9th August 378 AD: A Roman Emperor dies in battle


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    On the 9th August 378AD the Romans suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of their former allies, the Visigoths. The Gothic commander was  Fritigern. The battle was fought at Adrianople, in Thrace. The Roman Emperor, Valens,  was killed along with his bodyguard.
    He had thought to crush the smaller Gothic army while in its encampment. Instead his Cavalry was routed when the Gothic Cavalry, which had been away on a foraging party, fortuitously turned up on the battlefield and drove  off both the Roman  left and right Cavalry. It then turned on the Roman Infantry’s flanks, until the centre was surrounded. By this point many had already fled the field.
    Two thirds of the Roman Eastern field army was killed.  The Visigoth army then moved on Constantinople. Here they were denied by its walls. The newly created Eastern  Roman Emperor, Theodosius, who had been a General, made peace with the Goths three years later. This time they would remain allied in exchange for lands in Thrace.
    Meanwhile, the Western Roman Emperor Gratian was fighting the Vandals in Gaul.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    On the 9th August 48 BC Julius Caesar defeated the far larger army of Pompey at Pharsalus in Greece.
    But this one I will save for next year!



  • @wittmann:

    On the 9th August 48 BC Julius Caesar defeated the far larger army of Pompey at Pharsalus in Greece.
    But this one I will save for next year!

    Caesar very underrated military commander.


  • Customizer

    Just been reading about this lot while brainstorming ideas for the next Conquest of the Empire.

    Being a great warrior wasn’t always a good idea; many successful soldier Emperors were assassinated by their own troops when they got too big for their boots.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Than you Flashman. Most of those assassinated were  at the end of the Empire, when things were stsrting to fall apart.



  • @rjpeters70:

    Underrated by whom?  I think a lot of professional military historians (Tim Hoyt at Naval War College for one) see Caesar as one of the finest ever, far better than Alexander or Napolean. When you look at the number of people and provinces he defeated, it is staggering.  Then you compare that with the number of casualties his forces took (damn, damn few), and it is breathtaking.

    He is on my short list of best.


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