Talk:Battle of the Allia

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Why is there a date in the title? Is there another Battle of the Allia that needs to be disambiguated from this? Adam Bishop 18:36, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I can't find any other - seems like a randomness to fix. Stan 03:58, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

24,000 Romans or 15,000?[edit]

"About 24,000 Romans under Quintus Sulpicius fought against the Senones, a Gallic tribe who were about equal in number, under Brennus."

The above is in the article, yet the figure at the top right says that the Romans had 15,000 men. A 9,000 man discrepancy is a rather large one. This needs to be solved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:16, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Triarii rich?[edit]

I don't think that what is mentioned in this sentence is correct:" Now the richer citizens, who made up the triarii would be safer as a reserve, leaving the main fighting to younger men."

It was the cavalry that was made up by the richer citizens. The triarii were made up by the old men as far as I know. I have no sources so I would be obliged if someone else could back up my story.

Wereldburger758 17:30, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

yes, I wrote that and it is correct. The reforms under Servian divided the populous into classes by wealth. the 1st class were the wealthist infantry, one down from the Eques (cavalry).

. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:38, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure Mommsen paints a different picture. Hastati would be poor, otherwise the principes and Triarii were only divided by experience. The military maxim "falling on the triarii" would not make sense otherwise. The role of cavalry would be limited, and usually not filled by romans. Do you have sources? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

++When looking at the Roman military organisation ,you cannot forget the class system that was extreme in Roman society. The original hoplite phalanx as devised by Servian was different than those of Greek democratic city states, where the middle class made up rank and file, under Servian, the most wealthiest, excluding the Eques, were expected to make up the bulk of the phalanx. This makes sense as with most Aristocratic societies, the rich & powerful have always held control of the military with an iron grip. Only when faced with enemies of greater numbers, would they be forced to allow more poorer citizens into the army. The Triarii & Eques where their representives on the battlefield though now more a secondary but still a controlling roll. The saying that "things went badly to have reached the Triarii" refers to the fact that both the Hastati and Princeps were defeated. Source? many sources in relation to how ancient Aristocratic societies held onto power through the military, too many to quote actually. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:08, 30 October 2011 (UTC)


Gladius was a weapon that romans borrowed from Spain starting with the Second Punic War not after Allia.

Confusing Ending to Roman Disaster[edit]

The last paragraph of the "Roman Disaster" section is confusing. If the Gauls won the battle, how is it that Camillus defeated the Gauls?

According to tradition, to add insult to injury, it was discovered that Brennus was using heavier weights than standard for weighing the gold. When the Romans complained, Brennus is said to have exclaimed "vae victis" - "woe to the vanquished". It was in this very moment that Camillus arrived with a Roman army and, after putting his sword on the steelyard, replied, "Not gold, but steel redeems the native land," thus attacking and defeating the Gauls. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:10, 16 February 2007 (UTC).

It was a disaster in that the Romans were badly defeated by "barbarians", their capital city was sacked, looted, parts of it were destroyed, and some Roman women were taken as slaves. If the Gauls eventually left, whether by Camillus's arrival or their own lack of interest in the siege, does not diminish the disaster for Rome and it's prestige. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

The whole section is confusingly written.77Mike77 (talk) 05:19, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Accurate date[edit]

I was reading the book I, Claudius by Robert Graves (chapter 7) and he says "July 16th, the day of the Allia disaster". In the article the battle's day is the 18th. Looking for other texts in internet I've found both days as possible. Wich is the accurate one? Thank you 15:35, 14 July 2007 (UTC)Curro


Where does this information come from?

"Every year, on the anniversary of the sacking, Guard Dogs were crucified on the Capitoline hill as punishment for their failure to alert the people of Rome to the Gallic sneak attack, while the Capitoline Geese, whose honking provided the only warning, were brought to watch on gilded purple cushions."

--Cjcaesar (talk) 20:00, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

The same claim was made in Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland, somewhere around p. 235-237. (talk) 01:45, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Some questions[edit]

1) How do we know the probable date of the event (and that it's different from the traditional date)?

2) Where did Marcus Furius Camillus get his army, if all he started out with was the lightly armed left wing?

3) The article states that most Roman records were destroyed. How did this happen, which were not destroyed, and which start at this date?

4) Are there no other, preferably non-Roman, sources for this event apart from the rather dubious mediaeval one?

5) How is it with this and later Roman defeats that the Gauls weren't able to establish permanent supremacy and where the heck did Rome get their later armies from, the entire army being crushed by the Gauls?

6) Why was that senate message so important?

7) Do we know where Livius got his information? Livius has a message to tell in his history and a good motive to make things up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:54, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

These are all good questions, and someday I hope to contribute to the article. In brief, here's what I know from previous reading. The Gallic siege was probably worse than the Romans wanted to admit, and was heavily mythologized in their narrative tradition, so that even responsible Roman historians give conflicting accounts (poets such as Ovid and Propertius are sources for this too). The story of Camillus arriving in the nick of time is particularly suspect. There's also a dubious tradition that the Vestals and the holy objects they took care of were carted off to an allied town, lest later generations think that palladium couldn't really be the one brought from Troy. Until much later, most structures in Rome, even temples, were made of flammable materials such as wood. It's possible the Temple of Jupiter himself was burned—a thought the Romans wished not to contemplate, since that was the very citadel that housed their tutelary deities. However, there is an argument that all the priestly annals need not have been destroyed by the fire. The standard line is that the Gauls in this period weren't urbanized and had no interest in holding the city; they enjoyed the stuff for a while, took what they wanted, and moved on as was their habit. See also Gallic invasion of the Balkans. It's unlikely there would be sources other than Romans and Greeks, since the Gauls used writing for limited purposes such as accounting, inscriptions and so on, and handed down their annals orally. The event loomed larger in the Roman imagination than is sometimes realized; it was the impetus for Roman expansionism and militarization, like Pearl Harbor or 9-11 in the U.S., and was even given as motive for Julius Caesar's invasion of Gaul centuries later. As I said, this comes from prior reading some time ago, and I regret that I lack time to assemble sources and give you more solid information. Cynwolfe (talk) 01:45, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

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This article needs copy-editing. (talk) 07:44, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

References, possible rewrite[edit]

Spent some time going through references, combining, making things consistent. Citations to classical texts follow the format for the respective text used by the Perseus Project. Some references I'm not sure about, like "Plut. Cam. 14.4" when LacusCurtius only shows up to 14.2. The references that are now #44 through #49 are convoluted and confusing and I haven't tried to parse them yet. I also haven't really read through the entire article or the sources, probably doing that would clear up the references too. Ignatzmicetalk 02:30, 21 October 2019 (UTC)