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Page 75. " King Pyrrhus was at dinner at an alehouse "
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Public DomainPyrrhus of Epirus - Credit: National Archaeological Museum of Naples

King Pyrrhus was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic era.  He ruled as King of Epirus from 297 BC, with financial and military aid from Ptolemy I. By 286 BC he had taken control of kingdom of Macedon, but was driven out 2 years later.  In 280 BC he led the Greek city of Tarentum, in southern Italy, in a war against the Romans.  He entered Italy with an army consisting of 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 archers, 500 slingers, 20,000 infantry and 20 war elephants.  He defeated the Romans in the battle of Heraclea. There were many thousands of deaths on both sides.  The following year he fought the Romans again, and won a victory at the battle of Asculum, but his army was decimated.  This inspired the term Pyrrhic victory, meaning a victory won at a crippling cost.