Greatest Roman victory and greatest Roman defeat (753 BC - 1453)

May 2018
861
Michigan
Worst defeat: Cannae, for obvious reasons

Greatest Victory: Ilipa, arguably Scipio's greatest victory. Ilipa permanently ended Carthaginians power in Spain, and was more decisive than Vitoria 2,000 years later.
 
Jan 2016
1,139
Victoria, Canada
I've always understood that the sack *happened* but I've never understood *how* it happened, at least on a tactical sense.

The Turks who had the resources to haul ships across land and had huge cannons, struggled to take the city from an exhausted and withered Byzantine Empire. But somehow, a crusading army that seemed to be of poorer organization and as far as I know not nearly as much siege equipment managed to sack the city in a much more powerful state. Was the crusading army really that large and strong? Or were the Byzantines simply caught on the wrong foot?
To add on to what Kirialax said above, the Roman leadership was too disunified and transient (Alexios III to Isaac II and Alexios IV to Alexios IV to Alexios V, with different actors in the ordeal, from the people to Senate to Varangians to Crusaders, supporting their respective candidates) to really put up enough of an effective resistance once the situation revealed its true danger, and the immense fires spreading throughout the city from the initial Crusader intrusions onward (not nearly as much of an issue in the depopulated city of 1453) further heightened the chaos and division of resources. The Venetians also managed to capture the tower of Galata fairly early on, thus gaining unrestricted access to the golden horn -- something which the Ottomans weren't able to do, though I couldn't tell you exactly why. Had the Roman leadership been as coherent and unified as in the 15th or 12th century sieges I do expect the Crusaders wouldn't have been able to enter to the city, but it wasn't.
 
Jun 2013
502
Connecticut
Greatest Roman defeat was the one that put an end to any political idea of "Roman" in the West. Capr Bon in 468 AD. It was huge and costly. No more Rome. Move onto the next chapter in the history of Europe.

As bad as all other Roman defeats, Rome kept on going. Recouping and carrying on. 468 AD was the end of the line.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,870
Blachernai
The Venetians also managed to capture the tower of Galata fairly early on, thus gaining unrestricted access to the golden horn -- something which the Ottomans weren't able to do, though I couldn't tell you exactly why.
Galata belonged to Genoa, which was technically neutral with the Ottomans at that time.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,995
Sydney
105 BC battle of Arausio , 80.000 dead ,
this shook the republic to its core and caused the revolt of the allies and the social war
the result being that ( finally ) the allies got the citizenship

two Roman armies commanded by one and an ex consul got whipped out
the shock totally discredited the optimates , old ruling families , command of the state ,
it led directly to the rise of Marius and arguably set the institution of the republic into a terminal death spiral
 
Oct 2018
1,523
Sydney
The Corvus is just such a Roman thing to put on a ship, I love it.

Were the men on board just Hastati/Principes/Triarii thrown onto the ship or were there specific marine-type troops?
They were indeed the usual Hastati/Principes/Triarii + light troops and allies. It is such a Roman thing to do.
 
Oct 2018
1,523
Sydney
Do the Sack of Rome (455) or Fall of Ravenna qualify as a battles? I'd say they are worse defeats than most battles mentioned itt.
They do count, yes. The Vandal sack of Rome (and the political history leading up to it - the murder of Aetius, the subsequent assassination of Valentinian III) was certainly a turning point in the internal stability of the WRE. When was the final fall of Byzantine Ravenna? I've never known.
 
Oct 2018
1,523
Sydney
105 BC battle of Arausio , 80.000 dead ,
this shook the republic to its core and caused the revolt of the allies and the social war
the result being that ( finally ) the allies got the citizenship

two Roman armies commanded by one and an ex consul got whipped out
the shock totally discredited the optimates , old ruling families , command of the state ,
it led directly to the rise of Marius and arguably set the institution of the republic into a terminal death spiral
As far as I'm aware, Arausio is also the defeat with the highest casualties.