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? 

lake trasimene preview 1

Significance

This is the first of a few Roman armies to be annihilated by Hannibal in the Second Punic War, each of them destroyed by brilliant tactical maneuvers and Roman impulsiveness. However, Hannibal’s victories were hollow as he did not win the war, outgeneraled strategically.

Analysis

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 attack. The site Hannibal chose for the ambush ensured that if successful, the Roman army would be pinned against the lake and annihilated.

lake trasimene preview 2

Notes

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 by the Discovery Channel.

– Jonathan Webb
Works Consulted
Arnold, Thomas. The Second Punic War. London: MacMillan, 1886.
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Bradford, Ernle. Hannibal. London: MacMillan, 1981.
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Cottrell, Leonard. Enemy of Rome. London: Camelot, 1960.
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Dodge, Theodore. Great Captains: Hannibal. New York: Riverside, 1891.
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United States Military Academy History Department. “Atlas for Ancient Warfare.” United States Military Academy. http://www.dean.usma.edu/history/web03/atlases/AncientWarfare/index.htm (accessed Dec. 24, 2008).

Images
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Carthaginian cavalry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/carthaginian_units/index.shtml
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Carthaginian infantry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/carthaginian_units/index.shtml
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Hannibal Barca: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannibal
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Map of the Mediterranean: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Punic_War
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Map of the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections
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Roman infantry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/rome/
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Roman cavalry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/rome/
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If you enjoyed the Battle of Lake Trasimene 217 BC battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:

Battle of the Trebia 218 BC, another battle featuring Hannibal Barca:

trebia preview 1

Battle of Ilipa 206 BC, another battle fought during the Second Punic War:

ilipa preview 1

Battle of Gate Pa 1864, another battle featuring an ambush:

gate pa preview 1Thank you for visiting The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps.

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Readers Comments (21)

  1. Hey,

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

    Jake

  2. 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: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=048DC840-14E1-467D-8DCA-19D2A8FD7485&displaylang=en

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

    Nick

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

    Jacob

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

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

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

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

    • Hello Jonathan!
      I was looking to find what all the symbols meant, as asked above because the link you provided does not work.
      Regards.

      • The symbol guide is actually included within the PowerPoint animation itself. Simply click Symbol Guide. This is one of the problems with the video animations, as they are not interactive. For this battle, the solid blocks are infantry, the solid blocks with a slash line are cavalry, and the group of three are light infantry.

  10. awesom:D thanks

  11. 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.

  12. 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 😀

  13. Steven Andrews June 15, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. Cameron Flatt May 1, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

    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?

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

  17. Jonathan Webb May 19, 2014 @ 2:45 am

    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.

  18. 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

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