Roman Conquests: Macedonia and Greece – Philip Matyszak

This is the third book in the Pen and Sword series on the growth of Rome that I have is a bit hard to figure if they are in an exact sequence.  Probably not, as the Gaul book has parts that are fairly early in history – the taking of Provence, and ends with the campaigns of Caesar in the late Republic.

This book is more cohesive in time, as aside from some interludes for the Punic Wars these actions took place in a relatively close sequence.  The first shots came in response to piracy in the Adriatic rather than any desire for lands.  An embassy was sent to an Illyrian Queen, Teuta, to demand she stop her state-sponsored piracy. She not only refused, but had one of the blunt-speaking Roman ambassadors assassinated.  This was probably a mistake.

Teuta’s forces had just taken Corcyra when the huge Roman fleet and army arrived.  Her general, after counting the size of the arrivals, switched sides and became the Roman’s base.  After punishing the Illyrians, the Romans went home, but now this city was an enclave on the Greek mainland going forward.

Macedon was the strongest state in the region, if not as strong as when Alexander conquered Persia.  It wanted to regain its power in the area, and with Rome involved in the Second Punic War against Hannibal it seemed like a good time to start.  Rome managed to deflect most of the damage with alliances with other Greek cities.  But when Hannibal was defeated it was time for a little payback.

But even after this, Rome did not go for all out conquest at first.  But the Greeks viewed war as more a sport than a serious business and tried to involve Rome in the game.  The Romans were not playing around, and showed it in how they conducted the wars.

Eventually the entire region was incorporated into the Roman state, after a series of wars against Macedon and finally against the Greek ‘allied’ leagues that had a different idea of their standing in the area than the Romans did.

This is an excellent recounting of the information on these wars all combined into one book.  I’ll be getting more books in the series for sure.


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