About Trasimene Battlefield
Trasimene Battlefield marks the site of the Battle of Trasimene, fought in 217 BC between Hannibal of Carthage and the Consul Flaminius of Rome. It was one of the major battles of the Second Punic War and a crushing defeat for Rome.
During the encounter, Hannibal – a gifted strategist – tricked the Roman consul into following him along the northern side of Lake Trasimene through thick fog. Meanwhile the Carthaginian general had ranged his troops along the slope above the lake’s edge where Flaminius marched, and the Roman army walked straight into a trap. The Romans were attacked on all sides and, with no visibility, re-organising and issuing effective orders was impossible.
As the trap was sprung, the Romans were in complete disarray and Polybius says “death took them unawares while they were still wondering what to do” (III. 84). The Romans were slaughtered where they stood or forced back into Lake Trasimene where they were picked off by the cavalry or drowned. Fifteen thousand Romans died, Flaminius among them.
Today there are picture boards describing the events of the battle all along the former coast of Lake starting from the coordinates marked on the map. Winding to Sanguineto (named after the battle literally meaning ‘running with blood’) and on to Tuoro.
It is a beautiful area with many fantastic towns within easy reach including Cortona and Perugia and there are many Roman/Hanniballic references in the area, such as streets being named after the historical figures involved. Furthermore excavations both terrestrial and underwater are on-going here to locate the exact site of the battle.
Contributed by Sam Wood, Ride and Seek Historical Bike Tours