About Cannae Battlefield
Cannae Battlefield marks the site of the famous Battle of Cannae, fought in 216 BC between Hannibal of Carthage and a huge Roman army led by Consuls Varro and Paullus. It stands as Hannibal’s greatest victory and Rome’s greatest defeat. However, not even this massive loss of life stopped the Roman war machine from losing the battle but winning the war.
With Hannibal having already invaded Italy and defeated large Roman armies at both Trebbia and Trasimene, the Roman leadership was under significant pressure to turn the tide of war. To try and stop Hannibal, Rome gathered the biggest army it had ever put in the field: more than 80,000 men. Outnumbered two to one, Hannibal used a new and brilliant tactic, known today as double envelopment, and massacred the Romans.
One historian has compared the result to an atomic bomb: 80,000 men died that day, possibly the most casualties ever in a single battle. This defeat brought Rome closer to total collapse than at any time during its history.
The site has one monument to the battle of Cannae within the archaeological site of Cannae di Battaglia which itself is a village from the middle ages.
To find the monument you have to enter and walk to the furthest point of the site. There is a single column which commemorates the battle. If you stand at this column and look north over the countryside, this is the area where most historians feel the battle was fought. The entrance to the site has some relevant information and memorabilia.
Contributed by Sam Wood, Ride and Seek Historical Bike Tours