lake trasimeno, italy
Sue and I arrived here on a bright but hazy afternoon in 1988 (I think) and found some accommodation along the lakeside before taking a walk by the shore. A beautiful spot now, and very peaceful, but it wasn’t always so.
Back in 217 BC (June 21 to be exact) the Battle of Lake Trasimene saw the Carthaginian general Hannibal’s army ambush the Roman army of Gaius Flaminius somewhere near the spot this picture was taken, on the northern side of the shallow, muddy and rich-in-fish lake. In less than four hours of fighting half of the Roman army of 30,000 lay dead, killed in close-in hand-to-hand combat or drowned, along with at least 2,500 of Hannibal’s army. Many of the remaining Romans were captured and, despite the promises of freedom by their captors, subsequently sold into slavery. To make matters even worse, just a day or two after the main battle a reinforcement force of 4,000 Roman troops was completely slaughtered.
We learned that choice little snippet of history before taking our walk down by the shore of this lake, where it was all but impossible in the quiet evening to tell where the horizon line separated the water of the lake from the sky. It seemed utterly incongruous to us at the time that something like that had ever happened here. Looking now at this picture again, it still does.