Rome’s Mediterranean Empire
DOI link for Rome’s Mediterranean Empire
Rome’s Mediterranean Empire book
Rome’s ﬁrst encounter with Macedon (the First Macedonian War) took place following Philip V’s alliance with Hannibal in 215 BC (doc. 4.45); Philip hoped to force the Romans to withdraw from the Illyrian coast. It was in this context that the Romans sent envoys to Greek states hostile to Macedon, and Marcus Valerius Laevinus made a treaty with the Aetolians against Philip in 212/11 BC (doc. 5.22). This was Rome’s ﬁrst alliance in the eastern Mediterranean. Before 205, Antiochus III of Syria (223-187) was occupied with restoring Seleucid control of Armenia and Iran (Polyb. 11.39.11-16), after which he adopted the title of Great King and attempted to regain control of western Asia Minor. He then took advantage of the death of Ptolemy Philopator of Egypt in 204 to invade Coele Syria and seize the Egyptian possessions of Phoenicia and Palestine. The peace of Phoenice was made between Philip and Rome in 205, but from 203 Philip, after some incursions into Illyria, continued his expansion in the Aegean, defeating Rhodes, capturing Miletus and attacking Pergamum. In 201 Rhodes and Attalus, king of Pergamum, requested Roman aid (Livy 31.2.1-3). Envoys were sent to Philip demanding that he make war against no Greek states and pay compensation to Attalus (Polyb. 16.27.2-3); the envoys then proceeded to Egypt to request Ptolemy’s support should war eventuate against Philip (Livy 31.2.3-4; cf. Polyb. 16.34.2-3). Rome decided on war, despite an initial vote against it in the assembly (which suggests that it was less popular with the people than with the magisterial class), to be under the command of Publius Sulpicius Galba, one of the consuls for 200, who received Macedonia as his province (Livy 31.6.1-8.2); Philip meanwhile was ravaging Attica and besieging Abydus to gain control of the Hellespont. The Aetolians again joined Rome in 199, and in 198 the Achaean league broke its alliance with Macedon and defected to Rome. Flamininus, consul in 198, promoted the image of Rome as liberator of Philip’s Greek possessions from Macedon and won the support of southern and central Greece by early 197. Philip was defeated at the battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 and agreed to withdraw from Greece, including the ‘Three Fetters’ of Greece: Demetrias, Chalcis and Acrocorinth (doc. 5.23). In 196, at the Isthmian Games, Flamininus proclaimed the unrestricted freedom of the Greeks (doc. 5.24), and in 194 all Roman troops were ﬁnally withdrawn.