Battle of Beneventum 275 B.C.

The Last Battle Between Pyrrus of Epirus and the Romans

The Beginning

The Pyrrhic War started because the Romans had entered the waters near Tarentum which violated a treaty they had. Tarentum was a Greek colony in the southern part of Italy that had been having trouble keeping the Romans out like many of the other Greek cities. Tarentum, having previous asked Pyrrhus of Epirus to help them after Rome declared war.

Pyrrhus's Campaign

Pyrrhus started with about 25,000 soldiers in the southern territory of Lucania. Pyrrhus's war elephants made it so that the Greek cavalry could overtake the Roman positions. He tried to get the Carthaginians to join him, but instead they made an alliance with the Romans and helped fight against him. He went to Sicily to become allies with the Sicilians and protect it from being taken over from Carthage. He returned to Italy so he would not be caught in Sicily after the Romans and Carthaginians began to close in. This is where he had the last battle of the Pyrrhic War in the city of Maleventum.

Battle of Beneventum

This was the last battle between Pyrrhus and the Romans. It was important to the complete Roman domination of the Italian peninsula. Pyrrhus fought for a while, but after a time he withdrew, because of the large losses of his previous battles and he realized he could not win. This left the result of the battle inconclusive, according to the people at the time. Because after this battle Pyrrhus retreated, it is now said that it was a Roman victory.

The Results

Pyrrhus's withdraw from Italy resulted in the conquering of the Samnites and the fall of Magna Graecia, a coastal region heavily populated by Greeks, three years later. Both of those events lead to the complete Roman domination of the Italian Peninsula, giving more power to the Romans.