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Map - 217 BC Battle of Lake Trasimene
Arriving in Etruria in the spring of 217 BC, Hannibal decided to lure the main Roman army under Flaminius, into a pitched battle, by devastating the region Flaminius had been sent to protect. As Polybius recounts, "he [Hannibal] calculated that, if he passed the camp and made a descent into the district beyond, Flaminius (partly for fear of popular reproach and partly of personal irritation) would be unable to endure watching passively the devastation of the country but would spontaneously follow him . . . and give him opportunities for attack." At the same time, Hannibal tried to break the allegiance of Romeís allies by proving that Flaminius was powerless to protect them. Despite this, Flaminius remained passively encamped at Arretium. Unable to draw Flaminius into battle by mere devastation, Hannibal marched boldly around his opponentís left flank and effectively cut Flaminius off from Rome (thus executing the first recorded turning movement in military history). Advancing through the uplands of Etruria, Hannibal provoked Flaminius into a hasty pursuit and, catching him in a defile on the shore of Lake Trasimenus, destroyed his army in the waters or on the adjoining slopes, killing Flaminius as well (see Battle of Lake Trasimene). This was the most costly ambush the Romans would ever sustain until the Battle of Carrhae against the Parthians. He had now disposed of the only field force that could check his advance upon Rome, but, realizing that without siege engines, he could not hope to take the capital, he preferred to exploit his victory by entering into central and southern Italy and encouraging a general revolt against the sovereign power.
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Battle_of_lake_trasimene~1.gif
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Frank Martini. Cartographer, Department of History, United States Military Academy, updated 17 Mar 2006
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Public domain - work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that personís official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.
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Public domain - work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that personís official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.
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