The Macedonian Wars

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


At the same time as the Romans were rounding off their possessions in the western half of the Mediterranean they were laying the foundations of a dominion in its eastern basin. Their principal antagonists in the eastern Mediterranean were the Greeks. Between 800 and 500 b.c. the Greek people had occupied by sporadic colonisation the greater part of the Aegean seaboard and of the Black Sea coast. Their inability to combine their numerous city-states into a durable confederacy had been a bar to further expansion, and in the fourth century it had facilitated their conquest by king Philip II of Macedon. But by virtue of their superior culture the Greeks soon absorbed their half-civilised masters, and in the political sphere they came to play the part of allies rather than of subjects to the Macedonians. It was in partnership with the Greeks that Philip’s son Alexander overthrew the Persian Empire (334–325); and although the principal dynasties established on the ruins of that dominion were Macedonian, yet as a soldier of adventure, as an administrator, as a civilian settler, it was the Greek that reaped the chief fruits of Alexander’s campaigns.


Social Revolution Roman Interest Greek City Greek State Roman Settlement 
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Notes and References

  1. General works on the history of the Hellenistic world include CAH, vii—ix; W. W.Tarn and G. T. Griffith, Hellenistic Civilization (1952); M. Cary, A History of the Greek World from 323 to 146 B.c.2 (1951, repr. 1963);Google Scholar
  2. E. Will, Histoire politique du monde hellenistique, i, 323–223 ay. J.-C. (1966), ii, 223–30 ay. J.-C. (1967);Google Scholar
  3. M. Rostovtzeff, Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World, 3 vols (1941).Google Scholar
  4. For a good outline of Roman policy towards the Greek world see R. M. Errington, The Dawn of Empire (1971), pts 3–4.Google Scholar
  5. On individual states see E. R. Bevan, The House of Seleucus (1902);Google Scholar
  6. E. R. Bevan, A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty (1927);Google Scholar
  7. E. V. Hansen, The Attalids of Pergamum 2 (1972);Google Scholar
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  9. P. M. Fraser and G. L. Bean, The Rhodian Peraea (1952);Google Scholar
  10. H. H. Schmitt, Rom und Rhodos (1957).Google Scholar
  11. On Philip see F. W. Walbank, Philip VofMacedon (1940).Google Scholar
  12. Part of the text of the treaty (which is given by Livy, xxvi. 24) was found in 1949 on an inscription in Acarnania. See A. H. McDonald,QRS 1956, 153 ff.; E. Badian, Latomus 1958, 197 ff.; Walbank, Polybius, ii. 162, 179 f.;Google Scholar
  13. G. A. Lehmann, Untersuchungen zur hist. Glaubwurdikeit des Polybios (1967), more thanGoogle Scholar
  14. On the campaigns of 200–199, as far as they concern the Aoüs valley (Aoi Stena), see N. G. L. Hammond, IRS 1966, 39 ff.Google Scholar
  15. The enveloping movement of the Roman right wing at Cynoscephalae was an application of Scipionic tactics (by a veteran of Scipio’s army?). Its success was largely due to Philip’s weakness in cavalry. Under similar conditions Alexander or Pyrrhus would not have failed to provide a mounted flank-guard for his infantry. For a recent topographical study of the battle see W. K. Pritchett, Studies in Ancient Greek Topography, ii (1969), 133 ff.Google Scholar
  16. On the scenes of enthusiasm at the Isthmian Games at Corinth when Flamininus proclaimed the liberty of the Greeks see Plutarch, Flamininus, x. He was hailed as Saviour and received homage alongside the gods. He was also granted a priesthood, at which he was linked in a paean with Apollo, and gold coins were struck bearing his portrait (cf. p. 154). On Flamininus’s diplomacy, which has been variously interpreted see H. H. Scullard, Roman Politics, 220150 B.C.2 (1973), index, s. v. Quinctius; J. P. V. D. Balsdon, Phoenix, 1967, 177 ff.;Google Scholar
  17. E. Badian, Titus Quinctius Flamininus; Philhellenism and Realpolitik (1970, University of Cincinnati), two lectures. Few would still regard Flamininus as a sentimental philHellene, though his respect for Greek culture facilitated his dealing with the Greeks. To what extent he was ready to sacrifice principle to personal ambition (e.g. in his talks with Philip at Nicaea or in his interpretation of the Aetolian Treaty) is debatable. Balsdon gives a more favourable picture, Badian a more realistic assessment, reminding us that his diplomatic methods should be judged by contemporary, not modern, standards. For his family and early career see Badian, J, ARS 1971, 102 ff.Google Scholar
  18. On the topography of the battle see W. K. Pritchett, Studies in Ancient Greek Topography, i (1965), 71 ff.Google Scholar
  19. The Senate, and Flamininus in particular, probably used the unsuspecting Demetrius as a tool against the Macedonian royal house; if he became king, he would be pliant to Rome’s wishes. Livy (lx. 23) reports that, in a letter to Philip, Flamininus charged Demetrius not only with trying to supplant Perseus but also of plotting against Philip himself. It is uncertain whether the letter was a forgery, as Livy says: see Walbank, Philip V, 251, Badian,Foreign Clientelae, 94. On Perseus see P. Meloni, Perseo (1953).Google Scholar
  20. The weakness of the Macedonian cavalry was again revealed at Pydna, where the phalanx was once more left without an adequate flank-guard, as at Cynoscephalae. For recent topographical discussion see W. K. Pritchett, Studies in Greek Topography, ii (1969), 145 ff.Google Scholar
  21. On Roman action in Epirus see S. I. Oost, Roman Policy in Epirus (1954), 68 ff.;Google Scholar
  22. N. G. L. Hammond, Epirus (1967), 629 ff. On the part played by the Epirote traitor Charops see H. H. Scullard, RS, 1945, 55 ff.Google Scholar
  23. On the four republics see J. A. O. Larsen, Greek Federal States (1968), 295 ff.Google Scholar
  24. The formal constitution of Macedonia as a Roman province is attributed by M. G. Morgan, Histoma, 1969, 422 ff., to Mummius in 146 rather than (as is usual) to Metellus.Google Scholar
  25. On these campaigns see J. J. Wilkes, Dalmatia (1969), ch. 3, and for C. Semprinius Tuditanus seeGoogle Scholar
  26. M. G. Morgan, Philologus 1973, 29 ff.Google Scholar
  27. On the Roman settlement of Greece see J. A. O. Larsen in T. Frank, Econ SAR, iv. 306 ff.; S. Accame, Il dominio romano in Grecia dalla guerra achaica ad Augusto (1946). The destruction of Corinth should not be attributed to commercial jealousy on the part of Rome any more than the razing of Carthage the same year. The chief gainer by the fall of Corinth was the island of Delos.Google Scholar
  28. But this trading-centre did not attract any considerable number of Italian residents until later in the second century. The supposed influence of traders on Roman policy in the second century has been demolished by T. Frank, Roman Imperialism (1925);Google Scholar
  29. E. Badian, Roman Imperialism in the Late Republic (1968), ch. ii. Rostovtzeff, who originally accepted commercial motives, later accepted Frank’s view: see Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World, 787 f.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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