Battle of Rhone Crossing

The Battle of the Rhône Crossing was fought in September of 218 BC, during Hannibal's approach to the Italian Alps when an army of Gallic Volcae tribe attacked the Carthaginian army on the east bank of the Rhône. Acting on behalf of the Roman army camped near Massalia, the Volcae intended to prevent the Carthaginians from crossing the Alps and invading Italy. Before crossing the river, the Carthaginians sent a detachment upriver under Hanno, son of Bomilcar, to cross at a different point and take position behind the Gauls. Once the detachment was in place, Hannibal began to cross the river with the main contingent of the army. As the Gauls massed to oppose Hannibal's force, Hanno attacked from behind, leading to a route of the Volcae army. This battle was Hannibal's first major battle and victory outside of the Iberian Peninsula and gave him an unopposed path to the Alps and into Italy.

Battle of the Rhone Crossing
Part of the Second Punic War

Hannibal's army crossing the Rhone
DateLate September 218 BC
Debated location on the Rhône River, present-day France
Result Carthaginian Victory
Carthage Volcae, a tribe of Gauls
Commanders and leaders
Hannibal Unknown
  • 38,000 infantry
  • 8,000 cavalry
  • 37 elephants
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown