Battle of Nomentum, 435 or 426 B.C.

The battle of Nomentum (435 or 426 B.C.) was a Roman victory over a combined army from Veii and Fidenae that was followed by a successful Roman attack on Fidenae, and possibly by the end of the Second Veientine War.

After their victory on the Anio (437 or 428 B.C.) the Romans had been struck down by an epidemic, which prevented them from attacking Veientine or Fidenate territory in the following two years. Encouraged by the lack of Roman activity the Fidenates began to raid Roman territory, and were then able to convince the Veientines to join them. The two allied armies then advanced right up to the walls of Rome, displaying their standards close to the Colline gate.

This caused an understandable panic inside the city. Q. Servilius was appointed dictator. He ordered every man capable of carrying a weapon to muster outside the Colline gate by daybreak, but by the time the newly formed Roman army took to the field the allies had withdrawn into the hills to the north. The details of the campaign that followed are lost to us, but one must never forget the limited geographical scale of these events. The two sides met in battle close to Nomentum, north-west of Fidenae. On a first look at the map this seems odd, as Nomentum is to the north-east of Fidenae, which is itself to the north of Rome, so the allied army would appear to have marched past one of their main bases before the battle was fought, but Nomentum is less than fifteen miles from Rome, no more than a good day's march from the city.

The resulting battle is recorded as a major victory for Servilius. Only now did the Etruscans retreat back into Fidenae, where they hoped to shelter behind the city's strong fortifications. This hope was soon dashed, after the Romans entered the citadel through a tunnel and captured the city.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 October 2009), Battle of Nomentum, 435 or 426 B.C.,

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