Roman Conquests: Macedonia and Greece, Philip Matyszak

Roman Conquests: Macedonia and Greece, Philip Matyszak

Roman military involvement in Greece began with the First Illyrian War of 229 BC, a tentative expedition across the Adriatic that was not seen at the time as the first step on a road to conquest. Perhaps inevitably the Romans were drawn further and further into Greek affairs, eventually fighting a series of wars against Macedonia. The Roman victory at Pydna in 168 BC, only 61 years after that first expedition, saw the destruction of Macedonian power, and established Rome as the main power in Greece, although another twenty years passed before another Roman victory saw them take direct control of the area. In just over eighty years the Romans had gone from virtually unknown outsiders to become the rules of Greece. 

The focus here is on producing a lucid account of the Roman conquest of Macedonia and Greece, rather than on the often confused fine details of events (few of which actually affect the overall story anyway). Matyszak has picked a line of argument in each case, and the result is a good readable account of these events, aimed at the general reader.

Just as I have when working in this period Matyszak finds it almost impossible not to become exasperated with the Ancient Greeks, who by this period seem to have seen 'freedom' as meaning having the right to attack each other at the drop of a hat, and to call in any external help that wasn't directly prohibited - with a little more self control on their part the various Greek powers might have avoided Roman conquest altogether, but the idea that all the Romans wanted was quiet neighbours doesn't seem to have sunk in.

This is an excellent narrative account of the series of wars that saw the Roman Legions gain their fearsome reputation as the most impressive fighting force of the ancient world, claiming that crown from the Macedonian phalanx which had dominated since the time of Alexander the Great.

1 - Greece 221 BC: Anatomy of a War Zone
2 - The Opening Shots
3 - The First Macedonian War
4 - From Uneasy Peace to Renewed War
5 - The Road to Cynoscephalae
6 - The Seleucids Come
7 - After Philip
8 - The Third Macedonian War
9 - Andriscus
10 - Aftermath

Author: Philip Matyszak
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 192
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2009

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