(Caius Terentius Varro)~ 216 BC
|"WE ARE BEATEN, O ROMANS, IN A GREAT BATTLE, OUR ARMY IS DESTROYED."|
Varro is known mostly for being one of the consuls at the Battle of Cannae against Hannibal, which
turned out to be the worst defeat in Roman history, with over 50,000 Romans killed in a single
battle. Varro was one of the few survivors. He rallied all the remaining forces and returned to
Rome to defend the city. Instead of being criticized, he was honored because he did not despair of
the fortunes of Rome. Varro's co-consul was Aemilius Paulus, who was killed in the battle. They
represented the two contrasting leadership styles of the very divided Roman populace. Varro favored
aggressive action against Hannibal, Paulus favored caution and delay. Either approach may have
proved successful, but in this case, the divided leadership proved disastrous.
Key events during the life of varro:
||Elected consul with Aemilius Paulus. Led Romans to defeat at Battle of Cannae.
||Elected dictator to resist Hannibal; counseled delay, not direct assault.
||Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
||Consul at the Battle of Cannae; opposed the confrontation, but died on battlefield.