Pyrrhus

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Pyrrhus (c. 318 BC-272 BC) became King of Epirus, in modern-day Greece, in 307BC. In 280 he sailed with a force of soldiers and war elephants to assist the Greek colony of Tarentum, in modern-day Italy, against the Romans. He won his first encounter with the Romans, on the River Siris, but so long and bloody was the battle that Pyrrhus is reputed to have said: "Another such victory and I return to Epirus alone". This was the origin of the term 'Pyrrhic victory' - that is, a victory that is as damaging (or almost as damaging) to the victor as to the vanquished. Nevertheless, Pyrhhus remained for several years, fighting the Romans in Italy and Carthaginians (in Sicily), before being decisively defeated and returning to Greece in 274 BC. There he engaged in war with Sparta, and was killed in 272 BC while attacking Argos, struck on the head by a roof-tile hurled by a woman of that city.

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