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Battle of Ticinus
The Battle of Ticinus (also Tichino or Techino) a battle of the Second Punic War fought between the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal and the Romans under Publius Cornelius Scipio in November 218 BC. It was the first battle to take place on Italian soil.
After Hannibal left Spain an army under Scipio was sent to Massilia (today Marseille) in order to halt his advance. The two forces crossed paths near the Rhone, but as they were several days apart there was no contact. Scipio left the army to continue on to Spain and face the remaining Carthaginian forces there, while he returned for Italy to face Hannibal in Cisalpine Gaul.
Having recently entered Italy, Hannibal was busily trying to recruit among the local Gaulish tribes when he heard of Scipio's return. He decided to face him as a show of force, hoping to improve his standing among the local tribes, and immediately set out for the Po. Scipio was just as eager for a fight, and was then marching northward up the Po to meet him. The two scouting forces met near the Ticinus, and both armies made camp.
The next day both forces set out scouting parties. Hannibal probably took the majority of his 6,000 cavalry that remained after crossing the Alps, while Scipio took all of his cavalry and a small number of velites (light infantry armed with javelins). The two forces both met, with the heavy cavalry in both forces soon mixing into a huge melee in the center. Hannibal had kept his lighter Numidian cavalry on the flanks however, and soon ordered them to attack the flanks of the velite skirmish line. The line collapsed and the Romans disengaged and fled for their camp.
The outcome of the battle itself was trivial, with both forces suffering only minor setbacks and the main force of each army intact and ready for battle the next day. However Scipio decided to retreat to Placentia instead, and Hannibal followed. Two days later they met again, and Scipio refused and stayed in camp.
This show of weakness on the part of the Romans was enough for the local Gaulish forces. 2200 of Scipio's own forces broke camp and joined Hannibal, while the local Boii tribe allied with him. Soon the entirety of northern Italy was unofficially allied, both Gallic and Ligurian troops soon bolstering his army back to 40000 men.
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