Battle of Cumae

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Battle of Cumae
Karta k stat'e <<Kime>>. Voennaia entsiklopediia Sytina (Sankt-Peterburg, 1911-1915).jpg
Date474 BC
In the Bay of Naples
Result Greek victory
Loss of Etruscan territory in Italy to the Romans, Samnites, and Gauls
Syracuse, Sicily
Commanders and leaders
Hiero I of Syracuse Etruscan kings

The Battle of Cumae was one of several battles between Cumae and the Etruscans. In 524 BC an army of Umbrians, Daunians, Etruscans, and others were defeated by the Greeks of Cumae. [1]

This naval battle in 474 BC was between the combined navies of Syracuse and Cumae against the Etruscans. [2]

The Greek city of Cumae was founded in 8th century BC in an area towards the southern Etruscan border. By 504 the southern Etruscans were defeated by the Cumaeans, but they still maintained a powerful force. In 474 they were able to raise a fleet to launch a direct attack on Cumae. [3]

After he was called on for military assistance, Hiero I of Syracuse allied with naval forces from the maritime Greek cities of southern Italy to defend against Etruscan expansion into southern Italy. In 474, they met and defeated the Etruscan fleet at Cumae in the Bay of Naples. [4] After their defeat, the Etruscans lost much of their political influence in Italy. They lost control of the sea and their territories were eventually taken over by the Romans, Samnites, and Gauls. The Syracusans dedicated a captured Etruscan helmet at the great panhellenic sanctuary at Olympia, a piece of armour found in the German excavations there. The Etruscans would later join the failed Athenian expedition against Syracuse in 415 BC, which contributed even further to their decline.[ citation needed ]

The battle was later honored in Pindar's first Pythian Ode. [3] [5] [6]

Cumae acropolis seen from lower city Cumae acropolis seen from lower city AvL.JPG
Cumae acropolis seen from lower city

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Mago I, also known as Magon, was the king of the Ancient Carthage from 550 BC to 530 BC and the founding monarch of the Magonid dynasty of Carthage. Mago I was originally a general. Under Mago, Carthage became preeminent among the Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean.

Etruscan military history

The Etruscans, like the contemporary cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had a persistent military tradition. In addition to marking the rank and power of certain individuals in Etruscan culture, warfare was a considerable economic boon to Etruscan civilization. Like many ancient societies, the Etruscans conducted campaigns during summer months; raiding neighboring areas, attempting to gain territory and combating piracy as a means of acquiring valuable resources such as land, prestige goods and slaves. It is also likely individuals taken in battle would be ransomed back to their families and clans at high cost. Prisoners could also potentially be sacrificed on tombs to honor fallen leaders of Etruscan society, not unlike the sacrifices made by Achilles for Patroclus.


  1. "THE BATTLE OF CUMAE, ITALY (524 BC)". 4 June 2014.
  2. Larissa Bonfante (1986). Etruscan Life and Afterlife: A Handbook of Etruscan Studies. Wayne State University Press. pp. 75–. ISBN   0-8143-1813-4.
  3. 1 2
  4. Lee L. Brice (21 April 2014). Warfare in the Roman Republic: From the Etruscan Wars to the Battle of Actium: From the Etruscan Wars to the Battle of Actium. ABC-CLIO. pp. 277–. ISBN   978-1-61069-299-1.
  5. The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. 1923. pp. 152–. ISBN   978-0-521-23347-7.
  6. Andrew J. Turner; K. O. Chong-Gossard; Frederik Juliaan Vervaet (2010). Private and Public Lies: The Discourse of Despotism and Deceit in the Graeco-Roman World. BRILL. pp. 55–. ISBN   90-04-18775-8.