Battle of Pistoria

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Battle of Pistoria
Date62 BC
Result death of Catiline
Roman Republic forces of Catiline
Commanders and leaders
Marcus Petreius Catiline
unknown but outnumbering Catilina's 3,000

The Battle of Pistoria was fought in January of 62 BC between the forces of the Roman Republic and Catiline, a senatorial conspirator who wished to overthrow the republic, but failed in his objective. Catiline had been denounced by Cicero, and was attempting to flee with his force into Gaul and had been blocked by forces of Quintus Metellus Celer and Gaius Antonius Hybrida (joint Consul with Cicero for the year in question). Knowing that both armies were closing in on him, he decided to make a stand against Antonius Hybrida near Pistoria with his back against the mountains; he hoped that if he defeated Antonius, the other armies would lose morale and more people would flock to his cause; some sources say that Catiline might have faced Antonius hoping he might still switch sides. Catilina's army had dwindled from 10,000 soldiers to about 3,000 by then, it is not certain how many soldiers Gaius Antonius had under his command but Sallust states in his writings The Conspiracy of Catiline that he outnumbered Catiline's forces . On the day, Gaius Antonius Hybrida was said to have been struck by gout and command was passed to his lieutenant (Master of Horse) Marcus Petreius.

Petreius's forces won, having broken the center of Catiline's line, flanked, and then routed Catiline's army. Catiline was found dead in the midst of his enemy far from his line of the battle. Sallust says in Bellum Catilinae (60.7) that Catiline, seeing that he was losing the battle, threw himself amongst Petreius's army; that he wanted to keep what little honour he had left, and is commended for fighting bravely with his men.