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Roman Conquest of Greece
Greece 200 BC
Date: 328-168 BC
Place: southern Italy, Sicily, Greece, Asia Minor, Rhodes, and Crete
Outcome: Roman victory
Combatants

Rome Roman Republic:
*Julii House of Julii
*Scipii House of Scipii
*Brutii House of Brutii

Macedon Macedon
Sparta Greek Cities:
*Sparta Pergamum
*Sparta Kingdom of Rhodes
*Sparta Athens
*Sparta Sparta
*Sparta Thebes
*Burgundy Epirus

Commanders

Varies

Varies

The Roman Conquest of Greece spanned from the years 328 BC, when the Romans took over the Greek settlement of Tarquinii, until 168 BC, when Rome conquered the Greek Cities and the Kingdom of Macedon. The Romans started these series of wars by taking over the Magna Graecia city-states in southern Italy, and in 270 BC, the last of these colonies, Syracuse, was captured by the Roman House of Scipii, and after a series of campaigns by the House of Julii and House of Brutii, the Macedonians and Greeks were submitted to a series of defeats, with the last Greek city of Byzantium falling in 205 BC. The conquest of Macedon and Greece ended with the destruction of the Antigonid Empire in 168 at the Battle of Pydna.

Background

The Romans were founded by the Greeks when Aeneas, Prince of Troy (present-day Hisarlik, Turkey) fled with some Trojan civilians on ships from the burning city in 1240 BC and landed in mainland Italy. Aeneas defeated the Rutulians and the Latins and took over several cities in the Italian peninsula, and was thus responsible for both the rise of Greece and Rome, the latter of whom would push the Greeks out of their colonies and take over the whole mainland and Sicily. 

In 507 BC, the Kingdom of Rome was destroyed as the House of Brutii rebelled following the rape of Lucrece, and the Roman Republic was founded. An expansionist entity, the Roman Republic began fighting other nations off by 329 BC, attacking the Gauls of Ravenna and the Umbrians of Arminium. However, the Greeks soon became enemies of their republic, who were taking over the whole mainland.

Wars

Italian Peninsula Campaign

In 328 BC, Gaius Julius and Secundus Julius led an army of 5,000 Roman troops north from Lattium to assist their Etruscan allies against the Greek city of Tarquinii in Etruria. The city, governed by Admetos of Dyrrachium, was hostile to the local tribes, allies of Rome, so the SPQR troops besieged the city and captured it by assault, and granted the Tarquinii full citizenship, ending a war that had began in 358 BC. Afterwards, Rome felt free to take control of Umbria and the Samnites of Samnium in southern Italy, capturing Bovianum from the Samnite rebels. 

The Greeks of Tarentum claimed that Rome's actions against their neighbors were acts of hostile aggression and declared war on the Roman Republic in 323 BC. The Romans swiftly responded by sending 4,000 troops that took over the city from Kalas of Dyrrachium and the weak garrison, and they occupied the rest of Apulia, ending Greek sovereignty over those states. The Romans invaded Magna Graecia in 316 BC and captured Croton, the last Greek stronghold on the boot of Italy, and settled down, while wars in the north against the Senones continued. 

Wars with the Greeks continued in 270 BC when the Roman Senate felt that the Greek city of Syracuse was a threat to their power and the House of Scipii captured the city from Dionysios of Sparta and the undermanned garrison, ending the last Greek settlements in Italy. Peace with the Greek Cities followed, but the other Roman families began expanding into the Balkans.

Macedonian Campaigns

The Macedonian Campaign showed the inability of Alexander the Great's soldiers to perform against modernized armies with the phalanx tactics invented two hundred years before. The Romans initially allied with the Macedonians but when the Macedonians found out that the Roman city of Segestica in Dalmatia was undermanned, they seized the city and started a large war with the House of Julii, stretching from 264 BC to 227 BC. The Romans retook the city through bribery through Senator Sextus Antio, a key diplomat, and the Macedonians failed to recapture the city in 259 BC. 

The Romans responded to the Macedonian invasions with their own attacks, besieging the city of Bylazora, a Macedonian settlement, and stormed the city, capturing the area. In 248 BC, the Romans invaded the Province of Paionia but failed to capture Thessalonica, but a siege in 238 BC enabled the Romans to capture the region from the Macedonians. In 231 BC, the Romans captured Larissa and recaptured Thessalonica from the Macedonian troops, who were able to recapture the city without any blood, and the Roman response was the massacre of 37,570 civilians. In 227 BC the Romans secured Peleponnesus and Corinth and Athens fell in 225 BC. The fall of Athens meant the collapse of Macedon, who had sued for peace. Krateros of Apollonia was killed, along with 1,150 other people in the massacre of the populace, which gave the Romans control of the Shrine of Zeus at Olympia. 

Fall of Greece

Philip V

Philip V of Macedon at the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC

The Romans' peace with Macedon ended after the Macedonians allied with Carthage following the Battle of Cannae in 217 BCE and the Romans gained their revenge in 197 BC, where they cut apart the Macedonian phalanx at the Battle of Cynoscephalae, dealing Philip V of Macedon a serious blow. The final defeat came at Pydna in 168 BC, where the army of King Perseus of Macedon was slaughtered in a fashion similar to Cynoscephalae, with their phalanxes falling out of position due to uneven ground levels, and the Romans charged into the gaps. The Romans forced the Macedonians to become a protectorate of theirs and later became the Province of Macedonia under the Roman Empire.

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