First Punic War Battles > Battle of Mount Ercte

Battle of Mount Ercte

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

The Battle of Mount Ercte, also known as the Battle of Echetla, occurred during the Second Punic War between the Roman Republic and Carthage in 210 BC. The conflict between Rome and Carthage had been ongoing for years, with Carthage under the leadership of Hannibal Barca invading Italy and inflicting several defeats on the Romans. Mount Ercte, located in Sicily, held strategic significance as it overlooked the surrounding countryside and controlled important routes of communication and supply. The Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus launched a campaign to reclaim territory in Sicily from Carthaginian control. Hannibal, the commander of Carthaginian forces in Sicily, recognized the importance of Mount Ercte and stationed a garrison there to defend it against the advancing Romans.

The Battle:

The Battle of Mount Ercte took place near the town of Echetla (modern-day Calascibetta) in Sicily, close to Mount Ercte. The Roman forces, led by Marcellus, launched a determined assault on the Carthaginian positions at the foot of Mount Ercte. The terrain was rugged, with steep slopes and rocky outcrops, making the advance difficult for the Roman infantry.

The Carthaginian garrison, commanded by Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal, put up a fierce defense, utilizing the natural defenses of the mountain to their advantage.Carthaginian skirmishers and archers harassed the Roman attackers from higher ground, inflicting casualties and slowing their advance. Despite the challenging terrain and determined Carthaginian resistance, the Roman forces eventually succeeded in dislodging the Carthaginian defenders and capturing Mount Ercte. The victory at Mount Ercte allowed the Romans to secure control of the surrounding territory and further weaken Carthaginian influence in Sicily.


The capture of Mount Ercte bolstered Roman control of Sicily and facilitated their ongoing campaign against Carthaginian forces on the island. The Battle of Mount Ercte was part of a larger series of engagements in Sicily as both sides vied for control of the island.

The successful assault on Mount Ercte enhanced Marcellus's reputation as a capable Roman commander and contributed to his status as one of Rome's leading generals during the Second Punic War. The battle highlighted the importance of controlling key geographical features such as Mount Ercte in ancient warfare, demonstrating how terrain could influence the outcome of battles. The Battle of Mount Ercte was a significant engagement in the larger context of the Second Punic War, contributing to the ebb and flow of fortunes between Rome and Carthage in their struggle for dominance in the Mediterranean.

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