Second Punic War Battles > Battle of Tarentum (209 BC)

Battle of Tarentum (209 BC)

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration


The Battle of Tarentum in 209 BC was a significant engagement during the Second Punic War between the forces of Rome, led by the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus, and the Carthaginian garrison defending the city of Tarentum (modern-day Taranto) in southern Italy. Tarentum was a strategically important city in southern Italy, and its capture would allow the Romans to gain control over the region and deprive the Carthaginians of a key naval base. The Carthaginians, aware of the threat posed by the Roman siege, reinforced the city's defenses with troops and supplies under the command of the Carthaginian general Hannibal Gisco.

Quintus Fabius Maximus, known for his cautious and strategic approach to warfare, led the Roman forces in the siege of Tarentum, deploying his troops to surround the city and cut off its supply lines. The Carthaginian garrison within Tarentum, under the command of Hannibal Gisco, prepared to defend the city against the Roman assault, utilizing the city's formidable fortifications and natural defenses.


The battle began with a series of skirmishes and raids between the Roman besiegers and the Carthaginian defenders as both sides jockeyed for position and sought to gain the upper hand. Quintus Fabius Maximus, recognizing the difficulty of assaulting the heavily fortified city directly, opted for a patient and methodical approach, gradually tightening the noose around Tarentum and depriving the defenders of food and supplies. The Roman blockade and siege tactics put increasing pressure on the Carthaginian garrison, leading to internal discord and desperation among the defenders.


The Battle of Tarentum ended in a victory for Rome, as the Carthaginian garrison was unable to withstand the prolonged siege and the pressure exerted by the Roman forces. With the fall of Tarentum to the Romans, the city came under Roman control, allowing Rome to consolidate its position in southern Italy and expand its influence in the region.

The capture of Tarentum was a significant achievement for Rome, as it further weakened Carthaginian influence in Italy and demonstrated the effectiveness of Roman siege warfare and strategy. The Roman victory at Tarentum bolstered Quintus Fabius Maximus' reputation as a skilled military commander and contributed to Rome's eventual victory in the Second Punic War.

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