217 BC

217 BC

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Events

By place

Roman Republic

* Gaius Flaminius Nepos is re-elected consul with Gnaeus Servilius Geminus, in what is considered to be a rebuke of the Senate's prosecution of the war. Flaminius raises new legions and marches north to meet the Carthaginian general Hannibal.
* Hannibal advances to the Arno River and then outmanoeuvres the army of Gaius Flaminius Nepos at Arretium and reaches Faesulae (modern Fiesole) and Perugia.
* 24 June - On the northern shore of Lake Trasimene, in Umbria, Hannibal's troops all but annihilate Gaius Flaminius Nepos' army, killing thousands (including Flaminius) and driving others to drown in the lake. Reinforcements of about 4,000 cavalry from Ariminum under the praetor, Gaius Centenius, are intercepted before they arrive and are also destroyed. The Carthaginian troops then march on Rome.
* Gaius Flaminius Nepos' supporters in the Senate begin to lose power to the more aristocratic factions as the Romans fear Hannibal is about to besiege their city. The Senate appoint Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus as dictator.
* Quintus Fabius Maximus begins his strategy of "delay". This involves avoiding a set battle with the Carthaginians and creating a "scorched earth" area around Hannibal's army. Manoeuvring among the hills, where Hannibal's cavalry is ineffective, Fabius cuts off his enemy's supplies and harasses Hannibal’s forces incessantly. Fabius gains the name "Cunctator" ("The Delayer") for this strategy.
* Hannibal ravages Apulia and Campania; meanwhile the delaying tactics of Quintus Fabius Maximus' army allows only skirmishes to occur between the two armies.
* Fabius' delaying policy becomes increasingly unpopular in Rome, and Fabius is compelled to return to Rome to defend his actions under the guise of observing some religious obligations. Marcus Minucius Rufus, the master of horse, is left in command and manages to catch the Carthaginians off guard near their camp in Geronium and inflicts severe losses on them in a large skirmish. This "victory" causes the Romans, disgruntled with Fabius, to elevate Minucius to the equal rank of dictator with Fabius.
* Minucius takes command of half the army and camps separately from Fabius near Geronium. Hannibal, informed of this development, lays an elaborate trap, which draws out Minucius and his army and then Hannibal attacks it from all sides. The timely arrival of Fabius with the other half of the army enables Minucius to escape after a severe mauling. After the battle, Minucius turns over his army to Fabius and resumes the duties of Master of Horse.

Egypt

* Egyptian native hoplites under Ptolemy IV crushes the Seleucid army under Antiochus III at Raphia near Gaza. The realization of their military importance leads to demands by native Egyptians for greater privileges and so to the development of racial difficulties which will weaken the Ptolemy dynasty in the future.
* Although holding the initiative after the Battle of Raphia, Ptolemy IV, on his chief minister Sosibius' advice, negotiates a peace, and the Seleucid army withdraws from Coele Syria. Antiochus III gives up all his conquests except the city of Seleucia-in-Pieria.

Greece

* Involved in a war with the Aetolians, Philip V of Macedon learns of Hannibal's victory over the Romans at Lake Trasimene. Seeing a chance to recover his Illyrian kingdom from the Romans, Demetrius of Pharos immediately advises the young king to make peace with the Aetolians, and turn his attentions toward Illyria and Italy. Philip, at once begins negotiations with the Aetolians. At a conference on the coast near Naupactus, Philip meets the Aetolian leaders and a peace treaty is concluded, ending the three-year long "Social War".

pain

* Publius Cornelius Scipio is sent with reinforcements by Rome to Spain as proconsul. In a naval battle on the Ebro River at Tarraco, the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal's fleet is largely destroyed by a daring surprise Roman attack led by Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus. As a result, the Romans are able to strengthen their hold on the Ebro River region.

Births

*

Deaths

* Gaius Flaminius Nepos, Roman consul and general.
* Pinnes (also Pinneus or Pineus), son of Agron, king of Illyria, and Agron's first wife Triteuta. He has officially succeeded his father as king in 230 BC, but the kingdom has been ruled by Agron's second wife, Queen Teuta and then taken over by the Romans who have placed Demetrius of Pharos in the young king's place.


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