This sequence of photos roughly outlines the progress of the Roman takeover of Greece, from the first beginnings in Illyris (modern Albania) in 230 BCE to the infamous “destruction” of Corinth in 146 BCE. The critical figures of this swift takeover were two Macedonian kings, Philip V and Perseus, who were determined to resist Roman aggression. Many famous generals of the middle Roman Republic were involved with the Greek states as generals and diplomats, but the most critical of them was Titus Quinctius Flamininus. And then off in the wings, especially when he was fighting the Romans in Italy itself and monopolizing their resources, was Hannibal, the Carthaginian general. But Carthage too was destroyed in 146 by the Romans. Their grip on the Mediterranean was secure.
This wealthy Greek town was the first to fall to Illyrian expansion, in 230 BCE. The Romans became concerned and sent an army across the Adriatic to quell the Illyrians. Thus began the Roman takeover of Greece.
The chief power on the Greek mainland was the kingdom of Macedon, ruled by Philip V. A vigorous young king, he was determined to drive the Romans from Greek soil. The clash of the superpowers became inevitable.
At the same time as fighting Philip in Greece, the Romans were engaged in Italy itself with the Carthaginian general, Hannibal. When Philip and Hannibal entered into a treaty, the purpose of which was the defeat of Rome, the Romans became truly alarmed.
The Second Macedonian War was managed for Rome by the young consul Titus Quinctius Flamininus. A competent general and a ruthless diplomat, he soon brought Philip V to his knees.
The Roman Senate
After the defeat of Philip V in the First and Second Macedonian wars (214-205, 200-197), Macedon was a shadow of its former self. The Greek states began to turn instead to the Roman Senate for advice and help. In this way Rome retained power in Greece even when it had no army there.
Perseus Surrenders to Aemilius Paullus
Philip V died in 179 and was succeeded by his son Perseus, the last king of Macedon. The Romans bullied him into war, and after his defeat he was imprisoned in Italy and what remained of Macedon was divided into four republics.
The Destruction of Corinth
Twenty-two years after the final defeat of Macedon in 168, it was the turn of Greece itself. The Roman takeover was completed by the destruction of Corinth, symbol of Greek resistance.
Image credits: 1. Phoenice, courtesy of Robin Waterfield. 2. Philip V. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. 3. Hannibal by Sébastien Slodtz (French, 1655–1726). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. 4. Quinctius Flamininus by PHGCOM. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. 5. Cicero Denounces Catiline by Cesare Maccari. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. 6. König Perseus vor Aemilius Paulus by Jean-François-Pierre Peyron. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. 7. Le Dernier Jour de Corinthe by Tony Robert-Fleury. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.