Hellenistic Greece

Hellenistic Greece

Overview
In the context of Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 art, architecture, and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC
323 BC
Year 323 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Longus and Cerretanus...

 and the annexation of the classical Greek
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 heartlands by Rome
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 in 146 BC
146 BC
Year 146 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Achaicus...

. This entry focuses on the history of 'Greece proper' (effectively the area of modern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

) during this period.

During the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

the importance of Greece proper within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply.
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In the context of Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 art, architecture, and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC
323 BC
Year 323 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Longus and Cerretanus...

 and the annexation of the classical Greek
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 heartlands by Rome
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 in 146 BC
146 BC
Year 146 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Achaicus...

. This entry focuses on the history of 'Greece proper' (effectively the area of modern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

) during this period.

During the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

the importance of Greece proper within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply. The great centers of Hellenistic culture
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 were Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 and Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt began when Ptolemy I Soter invaded Egypt and declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt in 305 BC and ended with the death of queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to...

 and Seleucid Syria
Seleucid dynasty
The Seleucid dynasty or the Seleucidae was a Greek Macedonian royal family, founded by Seleucus I Nicator , which ruled the Seleucid Kingdom centered in the Near East and regions of the Asian part of the earlier Achaemenid Persian Empire during the Hellenistic period.-History:Seleucus was an...

 respectively. Cities such as Pergamon
Pergamon
Pergamon , or Pergamum, was an ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey, in Mysia, today located from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus , that became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC...

, Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 and Seleucia
Seleucia
Seleucia was the first capital of the Seleucid Empire, and one of the great cities of antiquity standing in Mesopotamia, on the Tigris River.Seleucia may refer to:...

 were also important, and increasing urbanization of the Eastern Mediterranean was characteristic of the time.

Macedonian dominance


The quests of Alexander had a number of consequences for the Greek city-states. It greatly widened the horizons of the Greeks, making the endless conflicts between the cities a steady emigration, particularly of the young and ambitious, to the new Greek empires in the east. Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria, Antioch and the many other new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander's wake, as far away as what are now Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, where the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom survived until the end of the 1st century BC.

The defeat of the Greek cities by Philip
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 and Alexander also taught the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 that their city-states could never again be powers in their own right, and that the hegemony of Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

 and its successor states could not be challenged unless the city states united, or at least federated. The Greeks valued their local independence too much to consider actual unification, but they made several attempts to form federations through which they could hope to reassert their independence.

Following Alexander's death a struggle for power broke out among his generals, which resulted in the break-up of his empire and the establishment of a number of new kingdoms. Macedon fell to Cassander
Cassander
Cassander , King of Macedonia , was a son of Antipater, and founder of the Antipatrid dynasty...

, son of Alexander's leading general Antipater
Antipater
Antipater was a Macedonian general and a supporter of kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. In 320 BC, he became Regent of all of Alexander's Empire. Antipater was one of the sons of a Macedonian nobleman called Iollas or Iolaus and his family were distant collateral relatives to the...

, who after several years of warfare made himself master of most of the rest of Greece. He founded a new Macedonian capital at Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

 and was generally a constructive ruler.

Cassander's power was challenged by Antigonus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus , son of Philip from Elimeia, was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. During his early life he served under Philip II, and he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death, declaring himself king in 306 BC and...

, ruler of Anatolia, who promised the Greek cities that he would restore their freedom if they supported him. This led to successful revolts against Cassander's local rulers. In 307 BC
307 BC
Year 307 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Caecus and Violens...

 Antigonus's son Demetrius
Demetrius I of Macedon
Demetrius I , called Poliorcetes , son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Stratonice, was a king of Macedon...

 captured Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and restored its democratic system, which had been suppressed by Alexander. But in 301 BC
301 BC
Year 301 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Dictatorship of Corvus...

 a coalition of Cassander and the other Hellenistic kings defeated Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus
Battle of Ipsus
The Battle of Ipsus was fought between some of the Diadochi in 301 BC near the village of that name in Phrygia...

, ending his challenge.


After Cassander's death in 298 BC
298 BC
Year 298 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Barbatus and Centumalus...

, however, Demetrius seized the Macedonian throne and gained control of most of Greece. He was defeated by a second coalition of Greek rulers in 285 BC
285 BC
Year 285 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Canina and Lepidus...

, and mastery of Greece passed to the king Lysimachus
Lysimachus
Lysimachus was a Macedonian officer and diadochus of Alexander the Great, who became a basileus in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.-Early Life & Career:...

 of Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

. Lysimachus was in turn defeated and killed in 280 BC
280 BC
Year 280 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Laevinus and Coruncanius...

. The Macedonian throne then passed to Demetrius's son Antigonus II, who also defeated an invasion of the Greek lands
Gallic invasion of the Balkans
Gallic groups, originating from the various La Tène chiefdoms, began a south-eastern movement into the Balkan peninsula from the 4th century BC. Although Celtic settlements were concentrated in the western half of the Carpathian basin, there were notable incursions, and settlements, within the...

 by the Gauls
Gauls
The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, the region roughly corresponding to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy, from the Iron Age through the Roman period. They mostly spoke the Continental Celtic language called Gaulish....

, who at this time were living in the Balkans. The battle against the Gauls united the Antigonids of Macedon and the Seleucids of Antioch, an alliance which was also directed against the wealthiest Hellenistic power, the Ptolemies of Egypt.

Antigonus II ruled until his death in 239 BC
239 BC
Year 239 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Turrinus and Falto...

, and his family retained the Macedonian throne until it was abolished by the Romans in 146 BC
146 BC
Year 146 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Achaicus...

. Their control over the Greek city states was intermittent, however, since other rulers, particularly the Ptolemies, subsidised anti-Macedonian parties in Greece to undermine the Antigonids' power. Antigonus placed a garrison at Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

, the strategic centre of Greece, but Athens, Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

, Pergamum and other Greek states retained substantial independence, and formed the Aetolian League
Aetolian League
The Aetolian League was a confederation of tribal communities and cities in ancient Greece centered on Aetolia in central Greece. It was established, probably during the early Hellenistic era, in opposition to Macedon and the Achaean League. Two annual meetings were held in Thermika and Panaetolika...

 as a means of defending it. Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 also remained independent, but generally refused to join any league.

In 267 BC
267 BC
Year 267 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Regulus and Libo...

 Ptolemy II persuaded the Greek cities to revolt against Antigonus, in what became the Chremonidian War, after the Athenian leader Chremonides
Chremonides
Chremonides , son of Eteokles, of Aithalidai, was an Athenian 3rd century BC statesman and general. He issued the Decree of Chremonides in 268 BC, creating an alliance between Sparta, Athens, and Ptolemy II, the Macedonian King of Egypt...

. The cities were defeated and Athens lost her independence and her democratic institutions. The Aetolian League was restricted to the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

, but on being allowed to gain control of Thebes in 245 BC
245 BC
Year 245 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Buteo and Bulbus...

 became a Macedonian ally. This marked the end of Athens as a political actor, although it remained the largest, wealthiest and most cultivated city in Greece. In 255 BC
255 BC
Year 255 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Nobilior and Paullus...

 Antigonus defeated the Egyptian fleet at Cos
Kos
Kos or Cos is a Greek island in the south Sporades group of the Dodecanese, next to the Gulf of Gökova/Cos. It measures by , and is from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey and the ancient region of Caria. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Kos peripheral unit, which is...

 and brought the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 islands, except Rhodes, under his rule as well.

Philip V


Antigonus II died in 239 BC
239 BC
Year 239 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Turrinus and Falto...

. His death saw another revolt of the city-states of the Achaean League
Achaean League
The Achaean League was a Hellenistic era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese, which existed between 280 BC and 146 BC...

, whose dominant figure was Aratus
Aratus of Sicyon
Aratus was a statesman of the ancient Greek city-state of Sicyon and a leader of the Achaean League. He deposed the Sicyonian tyrant Nicocles in 251 BC. Aratus was an advocate of Greek unity and brought Sicyon into the Achaean League, which he led to its maximum extent...

 of Sicyon
Sicyon
Sikyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day prefecture of Corinthia...

. Antigonus's son Demetrius II
Demetrius II of Macedon
Demetrius II Aetolicus son of Antigonus Gonatas and Phila, reigned as king of Macedonia from the winter of 239 to 229 BC. He belonged to the Antigonid dynasty and was born in 275 BC. There is a possibility that his father had already elevated to him to position of power equal to his own before his...

 died in 229 BC
229 BC
Year 229 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Albinus and Centumalus...

, leaving a child (Philip V) as king, with the general Antigonus Doson as regent. The Achaeans, while nominally subject to Ptolemy, were in effect independent, and controlled most of southern Greece. Athens remained aloof from this conflict by common consent.

Sparta remained hostile to the Achaeans, and in 227 BC
227 BC
Year 227 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Flaccus and Regulus...

 Sparta's king Cleomenes III
Cleomenes III
Cleomenes III was the King of Sparta from 235-222 BC. He succeeded to the Agiad throne of Sparta after his father, Leonidas II in 235 BC.From 229 BC to 222 BC, Cleomenes waged war against the Achaean League under Aratus of Sicyon. Domestically, he is known for his attempt to reform the Spartan state...

 invaded Achaea and seized control of the League. Aratus preferred distant Macedon to nearby Sparta, and allied himself with Doson, who in 222 BC
222 BC
Year 222 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Marcellus and Calvus...

 defeated the Spartans and annexed their city – the first time Sparta had ever been occupied by a foreign power.

Philip V, who came to power when Doson died in 221 BC
221 BC
Year 221 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Asina and Rufus/Lepidus...

, was the last Macedonian ruler with both the talent and the opportunity to unite Greece and preserve its independence against the "cloud rising in the west": the ever-increasing power of Rome. He was known as "the darling of Hellas". Under his auspices the Peace of Naupactus (217 BC
217 BC
Year 217 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Geminus and Flaminius/Regulus...

) brought conflict between Macedon and the Greek leagues to an end, and at this time he controlled all of Greece except Athens, Rhodes and Pergamum.

In 215 BC
215 BC
Year 215 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Albinus/Marcellus/Verrucosus and Gracchus...

, however, Philip formed an alliance with Rome's enemy Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, which drew Rome directly into Greek affairs for the first time. Rome promptly lured the Achaean cities away from their nominal loyalty to Philip, and formed alliances with Rhodes and Pergamum, now the strongest power in Asia Minor
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. The First Macedonian War
First Macedonian War
The First Macedonian War was fought by Rome, allied with the Aetolian League and Attalus I of Pergamon, against Philip V of Macedon, contemporaneously with the Second Punic War against Carthage...

 broke out in 212 BC
212 BC
Year 212 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Flaccus and Pulcher...

, and ended inconclusively in 205 BC
205 BC
Year 205 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Africanus and Dives...

, but Macedon was now marked as an enemy of Rome. Rome's ally Rhodes gained control of the Aegean islands.

In 202 BC
202 BC
Year 202 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Geminus and Nero...

 Rome defeated Carthage, and was free to turn her attention eastwards, urged on by her Greek allies, Rhodes and Pergamum. In 198
198 BC
Year 198 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Catus and Flamininus...

 the Second Macedonian War
Second Macedonian War
The Second Macedonian War was fought between Macedon, led by Philip V of Macedon, and Rome, allied with Pergamon and Rhodes. The result was the defeat of Philip who was forced to abandon all his possessions in Greece...

 broke out for obscure reasons, but very likely because Rome saw Macedon as a potential ally of the Seleucids, the greatest power in the east. Philip's allies in Greece deserted him and in 197 BC
197 BC
Year 197 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Cethegus and Rufus...

 he was decisively defeated at the Cynoscephalae
Battle of Cynoscephalae
The Battle of Cynoscephalae was an encounter battle fought in Thessaly in 197 BC between the Roman army, led by Titus Quinctius Flamininus, and the Antigonid dynasty of Macedon, led by Philip V.- Prelude :...

 by the Roman proconsul Titus Quinctius Flamininus
Titus Quinctius Flamininus
Titus Quinctius Flamininus was a Roman politician and general instrumental in the Roman conquest of Greece.Member of the gens Quinctia, and brother to Lucius Quinctius Flamininus, he served as a military tribune in the Second Punic war and in 205 BC he was appointed propraetor in Tarentum...

.

Luckily for the Greeks, Flamininus was a moderate man and an admirer of Greek culture. Philip had to surrender his fleet and become a Roman ally, but was otherwise spared. At the Isthmian Games
Isthmian Games
The Isthmian Games or Isthmia were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were named after the isthmus of Corinth, where they were held...

 in 196 BC
196 BC
Year 196 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Purpureo and Marcellus...

, Flamininus declared all the Greek cities free, although Roman garrisons were placed at Corinth and Chalcis
Chalcis
Chalcis or Chalkida , the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, is situated on the strait of the Evripos at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός , though there is no trace of any mines in the area...

. But the freedom promised by Rome was an illusion. All the cities except Rhodes were enrolled in a new League which Rome ultimately controlled, and democracies were replaced by aristocratic regimes allied to Rome.

Rise of Rome


In 192 BC
192 BC
Year 192 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Flamininus and Ahenobarbus...

 war broke out between Rome and the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III. Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000 man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the Aetolians . Some Greek cities now thought of Antiochus as their saviour from Roman rule, but Macedon threw its lot in with Rome. In 191 BC the Romans under Manius Acilius Glabrio routed him at Thermopylae and obliged him to withdraw to Asia. During the course of this war Roman troops moved into Asia for the first time, where they defeated Antiochus again at Magnesia on the Sipylum (190 BC
190 BC
Year 190 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Asiaticus and Laelius...

). Greece now lay across Rome's line of communications with the east, and Roman soldiers became a permanent presence. The Peace of Apamaea (188 BC
188 BC
Year 188 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Messalla and Salinator...

) left Rome in a dominant position throughout Greece.

During the following years Rome was drawn deeper into Greek politics, since the defeated party in any dispute appealed to Rome for help. Macedon was still independent, though nominally a Roman ally. When Philip V died in 179 BC
179 BC
Year 179 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Flaccus and Fulvianus...

 he was succeeded by his son Perseus
Perseus of Macedon
Perseus was the last king of the Antigonid dynasty, who ruled the successor state in Macedon created upon the death of Alexander the Great...

, who like all the Macedonian kings dreamed of uniting the Greeks under Macedonian rule. Macedon was now too weak to achieve this objective, but Rome's ally Eumenes II
Eumenes II
Eumenes II of Pergamon was king of Pergamon and a member of the Attalid dynasty. The son of king Attalus I and queen Apollonis, he followed in his father's footsteps and collaborated with the Romans to oppose first Macedonian, then Seleucid expansion towards the Aegean, leading to the defeat of...

 of Pergamum persuaded Rome that Perseus was a potential threat to Rome's position.

End of Greek independence


As a result of Eumenes's intrigues Rome declared war on Macedon in 171 BC
171 BC
Year 171 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Crassus and Longinus...

, bringing 100,000 troops into Greece. Macedon was no match for this army, and Perseus was unable to rally the other Greek states to his aid. Poor generalship by the Romans enabled him to hold out for three years, but in 168 BC
168 BC
Year 168 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Macedonicus and Crassus...

 the Romans sent Lucius Aemilius Paullus to Greece, and at Pydna
Battle of Pydna
The Battle of Pydna in 168 BC between Rome and the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty saw the further ascendancy of Rome in the Hellenic/Hellenistic world and the end of the Antigonid line of kings, whose power traced back to Alexander the Great.Paul K...

 the Macedonians were crushingly defeated. Perseus was captured and taken to Rome, the Macedonian kingdom was broken up into four smaller states, and all the Greek cities who aided her, even rhetorically, were punished. Even Rome's allies Rhodes and Pergamum effectively lost their independence.

Under the leadership of an adventurer called Andriscus
Andriscus
Andriscus, and often called the "pseudo-Philip", was the last King of Macedon , and ruler of Adramyttium in Aeolis ....

, Macedon rebelled against Roman rule in 149 BC
149 BC
Year 149 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Censorinus and Manilius...

: as a result it was directly annexed the following year and became a Roman province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

, the first of the Greek states to suffer this fate. Rome now demanded that the Achaean League, the last stronghold of Greek independence, be dissolved. The Achaeans refused and, feeling that they might as well die fighting, declared war on Rome. Most of the Greek cities rallied to the Achaeans' side, even slaves were freed to fight for Greek independence. The Roman consul Lucius Mummius advanced from Macedonia and defeated the Greeks at Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

, which was razed to the ground.

In 146 BC
146 BC
Year 146 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Achaicus...

 the Greek peninsula, though not the islands, became a Roman protectorate. Roman taxes were imposed, except in Athens and Sparta, and all the cities had to accept rule by Rome's local allies. In 133 BC
133 BC
Year 133 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Scaevola and Frugi...

 the last king of Pergamum died and left his kingdom to Rome: this brought most of the Aegean peninsula under direct Roman rule as part of the province of Asia.

The final downfall of Greece came in 88 BC
88 BC
Year 88 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Sulla and Rufus...

, when King Mithridates
Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI or Mithradates VI Mithradates , from Old Persian Mithradatha, "gift of Mithra"; 134 BC – 63 BC, also known as Mithradates the Great and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120 BC to 63 BC...

 of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

 rebelled against Rome, and massacred up to 100,000 Romans and Roman allies across Asia Minor. Although Mithridates was not Greek, many Greek cities, including Athens, overthrew their Roman puppet rulers and joined him. When he was driven out of Greece by the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

, Roman vengeance fell upon Greece again, and the Greek cities never recovered. Mithridates was finally defeated by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) in 65 BC
65 BC
Year 65 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Cotta and Torquatus...

.

Further ruin was brought to Greece by the Roman civil wars, which were partly fought in Greece. Finally, in 27 BC
27 BC
Year 27 BC was either a common year starting on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday or a leap year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Proleptic Julian calendar...

, Augustus directly annexed Greece to the new Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 as the province of Achaea. The struggles with Rome had left Greece depopulated and demoralised. Nevertheless, Roman rule at least brought an end to warfare, and cities such as Athens, Corinth, Thessaloniki and Patras
Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

 soon recovered their prosperity.

See also

  • Hellenistic civilization
    Hellenistic civilization
    Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

  • Hellenistic period
    Hellenistic period
    The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

  • Alexander the Great
  • Hellenistic art

Further reading

  • Austin, Michel M., The Hellenistic world from Alexander to the Roman conquest: a selection of ancient sources in translation, Cambridge University Press, 1981. ISBN 0521228298