By Andrew Erskine

Andrew Erskine follows the path and personality of Roman growth in the course of the Republic and Early Empire. He concentrates at the influence of Roman rule at the topic and the impression of empire on imperial energy, themes that experience lengthy been arguable between smooth students. perspectives on Roman imperialism have regularly been proficient via modern perceptions of overseas strength relations—one cause scholars interact with the topic so without difficulty.

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Extra resources for Roman Imperialism (Debates and Documents in Ancient History)

Sample text

Embassies were sent to the major federations of mainland Greece, the Aitolian and Achaian Leagues, and to the cities of Athens and Corinth to make the Roman case. In Corinth the Romans were even given the honour of admittance to the Isthmian games (Polyb. 12). No embassy, however, was sent to the leading power in Greece, the Macedonian king, an omission which can hardly have been an oversight and one that may suggest that in their choice of embassies the Romans were looking to the future. The Macedonians were likely to have viewed Roman activity in the western Balkans as an incursion into their sphere of influence, a view that would not have been dispelled by a second Roman expedition in 219 to overthrow another Illyrian dynast, Demetrios of Pharos, who subsequently took refuge at the Macedonian court.

Explanations for this unprecedented Roman intervention across the Adriatic are varied and have tended to focus on the immediate. Sources report a request from Italian traders for help against Illyrian pirates (Polyb. 8), an appeal from the Greek island-city of Issa in the face of an Illyrian siege (Appian, Illyrian Wars 7), and in both cases the subsequent murder of a Roman ambassador. Again we see the Romans drawn in by the appeals of others. Recently a new and persuasive interpretation has placed the war in the context of Roman activities on the Adriatic coast of Italy during the previous sixty or so years (Derow 2003: 51–4).

Unfortunately, 216 bc and the battle of Cannae mark the point where Polybios’ history breaks off and from here on we must rely on fragments of his history, often substantial but fragments nonetheless. Instead it is Livy who provides the narrative for Rome’s conquest of the eastern Mediterranean, much of it based on his reading of Polybios but more Romanocentric in its approach. The alliance, made in 215, led to an intermittent war between Philip and Rome, known in modern scholarship as the First Macedonian War, but Rome, preoccupied with the Carthaginians in Italy and Spain, did not have the resources to commit substantial forces to any new war zones.

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