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Battle of Lake Trasimene, 217 BC

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Hannibal Barca versus Gaius Flaminius: A Carthaginian army under Hannibal Barca lies in wait to ambush a Roman army under Flaminius. If the Roman army is pinned against the lake, will it fight more fiercely and repel the Carthaginians? Click on images below to view PowerPoint presentation. 
| Legend |

This is the second of a few Roman armies to be annihilated by Hannibal in the Second Punic War, each of them destroyed by flashy tactical maneuvers. Any historian knows that the victories were hollow for Hannibal did not win the war, outgeneraled strategically.

This battle was a perfectly executed ambush; Hannibal was able to take note of the daily mist from the lake and use it to completely surprise Flaminius. Even Roman legionnaires panicked in this situation and were slaughtered by the sudden striking power of the Carthaginian combined arms attack. The site Hannibal chose for the ambush ensured that if successful, the Roman army would be pinned against the lake and annihilated.

This is the second battle of Hannibal’s three-battle spotlight and is obviously the next logical tactical masterpiece of his to be animated. Unfortunately, the next logical tactical masterpiece, Cannae, has already been animated and can be viewed here.

– Jonathan Webb
Works Consulted
Arnold, Thomas. The Second Punic War. London: MacMillan, 1886.
Bradford, Ernle. Hannibal. London: MacMillan, 1981.
Cottrell, Leonard. Enemy of Rome. London: Camelot, 1960.
Dodge, Theodore. Great Captains: Hannibal. New York: Riverside, 1891.
United States Military Academy History Department. “Atlas for Ancient Warfare.” United States Military Academy. (accessed Dec. 24, 2008).


Carthaginian cavalry:
Carthaginian infantry:
Hannibal Barca:
Roman infantry:
Roman cavalry:


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  1. 19 Comments to “Battle of Lake Trasimene, 217 BC”

  2. Hey,

    I really enjoy your site, but I can’t get the animated battle scense to play on my computer. Can you help me?


    By Jake on Apr 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

  3. I suppose I can!

    All battles are animated using Microsoft Powerpoint 2003. Those who don’t have this program can view the animations by downloading Microsoft Powerpoint Viewer 2007 from the official site at:

    By Jonathan Webb on Apr 4, 2009 at 6:45 pm

  4. I can see these presentations in Powerpoint, but have failed to find any animated content. How do I get the animation to work?


    By Nick Wedd on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm

  5. Hey I was wondering if the battle of lake trasimene was a tactical or strategic victory or a draw?


    By Jacob on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:19 pm

  6. It was a smashing victory.

    It was one of the very few times where an entire army is ambushed by another entire army.

    The casualty ratio was 10 to 1 in favor of Hannibal’s army. In a time of solely human-powered weaponry, a 10 to 1 casualty ratio is extremely rare.

    By john b on Apr 9, 2010 at 1:26 am

  7. Very cool animation!

    I showed this to some of my classmates while describing the battle and they thought it was very cool and pretty helpful.

    Thanks, Jonathan, for posting this!

    By Peter on May 11, 2010 at 4:45 am

  8. this will be awesome for my project
    Thanks for the maps.

    By awesomeman on Dec 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

  9. Thank you Peter and Awesomeman. I’m glad I could help you out in your research.

    By Jonathan Webb on Dec 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

  10. i love powerpoints and i love this one. one query, what are the different symbols used to represent the army, eg flag, rectangles etc.?

    By matt on May 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

  11. Right here Matt:

    By Jonathan Webb on May 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  12. awesom:D thanks

    By matt on May 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  13. Thanks for any other wonderful article. The place else may anybody get that type of information in such an ideal manner of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such info.

    By Rewiring on Jan 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

  14. Thanks a lot guys for posting this! I need to write a history essay on Hannibal Barca for school and I had no idea what the heck I was writing about until I saw this, along with some other, animations! Just saying thanks and keep doing what your doing 😀

    By Luke on Jan 31, 2012 at 12:57 am

  15. Gaius Flaminus Nepos commanded the Roman in the battle of Lake Trasimene but you wrote down for the commander of the Romans for this battle, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, who was dismissed after the battle of Trebia a year earlier. Also you have the same stakes for both Trebia and Lake Trasimene if a Roman victory occurred. Please explain this to me.

    By Steven Andrews on Jun 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm

  16. Steven: Excellent attention to detail, you are correct. This mistake will be corrected in the next wave of edits. As for the stakes, what I’m trying to convey here is that on the grand strategic level, the Romans were still aiming to accomplish the same objective: defeating Hannibal and denying his secure base in Italy.

    By Jonathan Webb on Jul 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

  17. Hi I am an eighth grader trying to work on a project about The Battle Lake Trasimene. May I use your website for part of my research on the battle?

    By Cameron Flatt on May 1, 2014 at 9:08 pm

  18. Great information. Can you tell me the date posted so I can credit your site? Thanks.

    By Daniel on May 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm

  19. Cameron: You may absolutely use my website for your research. So long as you give proper credit and do not make money off it, use its content any way you like.

    Daniel: This particular animation is from 2008. The date is at the bottom right of a few of the animation slides.

    By Jonathan Webb on May 19, 2014 at 2:45 am

  20. this website is the best it has helped so much with my projects thank you for creating this awesome site.
    one suggestion: please levee links to other web sites you recommend for the battles

    By ethansa27 on May 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm

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