This book focuses on the last thirty years in which the major Hellenistic powers dominated their world, before the arrival of the Romans as a major force. The book thus ends in around 200 BC, just before the Roman victories at Cynoscephalae and Magnesia. The major players in this book are the three main Successor kingdoms - Macedonia, the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt, along with the Aetolia and Achaean Leagues in Greece and a surprisingly persistent Sparta. A variety of kings of Asia Minor and of western Greece and Illyria also make appearances.
The main absentees are most of the famous city states of recent Greek history - Thebes, Corinth and Athens only make fleeting appearances (Corinth occurring most often because the fortress of Acrocorinth, above the city, was so important). Rome barely rates a mention early in the book, but becomes increasingly significant later on, especially after Philip V of Macedon allied himself with Hannibal.
The authors stick to their stated aim, and stop just before the Romans became a major power in the Hellenistic World. They have already appeared, first on the western fringes and then campaigning in Greece, but their great victories are in the future. This does mean that the book feels like it finishes rather abruptly - Philip V of Macedon and Antiochus III the Great are both major players in this text, but their stories are cut off in mid-flow.
Despite this minor flaw the authors succeed in their main aim, which is to prevent this period as being important in its own right and not just as a precursor to Roman conquest. The people who dominated the eastern Mediterranean in this period certainly didn't see their world as being under significant threat from the west, and one of the author's greatest achievements is that for most of the time the reader forgets about the Romans and is drawn into the fascinating struggles between these confident Hellenistic powers.
1 - The Rise of Aratus
2 - Converging on Sellasia
3 - Another League
4 - Viziers and Rebels
5 - Raphia
6 - Antiochus Achieves Greatness
7 - Balkans in Turmoil
8 - Panion
Author: Mike Roberts and Bob Bennett
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military