|The plan shows the history trail of the Sites of the
Don't forget that you can follow the history trail in the real world as well.
The numbers refer to the points to stop and look
at the stupendous setting of the battle.
(Click on the numbers to read a description)
Having won the battle on the Trebbia river, Hannibal kept heading South, thus making the Roman Consuls and Senate believe that he was planning to attack Rome itself. On the hills surrounding the Chiana valley he outflanked and overtook Consul Flaminius’ army. The Roman army, which had been expecting to block him, was thereby forced to march after him as he was plundering every town on his way. Further to his scouts’ accurate information he decided to lure Consul Flaminius’ army to the plains of Tuoro which, in his opinion, was the ideal site for an ambush. He advanced into it through the narrow Malpasso road hiding from the enemy army, and encamped where nowadays stands the town of Tuoro.
The Roman army.
The 25.000 men-strong Roman Army crossed the Malpasso road in marching order - that is to say, drawn up in line - and entered the plains under the hill of Tuoro. It probably was because he thought Hannibal’s forces were more than one day’s distance ahead that Consul Caius Flaminius did not even bother to send scouts off.
The Carthaginian army.
Hannibal’s forces had an extremely heterogeneous composition. As they moved off from Spain they consisted of African (Numidian, Libyan, Moorish) and Iberian (Balearic, Gascon and Asturian) troops. In the course of their victorious march they were joined by Celts and North-Italian rebel peoples like the Ligurians and the Lombards. Due to the epidemic which had broken out as they crossed marshy lands, however, by the time they reached the Tuoro area their number had fallen down to about 40,000, and all the elephants had died.
Numerous objects of archaeological interest were found in the area, many of them dating back to Republican or early Empire times: horse barnesses, fibulas, coins etc. Especially important finds were those of the Etruscan-Roman statue known as the “Arringatore del Trasimeno” - the Trasimeno Haranguer -, and of the bronze statuette called “Il Putto Graziani”, a copy of which can be admired in the town hall of Tuoro.
Consul Caius Flaminius.
Most historians seem to consider Consul Flaminius a better politician than a military leader. His most severe critics describe him as reckless and imprudent. It should be remembered, however, that in the general medley of the battle he was one of the few to keep control of his nerves, and until the moment when the Northener Ducarius ran him through with his lance, he bravely tried to reorganize his men. His corpse was never found.
In the early morning of June 24, 217 b.C., under a thick layer of fog, the best part of the Roman Army was already stationed in the plains. Hannibal had positioned his light cavalry and the Celts at the entrance to the valley to block any possible Roman retreat; the Libyans and Iberians protected his camp; the Balearics and Asiati closed the way to the hill of Montigeto. Hannibal gave orders that they should all attack at the same time. The battle continued for three hours, and 15,000 Roman soldiers who sought escape in the waters of the lake were killed.
According to some scholars, the truncated cone-shaped ditches cut out of the limestone, found in the Tuoro area, are possibly a system Hannibal devised for burning the many corpses which might have caused epidemics. Other authors think they might be ancient furnaces for the production of lime. Even supposing that the latter assumption were true, there is nothing to exclude the possibility that the existance of such furnaces may have suggested to Hannibal their utilization For his purposes.
The statue of the Haranguer.
This is a bronze statue portraying an Etruscan prince donning the “toga praetexta” typical of judges and senators, in the act of haranguing a crowd. The statue was found buried in a field South of Sanguineto; and after being kept for a while near Perugia, it was presented to the grand-duke Cosimo of Tuscany. It is now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Florence.
The Roman column.
The ancient Roman column existing in Tuoro was actually donated by the Mayor of Rome to the town of Tuoro sul Trasimeno on the occasion of a Congress of Studies on Hannibal. It was placed on a spot now called Harbour Street, where the waters of the lake were first believed to be at the time of the battle. According to a new theory, however, that place-name can be dated back to the Fifteen to the Eighteen Hundreds, when the lake reached its maximum amplitude.
The ancient coastline.
According to the studies by Prof. Giancarlo Susini, in 217 b.C. Lake Trasimeno was considerably larger than it is now. The ancient coastline, therefore, would have marked the borders of a notably smaller valley than that of today. But as we mentioned before, recent studies tend to place the ancient coastline even farther out than the present one. Also thinking of the many thousands of troops on the battlefield, a much larger setting can be assumed for the battle.