In the third Samnites War during 298-290 BCE, Romans faced dangerous alliances of the Umbrians, Etruscans, Gauls, and Samnites. Two consular armies were mobilized by the Romans with the leadership of Quintis Fabius Maximus Rullianus and Publius Decius Mus.
Each of the armies included two legions from Rome’s allies and Roman legions. The powerful troop marched out to locate where the Samnites and their allies were for the purpose of destroying them. They launched a diversionary attack against their homesteads and drew Umbrian and Etruscan forces away. This left the Gauls and Samnites to face off with the Romans at Sentimum which is present-day Sassoferrato.
On the day of the battle, Decius’s military went to the opposite side of the Gauls taking their position. To his right side, Gauls were surrounded by Fabius men. The Consuls positioned Roman legions at the middle line of each military group and flanked each side by allied legions and Calvary at the end.
When the fight began, the legions under the leadership of Fabius gained an advantage over the Samnites. Delicious and his men had a hard time and they were taken by surprise by Gauls who sent a war Chariot in their direction. The chariot went into Roman Calvary; milling horses ambushed infantry formations for the legions and began to fall due to the attack of the sword-wielding Gallic army.
Decius in a desperate move rode into the middle of Gauls. This was self-sacrifice and a suicidal move. The legions who were encouraged by the incredible move of their dead consul decided to fight back and with renewed vigor. The Samnites by this time started fleeing, but their people and Ignatius, their leader were killed by the pursuing Roman army. The Gauls in the end successfully disengaged, limited their loss and roman won in another significant fight.
The slaughtering of Gaul’s men left 25,000 allies and more than 13000 were taken captive. The cream of the allied forces had been destroyed beyond recognition and it left Rome the only undisputed leader of Central and Southern Italy.
After the bloody battle of Pentium and Roman victory, it was obvious that the Etruscan and Samnite nations could not fight Roman expanism on their own.
Rome considered alternate campaigns against the Samnites and Etruscans at the same time. It succeeded in creating and managing a battle because the country is never in a defensive role.
Rome, at the beginning of the 3rd century controlled entire central Italy despite the fact that it had not military occupied the cities of the Etruscan and Samnite. Its military had only taken over a few places with isolated cases.
In the Etruscan cities, allies that were sympathetic to Rome dominated politics and continued with their efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the situation. However, such factions allied with Rome in the mountain Samnites tribes are not present. Peace Treaties were therefore set up with Roman by many Etruscans compared to the Samnites.
After failed treaties, especially in the South of the peninsula, the Samnites considered a treaty and an alliance with the Etruscans. The strategic idea was sound because the two nations together would form a very strong military force against Rome. Etruria then formed a very good relationship with the great Celtic state. The nation is the only one historically that managed to defeat and occupy following the battle of Sentinum despite the efforts of many Samnite emissaries that were sent to Etruria.
The battle of the Sentinum ended with a Roman victory. The Etruscans, Umbrians and Samnite were dominated by Rome even though many of their cities were still highly free of Roman leadership. The Samnites accepted Roman dominance in 290 BC and later joined the campaigns of Pyrrhus, to help the Greeks of southern Italy. His defeat, however, led to the absorption of the people of Italy into Roman commonwealth.
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Battle of Sentinum: References