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Battle of Adrianople

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Matt Duff

on 13 February 2012

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Transcript of Battle of Adrianople

The Battle of Andrianople
The Battle of Andrianople was a major turning point in history, if only due to the scope of Rome's defeat.

The Roman infantry-based Legion was now obviously obsolete in favor of cavalry.
Roman vs. Goth
378 BCE
The invading Huns displaced the Goths from their homeland.

The Goths then turned toward the Eastern Roman Empire to obtain land.

The battle took place 10mi outside the city of Adrianople (present day city of Edirne, Turkey) nearly due west of Constantinople (present day Istanbul).
Emperor Valens and the Roman scouts underestimated the true number of Goth forces.

Turns out, the Romans ended up being outnumbered.

Emperor Valens (Eastern Roman Empire) had already requested backup from Emperor Gratian (Western Roman Empire), but he decided not to wait.

Thinking he had the advantage, Valens attacked before reinforcements from the west could arrive.
First, some basics.
Now, some details.
So, how'd it go?

Roman Forces
Gothic Forces
Leader: Fritigern
approx. 20,000-50,000 men
Leader: Emperor Valens
approx. 15,000-30,000 men
Emperor Valens believed the Goths would settle and become peaceful allies. So, he gave them some land. However, the Goths didn't get along with the local Romans.

This soon turned into fighting.
Romans arrives at the field of battle to find the Goths circled up with carts acting as a defensive wall.

Valens advances in a standard formation

The main Gothic cavalry force had not yet arrived.

Valens may have believed the Gothic cavalry was away on a raid. Big mistake.
Phase One: Sizing them up
Phase Two: Attack!
Valens and the Romans attack the Gothic formation

The Gothic cavalry then arrives
Phase Three: Defeat!
Once the Gothic cavalry arrived, the tide of the battle turned.

The Roman light cavalry was no match for the more heavily-geared Gothic horseman.

During the Romans' rout, Emperor Valens was killed.

The Roman forces were nearly completely destroyed, resulting in more than 30,000 fallen Romans.

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