Fifteen hundred years after the fall of Rome, one key aspect of Roman history can still be experienced through the exploration of Roman battlefields. Boasting one of the most advanced armies of the ancient world, the legions of Rome were the foundation from which Roman power expanded. Indeed, in the imperial age it was the army who often held ultimate power, long after the sway of senators or the people had diminished.
Given the vital nature of warfare to the Roman world, it is no surprise that so many of the most crucial points in Roman history took place on the battlefield. From crushing defeats to epic victories, Rome’s story was often forged in the blood and chaos of battle. Today, a number of these decisive battles can still be accurately located and visited, while others can be traced to a general region. So if you’re keen to find out more about the most important battles in Roman history, then check out our Roman battlefields list below.
Alesia was the site where Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls in 52 BC.
Alesia is an archaeological site on Mount Auxois in the Côte-d'Or and the place where Roman emperor Julius Caesar won his decisive victory over the Gauls in 52 BC. By this time, much of southern France was already within the Roman Empire, having been annexed in around the second century... Read More
Cannae Battlefield is the location of Hannibal’s greatest victory in 216 BC over a huge Roman army led Consuls Varro and Paullus.
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... Read More
Carrhae Battlefield was the setting for one of the most crushing Roman defeats, inflicted at the hands of the Parthians.
Carrhae Battlefield near the modern town of Harran in Turkey was the setting for one of the most crushing Roman defeats, inflicted at the hands of the Parthians. The battle took place in May 53 BC and was the culmination of a Roman invasion of Parthia, led by the wealthy Roman... Read More
Pharsalus Battlefield was the setting for the most decisive battle of Caesar’s civil war and saw the final defeat of Pompey the Great.
Pharsalus Battlefield was the setting for one of the most decisive and important battles of ancient Rome – the defeat of Pompey the Great by Julius Caesar. It was a battle which Caesar won against the odds and it all but confirmed his position as ruler of Rome, a key... Read More
Philippi Battlefield is the location of the Battle of Philippi, where Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the forces of those who had assassinated Julius Caesar.
Philippi Battlefield in modern Greece is the location of one of the most important engagements in Roman history, where Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the forces of those who had assassinated Julius Caesar – notably Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC a short, uneasy... Read More
Trasimene Battlefield is the location of major defeat of the Roman army by Hannibal during the Second Punic War.
Trasimene Battlefield marks the site of the Battle of Trasimene, fought in 217 BC between Hannibal of Carthage and the Consul Flaminius of Rome. It was one of the major battles of the Second Punic War and a crushing defeat for Rome. During the encounter, Hannibal - a gifted strategist -... Read More
Location of the first major battle of the Second Punic War between Hannibal and the Roman consuls Scipio and Longus.
Trebbia Battlefield marks the location of the Battle of Trebbia, the first significant clash of the Second Punic War. Fought in 218 BC, it was a resounding defeat for the Roman armies under the consuls Scipio and Longus and a major victory for the great Carthaginian general Hannibal. A resounding defeat... Read More