Placentia

The First Battle of Bedriacum. 14 April 69 AD.

Marcus Salvius Otho, with the support and aid of the Praetorian Guard, had his predecessor Galba murdered in January and claimed the throne. Legate Aulus Vitellius, governor of the province of Germania Inferior, had also claimed the throne earlier in the month and marched on Rome with his troops. Vitellius’ forces were divided into two armies, one commanded by Aulus Caecina Alienus and the other by Fabius Valens. The Vitellian forces included legions XXI Rapax, V Alaudae and powerful vexillationes from all the other legions stationed on the Rhine, together with a strong force of Batavian auxiliaries, a force of around 70,000 men. The forces commanded by Caecina crossed the Alps by the Great St. Bernard Pass to reach northern Italy. They attacked Placentia but were repulsed by the Oth...

The Battle of Trebia. December 18, 218 BC.

The Battle of Trebia was the first important battle of the Second Punic War between the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal and the Roman Republic, fought around the winter solstice. It was a huge defeat for the Roman Republic, and in spite the heavy losses, around 10.000 soldiers, over two legions, survived on the field and retreated to Placentia. Hannibal´s opposing general, the consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus acted too impetuously and allowed himself to be provoked into frontal assault and failed to see that he was being led to a trap, named Mago´s ambush, after Hannibal´s brother, Mago, that commanded a detachment of 1,100 infantry and 1,100 cavalry concealed in the underbrush of the Trebia River under the cover of night. Theodore Ayrault Dodge, a military historian, wrote of the battle:...

Odovacer Becomes King of Italy – August 23, 476 AD

Not of Roman origin, Flavius Odovacer (or Odoacer) was an officer in the Roman Army by 470 AD. There is mention of an Odovacrius having fought against the Visigoths in 463, which may be the same person as Odovacer. Chronicler John of Antioch wrote that Odovacer was on the side of the Gothic magister militum, Ricimer, at the start of the battle against the emperor Anthemius, in 472. The scholar, Procopius of Caesarea, described Odovacer as one of the emperor’s bodyguards. Presumably he meant of Olybrius, whom Ricimer promoted to emperor against Anthemius. Olybrius only reigned for about seven months before he died of dropsy in October or November 472, a few months after Ricimer had died from a hemorrhage. The next Western emperor was Glycerius, elevated by the magister militum Gundobad, nep...

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