Battle of Canusium

The Battle of Canusium also known as the Battle of Asculum was a three-day engagement between the forces of Rome and Carthage. It took place in Apulia during the spring of 209 BC, the tenth year of the Second Punic War. A larger Roman offensive, of which it was a part, aimed to subjugate and to punish cities and tribes that had abandoned the alliance with Rome after the Battle of Cannae, and to narrow the base of the Carthaginian leader, Hannibal, in southern Italy.

Battle of Canusium
Part of the Second Punic War

Strategic situation in 210 BC
DateSpring 209 BC
Canusium, Apulia, present-day Italy
41.2366°N 16.0660°E / 41.2366; 16.0660
Result Carthaginian victory
Carthage Roman Republic
Commanders and leaders
Hannibal Marcus Claudius Marcellus
Unknown 20,000
Casualties and losses
Roman claim: 8,000 killed


5,700 killed
All the rest wounded

The battle of Canusium was also an episode of the years-long contest between Hannibal and the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus for control over that territory. As neither side gained a decisive victory and both suffered considerable losses (up to 14,000 killed overall[1][2]), the outcome of this engagement was open to differing interpretations by both ancient and modern historians. While Marcellus took a heavy blow at Canusium, he nevertheless checked for some time the movements of the main Punic forces and thus contributed to the simultaneous Roman successes against Hannibal's allies in Magna Graecia and Lucania.