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312BCE

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§Europe

§Illyria

After the uprisings, in order to control the Adriatic, in Dyrrachium (Durres) and Apollonia, they fell under the power of the Illyrian Kingdom of Glaukia.

§Palestine

Battle of Gaza

Demetrius deployed 2,900 elite cavalry, 1,500 light infantry, and 30 Indian war elephants under his command on the left. The Antogonid phalanx of some 11,000 was deployed in the center, with 13 war elephants in front and light infantry protecting the main line. On the Antigonid right, there were, 1,500 cavalry. Demetrius's generals, friends, and advisors to advised him not to fight, but Demetrius offered battle against Ptolemy and Seleucus, who were more experienced.

Ptolemy and Seleucus originally had put the most of their cavalry on the left, but when they learned of Demetrius' disposition, they transferred their strongest 3,000 cavalry to the right, under their personal command. Anti-elephant spiked devices, where connected by chains and thrown in front of the cavalry. These were supported with javelinmen and archers in front of the main battle line. The center was composed of an 18,000 man phalanx, and 1,000 cavalrymen were deployed on the right.

The battle opened with the advance guards of the stronger cavalry wings engaging each other. Demetrius drove off the enemy. Ptolemy and Seleucus responded by riding around Demetrius's left flank to attack. A fierce melee ensued, with the cavalry of both sides fighting with their swords after their lances had been shattered. While the cavalry battle on the flank was taking place, Demetrius brought forward his elephants apparently hoping to demoralize the Ptolemaic phalanx. As the elephants approached, the Ptolemaic archers and javelinmen began showering the elephants and their crews. This, along with some elephants stepping on the spiked chains, led to them becoming panicked. After shooting down nearly all the crews, the Ptolemaic light infantry was able to capture and kill most of the elephants. The loss of the elephants panicked Demetrius' cavalry and many of his men retreated. The infantry then engaged, and the fight was stiff. However, neither phalanx could gain the upper hand. After trying to keep more cavalry from retreating, Demetrius and the remaining cavalry fell back but still managed to stay in formation while retiring over the open plain. This discouraged Ptolemy and Seleucus from pursuing the enemy. The Ptolemaic phalanx began to push back the Antigonid phalanx, and the Antigonid phalangites threw down their arms and retreated in chaos. Ptolemy and Seleucus had won a hard-fought victory.

Demetrius lost losing 500 men, a further 8,000 taken prisoner, including generals such as Andronicus of Olynthus, and losing all his elephants. He retreated to Tripolis in Phoenicia.

§Rome

Rome's first aqueduct is finished in 312 B.C., enabling inhabitants of the city to get pure drinking water for the first time.

§Seleucid Empire

Ptolemy and Seleucus, the satrap of Babylonia, invade the satrapy of Syria. The resulting Battle of Gaza leads to a triumph for Ptolemy and Seleucus over Antigonus' son, Demetrius Poliorcetes ("sieger of cities"), who is captured but immediately released. Seleucus ceases his service to Ptolemy and returns to his former province, Babylonia. This event takes place on October 1 and becomes the starting point of the Seleucid era.

Seleucia is established as the new capital along the Tigris River.

§Sicily

The Syracusans ask for help against their tyrant Agathocles from the Carthaginians, who, fearing for their own possessions in Sicily, send a large force to the island.

§Afghanistan

Afghanistan becomes part of the Seleucid Empire until 260 BCE

§Roman Republic

The Roman censor, Appius Claudius Caecus, a patrician, enters office and begins construction of the Appian Way (the Via Appia) between Rome and Capua. He also embarks on a program of political reform, including the distribution of the landless citizens of Rome among the tribes, which at this time constitute basic political units. Appius also admits sons of freedmen into the Roman Senate. He also asserts the right of freed slaves to hold office.

Rome gets its first pure drinking water as engineers complete the first aqueduct into the city, the Aqua Appia. The Aqua Appia flowed for 16.4 km into the city of Rome through the Porta Maggiore, and emptied into the Forum Boarium, near the Porta Trigemina. Nearly all of its length was underground, which was necessary because of the relative heights of its source and destination, and afforded it protection from attackers during the Samnite Wars that were underway during its construction. It dropped only 10 m over its entire length, making it a remarkable engineering achievement for its day.

Frontinus calculates that the aqueduct was capable of delivering 73,000 cubic meters of water a day into Rome.

§Umbria

It was the Volsci who first built a citadel on the summit of Monte Cassino. The Volsci in the area were defeated by the Romans in 312 B.C. The Romans renamed the settlement Casinum and build a temple to Apollo at the citadel. Modern excavations have found no remains of the temple, but ruins of an amphitheatre, a theatre, and a mausoleum indicate the lasting presence the Romans had there.

§Ongoing

  • Samnite Wars

§Sources

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