The Battle Of Telamon. If Rome Lost This Battle It Might Not Have Survived.

by Daniel Russ on February 7, 2013

Gallic Armor


Gallic Armor

One of the major forces outside of Rome’s borders was the Gauls. Long before many Gallic tribes were assimilated under Roman rule and even served in the Roman Army, they were the nemesis of the Republic. Polybius writes about a massive Gallic invasion in 225 BC with a force of 50,000-foot soldiers and 20,000 cavalry and chariot warriors. Boii, Insubres, Alpine Gaesatae moved into Etruria, the central portion of Rome that today extends roughly from the Mediterranean to the central valley and from Rome in the south to Bologna in the north.


This was a major incursion in central Rome.  Consolitanus and Aneroestes, the Gallic commanders had previously defeated a Roman Army and now stood frighteningly close. In fact, they deceived a Roman Legion at Faesulae – leaving their cavalry and campfires as a decoy, they moved into the night and when the Romans attacked, they were ambushed, defeated and humiliated. That said, the Gauls were within three days of Rome, and all hands were on deck.


It’s called the Battle of Telamon because it took place outside of the ancient seaside town. The Gauls had just finished sacking and plundering the Italian countryside, and their intention was to take advantage of their momentum and advance on Rome. One of the self-inflicted bad decisions the Gauls made was to take their booty in the supply train behind their lines, thus tying up valuable troops to protect it. So, burdened with these newly purloined riches, they were calmly pursued by a large Roman force of heavy infantry and cavalry under Papus.


The Gauls were contesting a patch of high ground when a second large Roman force appeared from the north and blocked the Gauls retreat. The total force of the Romans made 70,000 Legionnaires and only 5000 cavalry. Atilius was killed, his head relieved of the rest of his body and impaled on the end of a Gallic Battle pike was forthwith delivered to Aneroestes.



 Didn’t matter. The Romans took the promontory.


Now the Gauls are sandwiched and between two forces, the Gaesatae and Insubres faced Aemilius Papus to the South, and the Boii and Taurisci faced the Regulus to the north. The pressure from the converging Roman lines was too much for the Gauls. The Gaesatae battled entirely naked just to intimidate the Romans. This was a bad portend for the Gauls when the Romans emphasized throwing pila and darts.


At the end of the battle, the Roman cavalry rolled up the Gaul middle and 40,000 Gauls were killed and 10,000 were captured.


This force could have sacked Rome like Akaric never did.





Gallic Soldiers


Source:, wikipedia, Warfare In The Ancient World.




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