Battle of Telamon

In the years before 225 BC, the Gauls monitored the Roman advance and made conclusion that since whatever is left of Italy and Sicily were under Roman control, they would be next. Keeping in mind the end goal to protect them self from the Roman armed forces The Gallic tribes of northern Italy joined with tribes from all over the Alps. Caught at Cape Telamon, the dwarfed Gauls set up a hard battle yet they were eventually crushed. The Battle of Telamon denoted the decay of Gallic fortunes in the war with Rome for northern Italy.



The Gallic tribes of northern Italy repeatedly conflicted with the Roman Republic. Rome took the battle to the Gauls and in 284 BCE vanquished the Senones and completely crushed their properties (present-day Romagna). The skillful Boii, who resided north of the Senones, thusly attacked the Roman heartland. But facing defeats, the Boii consented to a peace arrangement in 282 BCE.

Starting positions of the armies

50 years after, the Senones lands, recouped adequately for the settlement of Roman residents. The foundation of the Roman state of Sena Gallacia along the drift disturbed the Boii, who legitimately dreaded further Roman advances into Gallia Cisalpina (Gaul south of the Alps). Another generation of Boii had been raised, “full of unreflecting passion and absolutely without experience in suffering and peril” (Polybius, The Histories, II. 21). They were willing to reestablish the conflict with Rome. The Boii searched for assistance from Gallic tribes north of the Alps (Gallic Transalpina), however, their initial attempt finished in a fight amid which two of the Transalpina rulers were murdered. In north-western Italy, nonetheless, the strong Insubres were ready to wage war against the Boii.

For this reason, the Boii and Insubres looked for assistance from the Gaesatae who stayed close to the Rhone. Their diplomats lured the Gaesatae Kings Concolitanus and Aneroestus with stories of Gallic valor and blessings of gold, and a little specimen of what could be plundered from the Romans. “It’s no occasion that the district of Gaul sent out so large a force or one composed of men so distinguished or so warlike,” wrote Polybius (Polybius, The Histories, II.22).

Roman - Galic battle



In 225 BCE, the largest pan-Gallic army was assembled to march against Rome. Their number tally was 20,000 cavalry and 50,000 infantry, though part of The Boii coalition, therefore had to stay behind in defending their homes.

Meanwhile, Rome has established itself as a major power as an empire, emerging victorious in their battles one by one and by the time it has become a force that makes it difficult to reckon with. Under the risk of the Gallic Army, the Roman Empire figured out how to gather more than 150,000 men standing prepared to battle under the Roman pennant, stationed in three armies; in Etruria, on the Adriatic coast, and on Sardinia. They were standing stronger than ever against the Gallic armed force.





The Gauls made their way all over Rome until they met opposition from the large Roman army coming from Etruria. In the sunset, both armies were standing next to each other. At some point in the night, the Gallic infantry withdrew in the direction of the close-by town of Faesulae. The cavalry remained behind at the campfires to ensure that in the morning the Romans could not know where the Gallic infantry moved. Anticipating the last had fled, the Romans progressed on the Gallic Cavalry, which took off towards Faesulae. Following in pursuit, the Romans were trapped by the Gallic infantry assaulting of the timberlands and bushes close Faesulae. The Gallic Cavalry than wheeled around to ensure the Romans were stuck between the infantry and the cavalry.

The level of their discipline, along with the rigorous training of the Roman army at that time, came to incredible advantage and managed to achieve a fighting retreat to withdraw on the nearby hill, making a decent position stand against the Gauls attack. The Gauls, who, having slept little before night, was additionally worn out from battling uphill and leave just some cavalry to watch out for the Romans. During that time, near the same hill, the Consul Lucius Aemilius Papus arrives, commander of the Roman Army on the Adriatic, and made a camp. Until then the Gauls had already taken many slaves, cattle, and plunder, so the King Aneroestes of the Gaesatae instructed to return home and in the night they sneak out and set off for the South. However, the two combined Roman armies followed the Gallic Army.




At this point, the Roman army commander, the Consul Gaius Atilius Regulus appears with the third Roman army which from Sardinia sailed north, past Corsica, and crossed to the mainland landing at Pisa. Among the Roman and Gallic armies, in the vicinity of Cape Telamon, a delicate slope ascended alongside the road. Desperate to secure the hill before the Gauls, Regulus personally directed his cavalry in direction of the slope. The Gallic Army was still unaware of the different Roman threat from the north. Espying the Roman Cavalry headed for the slope, the Gauls considered that they were outflanked by Papus’ cavalry coming from behind. The Gauls dispatched their own cavalry and light skirmishers to seize the slope and took plenty of prisoners into the combat. The prisoners said to them the dreadful reality; they were about to be trapped between two enormous Roman armies.

Gallic warriors

Finally, there was clearly no getaway for the Gauls. The Boii and Taurisci prepared up to encounter Regulus’ army coming from ahead. The Gaesatae and Insubres wheeled to confront Papus’ army emerging from behind. The Gallic chariots and wagons formed up on the flanks at the same time as a smaller detachment began to take the booty to the nearby slopes.

The Cavalry went on to Regulus and he was struck by a mortal blow. His head was taken as a trophy and delivered to Gauls. However, they did not have much time to celebrate about Regulus death since the Roman infantry attack the hill. However, the Roman legionaries were citizens levied from the population during the war years and were not professional soldiers.

  “   [The Romans] were terrified by the fine order of the Celtic host and the dreadful din, for there were innumerable horn-blowers and trumpeters, and, as the whole army were shouting their war-cries at the same time, there was such a tumult of sound that it seemed that not only the trumpets and the soldiers but all the country round had got a voice and caught up the cry. (Polybius, The Histories, II. 29)     “


The earth shook beneath the stamp of tens of thousands of legionaries while the maniples progressed upon the Gallic horde. The initially manipli line, the hastati, let loose an additional javelin volley upon the Gauls. The iron heads of their bulky pilum javelin were barbed and had been jammed in the Gallic shields. Although the Gauls attempted to pry the javelins out of their shields the hastati drew their short swords and attacked.

The Gauls swung their rigorous swords in remarkable bends, fragmenting shields, and gnawing into the bronze of the Roman helmets. The Romans, thus, strike with their small swords. Necessitating less space per warrior, they exhibited a more tightly shield wall. The Romans felt comfortable in the further favored standpoint in that their elliptical scutum, a shield twisted in reverses, encasing some portion of the carrier’s body. Beneath the shield, the uncovered forward Roman leg was secured by greaves. The hastati likewise wore breastplates while the second and third Roman lines, the principes and triarii, wore chainmail.

The dwarfed and encompassed Gauls managed to hang on. For a while, it even resembled the battle might go in either way. However, the cavalry fight on the hill had already resulted in a Roman victory. The Gallic cavalry had fled, leaving the Roman horsemen free to come to the assistance of their comrades on the plain underneath. Down the hill the Roman stallions thundered, their lances trimming into the flanks of the Gallic infantry. The Gauls shattered in panic but, hemmed in from all sides, were sliced to pieces.



In the aftermath, 40,000 Gauls were wiped out and 10,000 captured for the slave markets including King Concolitanus. King Aneroestes got away, however,  overwhelmed by grief ended up taking his own life. Papus dispatched the Gallic booty to Rome, to be brought back to its owners. After that he led his army in the direction of the lands of the Boii to exact vengeance, burning and killing. Then came back home to celebrate a Roman triumph. The Romans shattered Gallic resistance in northern Italy therefore by the mid-2nd century BCE they all become Italianized.


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