See "Pyrrhus" in Roman Who's Who



Samnite Wars:
1st  343-341 BC
2nd 326-304 BC
3rd  298-290 BC






 Pyrrhus' victories came with great losses, nearly 1/3 of his force.  When congratulated on his victory, Pyrrhus replied that one more such victory would utterly ruin him. Hence, today's term "Pyrrhic Victory."












Rome would see war against Carthage a decade later, see "2nd Punic War."


After their victory at Malventum (Ill Wind), the Romans renamed the city "Beneventum" (Good Wind).  Today, it is Benevento, Campania.
 ECHO Molise
  Emigration and Cultural Heritage of the Molise

The Pyrrhic War (280-275 BC)

The Pyrrhic War’s shifting alliances and plot twists could rival a modern “reality” TV show.  Salmon argues that the Samnite involvement began before (284 BC) and ended after (272 BC) Pyrrhus, and the war is more aptly titled the 4th Samnite War (opens article on Samnite Wars with Rome). 

Within 5 years of the 3rd Samnite War (opens article on Samnite Wars with Rome), Rome had become entangled in conflicts on multiple fronts and, in 284 BC, suffered its worst defeat.  The Samnites took this opportunity to initiate a revolt.  Soldiers battle war elephant
 

Meanwhile, the city of Tarentum had appealed to King Pyrrhus of Epirus for aid in a minor conflict against Rome over a naval treaty violation.  Pyrrhus honored his duty to support Greek cities on the Italian peninsula.  He arrived in Italy with 25,000 troops and 20 elephants, and engaged the Roman army in southern Italy for 5 years.  

Pyrrhus expected but received little native support outside of the Samnites.  Many Samnite cities (opens article on Samnite towns) either sided with Pyrrhus or remained “neutral,” although Rome saw neutrality as no better than siding against Rome.  Rome allied itself with Carthage, which like Rome, held colonies on the southern peninsula. 

Despite Pyrrhus’ initially victories, the Roman army eventually defeated him at Malventum (Beneventum) in 275 BC; then turned their sights to suppressing—and punishing--the Samnite revolt.

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