Second Punic War Battles > Battle of Capua (211 BC)

Battle of Capua (211 BC)

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

The Battle of Capua in 211 BC was a pivotal engagement during the Second Punic War between the Roman Republic and Carthage. It took place near the city of Capua in southern Italy and resulted in a decisive Roman victory. Capua, located in the fertile region of Campania, was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Italy. Its capture was strategically significant for both sides as it would provide control over vital agricultural resources and influence the loyalty of other Italian cities. The Romans had laid siege to Capua, which had defected to Hannibal's side earlier in the war. The city was held by a Carthaginian garrison under the command of Hannibal's lieutenant, Hanno.


Roman Army: The Roman force was led by the consuls Quintus Fulvius Flaccus and Appius Claudius Pulcher. It consisted of Roman legions augmented by allied troops from other Italian cities.

Carthaginian Garrison: The Carthaginian garrison defending Capua was relatively small compared to the Roman besieging force. It comprised Carthaginian soldiers, mercenaries, and local allies.


The Roman commanders, seeing an opportunity to deliver a decisive blow to the Carthaginians, launched a coordinated assault on the Carthaginian positions outside Capua. The battle was fierce, with both sides engaging in close combat. The Roman infantry, renowned for their discipline and training, pushed back the Carthaginian defenders and gradually gained the upper hand. The Roman cavalry, commanded by Fulvius Flaccus, played a crucial role in the battle. They launched a surprise charge against the Carthaginian flank, causing confusion and routing the Carthaginian cavalry. Despite initial resistance, the Carthaginian garrison was overwhelmed by the superior numbers and discipline of the Roman forces. The Romans emerged victorious, capturing the Carthaginian camp and inflicting heavy casualties on the defenders.


The fall of Capua to the Romans was a significant blow to Carthaginian interests in Italy. The city's capture deprived Hannibal of a vital base of support and weakened his position in southern Italy. With Capua under Roman control, the Romans solidified their dominance in the region and gained access to its abundant resources, including grain supplies. The Battle of Capua marked a turning point in the Second Punic War, demonstrating Rome's resilience and determination in the face of adversity. It also boosted Roman morale and set the stage for further Roman victories in the war.

The Battle of Capua became emblematic of Roman tenacity and military prowess. It showcased the effectiveness of Roman siege tactics and the importance of disciplined infantry in ancient warfare. The capture of Capua strengthened Rome's position in Italy and paved the way for the eventual defeat of Hannibal's forces. It also highlighted the vulnerability of Carthaginian holdings in Italy and their inability to withstand sustained Roman pressure.

The Battle of Capua in 211 BC was a significant victory for the Roman Republic, securing their control over one of the most important cities in Italy and weakening Carthaginian influence in the region. It played a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the Second Punic War and demonstrated the Romans' determination to prevail against their Carthaginian adversaries.

Second Punic War

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Primary Sources

Polybius - The Rise of the Roman Empire, pp 387-394

Secondary Sources

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