and into an ambush. The Romans pursued the herd, and scattered to capture the animals. At that point, the Veientes sprang from their hiding places and surrounded the Fabii. The Veientes were superior in number, however the Romans formed a wedge formation, broke through and reached a hill, where they successfully repulsed the initial Veientine attacks, until some of the Veientes went around the Romans to attack them from the rear, uphill from the Romans.[6]

All of the Fabii were slaughtered save Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, who was too young to be sent to war.[7]


Upon hearing of the grave defeat, the Roman senate sent the consul Titus Menenius Lanatus with an army against the Veientes, but the Romans were defeated once again. The Veientes marched on Rome, and occupied the Janiculum. There were two indecisive battles against the Veientes, the first near the temple of Spes near the Praenestine Gate, and the second at the Colline gate. Thereafter the Veientes withdrew from Rome and set about ravaging the countryside, until they were defeated by the Romans in the following year.[8]


  1. ^ Livy, VI.1; Plutarch, Camillus IX; Tacitus, Histories II.91
  2. ^ Fasti, II.195-6
  3. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita, ii.48
  4. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita, ii.49
  5. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita, ii.49-50
  6. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita, ii.50
  7. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita, ii.50
  8. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita, ii.51
Primary sources