Essential Histories

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Essential Histories

Middle Republic

Pyrrhic War (280BC - 275BC)
Sons of Mars (274BC - 265BC)
First Punic War (264BC - 241BC)
Mercenary War (240BC - 238BC)
Illyrian Piracy (237BC - 219BC)
Second Punic War (218BC - 201BC)
First Macedonian War (214BC - 205BC)
Conquest of the Greek Heartlands (200BC - 188BC)
Menacing Macedon (187BC - 168BC)
Conquest of Hispania (167BC - 150BC)
Elmininating Old Rivals (149BC - 146BC)

Late Republic

Internal Unrest (145BC - 122BC)
The emergence of New Threats (121BC - 105BC)
Crisis of the Republic (104BC - 90BC)
Mithridatic Wars (89BC - 63BC)
Gallic Wars (63BC - 50BC)
First Triumvirate (49BC - 44BC)
Second Triumvirate (43BC - 33BC)


Accession of Augustus (32BC - 17BC)
Germanic Wars (16BC - 70 AD)
Claudian Dynasty (15 AD - 85 AD)
Conquest of Britain (43 AD - 84 AD)
Jewish Revolts (60 AD - 85 AD)

Maleventum Tarentum Rome Ambracia Capua

Pyrrhic War

In 280 BC the Romans had largely defeated the Etruscans and the Samnites. This made Rome the dominant power on the Italian peninsula. Rome now sought to consolidate its holdings on the peninsula and to eliminate any remnants of resistance to its rule. One man who played a prominent role in this consolidation process was Appius Claudius Caecus.

Appius Claudius Caecus (340 BC - 273 BC)

Appius Claudius Caecus was a Roman politician from a wealthy patrician family. He was briefly voted dictator twice during the Samnite Wars. He was a censor in 312 BC. He sought support from the lower classes and extended voting privileges. During the Second Samnite War he advocated the founding of Roman colonies throughout the regions of Latium and Campania to serve as fortifications against the Samnites and Etruscans. He built the Appian Way and the first aquaduct of Rome, during his term as censor. The Appian Way was an important and famous road between Rome and Capua. He received the nickname Caecus in his old age when he had gone blind.

Destroying the last remnants of resistance on the Italian peninsula resulted in a minor conflict between Rome and the city of Tarentum. This conflict came about when a Roman Consul had violated a naval treaty with Tarentum. It is this conflict over a naval treaty that brought Rome on collision course with the powerful king Pyrrhus of Epirus.

Pyrrhus of Epirus (319 BC - 272 BC)

Pyrrhus of Epirus was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house, and later he also became king of Epirus. Pyrrhus was the son of Aeacides and Phthia and a second cousin of Alexander the Great. He was married to Antigone, the stepdaughter of Ptolemy Soter (ruler of Egypt). In his lifetime Pyrrhus waged wars against Rome, Macedon, and fought battles on the Peloponnese peninsula. When he intervened in a dispute in the Greek town of Argos, he was caught and trapped in the narrow streets of Argos. He was stunned in this street battle when an old woman threw a roof tile on his head, allowing an Argive soldier to easily kill him.

Prelude to the Pyrrhic War

The Pyrrhic War began when Tarentum sought the aid of Pyrrhus of Epirus in its conflict with Rome over a naval treaty. Tarentum was a Greek colony in what is nowadays southern Italy. Tarentum had lent aid to Pyrrhus of Epirus in his conflict with Korkyra and therefore requested military aid from Epirus.

Pyrrhic War (280 BC - 275 BC)

Aims of Pyrrhus

Pyrrhus honored his obligation to Tarentum and joined the complex series of conflicts involving Tarentum and the Romans, Samnites, and Etruscans. Pyrrhus his goal was to use Italy as a springboard to capture the island of Sicily and he ultimately wished to conquer Carthage.

Cinneas the Envoy

Pyrrhus made one attempt to get the Romans to surrender, before the battles actually commenced. Pyrrhus sent his envoy Cinneas to Rome. Cinneas attempted to convince the Roman senators, but he found the Roman senators hostile to the plans of Pyrrhus after Appius Claudius Caecus delivered his famous speech in the Senate. In this speech called "every man is the architect of his own fortune" Appius declared that Rome would never surrender. With diplomacy having failed, Pyrrhus decided to launch an invasion of Roman held territory in Italy.

Having declined the offer of surrender, Rome engaged in diplomacy with Carthage and the two powers briefly became allies during the Pyrrhic war.

Pyrrhic Victory

Pyrrhus brought the finest army of the time with him. His army included hoplites and war elephants. The Romans were unfamiliar with the latter. The war was costly to both Rome and Epirus. In all it is estimated that about 20,000 troops perished on both sides. Though Pyrrhus was victorious in many of the battles against Rome, he had brought few reserves with him. As he was not fighting on home ground, he therefore had no effective source of replacements. Though Pyrrhus defeated the Romans in the battles of Heraclea and Asculum, he too suffered a large amount of casualties. It is after the battle of Asculum that Pyrrhus exclaimed, "one more such victory and I am undone", giving rise to the term Pyrrhic victory.

Good Event

When the Romans finally defeated Pyrrhus at Maleventum, he decided to retreat. After the battle the Romans renamed the town to Beneventum. Pyrrhus had scarcely embarked on his ships, when he heard the news that Tarentum had surrendered to Rome.

Aftermath of the Pyrrhic War

Rome was lenient in its peace treaty with Tarentum. This leniency shown towards Tarentum, effectively made Tarentum a good ally of Rome after the Pyrrhic war. The victory over Pyrrhus was a significant one. It was the first time that a Greek army which fought in the tradition of Alexander the Great was defeated by a non-Greek army. New Roman colonies were founded in the south of Italy after the war. This helped to strenghten Roman domination of the Italian peninsula.

Egypt also established a permanent embassy in Rome after the war and held a cordial agreement and pact of amity with Rome. Though the war had been costly, the experience gained from the war had made Rome stronger.

Rome Messana Syracuse Carthage

Sons of Mars

Hiring Mercenaries

Agathocles, who was Tyrant of Syracuse and self-proclaimed King of Sicily, had hired mercenaries from Campania. Campania was a region where Rome had colonies established. These mercenaries who had been hired from their home in Campania, were of Italian origin. After the city of Syracuse lost the Third Sicilian War, the city of Messana was ceded to Carthage in 307 BC. When Agathocles died in 289 BC he left many of his mercenaries idle and unemployed in Sicily. Most of them returned home, but some liking the climate and the prospect of adventure on a foreign island remained.

Capture of Messana

The then-small band of desperados came across the walled Greek settlement of Messana. Messana was built on the north-eastern tip of Sicily on the Strait of Messana. The strait was the crossing point between Italy and Sicily and the settlement therefore an important strategic location. The inhabitants of Messana were a peaceful people and allowed the mercenaries into their homes. In due time the mercenaries plotted to capture the settlement and take it for their own. When these mercenaries succeeded in capturing the settlement, they began calling themselves Mamertines, after Mamers, the Oscan god of War.

Conflict with Hiero

The Mamertine presence did not go unchallenged forever. In around 270 BC, the Mamertines came into conflict with Hiero II who was by then the acclaimed King of Syracuse. When Hiero besieged Messana in 265 BC, the Mamertines called for help from a nearby fleet from Carthage, which occupied the harbor of Messana. The Syracuse forces retired, not wishing to confront Carthaginian forces. Uncomfortable under the Cathaginian protection, the Mamertines next appealed to Rome for help.

Hiero II of Syracuse (308 BC - 215 BC)

Hiero was the Greek Sicilian king of Syracuse from 270 BC to 215 BC, and the illegitimate son of Hierocles. Hierocles was a Syracusan noble, who claimed descent from Gelon. He was a former general of Pyrrhus of Epirus.

Pressed by the Roman forces, in 263 he concluded a treaty with Rome, by which he was to rule over the south-east of Sicily and the eastern coast as far as Tauromenium. From this time until his death in 215 BC he remained loyal to the Romans and frequently assisted them with men and provisions. He kept up a powerful fleet for defensive purposes and employed Archimedes.

Archimedes (287 BC - 212 BC)

Archimedes of Syracuse was an ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. He is credited with the discovery of the Archimedes Principle and made numerous inventions, such as the Archimedes Screw, the Claw of Archimedes and the Heat Ray. He also wrote several treatises.

Plead to Rome

The Romans did not wish to come to the aid of soldiers who had unjustly stolen a settlement from its rightful possessors, but the Romans were also unwilling to see Carthaginian power spread further over Sicily and get too close to Italy. When the Mamertines pleaded again to Rome for help, Rome responded by entering into an alliance with the Mamertines. The result of this alliance was that Syracuse pleaded to Carthage for its protection. What had initially been a small conflict between mercenaries and the city who had initally hired them, began to escalate far beyond that.

Rome Messana Syracuse Carthage Agrigentum Panormus Uthina Lilybaeum Cyrene

First Punic War

The dispute over Messana had escalated into a full war. The Mamertines and Syracuse were for a large part of the war essentially sidelined.

It was the first of three wars that Rome fought against Carthage. Carthage ultimately proved to be the bitterest rival of Rome.

About Carthage

Carthage was the dominant naval power in the western Mediterranean. It originated as a Phoenician colony in Africa and gradually became the center of a civilization whose hegemony reached along the North African coast and also included the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, a limited area in southern Spain, and the western half of Sicily.

Protracted Campaign

Initially neither side had the means to bring about a swift end to the conflict.

Rome had a good and experienced army, but lacked a strong navy and this would prove troublesome when it came to resupplying the troops in the field.

Carthage was the exact opposite of Rome. It had a strong navy, but its armies were for the greater part composed of Ligurian, Celtic, and Iberian mercenaries.

What therefore followed was a long and protracted campaign, where both sides set about attempting to conquer the island of Sicily. The geography of Sicily also did not help matters. Sicily is a semi-hilly island with rough terrain, making lines of communication difficult to maintain.

First Punic War (264 BC - 241 BC)

Roman Landing at Messana

The war began with Rome making the first move. The Romans landed at Messana in 264 BC and captured the city. The Mamertines had the Carthaginian garrison commanded by Hanno (not related to the Famous Hanno) expelled.

Peace with Syracuse

Rome then proceeded to move towards Syracuse and besieged the city. With no Carthaginian help in sight, Syracuse made peace with the Romans.

Rome offered lenient terms in the peace treaty with Syracuse. Syracuse would become a Roman ally, it would pay a light indemnity, but most importantly would agree to help supply the Roman army in Sicily. This solved the Roman problem of having to keep an overseas army provisioned while facing an enemy with a superior navy. Following the defection of Syracuse, several other smaller Carthaginian dependencies in Sicily also switched to the Roman side.

Battle of Agrigentum

In past wars on the island of Sicily, between Carthage and the Greeks. Carthage had usually won out by relying on certain fortified strong-points throughout the island, and the Carthaginian plan was to conduct the land war in the same fashion. The mercenary army would operate in the open against the Romans, while the strongly fortified cities would provide a defensive base from which to operate. Agrigentum was one of these fortified strong-points and it became the next target of Rome.

Rome besieged Agrigentum in 262 BC. The siege took several months to resolve and involved both consular armies (a total of 4 Roman legions). The garrison of Agrigentum managed to call for reinforcements and the Carthaginian relief force came to the rescue and destroyed the Roman supply base at Erbessus. This relief force was commanded by Hanno Gisco, the son of Hannibal Gisco. Hannibal Gisco was the Carthaginian military commander during the First Punic War.

With their supply line from Syracuse cut, the Romans were forced to construct a line of contravallation, and were themselves besieged by the Carthaginian relief force. After a few skirmishes, disease struck the Roman army, while supplies in Agrigentum were running low. This meant that both sides saw an all-out open battle as preferable. The Romans won this battle, but the Carthaginian garrison of Agrigentum managed to escape. Agrigentum without its garrison lacked any serious defense and the Romans easily managed to capture it. The Romans sacked the city of Agrigentum and enslaved the remaining populace.

Rome builds a fleet

Rome had virtually no experience in naval warfare, it had a small fleet that patrolled its shores. Carthage on the other hand had a strong and powerful navy and had a great deal of experience on the seas thanks to its centuries of sea-based trade. Rome learned from the battle of Agrigentum that it needed a strong navy of its own.

The first major Roman fleet was constructed after the victory of Agrigentum in 261 BC. Luck had it that some Carthaginian ships were beached on the Roman shores due to storms. The Romans copied the design of these quinquiremes and triremes and in two months managed to build a considerable fleet.

The Romans also developed a new device for these ships called the corvus. The corvus was a landing-bridge and it helped the Romans to make use of land based tactics at sea. Prior to the development of the corvus, the basic naval tactic was to ram the enemy ship and attempt to sink it. The Romans lacked the manouvering skill, but manouvering alongside meant the Romans were able send legionaries across as boarding parties. The corvus would prove its worth in the Battle of Mylae and the Battle of Cape Ecnomus. Rome was victorious in both naval battles.

Hannibal Gisco fell from favor due to these defeats and was subsequently executed for incompetence shortly afterwards.

Invasion of Africa

Having won the naval battles, Rome was able to secure a beachhead in Africa. The Roman army landed in Africa and began ravaging the Carthaginian countryside. This forced the Carthaginians into a pitched battle in their homeland. The Battle of Adys was fought near the town of Uthina. The Roman army commanded by Marcus Atilius Regulus defeated the Carthaginians in the Battle of Adys.

The Carthaginians entered negotiations with the Romans after the Battle of Adys, but the terms were so severe that the negotiations failed from the onset. The Carthaginians hired Xanthippus after the failed negotiations. Xanthippus was a Spartan mercenary, who helped to reorganize the army. Xanthippus defeated the Roman army and captured Regulus, and then managed to cut off what remained of the Roman army from its base by re-establishing Carthaginian naval supremacy.

Carthaginian Respite

Meanwhile the Romans had sent a new fleet to pick up the survivors of its African expedition. Although the Romans defeated the Carthaginian fleet and were successful in rescuing its army in Africa, a storm destroyed nearly the entire Roman fleet on the trip home. The Carthaginians took advantage of this to attack Agrigentum.

The Romans were able to rally and quickly resumed the offensive. Rome returned to the strategy of taking the Carthaginian cities in Sicily one by one, but yet again suffered some setbacks. Roman attacks began with naval assaults on Lilybaeum and a raid on Africa. Lilybaeum was the center of Carthaginian power on Sicily. Both efforts ended in failure. The Romans retreated from Lilybaeum and the African force was caught in another storm.

Despite of these setbacks, the Romans did make some progress in the north of Sicily and managed to capture the city of Thermae in 252 BC and the port city of Panormus in 251 BC. In 249 BC the Romans suffered yet another setback, when they were defeated in the Battle of Drepana.

Stalemate in Sicily

Rome was unwilling to finance the construction of yet another expensive fleet after the disastrous Battle of Drepana. Meanwhile in Carthage the land-owning aristocrat Hanno the Great and his political supporters came to power and started the demobilization of the Carthaginian fleet. This gave Rome a chance to again attain naval superiority.

Carthage sent general Hamilcar Barca to Sicily in 247 BC. Hamilcar Barca landed near Panormus and drew Romans away to defend that port city. Subsequent guerilla warfare kept the Roman legions pinned down and meant that Carthage was able to keep a toehold in Sicily. Rome built another fleet paid for with donations from wealthy citizens, probably in response to the raids of Hamilcar Barca. The new Roman fleet under consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus was victorious over an undermanned and hastily built Carthaginian fleet. This victory broke the stalemate. Carthage was incapable of funding another fleet and without naval support Hamilcar Barca was cut off from Carthage and forced to negotiate peace.

Hamilcar Barca had his subordinate named Gesco conduct the negotiations with Lutatius. The Treaty of Lutatius officially ended the First Punic War.

Hamilcar Barca (275 BC - 228 BC)

Hamilcar Barca was a Carthaginian general and statesman of Cyrene origin. He was the father of Hannibal, Hasdrubal and Mago, who were all to have distinguished military careers.

His first daughter was married to Bomilcar, who was a suffete of Carthage. He was also father-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair. His third daughter married the Berber ally Naravas, a Numidian chieftain whose defection had saved Hamilcar and his army during the mercenary war.

Hamilcar was recalled to command in 240 BC and was instrumental in concluding the Mercenary War successfully.

Hamilcar commanded the Carthaginian expedition to Spain in 237 BC, and for eight years expanded the territory of Carthage in Spain before dying in battle in 228 BC.

Aftermath of the First Punic War

Rome exacted severe terms from Carthage in the treaty of Lutatius. Carthage was to give up its holdings in Sicily. Carthage was also forced to pay a high indemnity. Carthage was also prohibited from recruiting soldiers within the territory held by Rome. This denied the Carthaginians access to any mercenary manpower from Italy and most of Sicily.

Hanno the Great tried to remedy this situation by attempting to induce the disbanded armies to accept diminished payment, but instead kindled a movement that led to the Mercenary War.

Rome Carthage Gades Malaca Massilia Saguntum

Mercenary War

Carthage had insufficient state funds after the First Punic War and as a result suffered an uprising of its mercenaries.

Mercenary War (240 BC - 238 BC)

These mercenaries were backed by Libyan settlements revolting against Carthaginian control. Heavily outmatched in terms of troops, money, and supplies, an unprepared Carthage fared poorly in the initial engagements of the war, especially under the generalship of Hanno the Great.

Rome annexes Sardinia

Rome took advantage of this internal strife and used a baseless excuse as the pretext to annex the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. Having lost access to its mines in Sardinia, Carthage had great difficulty to pay the indemnities to Rome. This meant that Carthage was forced to look for new mines so it could mint new coin. Carthage found these mines in Hispania.

The Mercenary War Escalates

The Mercenary war was particularly brutal for its day and was noted for its cruelty. Both rebels and loyalists engaged in numerous atrocities. The conflict escalated when the mercenary leadership tortured and killed its Carthaginian prisoners and in response the Carthaginians committed similar actions. Gesco, the very same subordinate of Hamilcar who had conducted the negotiations was captured by the rebels. He and 700 of his men had their arms and legs broken, their hands cut off, were castrated, and were thrown into a pit to die.

Hamilcar Barca receives Command

The tide changed in favor of Carthage when Hamilcar Barca was given supreme command. Hamilcar displayed superior military leadership and clever use of psychology in the conflict. His talents eventually won over a portion of the mercenary armies.

Battle of the Saw

The decisive battle that ended the Mercenary War was the Battle of the Saw. Matho who had been one of the leaders of the rebels was captured after this battle.

Aftermath of the Mercenary War

With Sardinia and Sicily lost, Carthage was forced to relocate its powerbase to Hispania. Hamilcar probably landed at Gades in the summer of 237 BC. Hamilcar Barca then proceeded to conquer more territory for Carthage in Hispania. He even went so far as to sign another treaty with Rome where both would agree not to cross the Ebro river. Hamilcar had secured an extensive territory in Hispania within the span of 8 years. He secured a silver supply near Corduba. Hamilcar launched further campaigns, but these campaigns were cut short when he drowned during a retreat across the Jucar river. Command of the Carthaginian armies in Hispania then fell into the hands of Hasdrubal the Fair.

Carthaginian conquest in Hispania was not completely unchecked. Carthage had a longstanding rivalry with Massilia. Massilia was a Greek colony established by Phocean Greeks in 600 BC. Massalia had a base near Malaga and by 237 BC Massilia had become an ally of Rome.

Rome Ambracia Brindisium Lissus Pylus Corinthus Elis Epidaurus Apollonia

Illyrian Piracy

Roman Expansion along the Adriatic

Meanwhile Rome was busy expanding along the Adriatic coast that would put it on a collision course with the Illyrian queen Teuta. This expansion began with the establishment of a Roman colony at Brindisium.

Teuta (? BC - ? BC)

Teuta was an Illyrian queen of the Ardiaei tribe who reigned approximately from 231 BC to 227 BC. She acted as regent for her young stepson Pinnes, after the death of her husband Agron.

She inherited much of Illyria proper through the death of her husband. Teuta started to address the neighbouring states malevolently and supported the piratical raids of her subjects.

Very little is known of the rest of her life, but she was eventually succeeded by Gentius in 181 BC.

Illyrian Piracy

Illyrians captured and later fortified Dyrrachium and Phoenice during the reign of Teuta. Illyrian forces extended their operations further southward into the Ionian Sea, breaching the trade routes between the mainland of Greece and the Greek cities in Italy and were soon feared as the terror of the Adriatic Sea.

While Illyrian ships were off the coast of Onchesmos, they intercepted and plundered some merchant vessels of Rome. It this event that started a dispute with Rome that ultimately escalated into a series of wars with Rome known as the Illyrian Wars.

First Illyrian War (229 BC - 228 BC)

Diplomatic Complaints

Rome sent two ambassadors to queen Teuta to complain of the injuries suffered by the Romans due to the Illyrian piracy. Teuta promised that no royal forces would harm them, but said that she was unable to put an end to the tradition of private enterprise. One of the ambassadors lost his temper due to her response. The queen arranged for the insolent envoy to be murdered on his homeward voyage. News of this reached the Romans and caused them to prepare for war. Legions were enlisted and the fleet assembled, and there was general indignation at the behavior of the queen.

Secret Negotiations

As soon as the weather permitted, Teuta had ordered south a naval expedition even larger than those of previous years, with most of the ships heading to attack Corcyra.

Rome was in secret negotiations with Demetrius of Pharos, who had fallen out of favor with Teuta. The Roman consul Gnaeus Fulvius sailed his 200 ships to Corcyra to raise the siege. This appears to have caught Teuta completely off guard. Corcyra welcomed the Romans and henceforth became a friend of Rome. Demetrius of Pharos would serve as an adviser to the Roman commanders for the remainder of the war.

Illyrian envoys appeared in Rome before the end of winter and a treaty was concluded.

Peace Treaty

According to its terms, the queen would abandon Illyria, except for a few places, and promise not to sail south of Lissus. The terms of the settlement were conveyed to the Leagues in Greece, where they were well received. The Romans had gained control of the strategic ports of Epidaurus, Apollonia and Corcyra. Several of the Illyrian tribes in the hinterland received the status of Roman clients. The Ardiaei were also cut off from the inland route to Macedonia, their patron and ally against the Greek Leagues.

Illyrian Revival

Under the reign of Demetrius the Illyrians once again embarked on campaigns of piracy. Raids were launched on Greek cities such Elis and Pylus and the Illyrians even reached as far as the port of Corinthus.

Prelude to the Second Illyrian War

The Second Illyrian War came about after a revival of Illyrian power in the region under the reign of Demetrius of Pharos. With the fear of another war with Carthage looming, Rome wished to check the power of the Illyrians. Rome launched the campaigns against the Illyrians, because it feared a two-front war at sea, if Rome were to be engaged in another war with Carthage, so in essence the Second Illyrian War could be seen as a preemptive strike by the Romans.

Second Illyrian War (220 BC - 219 BC)

Demetrius of Pharos proved to be a more formidable opponent to Rome than Teuta, but ultimately his armies were captured on Corcyra. The Romans replaced him as a client king with Pinnes, the aforementioned stepson of queen Teuta.

Rome Carthage Massilia Saguntum Gades Zama Utica Cirta Capua Tarentum Syracuse Cannae Grumentum Perusia Arretium

Second Punic War

The fear of the Romans for another war with Carthage was not unjustified. Hannibal Barca had been made the supreme commander of the Carthaginians in Hispania in 221 BC and in 219 BC he laid siege to the town of Saguntum.

Hannibal Barca (247 BC - 182 BC)

Hannibal Barca was the son of Hamilcar Barca. He was a Carthaginian military commander and is generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair. He was married to an Iberian princess by the name of Imilce.

After the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War Hamilcar Barca set out for Hispania. Hannibal Barca begged to go with him. Hamilcar Barca agreed and demanded that he swear an oath that as long as he lived he would never be a friend of Rome.

When his father drowned in battle, Hasdrubal the Fair succeeded to the command of the Carthaginian armies in Hispania. Hannibal Barca served as an officer under Hasdrubal the Fair.

Hasdrubal the Fair was assassinated in 221 BC, by a slave of the Celtic king Tago. Hannibal Barca would be his successor.

Hannibal spent two years consolidating his holdings and completing the conquest of Hispania, south of the Ebro. Rome, fearing the growing strength of Hannibal in Iberia, made an alliance with the city of Saguntum, which lay a considerable distance south of the River Ebro and claimed the city as its protectorate. Hannibal not only perceived this as a breach of the treaty signed with Hasdrubal, but as he was already planning an attack on Rome, this was his way to start a war with Rome.

Hannibal Barca journeyed across the Alps in the Second Punic War. The journey across the Alps had been harsh on his men and many subcumbed to disease. Hannibal himself became blind in one eye. Despite the harsh journey, he defeated the Romans in Italy in a series of battles. He was a brilliant strategist unrivalled by any of his contemporaries. The very name Hannibal Barca invoked fear into the hearts of the Romans. The expression "Hannibal at the gates" became synonymous in the Roman world with fear and anxiety. Ultimately though the war in Italy resulted in a stalemate as the Carthiginian armies under Hannibal had been bled dry by the Roman attrition strategy of Fabius the Delayer.

Hannibal was recalled from Italy by the war party in Carthage. In the decisive battle at Zama he was defeated by Publius Cornelius Scipio. Carthage was forced to sign a peace treaty and again had to pay exorbitant indemnities.

In peacetime he was briefly elected as Suffet of Carthage, but by 195 BC he forced into exile. He journeyed to Tyre, the mother city of Carthage, and then to Ephesus, where he was honorably received by Antiochus III of Syria, who was preparing for war with Rome. He advised Antiochus and also received hospitality at the Armenian court of Artaxias I. When Antiochus seemed prepared to surrender him to the Romans, Hannibal fled to Crete. From Crete he journeyed back to Asia Minor and sought refuge with Prusias I of Bithynia. Prusias was engaged in a war with Eumenes, King Eumenes II of Pergamon was an ally of Rome. Hannibal defeated Eumenes in naval battles and battles on land, but the Romans interfered and threatened Bithynia into giving up Hannibal. Hannibal fled, but the Romans were determined to hunt him down. At Libyssa on the eastern shore of the Sea of Marmara, he took poison and died.

Roman Conquest of Cisalpine Gaul

Rome had conquered most of sourthern Italy, but the Celts were dominant in the Po valley in the north of Italy. The area near the Po Valley thus became known as Cisalpine Gaul by the Romans.

Rome had been at peace with the tribes of Cisalpine Gaul for many years, but resentment grew among the Celtic tribes with the partitioning of the region of Picenum. In 225 BC, the Boii and Insubres paid large sums of money to the Gaesatae, mercenaries from Transalpine Gaul to fight with them against Rome.

The Romans, alarmed by this Celtic mobilisation, made a treaty giving the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal the Fair unimpeded control of Hispania so they could concentrate on the threat closer to home. The Romans called upon their allies in Italy to supply troops and Rome fought a series of battles with Celtic tribes such as the Boii and the Insubres. By 194 BC most of Cisalpine Gaul was under firm Roman control.

Little did the Romans realize that it would be in Cisalpine Gaul, where the Romans would first meet Hannibal Barca in battle. Present at these battles was a young Publius Cornelius Scipio.

Publius Cornelius Scipio (236 BC - 183 BC)

Publius Cornelius Scipio was born by Caesarian section into the Scipio branch of the Cornelia gens. Scipio was the eldest son of Publius Cornelius Scipio, praetor and consul by his wife Pomponia, whose plebeian family were of equestrian status. His younger brother, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, served with him in the military.

Scipio joined the Roman struggle against Carthage in the Second Punic War at an early age. He is said to have promised his father to continue the struggle against Carthage all his life, showing similar dedication as his enemy Hannibal Barca.

The young Scipio survived the disastrous battles at Ticinus, Trebia, and Cannae. At the age of 17 he was an officer in the Roman army at the Battle of Ticinus in 218 BC. He rescued his father in this battle and thus gained first hand experience about the tactics used by Hannibal Barca.

Despite these defeats at the hands of the Carthaginians, Scipio remained focused on securing Roman victory. Scipio was never again to see a Roman force defeated, for once given command at the age of 25 he never lost a battle.

The father and uncle of Scipio were killed in battle against Hasdrubal Barca, the younger brother of Hannibal Barca. Scipio offered himself for the command of the new army which the Romans resolved to send to Hispania.

Scipio arrived in Hispania in 210 BC. At that time all of Hispania south of the river Ebro was under control of the Carthaginians. Hasdrubal Barca, Mago Barca, and Hasdrubal Gisco were the generals of the Carthaginian forces in Hispania, and Rome was aided by the inability of these three figures to act in concert. The Carthaginians were also preoccupied with revolts in Africa.

Scipio landed at the mouth of the Ebro and was able to surprise and capture Carthago Nova, the headquarters of the Carthaginian power in Hispania. He obtained a rich cache of war stores and supplies, and an excellent harbour and base of operations. His humanitarian conduct toward prisoners and hostages in Hispania helped in portraying the Romans as liberators as opposed to conquerors.

After his rapid success in conquering Hispania, Scipio paid a short visit to the Numidian princes Syphax and Massinissa. Numidia was of vital importance to Carthage, as it supplied mercenaries and acted as a buffer for Carthage. Scipio managed to receive support from both Syphax and Massinissa, though Syphax later changed his mind and married the beautiful Carthaginian noblewoman Sophonisba, daughter of Hasdrubal Gisco.

With the campaign in Hispania a success, Scipio was unanimously elected to consulship at the age of 31. He intended to go to Africa, but due to the envy of others in the Senate, he was sent to Sicily instead. the Romans had for a long time used service in Sicily as a punishment, with the result that the garrison in Sicily contained survivors from many of the greatest Roman military fiascos in the war, such as the Battle of Cannae. Having served with these men at Cannae, Scipio was well aware that their disgrace was through no fault of their own. Scipio was able to muster a highly motivated and very experienced force from these men in Sicily.

Scipio realized that the superior Numidian cavalry would prove decisive against the largely infantry forces of the Roman legions, so he set about creating a formidable cavalry force of his own.

The Roman Senate sent a commission of inquiry to Sicily and found Scipio at the head of a well-equipped and trained fleet and army. Scipio pressed the Senate for permission to cross into Africa. The conservative branch of the Roman Senate, championed by Fabius Maximus the Delayer, opposed the mission. Fabius still feared the power of Hannibal Barca. Scipio was also harmed by the disdain of some senators for Grecophile tastes and progressive ideals. All Scipio could obtain was permission to cross over from Sicily to Africa, if it appeared to be in the interests of Rome, but not financial or military support.

Despite the difficulties Scipio managed to secure victory in Africa. Scipio was welcomed back to Rome in triumph and received the agnomen of Africanus. He and his brother went on to wage war on Antiochus.

Meanwhile political enemies of Scipio had gained ground in the senate and Scipio and his brother were both prosecuted in a number of trials. Scipio himself was subsequently accused of having been bribed by Antiochus. By reminding the people that it was the anniversary of his victory at Zama, he caused an outburst of enthusiasm in his favor. The people crowded round him and followed him to the Capitol, where they offered thanks to the gods and begged them to give Rome more citizens like Scipio Africanus. The prosecution rested their case against him. Years later there were renewed attempts to bring him to trial, but these appear to have been deflected by his future son-in-law, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus.

Scipio retired to his country seat at Liternum on the coast of Campania. He lived there for the rest of his life, revealing his great magnanimity by attempting to prevent the ruin of the exiled Hannibal by Rome.

He died in 183 BC. He is said to have demanded that his body be buried away from the city of Rome. On his tombstone read the inscription: "ungrateful fatherland, you will not even have my bones".

Second Punic War (218 BC - 201 BC)

Crossing the Alps

The Carthaginian army in Iberia, totaled some 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and 37 war elephants, it was thus one of the largest armies ever assembled. Hannibal departed with this army from Carthago Nova northwards along the coast in late spring of 218 BC. At the Ebro, he split the army into three columns and subdued the tribes from there to the Pyrenees within weeks, but with severe losses. At the Pyrenees, he left a detachment of 11,000 Iberian troops, who showed reluctance to leave their homeland. Hannibal reportedly entered Gaul with 50,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry and 37 war elephants. He took his army by an inland route,avoiding the Roman allies along the coast. In Gaul, negotiations helped him to move unmolested except for the Battle of Rhone Crossing, where a force of the Allobroges unsuccessfully tried to oppose his army.

He crossed the Alps in winter. Hannibal had many difficulties to contend with during the crossing, the freezing cold, the rough terrain, and the guerilla tactics of the native tribes. By the time Hannibal arrived in Italy he had 28,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 30 elephants left.

First Roman expedition to Iberia

In the meantime, a Roman fleet with an invasion force was underway to northern Iberia. Its commanders, the brothers Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus and Publius Cornelius Scipio, knew that Hannibal had crossed the Ebro, but were surprised by the presence of the Carthaginian army at the Rhone upstream of their ally Massalia, where they had landed. A scouting party of 300 cavalry was sent to discover the whereabouts of the enemy. These eventually defeated a Carthaginian scouting troop of 500 mounted Numidians and chased them back to their main camp. With knowledge of the location of the enemy, the Romans marched upstream, ready for battle. Hannibal evaded this force and by an unknown route reached the foot of the Alps in autumn. He also received messengers from his Gallic allies in Italy that urged him to come to their aid and offered to guide him over the Alps. Before setting out to cross the Alps, he was re-supplied by a native tribe, some of whose hereditary disputes he had helped solve.

The first Roman expedition to Iberia was unable to bring the Carthaginian troops in the hinterland of Massalia to a pitched battle, so it continued on its way to northern Iberia under Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, a move which proved decisive for the outcome of the war. Their other commander, Publius Cornelius Scipio, returned to Rome, realizing the danger of an invasion of Italy where the tribes of the Boii and Insubres were already in revolt.

In Iberia, Carthaginian rule was not popular, but Roman inaction during the siege of Saguntum had made the natives cautious about an alliance against their masters. Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus established his headquarters at Cissa. Despite initial setbacks, he won increasing support among the natives. This convinced the Carthaginian commander Hanno, the nephew of Hannibal, to accept pitched battle before his troops had been united with the army under Hasdrubal, the brother of Hannibal, despite being outnumbered 2 to 1. The result was a Roman victory in the battle of Cissa in 218 BC. When Hasdrubal finally made it to the scene, he was in no position to fight the Roman army and merely caught their navy personnel off-guard, killing some of them in the process.

The combined Roman and Massalian fleet and army posed a threat to the Carthaginians. Hasdrubal fought the fleet, but the Carthaginian and Iberian vessels were severely defeated by the Romans and Massalians.

This position prevented the Carthaginians from sending reinforcements from Iberia to Hannibal or to the insurgent Gauls in northern Italy during critical stages of the war. To deal with this problem, Hasdrubal marched into Roman territory in 215 BC and offered battle at Dertosa, but the Romans broke through and defeated him.

Alliance with Numidians

The Scipios were able to negotiate a new front in Africa by allying themselves with Syphax, a powerful Numidian king in North Africa. He received Roman advisers to train his heavy infantry soldiers that had not yet been able to stand up to their Carthaginian counterparts in 213 BC.

Battle of Ticinus

Hannibal had crossed the Alps and had arrived in the Cisalpine Gaul. It as the Ticino river where the two armies engaged in battle.

The Battle of Ticinus gave the Romans a taste of what was to come. This battle was mainly a cavalry engagement. It was so fast-moving that the javelin-throwers deployed by the Romans had no chance of firing even a single volley and milled around on the field, a major cause of the Roman defeat. The older Scipio was wounded and barely escaped with his life. He was rescued by his 17-year-old son, the later Scipio Africanus, who bravely broke through the Carthaginian encirclement around his father. The younger Scipio was offered a civic crown for this rescue, but for some reason turned it down.

Hannibal scattered the Roman forces, but he did not press his victory that day, perhaps because his forces were far outnumbered by the Roman infantry still in the fort. He left the field and the Romans returned to base. Scipio had discovered the intelligence he wanted to know. He knew Hannibal would be back the next day with his whole army, would interpose himself between the Roman fort and the bridge and Scipio and all his men would be trapped, a set-up for another massacre. He therefore broke camp in the night, hastened to get over the bridge before dawn. By the time Hannibal realized what had happened, Scipio was already out of reach.

The Carthaginians had established diplomatic contact with the native Gauls. The Gallic tribes of the Booi and Insubres rose up in rebellion.

Another pitched battle was fought at the Trebbia river, which resulted in another Carthaginian victory.

Battle of Lake Trasimene

The Romans were dismayed by the defeat at Trebbia and immediately made plans to counter the new threat from the north. Sempronius returned to Rome and the Roman Senate resolved to elect new consuls the following year in 217 BC. The new consuls were Gnaeus Servilius Geminus and Gaius Flaminius, the latter was under threat of recall from the Senate for leaving Rome without carrying out the proper rituals after being elected consul. The Senate commissioned Servilius to replace Publius Cornelius Scipio and take command of his army, while Flaminius was appointed to lead what remained of the army that had fought at Trebbia. Since both armies had been weakened by the defeat at Trebia, four new legions were raised. These new forces, together with the remains of the former army, were divided between the two consuls. Another force under Servilius was due to join Flaminius.

Before this could happen, Hannibal lured Gaius Flaminius into a pitched battle, by devastating the area Flaminius had been sent to protect. Flaminius, eager to exact revenge for the devastation of the countryside, and facing increasing political criticism from Rome, finally marched against Hannibal. Flaminius, like Sempronius, was impetuous, overconfident, and lacking in self-control. His advisors suggested that he send only a cavalry detachment to harass the Carthaginians and prevent them from laying waste to any more of the country, while reserving his main force, but it proved impossible to argue with the rash Flaminius. Flaminius had fallen for the ruse of Hannibal, hook, line, and sinker.

As Hannibal passed Lake Trasimene, he came to a place very suitable for an ambush, and hearing that Flaminius had broken camp and was pursuing him, made preparations for the impending battle.

The Romans were caught in this ambush near Lake Trasimene and were trapped with the bluk of the Roman being killed or captured.

Fabian Strategy

After these stunning defeats, the Romans had had enough and more cautious politicians became dominant in the senate. Out of these group of politicians one man was particularly prominent. His name was Quintus Fabius Maximus and after his plan was put into action, he became known as Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator, or Fabius the Delayer.

Rather then offering pitched battle, the Romans would avoid battle with the Carthaginians in Italy and attrit the enemy in the field. No matter how hard Hannibal tried to lure the Romans into battle, by devastating the surrounding countryside, the Romans would not take the bait.

The Carthaginians who were caught in battle in Hispania were not able to send reinforcements to Hannibal in Italy. Some tribes did rebel against Rome, but these were too few to replace the losses Hannibal sustained in the skirmishes. The Fabian strategy began to work and in due time Hannibal and his forces gradually grew weaker.

Hannibal then decided to lay waste to Campania, the richest of all the Roman provinces. Fabius ensured that all the mountain passes offering an exit out of Campania were blocked. Hannibal decided that it would be unwise to winter in the already devastated plains of Campania. This situation led to the night battle of Ager Falernus in which the Carthaginians made good their escape by tricking the Romans into believing that they were heading to the heights above them. The Romans were thus decoyed and the Carthaginians slipped through the undefended pass with all their baggage train. This was a severe blow to the prestige of Fabius.

Minucius, who was one of the leading voices in the army against the adoption of the Fabian Strategy, scored a minor victory in a skirmish with the Carthaginians. He thereafter accused Fabius of cowardice. The Senate promoted Minucius to the same command as Fabius. The consequence was, that the two men decided to split the army between them. Minucius was swiftly lured into an ambush by Hannibal in the flat country of Geronium. Fabius Maximus rushed to the assistance of Minucius and Hannibal retreated. Minucius subsequently accepted the authority of Fabius authority and their political conflict was resolved.

With time Fabius his tactics became unpopular in Rome, though the Romans suffered no defeats, his tactics did not lead to a quick end to the war. The Roman populace derided Fabius the Delayer, and at the elections of 216 BC elected as consuls Gaius Terentius Varro who advocated pursuing a more aggressive war strategy and Lucius Aemilius Paullus, who advocated a strategy in the middle between the Fabian tactics and the tactics suggested by Varro.

In the spring of 216 BC, Hannibal took the initiative and seized the large supply depot at Cannae in the Apulian plain. In this manner, Hannibal had placed himself between the Romans and their crucial source of supply. The Roman Senate authorised the raising of double-sized armies by the consuls Varro and Aemilius Paullus. The Romans raised a large force of perhaps as many as 100,000 men and marched on Cannae.

Battle of Cannae

Ordinarily each of the two consuls would command his own portion of the army but, since the two armies were combined into one, Roman law required them to alternate their command on a daily basis. It appears that Hannibal had already realized that the command of the Roman army alternated and planned his strategy accordingly. Varro was put in command on the day of the battle.

Hannibal used a double-envelopment tactic on the Romans at Cannae. This was so successful, that it is estimated that about 75,000 Roman soldiers perished in the battle. The Roman army was effectively destroyed as a fighting force.

Following the defeat, Capua and several other Italian city-states defected from the Roman Republic to Carthage.

Second Roman expedition to Iberia

Meanwhile in Hispania the first Roman expedition force was defeated by the Carthaginians, when the Celtiberian mercenaries were bribed by Hasdrubal. The Romans were forced to retreat to their stronghold of Northern Iberia.

In 210 BC, Scipio Africanus arrived in Iberia on the orders of the Senate to avenge the deaths of his father and uncle.

In a brilliant assault in 209 BC, Scipio succeeded in capturing Carthago Nova, which was the centre of Punic power in Iberia.

He defeated Hasdrubal in the Battle of Baecula in 208 BC, but was not able to prevent him from continuing his march to Italy in order to reinforce his brother Hannibal.

Siege of Syracuse

In the meantime King Hiero II of Syracuse died in 215 BC. His grandson Hieronymus came to the throne, but was assassinated soon after. Pro-Carthaginian leaders came to power in Syracuse. Despite diplomatic attempts, war broke out between the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Syracuse in 214 BC.

What followed was long siege of Syracuse. A Roman force led by the General Marcus Claudius Marcellus consequently laid siege to the port city by sea and land, but for two years was unable to take the city. Among the Syracuse defenders was the mathematician and scientist Archimedes. He made several inventions that kept the Romans at bay.

The siege bogged down to a stalemate with the Romans unable to force their way into the city or keep their blockade tight enough to stop supplies reaching the defenders, and the Syracusians unable to force the Romans to withdraw.

The successes of the Syracusians in repelling the Roman siege had made them overconfident. In 212 BC, the Romans received information that the inhabitants were to participate in the annual festival to their goddess Artemis. A small party of Roman soldiers approached the city under the cover of night and managed to scale the walls to get into the outer city and with reinforcements soon took control, but the main fortress remained firm.

Marcus Claudius Marcellus had ordered that Archimedes should not be killed. Archimedes, who was now around 78 years of age, continued his studies after the breach by the Romans and while at home, his work was disturbed by a Roman soldier. Archimedes protested at this interruption of his work and coarsely told the soldier to leave. The Roman soldier, not knowing who he was killed Archimedes on the spot.

The Romans now controlled the outer city but the remainder of the population of Syracuse had quickly fallen back to the fortified inner citadel. The Romans now put siege to the citadel and were successful in cutting off supplies to this reduced area. After a lengthy eight-month siege which brought great hardship onto the defenders through hunger, and with parleys in progress, an Iberian captain named Moeriscus, one of the three prefects of Achradina, decided to save his skin by letting the Romans in near the Fountains of Arethusa. On the agreed signal, during a diversionary attack, he opened the gate. After setting guards on the houses of the pro-Roman faction, Marcellus gave Syracuse to plunder. Frustrated and angered after the lengthy and costly siege, the Romans rampaged through the citadel and slaughtered many of the Syracusians where they stood and enslaved most of the rest. The city was then thoroughly looted and sacked.

The city of Syracuse was now under the influence of Rome again, who now united the whole of Sicily as a Roman province. The taking of Syracuse ensured that the Carthaginians could not get a foothold in Sicily and also ensured that Hannibal could not be resupplied via Sicily.

Battle of Capua

Capua had defected to Hannibal after the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC. Hannibal had made Capua his winter quarter in 215 BC and had conducted his campaigns against Nola and Casilinum from here. The Romans wished to recapture Capua.

The Battle of Capua in 212 BC ended up in a stalemate, where neither side could defeat the other. The Romans decided to withdraw and broke off the siege of Capua.

By now most of Magna Graecia in Italy was under the control of the Carthaginians. Tarentum too switched sides in 212 BC, but Hannibal was unable to capture the citadel and the port remained blocked. Hannibal was unable to get enough reinforcements, because of this blockade. The Carthaginian strength began to wane and yet again the tides turned in favor of the Romans.

Numidian Struggle

In 206 BC, there was a quick succession of kings in Eastern Numidia that temporarily ended with the division of the land between Carthage and the Western Numidian king Syphax, a former Roman ally. For this bargain, Syphax was to marry Sophonisba, daughter of Hasdrubal Gisco. Massinissa, who had thus lost his fiancee, went over to the Romans with whom he had already established contact during his military service in Iberia.

Battle of Utica

In 205, Mago landed in Genua by sea the remnants of his Spanish army. This was the third Carthaginian force invading Italy. It soon received Gallic and Ligurian reinforcements. The Carthaginians were checked by the Romans in the Po Valley Raid in 203 BC. This hindered the Carthaginians from uniting in Italy and made them less coherent. The split Carthaginian armies were less dangerous, allowing for Roman manpower to be directed to the invasion of Africa.

At this time Scipio Africanus was given command of the legions in Sicily and was allowed to levy volunteers for his plan to end the war by an invasion of Africa.

With the permission from the commissioners, Scipio sailed in 204 BC and landed near Utica. Meanwhile Carthage had secured the friendship of the Numidian Syphax, whose advance compelled Scipio to abandon the siege of Utica and dig in on the shore between there and Carthage. He launched an attack in 203 BC on the combined armies of the Carthaginians and Numidians. The stealthy attack is estimated to have killed about 40,000 Carthaginians and Numidians. The attack secured the siege of Utica and effectively put Syphax out of the war. Scipio quickly dispatched his two lieutenants to pursue Syphax. They ultimately dethroned Syphax and ensured the coronation of Masinissa as King of the Numidians.

Within a year of his landing in Africa, Scipio twice routed the regular Carthaginian forces, under Hasdrubal Gisco, and his Numidian allies. Scipio was victorious in the battle of Utica in 203 BC.

Carthage began opening diplomatic channels for negotiation, but when Hannibal Barca returned to Africa, the negotiations faltered and a battle at Zama ensued.

Battle of Zama

Scipio defeated Hannibal at the Battle of Zama. With Hannibal defeated, Carthage was forced to surrender.

The worst, longest, and most vicious war Rome had ever fought had come to a conclusion.

Aftermath of the Second Punic War

Carthage lost Hispania forever, and Rome firmly established her power there over large areas. Rome imposed a heavy war indemnity on Carthage and limited the Carthaginian navy, and forbade Carthage from raising an army without Roman permission. The Numidians took the opportunity to capture and plunder Carthaginian territory.

The end of the war did not meet with a universal welcome in Rome. Carthage was defeated but not finished. Cato the Elder, feared that if Carthage was not completely destroyed it would soon regain its power and pose new threats to Rome. Cato insisted on the destruction of Carthage, ending all his speeches with "Carthage must be destroyed", even if the subject of the speeches had nothing to do with Carthage.

Marcus Porcius Cato (234 BC - 149 BC)

Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman and commonly referred to as Cato the Elder. He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some military service, but devoted much of his time to agriculture. Cato the Elder was born in Tusculum, a municipal town in the region of Latium.

Cato had deeply conservative views and was a firm believer in the old Roman ways of strict discipline. Over the course of his lifetime Roma moved away of the Samnite rusticity, to new Grecan and more Oriental values. This put him increasingly at odds with many of the more Grecophile magistrates such as Scipio. He had a frugal and simple life and frowned upon the luxuries that most of his contemporary senators had.

He campaigned in Hispania during the Second Punic War and afterwards had a distinguished career in the Roman Senate.

Rome Carthage Cannae Pergamum Tarentum Brindisium Apollonia Lissus Elis

First Macedonian War

A Letter from Hannibal

While in Italy, Hannibal sent a letter to Philip V of Macedon requesting his aide in the war against Rome.

Demetrius of Pharos who had suffered at the hands of the Romans in the Second Illyrian War also urged Philip V of Macedon to wage war on Rome.

Philip V of Macedon builds a fleet

Philip V of Macedon chose to take on the offer and enter a war with Rome. Philip spent the winter of 217 BC - 216 BC building a fleet of 100 warships and training men to row them.

Ambassadors to Hannibal

Next, Philip V of Macedon, sent two ambassadors to Cannae were they met with Hannibal, to inform him that Philip had chosen to sail on Rome.

Hannibal was delighted by this news, as it meant that Rome was forced to wage a two-front war, something Rome had desperately tried to avoid. Ironically Rome had waged war with the Illyrians precisely for that reason, but was forced to wage war with Macedon, the patron of the Illyrians.

First Macedonian War (214 BC - 205 BC)

During the war, Macedon attempted to gain control over parts of Illyria and Greece, but without much success. It is commonly thought that these skirmishes in the east prevented Macedon from aiding the Carthaginian general Hannibal in the war with Rome.

The war broke out in Illyria. In the late summer of 214 BC, Philip again attempted an Illyrian invasion by sea, with a fleet of some 120 ships. He captured Oricum which was lightly defended, and sailing up the Aous river he besieged Apollonia.

Meanwhile the Romans had moved the fleet from Tarentum to Brundisium to continue the watch on the movements of Philip and a legion had been sent in support, all under the command of the Roman propraetor Marcus Valerius Laevinus. Upon receiving word from Oricum of events in Illyria, Laevinus crossed over with his fleet and army. Landing at Oricum, Laevinus was able to retake the town with little fighting.

Twice thwarted in attempts at invasion of Illyria by sea, Philip, next made advances in Illyria by land. Keeping clear of the coast entirely. He was finally able to gain access to the Adriatic by capturing Lissus and its seemingly impregnable citadel, after which the surrounding territories surrendered.

Aetolians Allies

Desiring to prevent Philip from aiding Carthage in Italy and elsewhere, Rome sought out land allies in Greece. Laevinus had begun exploring the possibility of an alliance with the Aetolian League, as early as 212 BC.

In 211 BC an Aetolian assembly was convened for discussions with Rome. Laevinus pointed out the recent capture of Syracuse and Capua in the war against Carthage as evidence of the rising fortunes of Rome. Rome offered to ally with them against the Macedonians. A treaty was signed. The Aetolians would conduct operations on land, the Romans at sea. Rome would keep any slaves and other booty taken and Aetolia would receive control of any territory acquired. Another provision of the treaty allowed for the inclusion of certain allies of the League and two Roman clients.

Pergamom Enters the War

The war waged on, but a decisive battle was fought near Lamia, which Macedon won. Peace talks ensued but faltered and hostilities resumed. The Aetolians dragged Pergamom into the war, when Attalus was elected leader of the Aetolian league.

After some battles, Attalus was forced to return to Pergamon, when he learned at Opus that, was moving against Pergamon. Prusias I was king of Bithynia and related to Philip by marriage. Sulpicius too returned to Aegina. Free from the pressure of the combined Roman and Pergamon fleets, Philip was able to resume the offensive against the Aetolians. He captured Thronium and a few other towns. The war was going in favor of Macedon.

Aetolian Withdrawal

The neutral trading powers were still trying to arrange a peace, but the Aetolians were not quite ready to make peace in 207 BC, but after another season of fighting, they finally relented in 206 BC.

The Romans sent the censor Publius Sempronius Tuditanus with 35 ships and 11,000 men to Dyrrachium in Illyria, where he incited the Parthini to revolt and laid siege to Dimale. When Philip arrived, Sempronius broke off the siege and withdrew inside the walls of Apollonia.

Peace Agreement

With no more allies in Greece, but having achieved their objective of preventing Philip from aiding Hannibal, the Romans were ready to make peace. A treaty was drawn up at Phoenice in 205 BC and the First Macedonian War ended.

Rome Corinthus Pergamum Miletus Rhodus Sparta Athenae

Conquest of the Greek Heartlands

In 204 BC, King Ptolemy IV Philopator of Egypt died, leaving the throne to his six-year old son Ptolemy V. Philip V of Macedon and Antiochus the Great of the Seleucid Empire decided to exploit the weakness of the young king by taking Ptolemaic territory for themselves and they signed a secret pact defining spheres of interest. Philip first turned his attention to the free Greek city states in Thrace and near the Dardanelles. His success at taking cities such as Kios worried the states of Rhodes and Pergamon who also had interests in the area.

Philip launched a campaign in Asia Minor, besieging the Ptolemaic city of Samos and capturing Miletus. Again, this disconcerted Rhodes and Pergamon and Philip responded by ravaging the territory of the latter. Philip then invaded Caria but the Rhodians and Pergamonians successfully blockaded his fleet in Bargylia, forcing him to spend the winter with his army in a country which offered very few provisions.

Though Rhodes and Pergamon had the upper hand, they still feared Philip so much that they sent an appeal to the most powerful state in the Mediterranean. That state was Rome. Rome had just emerged victorious from the Second Punic War against Hannibal. Up to this point in her history, Rome had taken very little interest in the affairs of the eastern Mediterranean. Nevertheless, the Romans listened to the appeal from Rhodes and Pergamon and sent a party of three ambassadors to investigate matters in Greece.

The ambassadors found very little enthusiasm for a war against Philip until they reached Athens. Here they met King Attalus I of Pergamon and diplomats from Rhodes. At the same time, Athens declared war on Macedon and Philip sent a force to invade Attica. The Roman ambassadors held a meeting with the Macedonian general and urged Macedon to leave every Greek city in peace. They particularly singled out Athens, Rhodes, Pergamon, and the Aetolian League as Roman allies and thus free from Macedonian influence. The Romans also wished for Macedon to come to an arrangement with Rhodes and Pergamon to adjudicate damages from the latest war. The Macedonian general evacuated Athenian territory and handed the Roman ultimatum to his master Philip.

Philip, who had managed to slip past the blockade and arrive back home, rejected the Roman ultimatum out of hand. He renewed his attack on Athens and began another campaign in the Dardanelles, besieging the important city of Abydus. Here, in the autumn of 200, a Roman ambassador reached him with a second ultimatum, urging him not to attack any Greek state or to seize any territory belonging to Ptolemy and to go to arbitration with Rhodes and Pergamon. It was obvious that Rome was now intent on making war on Philip and at the very same time the ambassador was delivering the second ultimatum, a Roman force was disembarking in Illyria. Philip protested that he was not in violation of any of the terms of the Peace of Phoenice he had signed with Rome in 205 BC.

With the second ultimatum thus rejected a second war with Macedon commenced.

Second Macedonian War (200 BC - 196 BC)

Philip found himself with few active allies in Greece, but there was little enthusiasm for the Roman cause either, the Greeks remembering the frequent brutality of the legions during the First Macedonian War. Most states adopted a policy of waiting to see which way the war went. For the first two years, the Roman campaign was lacklustre. Publius Sulpicius Galba made little headway against Philip and his successor, Publius Villius, had to deal with a mutiny among his own men. In 198 bc, Villius handed command over to the Titus Quinctius Flamininus, who would prove a very different kind of general.

Flamininus was not yet thirty and was a self-proclaimed ardent Philhellene. He introduced a new Roman policy for winning the war. Up to this point, the Romans had merely ordered Philip to stop attacking Greek cities. Now Flamininus demanded that he should withdraw all his garrisons from the Greek cities he already held and confine himself to Macedon.

Flamininus led a vigorous campaign against Philip in 198, forcing him to retreat to Thessaly. The cities of the Achaean League, traditionally favourable to Macedon, had been too busy with their war against Sparta to take any part in the Second Macedonian War so far. Roman success against Philip persuaded many of them to abandon their pro-Macedonian stance. Others, such as Argos, remained loyal to Philip.

Philip declared his willingness to make peace, but his overtures came at a critical time for Flamininus just as elections were being held in Rome. Flamininus was eager to take the credit for ending the war but he did not yet know whether his command would be prolonged. He decided to negotiate with Philip while he awaited the outcome of the elections. If they meant he was to be recalled to Rome, then he would make a quick peace deal with the Macedonian. If, on the other hand, his command was extended, then he decided to break off the negotiations and declare war on Philip again. Flamininus and Philip met at Nicaea in Locris in November 198 BC. To prolong the proceedings, Flamininus insisted that all his allies should be present at the negotiations. Flamininus reiterated his demands that Philip should withdraw from the whole of Greece. Philip, who was prepared to give up all his recent conquests in Thrace and Asia Minor, could not go this far. Flamininus persuaded him that the problem was the Greek states who were insisting on this point and suggested he should send an embassy to the Roman Senate. Philip followed his advice but at this moment Flamininus learned that his command had been extended and his friends in Rome successfully interfered with the Macedonian negotiations in Rome so the war could continue.

The war was going in favor of Rome and many of the allies of Philip abandoned him. The legions of Titus confronted and defeated Philip at the Aous, but the decisive battle came at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly in June 197 BC, when the legions of Flamininus defeated the Macedonian phalanx. Philip was forced to sue for peace on Roman terms. An armistice was declared and peace negotiations were held in the Vale of Tempe. Philip agreed to evacuate the whole of Greece and relinquish his conquests in Thrace and Asia Minor. The Roman allies in the Aetolian League also made further territorial claims of their own against Philip, but Flamininus refused to back them. The Senate added terms of its own. Philip had to pay a war indemnity and had to surrender his navy. In 196 BC, peace was finally agreed and at the Isthmian Games that year Flamininus proclaimed the liberty of the Greeks to general rejoicing. Nevertheless, the Romans kept garrisons in key strategic cities which had belonged to Macedon, cities such as Corinth, Chalcis and Demetrias. The legions were not completely evacuated until 194 BC.

Prelude to the Seleucid War

Antiochus the Great, the Seleucid Emperor, first became involved with Greece when he signed an alliance with King Philip V of Macedon in 203 BC. The treaty stated that Antiochus and Philip would help each other conquer the lands of the young Ptolemaic pharaoh.

In 200 BC, Rome first became involved in the affairs of Greece, when two of its allies, Pergamum and Rhodes, who had been fighting Philip in the Cretan War, appealed to the Romans for help. In response to this appeal the Romans sent an army to Greece and attacked Macedon. The Second Macedonian War lasted until 196 BC, and it effectively ended when the Romans and their allies, including the Aetolian League, defeated Philip at the Battle of Cynoscephalae. Meanwhile, Antiochus was fighting the armies of Ptolemy in Coele-Syria in the Fifth Syrian War. Antiochus his army crushed the Egyptian army at the Battle of Panium in 201 BC, and by 198 BC, Coele-Syria was in the hands of the Seleucids.

Antiochus then concentrated on raiding Ptolemaic possessions in Cilicia, Lycia and Caria. While attacking Ptolemaic possessions in Asia Minor, Antiochus sent a fleet to occupy Ptolemaic coastal cities in the area as well as to support Philip. Rhodes, a Roman ally and the strongest naval power in the area became alarmed and sent envoys to Antiochus saying that they would have to oppose him if his fleet passed Chelidonae in Cicilia because they did not want Philip to receive aid. Antiochus ignored the threat and kept proceeding with his naval movements, but the Rhodians did not act because they had heard that Philip had been defeated at Cynoscephalae and was no longer a threat.

Peace was established in 195 BC with the marriage of Antiochus his daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy. Antiochus his hands were now clear of problems in Asia and he now turned his eyes towards Europe.

Seleucid War (192 BC - 188 BC)

The Outbreak

Meanwhile, Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who had fought against Rome in the Second Punic War, fled from Carthage to Tyre, and from there he sought refuge at Antiochus his court in Ephesus where the King was deciding what actions to take against Rome.

In 195 BC, when the Romans decided to invade Sparta, the Aetolians, wanting the Romans to leave Greece, offered to deal with Sparta. However, the Achean League, not wanting Aetolian power to grow, refused. Having defeated Sparta in 195 BC, the Roman legions under Flamininus left Greece the next year. In 192 BC, a weakened Sparta appealed to the Aetolians for military assistance. The Aetolians responded to this request by sending a unit of 1,000 cavalry. However, after they got there, this force assassinated Nabis and tried to gain control of Sparta, only to be defeated.

The Conflict

Building on anti-Roman sentiment in Greece, particularly among the city-states of the Aetolian League, Antiochus led an army across the Hellespont planning to liberate it. Antiochus and the Aetolian league failed to gain the support of Philip V of Macedon and the Achaean League. The Romans responded to the invasion by sending an army to Greece which defeated the Seleucid army at Thermopylae. This defeat proved crushing, and Antiochus was forced to retreat from Greece. The Romans under the command of Scipio Asiaticus followed him across the Aegean. The combined Roman-Rhodian fleet defeated the Seleucid fleet commanded by Hannibal at the Battle of the Eurymedon and at the Battle of Myonessus. After some fighting in Asia Minor, the Seleucids fought against the armies of Rome and Pergamum at Magnesia. The Roman-Pergamese army won the battle, and Antiochus was forced to retreat yet again. The battle was disastrous for the Seleucids, and Antiochus was forced to come to terms.

Aftermath to the Seleucid War

Amongst the terms of the Treaty of Apamea, Antiochus had to pay 15,000 talents of silver as a war indemnity, and he was forced to abandon his territory west of the Taurus Mountains. Rhodes gained control over Caria and Lycia, while the Pergamese gained northern Lycia and all of Seleucid territories in Asia Minor.

Lucius Aemilius Paullus (229 BC - 160 BC)

Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus was a two-time consul of the Roman Republic and a noted general who conquered Macedon putting an end to the Antigonid dynasty.

His father was Lucius Aemilius Paullus, the consul defeated and killed in the battle of Cannae. Lucius Aemilius was, in his time, the head of his branch of the Aemilii Paulii, an old and aristocratic patrician family. Their influence was immense, particularly due to their fortune and alliance with the Cornelii Scipiones. He was father to Scipio Aemilianus Africanus.

After the fulfilment of his military service, he was elected military tribune. Paullus was elected curule aedile in 193 BC. The next step of his cursus honorum was the election as praetor in 191 BC. At the term of this office he went to the Hispania provinces, where he campaigned against the Lusitanians between 191 and 189 BC. Paullus was elected consul for the first time in 182 BC, he campaigned against the Ligurians the next year.

Paullus was elected consul again in 168 BC and was appointed by the senate to deal with the Macedonian war. Shortly afterwards, on June 22, he won the decisive battle of Pydna. Perseus of Macedonia was made prisoner and the Third Macedonian War ended. To set an example, Paullus ordered the killing of 500 prominent Macedonians known for their opposition to Rome. He also exiled many more to Italy and confiscated their belongings in the name of Rome. On his way back to Rome, Paullus decided on a stop in Epirus, a kingdom suspected of sympathizing with the Macedonian cause. To satisfy his troops with plunder, Paullus ordered the sacking of seventy of its towns. 150,000 people were enslaved and the region was left to bankruptcy.

His return to Rome was glorious. With the immense plunder collected in Macedonia and Epirus, he celebrated a spectacular triumph, featuring no less than the captured king of Macedonia himself. The senate awarded him the surname Macedonicus, as a gesture of acknowledgment. This was the peak of his career. In 164 BC he was elected censor. He fell ill in 160 BC and died during his term of office.

Demetrius of Pharos (? - 214 BC)

Demetrius of Pharos was a ruler of Pharos involved in the First Illyrian War, after which he ruled a portion of the Illyrian Adriatic coast on behalf of the Romans, as a client king.

Demetrius was a regent ruler to Pinnes, the son of Agron who was too young to rule as king. When the Romans were occupied with their own problems, he had grown stronger as an ally of Macedonia and also by conquering Dimallum of Dalmatia, on the shore facing Issa. Together with Scerdilaidas, he sailed south of Lissus and broke the Roman treaty, attacking Roman allies in the Adriatic and by devastating and plundering many cities in the Cyclades and the Peloponnese. He was expelled from Illyria by Rome after the Second Illyrian War and became a trusted councilor at the court of Philip V of Macedon. He became a strong political influence to Philip of Macedon and encouraged him to clash with Rome. Demetrius remained there until his death at Messene in 214 BC while attempting to take the city.

Scerdilaidas (? - 206 BC)

Scerdilaidas was an Illyrian king of the Ardiaean Kingdom. Before taking the throne Scerdilaidas was commander of the Illyrian armies and played a major role in the Illyrian Wars against the Romans. His reign lasted from 218 BC till his death in 206 BC.

Scerdilaidas was one of the youngest brothers of Agron and father of Pleuratus and grandfather of Gentius.

Scerdilaidas took part in many expeditions in the Ionian and Aegean with Demetrius and his brother-in-law Amynas of Athamania. During his early reign Scerdilaidas was an ally of Rome. In 217 BC Scerdilaidas later adopted Roman rule and became an enemy of Macedonia for parleying with Rome.


Menacing Macedon

Gentius (? BC - 167 BC)

Gentius was the last Illyrian king of the Ardiaean State. He was the son of Pleuratus, a king who kept relations with Rome very strong. In 171 BC, Gentius was allied with the Romans against the Macedonians, but in 169 BC he changed sides and allied himself with Perseus of Macedon. The southernmost city of the Ardiaean State of Gentius was Lissus, a situation established since the First Illyrian War. He arrested two Roman legati, accusing them of not coming as emissaries but as spies. Gentius destroyed the cities of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, which were allied with Rome. He was defeated in 168 BC at Scodra by a Roman force under Anicius Gallus. Scodra was the capital of Ardiaean State at the time. In 167 he was brought to Rome as a captive in triumph of Gallus.

Prelude to the Third Illyrian War

By 181 BC, the loyal Pleuratus had been succeeded by his son Gentius. During his reign, relations with the Ardiaean State and Rome started to dwindle. Gentius moved to increase Illyrian power and allied with Macedon. In 180 BC, a Roman praetor responsible for coastal protection arrived in Brudisium with some Illyrian ships that were said to have been caught in the act of piracy. On the eve of war, a Roman senator was sent to Illyria to remind Gentius of his formal friendship with the Roman Republic, but no avail.

Third Illyrian War (181 BC - 168 BC)

Having mustered his force of 15,000 men and his fleet at Lissus, the southernmost city of the State, Gentius advanced into Roman territory and laid siege to the Illyrian city of Bassania, a Roman ally that refused to yield.

Meanwhile, the Romans under Appius Claudius had heard of the alliance that Gentius had made with Perseus of Macedonia and the arrest of the Roman envoys. He therefore moved his army out of their winter quarters at Nymphaeum, added to it troops from Byllis, Epidamnus and Appolonia, as he marched north, and encamped by the river Genesus. There, he met with the new Roman commander, Lucius Anicius Gallus, a praetor. Anicius had crossed over from Italy to Apollonia with two legions totalling 600 cavalry and 10,400 infantry and of Italian allies, 800 cavalry and 10,000 infantry. His fleet, whose size is not known, was strengthened by a draft of 5,000 sailors. To this imposing force, he added 200 cavalry and 2,000 infantry of the Parthini, an Illyrian kingdom allied to the Romans. These combined forces outnumbered those of Gentius by two to one. The Illyrian forces were defeated, allowing the Romans to advance to the heart of the state, where they won over the cities by humane and clement methods.

Gentius then concentrated his forces in his capital. When Anicius approached with his army in battle formation, Gentius fled into the city in panic. Gentius asked for, and was given, a three-day truce hoping that Caravantius would come at any moment with a large relieving army, but it did not happen. After his defeat, Gentius sent two prominent tribal leaders, Teuticus and Bellus, as envoys to negotiate with the Roman commander. On the third day of the truce, Gentius came to the Roman camp and surrendered the Romans, who gave him a dinner with full honours and then put him under arrest.

Aftermath of the Third Illyrian War

By decision of the Senate, Gentius and his family were sent to Spoletum, to be kept under observation. The other captives were imprisoned in Rome. But the inhabitants of Spoletum refused to keep the royal family under watch, so they were transferred to Iguvium. The booty seized in Illyria included 220 vessels, the furniture of the king himself and various other loot. Millions of sestercii were gained from the sale of the booty, in addition to the gold and silver that went to the state treasury. The Roman punishment of Illyria spared only those kingdoms that had backed Rome openly in the war. For those who had been enemies, their cities, buildings and public institutions were burned and thoroughly looted. Those spared retained their previous manner of administration, with officials elected every year, and paid Rome only half the taxes that they had previously paid to Gentius. The Illyrian federation-based kingdoms were dissolved, with the southern Illyrian subject to Rome once and for all.

Third Macedonian War (172 BC - 168 BC)

In 179 BC King Philip V of Macedon died and his talented and ambitious son, Perseus, took his throne. Perseus married Laodike, daughter of King Seleucus IV Keraunos of Asia, and increased the size of his army. He also made alliance treaties with Epirus and several tribes of Illyria and Thrace.

King Eumenes II of Pergamon, who hated Macedonia, accused Perseus of trying to violate laws of other states and conditions of peace between Macedonia and Rome. The Romans were afraid for the balance of power in Greece and declared a new war with Macedonia. Perseus won the first struggle, the Battle of Callicinus, where he faced the army of Publius Licinius Crassus. The king offered a peace treaty to the Romans, which was refused. The Romans had problems with discipline in their army, and Roman commanders could not find a way to successfully invade Macedonia.

What followed was a stalemate near Phalanna involving Perseus and Crassus. In 169 BC, consul Quintus Marcius Philippus crossed the Olympus Range and entered Macedonia, but his army ran out of provisions and retired on a narrow strip of coast near Tempe. Perseus tried to win Eumenes of Pergamon and King Antiochus IV of the Seleucid Empire over to his side but failed. He did, however, succeed in buying the support of the Illyrian king Gentius in the autumn of 169 BC. Perseus was defeated by the legions of the Roman consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus at the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC. This defeat was largely due to the inflexibility of Macedonian phalanx tactics compared to the maniple-based tactics of the Roman legions.

Aftermath of the Third Macedonian War

In the aftermath of the battle of Pydna, King Perseus surrendered and was taken to Rome along with members of his court and other prisoners from the leading families of Macedon, including the Greek historian Polybius. In addition, around 300,000 Macedonian citizens were enslaved. A number of Macedonian cities and villages were destroyed and their land distributed to the Roman veterans and their Thracian allies. Macedonia itself was divided. The Third Macedonian war thus marked the end of the Macedon kingdom and the monarchy of the Antigonid dynasty.

Tidying Up

The troubles were not quite finished for Rome in the Hellenic world. Gallic tribes of Galatia who had emigrated to Asia Minor almost 100 years prior to the ensuing Seleucid War had taken part in that war.

Galatian War (189 BC)

Gnaeus Manlius Vulso, the consul, excused the invasion into Galatian territory by saying that it was in retaliation for the Galatians supplying troops to the Seleucids during the war. Vulso embarked on this campaign without the permission of the Roman Senate. Joined by Pergamum, the Romans marched inland and attacked the Galatians. They defeated the Galatians in a battle and followed up the victory by defeating a larger army near Ancyra.

These defeats forced the Galatians to sue for peace and the Romans returned to the coast of Asia Minor. However, when Manlius Vulso returned to Rome, he was charged with threatening the peace between the Seleucids and Rome. He was cleared of these accusations and was granted a triumph by the Senate.


Conquest of Hispania

After the Second Punic war, the lands previously held by the Carthiginians, came under Roman rule.

Some of the local tribes started to rebel in 181 BC and this started a series of long lasting conflicts in Hispania that ultimately led to conquest of the whole of Hispania by Rome.

First Celtiberian War (181 BC - 179 BC)

In 181, several tribes along the river Ebro, especially the Lusones, rebelled against Roman rule. They were quickly put down by the consul Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. The survivors scattered and some fled to Complega, then a newly fortified city. In 179 BC, Flaccus was succeeded by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. Gracchus quickly went to the rescue of the besieged city of Caravis and then took the city of Complega. He divided up the land among the poor and signed treaties with all of the tribes.

Gracchus his success in establishing peace made him much admired in both Hispania and Rome, where he arrived to a triumph.

This lead to a peaceful region for some years, until in 155 BC a new revolt broke out known as Second Celtiberian War.

Lusitanian War (155 BC - 139 BC)

Another major revolt was reignited under the leadership of Punicus, who allied with the Vettones in 155 BC. Caesarus succeeded after the death of Punicus. Another warlord, Caucenus, made war against the Romans in the region south of the river Tagus.

The praetor Servius Sulpicius Galba and the proconsul Lucius Licinius Lucullus arrived in 151 BC and began the process of subduing the local population. Galba betrayed the Lusitanian people he had invited to peace talks and had roughly 10,000 massacred in 150, thus ending the first phase of the war. This would be later proven to have been a costly mistake as the Lusitanians became embittered and began open warfare against Rome and its allies. Not only that, but future Lusitanian leader Viriathus had escaped alive from the massacre, having now developed a vendetta against Rome. These circumstances would lead to a very long and protacted war.

The general Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus campaigned successfully against the Lusitanians in 145 BC, but failed in his attempts to arrest Viriathus.

Knowing that the Lusitanian resistance was largely due to the leadership of Viriathus, Quintus Servilius Caepio bribed Audax, Ditalcus and Minurus, who had been sent by Viriathus as an embassy to establish peace. hese ambassadors returned to their camp and killed Viriatus while he was sleeping. After the death of Viriatus, the Lusitanians kept fighting under the leadership of Tautalus. Laenas would finally give the Lusitanians the land they originally had asked for before the massacre and after these successful negotiations the war gradually quieted down.

Viriathus (? BC - 138 BC)

He belonged to the class of warriors, the occupation of the minority ruling elites. As a young boy he probably worked as a shepherd, a path followed by most young warriors.

The Lusitanians elected Viriathus as war leader in 146 BC, after he had rescued a great number of Lusitanian warriors pinned down by a Roman Legion. Viriathus was to gain renown throughout the Roman world as a guerrilla fighter. He was killed through treachery.

Numantine War (143 BC - 133 BC)

Open war was reinvigorated in 143 BC, Rome sent a series of generals to the Iberian peninsula to deal with the Numantines. In that year, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus tried and failed to take the city by siege, but subjugated all the other tribes of the Arevaci. His successor, Quintus Pompeius, was inept and suffered severe defeats at their hands, so he secretly negotiated a peace with the city abiding by the previous treaty.

Yet in 138 BC a new general arrived, Marcus Pompillius Laenas, and when the Numantine envoys came to finish their obligations of the peace treaty, Pompeius disavowed negotiating any such peace. The matter was referred to the Senate for a judgment. Rome decided to ignore the peace negotiations and sent Gaius Hostilius Mancinus to continue the war in 136 BC, who assaulted the city and was repulsed several times before being routed and encircled, and so forced to accept a treaty. This treaty negotiated by a young Tiberius Gracchus. The Senate did not ratify his treaty either, but only sent Mancinus to the Numantines as a prisoner. His successors Lucius Furius Philus and Gaius Calpurnius Piso avoided conflict with the Numantines.

In 134 BC, the Consul Scipio Aemilianus was sent to Hispania Citerior to end the war. He recruited 20,000 men and 40,000 allies, including Numidian cavalry under Jugurtha. Scipio built a ring of seven fortresses around Numantia itself before beginning the siege proper. After suffering pestilence and famine, most of the surviving Numantines committed suicide rather than surrender to Rome. The great Roman victory over Numantia ushered in an era of peace in Hispania.

Rome Carthage

Eliminating Old Rivals

With the conquest of Hispania largely secure, it ultimately came about to eliminate the old rivals of Rome.

Fourth Macedonian War (150 BC - 148 BC)

Troubles continued in Macedon for Rome when a Greek uprising occured. This uprising was led by the Macedonian pretender to the throne Andriscus. Pretending to be the son of former king Perseus, who had been deposed by the Romans after the Third Macedonian War in 168 BC, Andriscus sought to re-establish the old Macedonian Kingdom. In the process he destabilized Macedonia and much of the Greek world. Andriscus, after some early successes, was eventually defeated by the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus at the Second Battle of Pydna in 148 BC, and the uprising subsequently collapsed. Two years later Macedonia became a Roman province.

In response, the Achaean League in 146 BC mobilized for a new war against Rome. This war had a short duration. The Achaean League was swiftly defeated, and, as an object lesson, Rome utterly destroyed the city of Corinth in 146 BC.


In the years between the Second and Third Punic War, Rome was engaged in the conquest of the Hellenistic empires to the east (see Macedonian Wars, Illyrian Wars, and the Roman-Syrian War, and ruthlessly suppressing the peoples in Hispania. Carthage, stripped of allies and territory, was suffering under a huge indemnity of 200 silver talents to be paid every year for 50 years.

In 151 BC, the Carthaginian debt to Rome was fully repaid, meaning that, in Punic eyes, the treaty was now expired, though not so according to the Romans, who instead viewed the treaty as a permanent declaration of Carthaginian subordination to Rome. Moreover, the retirement of the indemnity removed one of the main incentives the Romans had to keep the peace with Carthage.

The senator Cato the Elder who favored war with Carthage famously finished his speeches on any subject in the Senate with the phrase, "Furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage must be destroyed". He was opposed by the senator Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, who favoured a different course that would not destroy Carthage, and who usually prevailed in the debates. However, with indemnity paid the mood shifted in the Roman Senate.

Third Punic War (149 BC - 146 BC)


In 151 BC Numidia launched another border raid on Carthaginian soil, besieging the Punic town of Oroscopa, and Carthage launched a large military expedition to repel the Numidian invaders much to the dismay of the Romans. In 149 BC, Rome declared war against Carthage. The Carthaginians made a series of attempts to appease Rome, but no avail.

Siege of Carthage

What followed was a three year long siege of Carthage, which finally ended when Scipio Aemilianus successfully assaulted the city. Though the Punic citizens fought valiantly, they were inevitably gradually pushed back by the overwhelming Roman military force and destroyed. Many Carthaginians died from starvation during the later part of the siege, while many others died in the final six days of fighting.


When the war ended, the remaining 50,000 Carthaginians, a small part of the original pre-war population, were sold into slavery by the victors. Carthage was systematically burned for 17 days. The city walls and buildings were utterly destroyed. The remaining Carthaginian territories were annexed by Rome and reconstituted to become the Roman province of Africa. Africa soon became a vital source of grain for the Romans. Roman Carthage was the main hub transporting these supplies to the capital.


Internal Unrest

Though Rome by this time had eliminated any serious rivals, it met with serious setbacks in the conquest of Hispania. Of particular note is the massacre by Galba and the betrayal of the treaty made by Gracchus. Part of this problem lay in Rome itself and its government institutions.

Background of the civil War

The expansion of Rome led to an abundance of slaves and the implementation of a new farming practices. This in turn led to many of the smaller farms being squeezed out of existence. These former farmers migrated to the capital and other large cities, which provided for a growth of the landless class of proletarians, who were not eligible for military service in the army. This ultimately led to a new period of political instability within Rome, coupled with a series of slave rebellions.

Populares versus Optimates

There were two men of particular note that were instrumental in shaping Roman politics of the Late Republican period. These men were Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla and they fought on opposite side in the first civil war of Rome, the first for the Populares and the latter for the Optimates. The Populares challenged the existing order to further rights for the plebs, while the Optimates sought to preserve the existing power structure dominated by the aristocracy and the Senate.

The return to power of Marius during his seventh consulship led to the first bloody proscription in Rome. The decision of Sulla to seize power, ironically enabled by the military reforms of Marius that bound the loyalty of the army with the general rather than to Rome, permanently destabilized the Roman power structure.

Gaius Marius (157 BC - 86 BC)

Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He held the office of consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his important reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the structure of the legions into separate cohorts. Marius also defeated the invading Germanic tribes, which made him hugely popular at home. Marius died just seventeen days into his seventh consulship.

Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138 BC - 78 BC)

Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as reviving the dictatorship. The dictatorship of Sulla came during a high point in the struggle between populares and optimates. Sulla was awarded a grass crown, the most prestigious and rarest Roman military honor, during the Social War.

In a dispute over army command, Sulla unconstitutionally marched his armies into Rome and defeated Marius in battle. He revived the office of dictator which had been inactive since the Second Punic War over a century before, and used his powers to enact a series of reforms to the Roman constitution, meant to restore the power of the Senate and the tribunes. After seeking election to and holding a second consulship, he retired to private life and died shortly after.

Background of the First Servile War

The uprising was mostly caused by great changes in the ownership of land in Sicily following the final expulsion of the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War. Speculators from Italy rushed into the island and bought up large tracts of land at a low price, or became the occupiers of estates which had belonged to Sicilians of the Carthaginian party and had been forfeited to Rome after the execution or flight of their owners.

The Sicilians of the Roman party also became rich out of the distress of their countrymen. According to Diodorus Siculus, politically influential slave-owners, often Roman equites, did not provide enough food and clothing for their slaves, and the slaves turned to banditry to provide for themselves. The poorer Sicilians were the sufferers. Several decades of increasing tension finally broke out into war.

First Servile War (135 BC - 132 BC)

The First Servile War of was a rebellion of slaves against the Roman Republic. The war was prompted by slave revolts in Enna on the island of Sicily. It was led by Eunus, a former slave claiming to be a prophet, and Cleon, a Cilician who became the military commander. After some minor battles won by the slaves, a larger Roman army arrived in Sicily and defeated the rebels.

Rome Arausio Massilia Cirta

The emergence of New Threats

Whilst this internal unrest was taking place, the Romans saw Germanic tribes in Gaul emerge as new threat. This threat was dealt with by Marius. Another threat emerged in the recently conquered Africa, where Numdian power was growing under their king Jugurtha. This threat too was dealt with by Marius and was witnessed by his Quaestor who just happened to be Sulla.

Roman Campaigns in Gallia Transalpina (121 BC)

The Romans learned of this emerging in Gaul, because they had recently conquered territory belonging to Gallic tribes in the vicinity of Massilia. Massilia had been a staunch ally of Rome during the Second Punic War against Carthage.

Apparently two Germanic tribes known as the Cimbri and the Teutones had migrated into Gaul and were making their way into territory recently conquered by Rome.

The Cimbrian threat, along with the Jugurthine War, inspired the landmark Marian reforms of the Roman legions. Part of this had to with the initial defeats that Rome suffered during the Cimbrian war.

Cimbrian War (113 BC - 101 BC)

Germanic adversaries inflicted on the Roman armies the heaviest losses that they had suffered since the Second Punic War at the battles of Arausio and Noreia. Marius took over the command of the Roman armies after the diastrous battle at Arausio. Under his leadership the Romans scored victories at Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae. This left the Cimbri and Teutones almost completely annihilated.

Jugurthine War (112 BC - 106 BC)

Jugurtha usurped the throne of Numidia, a loyal ally of Rome since the Punic Wars. Rome felt compelled to intervene. Jugurtha managed dissuade Roman intervention for a while through bribery and treachery.

The consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus was sent to North Africa to defeat Jugurtha. Metellus was honest and able as a commander but was buying time in order to maximize his glory when he did actually defeat them. His successful war plan was to destroy the supply lines of Jugurtha and this forced Jugurtha to guerilla tactics. An internal Roman struggle developed between Metellus and his subordinate commander, Gaius Marius, which Marius ultimately won with the support of the Populares in the Senate.

When Gaius Marius returned to Numidia, Jugurtha had joined forces with his father-in-law, Bocchus, the King of Mauretania. Marius continued the war plan of Metellus and won several victories, but, just like the earlier Fabian strategy, the tactics of Jugurtha prevented a Roman victory. It soon became evident that Rome could not defeat Jugurtha through war. Instead, Bocchus negotiated a peace with the Romans that included betraying and turning Jugurtha over to them and in return, Bocchus received part of the Numidian Kingdom. Jugurtha was thrown into a pit under the Tullianum in Rome to die.


Crisis of the Republic

The Jugurthine War clearly revealed the problems of the Republic at that time. The fact that a man such as Jugurtha could rise to power by buying Roman military and civil officials reflected a Roman moral and ethical decline. Romans now sought individual power often at the expense of the state.

During this crisis a new class of incredibly wealthy patrons developed. Chief among these was a man named Marcus Licinius Crassus, who is considered the wealthiest man in Roman history, and among the richest men in all history.

Marcus Licinius Crassus (115 BC - 53 BC)

Crassus began his public career as a military commander under Lucius Cornelius Sulla during his civil war. Following the dictatorship of Sulla, Crassus amassed an enormous fortune through real estate speculation. Crassus rose to political prominence following his victory over the slave revolt led by Spartacus, sharing the Consulship with his rival Pompey the Great.

A political and financial patron of Julius Caesar, Crassus joined Caesar and Pompey in the unofficial political alliance known as the First Triumvirate. While Caesar and Crassus were lifelong allies, Crassus and Pompey disliked each other.

Crassus received Syria as his province, which promised to be an inexhaustible source of wealth. It may have been had he not also sought military glory and crossed the Euphrates in an attempt to conquer Parthia. Crassus attacked Parthia not only because of its great source of riches, but because of a desire to match the military victories of his two major rivals, Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. The king of Armenia, Artavazdes II, offered Crassus the aid of nearly forty thousand troops on the condition that Crassus invaded through Armenia so that the king could not only maintain the upkeep of his own troops but also provide a safer route for his men and Crassus. Crassus refused, and chose the more direct route by crossing the Euphrates.

His legions were defeated at Carrhae in 53 BC by a numerically inferior Parthian force. Crassus his legions were mainly infantry men and were not prepared for the type of swift, cavalry-and-arrow attack that the Parthian troops were particularly adept at. The Parthians would get within shooting range, rain a barrage of arrows down upon Crassus his troops, turn, fall back, and charge forth with another attack in the same vein. Crassus refused the advise of his quaestor Gaius Cassius Longinus, to reconstitute the Roman battle line, and remained in the testudo formation thinking that the Parthians would eventually run out of arrows. Subsequently Crassus his men, being near mutiny, demanded he parley with the Parthians, who had offered to meet with him. Crassus, despondent at the death of his son Publius in the battle, finally agreed to meet the Parthian general. However, when Crassus mounted a horse to ride to the Parthian camp for a peace negotiation, his junior officer Octavius suspected a Parthian trap and grabbed Crassus his horse by the bridle, instigating a sudden fight with the Parthians that left the Roman party dead, including Crassus.

During all of these rivalries, yet more slave rebellions developed.

Second Servile War (104 BC - 100 BC)

The Second Servile War was yet another unsuccessful slave uprising against the Roman Republic on the island of Sicily. The war started due to build up frustrations over the release of some Italian slaves. A slave by the name of Salvius was following in the footsteps of Eunus, fighting for his rights and he was elected leader of this rebellion. He assumed the name Tryphon, from Diodotus Tryphon, a Seleucid ruler. He amassed an army containing thousands of trained and equipped slaves, including 2,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry, and was joined by a Cilician named Athenion and his men from the west of Sicily. The Roman consul Manius Aquillius quelled the revolt only after great effort. It was the second of a series of three slave revolts in the Roman Republic, but fueled by the same slave abuse in Sicily and Southern Italy.

Third Servile War (73 BC - 71 BC)

The Third Servile War was the last of a series of unrelated and unsuccessful slave rebellions against the Roman Republic. The Third Servile War was the only one to directly threaten the Roman heartland of Italy and was doubly alarming to the Roman people due to the repeated successes of the rapidly growing band of escaped former slaves against the Roman army.

The rebellion started when gladiator slaves escaped from an arena in Capua. Chief amongst these slaves was a man named Spartacus. In time it grew into a band of over 120,000 men, women and children, that wandered throughout and raided Italy with relative impunity. The rebellion was finally crushed through the concentrated military effort of a single commander, Marcus Licinius Crassus.

This period also led to civil unrest in Hispania known as the Sertorian war.

Sertorian War (80 BC - 72 BC)

The Sertorian War was a conflict of the Roman civil wars in which a coalition of discontented Lusitanians and Romans fought against the representatives of the regime established by Sulla. The war takes its name from Quintus Sertorius, the main leader of the opposition to Sulla. The war is notable for the successful use of guerrilla warfare by Sertorius. The war ended after Sertorius was assassinated by Marcus Perperna who was then promptly defeated by Pompey.

Rome Pergamum

Mithridatic Wars

These rivalries in the late Roman Republic allowed yet more generals to come to prominence after things had quieted down after the first civil war. Meanwhile trouble was also stirring in the Hellenic world. With the Roman conquests of Macedon and the Greek heartland, and the fracturing of Seleucid power, this had led to a local power vacuum on the Anatolian peninsula.

Two new threats to Roman power emerged in the area as result of this power vacuum, both opportunistically tried to exploit the situation. The first was Mithridates of Pontus, the latter were Cilician pirates.

This started a series of wars of in the area, known as the Mithridatic wars. During these wars two men grew to prominence. The first was Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and the latter Gaius Julius Caesar. A third man also of particular note is the Roman politician Cicero. Unlike the first two men he achieved promince not in battle, but in the courts of law as an advocate.

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (106 BC - 48 BC)

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus came from a wealthy Italian provincial background, his father had been the first to establish the family among the Roman nobility. His immense success as a general while still very young enabled him to advance directly to his first consulship without meeting the normal requirements for office. He was consul three times and celebrated three triumphs.

His fame grew when Pompey was offered command of a naval task force to deal with Cilician piracy in the Mediterranean Sea. Pompey spent the rest of that year and the beginning of the next visiting the cities of Cilicia and Pamphylia, and providing for the government of newly conquered territories. In his absence from Rome, he was nominated to succeed Lucius Licinius Lucullus as commander in the Third Mithridatic War against Mithridates VI of Pontus in the East. Pompey managed to surprise the Pontic army by a daring nocturnal attack and all but destroyed it, leaving the king with no choice but to flee in disarray. Tigranes the Great refused him refuge, so he made his way to his own dominions in the Cimmerian Bosporus. Pompey secured a treaty with Tigranes, and in 65 BC set out in pursuit of Mithridates, but met resistance from the Caucasian Iberians and Albanians. The Romans won a succession of decisive victories over these people on the Abas and the Cyrus rivers and at Seusamora, destroying their forces. Pompey then advanced to Phasis in Colchis and liaised with his legate Servilius, admiral of his Euxine fleet, before decisively defeating Mithridates.

Pompey then retraced his steps, wintered at Pontus, and made it into a Roman province. In 64 BC, he marched into Syria, deposed its king, Antiochus XIII Asiaticus, and reconstituted this, too, as a Roman province. In 63 BC, he moved south, and established Roman supremacy in Phoenicia and Coele-Syria.

In Judea, Pompey intervened in the civil war between Hyrcanus II, who supported the Pharisee faction and Aristobulus II, who supported the Sadducees. The armies of Pompey and Hyrcanus II laid siege to Jerusalem. After three months, the city fell. During the war in Judea, Pompey heard of the suicide of Mithridates. In all, Pompey had annexed four new provinces to the Republic: Bithynia et Pontus, Syria, Cilicia, and Crete. Roman rule now extended as far east as the Black Sea and the Caucasus. The military victories of Pompey, political settlements and annexations in Asia created a new Roman frontier in the east.

In Pompey absence, his old supporter Cicero had risen to the consulship. His old enemy and colleague Crassus supported Caesar. In the Senate and behind its scenes, Pompey was probably equally admired and feared.

Although Pompey and Crassus distrusted each other, Crassus his clients were being rebuffed at the same time the veterans of Pompey were being ignored, and by 61 BC, their grievances had pushed them both into an alliance with Caesar. Their political alliance, known subsequently as the First Triumvirate, operated to the benefit of each. Pompey and Crassus would make Caesar Consul, and Caesar would use his consular power to promote their claims.

Pompey joined Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gaius Julius Caesar in the unofficial military-political alliance known as the First Triumvirate. His marriage to Julia, the daughter of Caesar helped cement the alliance.

After the deaths of Julia and Crassus, Pompey sided with the optimates, the conservative faction of the Roman Senate. Pompey and Caesar then contended for the leadership of the Roman state, leading to a civil war. When Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

Cicero was born in 106 BC in Arpinum. His father was a well-to-do member of the equestrian order and possessed good connections in Rome. Cicero was an extremely talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola.

Cicero wanted to pursue a public career in politics along the steps of the Cursus honorum. he served both Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo and Lucius Cornelius Sulla as they campaigned in the Social War, though he had no taste for military life, being an intellectual first and foremost. Cicero started his career as a lawyer around 83 BC.

His first major case, was his 80 BC defense of Sextus Roscius on the charge of patricide. Taking this case was a courageous move for Cicero, patricide was considered an appalling crime, and the people whom Cicero accused of the murder, the most notorious being Chrysogonus, were favorites of Sulla.

His first office was as one of the twenty annual quaestors, a training post for serious public administration in a diversity of areas, but with a traditional emphasis on administration and rigorous accounting of public monies under the guidance of a senior magistrate or provincial commander. Cicero served as quaestor in western Sicily in 75 BC and demonstrated honesty and integrity in his dealings with the inhabitants. As a result, the grateful Sicilians asked Cicero to prosecute Gaius Verres, a governor of Sicily, who had badly plundered the province. His prosecution of Gaius Verres was a great forensic success. Governor Gaius Verres hired the prominent lawyer of a noble family Quintus Hortensius Hortalus. After a lengthy period in Sicily collecting testimonials and evidence and persuading witnesses to come forward, Cicero returned to Rome and won the case in a series of dramatic court battles. His unique style of oratory set him apart from the flamboyant Hortalus. Upon the conclusion of this case, Cicero came to be considered the greatest orator in Rome.

Cicero grew up in a time of civil unrest and war. The reforms of Sulla strengthened the position of the equestrian class, contributing to the growing political power of that class. Cicero was both an Italian eques and a novus homo, but more importantly he was a Roman constitutionalist. His social class and loyalty to the Republic ensured that he would command the support and confidence of the people as well as the Italian middle classes. Thus the optimates faction never truly accepted Cicero and this undermined his efforts to reform the Republic while preserving the constitution. Despite of this he successfully ascended the cursus honorum, holding each magistracy at or near the youngest possible age and ultimately became Consul in 63 BC.

During his year in office, he thwarted a conspiracy centered on assassinating him and overthrowing the Roman Republic with the help of foreign armed forces, led by Lucius Sergius Catilina. Cicero procured a declaration of martial law and drove Catiline from the city with four vehement speeches. It ultimately resulted in the conspirators being put to death.

In 60 BC Julius Caesar invited Cicero to be the fourth member of his existing partnership with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus, an assembly that would eventually be called the First Triumvirate. Cicero refused the invitation because he suspected it would undermine the Republic.

In 58 BC, Publius Clodius Pulcher, the tribune of the plebs, introduced a new law that was clearly intended to target Cicero. Cicero attempted to gain the support of the senators and consuls, especially of Pompey. When help was not forthcoming, he went into exile to Greece.

Cicero tried to re-enter politics, but his attack on a bill of Caesar proved unsuccessful. The conference at Luca in 56 BC forced Cicero to recant and support the triumvirate. After this, a cowed Cicero concentrated on his literary works.

The struggle between Pompey and Julius Caesar grew more intense in 50 BC. Cicero initially favoured Pompey, seeing him as a defender of the senate and Republican tradition, but at that time avoided openly alienating Caesar. When Caesar invaded Italy in 49 BC, Cicero fled Rome. Cicero traveled with the Pompeian forces to Pharsalus in 48 BC, though he was quickly losing faith in the competence and righteousness of the Pompeian side. Eventually, he provoked the hostility of his fellow senator Cato.

Cicero returned to Rome only very cautiously, after the victory of Caesar at Pharsalus. Caesar pardoned him and Cicero tried to adjust to the situation and maintain his political work, hoping that Caesar might revive the Republic and its institutions. Cicero, however, was taken completely by surprise when assassinated Caesar was assassinated on the ides of March. Cicero was not included in the conspiracy, even though the conspirators were sure of his sympathy. Marcus Junius Brutus even called out the name of Cicero, asking him to restore the republic when he lifted the bloodstained dagger after the assassination.

Cicero became a popular leader during the period of instability following the assassination. He had no respect for Mark Antony, who was scheming to take revenge upon the murderers of Caesar. In exchange for amnesty for the assassins, he arranged for the Senate to agree not to declare Caesar to have been a tyrant, which allowed the Caesarians to have lawful support and kept the reforms of Caesar and his policies intact.

Cicero and Antony now became the two leading men in Rome. Cicero as spokesman for the Senate and Antony as consul, leader of the Caesarian faction, and unofficial executor of the public will of Caesar. Relations between the two, never friendly, worsened after Cicero claimed that Antony was taking liberties in interpreting the wishes and intentions of Caesar.

Octavian was the adopted son and heir of Caesar. After he returned to Italy, Cicero began to play him against Antony. He praised Octavian, declaring he would not make the same mistakes as his father. The plan of Cicero to drive out Antony failed though, as Antony and Octavian reconciled and allied with Lepidus to form the Second Triumvirate. The Second Triumvirate began proscribing their enemies and potential rivals immediately after legislating the alliance into official existence. Cicero and all of his contacts and supporters were numbered among the enemies of the state, and reportedly, Octavian argued for two days against Cicero being added to the list.

Cicero was one of the most viciously and doggedly hunted among the proscribed. He was viewed with sympathy by a large segment of the public and many people refused to report that they had seen him. He was caught December 7, 43 BC leaving his villa in Formiae in a litter going to the seaside where he hoped to embark on a ship destined for Macedonia. The last words of Cicero are said to have been, "There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly." He bowed to his captors, leaning his head out of the litter in a gladiatorial gesture to ease the task. By baring his neck and throat to the soldiers, he was indicating that he would not resist. His killer first slew him, then cut off his head. On the instructions of Antony, his hands were cut off and nailed along with his head on the Rostra in the Forum Romanum according to the tradition of Marius and Sulla, both of whom had displayed the heads of their enemies in the Forum.

Gaius Julius Caesar (100 BC - 44 BC)

Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general, statesman, Consul, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not especially politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of their political fortunes in the early first century BC. His father governed the province of Asia, and Caesar his aunt, was married to Gaius Marius, one of the most prominent figures in the Republic at that time.

Caesar his father died suddenly,In 85 BC, so at age 16, Caesar was the head of the family. His coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle, Gaius Marius, and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both sides, whenever they were in the ascendancy, carried out bloody purges of their political opponents. While Marius and his ally, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, were in control of the city, Caesar was nominated to be the new high priest of Jupiter, and married to cornelia, the daughter of Cinna. Following the final victory of Sulla, though, the connections of Caesar to the old regime made him a target for the new one. He was stripped of his inheritance, the dowry of his wife, and his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding. The threat against him was lifted by the intervention of the family of his mother, which included supporters of Sulla, and the Vestal Virgins. Sulla gave in reluctantly, and is said to have declared that he saw many a Marius in Caesar.

Feeling it much safer to be far away from Sulla should the Dictator change his mind, Caesar quit Rome and joined the army, serving under Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia and Servilius Isauricus in Cilicia. He served with distinction, winning the Civic Crown for his part in the Siege of Mytilene.

Hearing of the death of Sulla in 78 BC, Caesar felt safe enough to return to Rome. Lacking means since his inheritance was confiscated, he acquired a modest house in Subura, a lower-class neighborhood of Rome. He turned to legal advocacy, and became known for his exceptional oratory, accompanied by impassioned gestures and a high-pitched voice, and ruthless prosecution of former governors notorious for extortion and corruption.

On the way across the Aegean Sea, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held prisoner. He maintained an attitude of superiority throughout his captivity. When the pirates thought to demand a ransom of 20 talents of silver, he insisted they ask for 50. After the ransom was paid, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates.

On his return to Rome, he was elected military tribune, a first step in a political career. He was elected quaestor in 69 BC, and during that year he delivered the funeral oration for his aunt Julia, and included images of her husband Marius, unseen since the days of Sulla, in the funeral procession. His wife, Cornelia, also died that year. After her funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC, Caesar went to serve his quaestorship in Spain. While there he is said to have encountered a statue of Alexander the Great, and realized with dissatisfaction he was now at an age when Alexander had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively little. On his return in 67 BC, he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla, whom he later divorced.

In 63 BC, he ran for election to the post of Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the Roman state religion. He ran against two powerful senators. Accusations of bribery were made by all sides. Caesar won comfortably. After serving as praetor in 62 BC, Caesar was appointed to govern Hispania Ulterior as propraetor. He was still in considerable debt and needed to satisfy his creditors before he could leave. He turned to Marcus Licinius Crassus for financial aid. In return for political support in his opposition to the interests of Pompey, Crassus paid some of his debts and acted as guarantor for others.

In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed a political alliance that was to dominate Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power through populist tactics were opposed by the conservative ruling class within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero.

His victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC, extended Roman territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain.

These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC. With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Caesar refused the order, and instead marked his defiance in 49 BC by crossing the Rubicon with a legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms.

A civil war resulted, and his victory in the war put him in an unrivaled position of power and influence. During this civil war he met Cleopatra the queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt and is reputed to had an affair with her. According to Cleopatra he fathered a son known by the name of Caesarion.

After assuming control of government, Caesar began a programme of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar. He centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed dictator in perpetuity, giving him additional authority. But the underlying political conflicts had not been resolved, and on the Ides of March in 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus.

First Mithridatic War (88 BC - 84 BC)

The First Mithridatic War was a war challenging Roman rule over the Greek world. In this conflict, the Kingdom of Pontus and many Greek cities rebelling against Rome were led by Mithridates VI of Pontus against the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Bithynia. The war lasted five years and ended in a Roman victory which forced Mithridates to abandon all his conquests and return to Pontus.

Second Mithridatic War (83 BC - 81 BC)

The second Mithridatic war was fought between King Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena. At the conclusion of the First Mithridatic War, Sulla had come to a hasty agreement with Mithridates that allowed the latter to remain in control of his Kingdom of Pontus, but relinquishing his claim to Asia Minor and respecting pre-war borders. Murena, was stationed in Asia as commander of the two legions formerly under the command of Gaius Flavius Fimbria.

Murena invaded Pontus on his own authority claiming that Mithridates was re-arming and posed a direct threat to Roman Asia Minor. After several inconclusive skirmishes, Mithridates inflicted a minor defeat on Murena and forced his withdrawal from Pontus. Peace was restored on the orders of Sulla.

Third Mithridatic War (75 BC - 63 BC)

The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic. The war ended in defeat for Mithridates, ending the Pontic Kingdom and resulted in the Kingdom of Armenia becoming an allied client state of Rome.

Rome Gergovia Vesontio Alesia

Gallic Wars

The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. Although Caesar portrayed this invasion as being a preemptive and defensive action, the wars were fought primarily to boost political career of Caesar. These wars brought two Gallic chieftains to prominence as war leaders.

Vercingetorix (82 BC - 46 BC)

Vercingetorix was a chieftain of the Arverni tribe. He united the Gauls in a revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of the Gallic Wars.

Vercingetorix came to power after his formal designation as chieftain of the Arverni at the oppidum Bibracte in 52 BC. He immediately established an alliance with other Gallic tribes, took command and combined all forces. He won the Battle of Gergovia, but was defeated at the battle of Alesia. He was held prisoner for five years. Vercingetorix was paraded through the streets of Rome in a triumph of Caesar and then executed by strangulation.

Ambiorix (? BC - ? BC)

Ambiorix was, together with Cativolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgic tribe of north-eastern Gaul. Although Julius Caesar had freed him from paying tribute to the Atuatuci, Ambiorix joined Catuvolcus in the winter of 54 BC in an uprising against the Roman forces under Sabinus and Cotta.

His assault is reputed to have annihilated a whole Romn legion. When the Roman senate heard what had happened, Caesar swore to put down all the Belgic tribes. The Roman campaigns against the Belgae took a few years, but eventually the tribes were slaughtered or driven out and their fields burned. Ambiorix and his men succeeded in crossing the Rhine and disappeared without a trace.

Gallic Wars (58 BC - 50 BC)

Caesar used a migration of Helvetic tribesmen as a pretext to start the Gallic Wars.

The Romans met with an initial defeat at Gergovia, but broke the Gallic resistance to Roman rule in the area after the victorious battle at Alesia.

Further punitive expeditions consolidated Roman power in Gaul. Caesar even marched his troops across the river Rhine in a show of force to keep the Germanic tribes out of Gaul.


First Triumvirate

The First Triumvirate was a political alliance between three prominent Roman politicians, which included Gaius Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, and Marcus Licinius Crassus. Pompey and Caesar now formed a pact, jointly swearing to oppose all legislation of which any one of them might disapprove. The alliance lasted from approximately 59 BCE to the death of Crassus in 53 BC. The alliance was not at heart a union of those with the same political ideals and ambitions, but one where all were seeking personal advantage. The collapse of the alliance resulted in a civil war.

Great Roman Civil War (49 BC - 45 BC)

Crossing the Rubicon

The Great Roman Civil War began Caesar and his men crossed the river Rubicon. Caesar is reputedly to have remarked the words, "The die is cast" when he crossed the river.

March on Rome

The Senate, ignorant of Caesar being armed only with a single legion, feared the worst and supported Pompey, who, on grasping endangerment of the Republic, said: "Rome cannot be defended", and escaped to Capua with his politicians, the aristocratic Optimates and the regnant consuls. Cicero later characterised this outward sign of weakness as allowing Caesar his politico-military consolidation to achieve Roman dictatorship.

Despite having retreated, in central-Italy, Pompey and the Senatorial forces disposed of at least two legions, some 11,500 soldiers, and some hastily-levied Italian troops commanded by Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. As Caesar progressed southwards, Pompey retreated towards Brundisium, initially ordering Domitius to stop Caesar. Belatedly, Pompey ordered Domitius to retreat south also, and make junction with his forces. Domitius mostly ignored his orders, and, after being isolated and trapped near Corfinium was forced to surrender almost thirty cohorts of troops, most of whom promptly joined the armies of Caesar.

Caesar pursued Pompey to Brundisium. Nevertheless, in March 49 BC, Pompey escaped Caesar at Brundisium, fleeing by sea to Epirus, in Roman Greece.

Taking advantage of the absence of Pompey rom the Italian mainland, Caesar effected an astonishingly fast 27-day, north-bound forced march to destroy the politically leader-less Pompeian army in the Battle of Ilerda, in Hispania. Afterwards, Caesar renewed pursuit of Pompey, then in Roman Greece.

Greek campaigns

At Brundisium, Caesar assembled an army of some 15,000 soldiers, and crossed the Strait of Otranto to Palaesta in Epirus.

Pompey decided to fight Julius Caesar in decisive battle. Pompey fought him in the Battle of Dyrrhachium, costing Caesar 1,000 veteran legionaries and a retreat. Disbelieving that his army had bested Caesar, Pompey misinterpreted the retreat as a feint to a trap, and refused to give chase for the decisive, definitive coup de grace, thus losing the initiative, and the chance to quickly conclude the Civil War.

Meanwhile, Caesar retreated southwards. Near Pharsalus, Caesar pitched a strategic bivouac, and Pompey attacked, yet, despite his much larger army, was conclusively defeated by Caesar his troops. A major reason for the defeat of Pompey was a miscommunication among front cavalry horsemen.

Egyptian dynastic struggle

Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was murdered by an officer of King Ptolemy XIII. Caesar pursued the Pompeian army to Alexandria, where they camped and became embroiled in the Alexandrine civil war between Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra. Perhaps as a result of the role Ptolemy in the murder of Pompey, Caesar sided with Cleopatra; he is reported to have wept at the sight of the head of Pompey, which was offered to him by the chamberlain of Ptolemy as a gift.

In any event, Caesar was besieged at Alexandria and after Mithridates of Bosporus relieved the city. Caesar defeated the army of Ptolemy and installed Cleopatra as ruler, with whom he fathered his only known biological son, Ptolemy XV Caesar, better known as Caesarion.

War against Pharnaces

After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to Syria, and then to Pontus to deal with Pharnaces II, a client king of Pompey, who had taken advantage of the Romans being distracted by their civil war to oppose the Roman-friendly Deiotarus and make himself the ruler of Colchis and lesser Armenia.

Nevertheless, the extremely rapid approach of Caesar in person forced Pharnaces to turn his attention back to the Romans. At first, recognizing the threat, he made offers of submission, with the sole object of gaining time until the attention of Caesar fell elsewhere. The offer was denied. Battle took place near Zela, where Pharnaces was routed with just a small detachment of cavalry. The victory of Caesar was so swift and complete that, in a letter to a friend in Rome, he famously said of the short war, "I came, I saw, I conquered".

Pharnaces himself fled quickly back to the Bosporus, where he managed to assemble a small force of Scythian troops, with which he was able to gain control of a few cities. However, a former governor of Pharnaces, Asandar, attacked his forces and killed Pharnaces.

African campaigns

Caesar returned to Rome to deal with several mutinous legions. Through clever use of reverse psychology, Caesar reenlisted four enthusiastic veteran legions to invade north Africa. Caesar quickly gained a significant victory at Thapsus in 46 BC over the forces of Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger and Juba, all of whom committed suicide.

Caesar was later proclaimed dictator first for ten years and then in perpetuity. The latter arrangement in openly doing away with a term limit, triggered the conspiracy leading to his assassination on the Ides of March in 44 BC.


Second Triumvirate

After the death of Caesar, a Second Triumvirate was formed. This political alliance included Gaius Octavius, Marcus Antonius, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. The latter being the least important member, and the first to be ousted.

Marcus Antonius (83 BC - 30 BC)

Marcus Antonius was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from an oligarchy into the autocratic Roman Empire.

Antony was a supporter of Julius Caesar, and served as one of his generals during the conquest of Gaul and the Civil War. Antony was appointed administrator of Italy while Caesar eliminated political opponents in Greece, North Africa, and Spain. After the death of Caesar in 44 BC, Antony joined forces with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Octavian, the nephew and adopted son of Caesar, forming a three-man dictatorship known to historians as the Second Triumvirate. The Triumvirs defeated the murderers of Caesar, known as the Liberatores, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, and divided the government of the Republic between themselves.

Relations among the Triumvirs were strained as the various members sought greater political power. Civil war between Antony and Octavian was averted in 40 BC, when Antony married the sister of Octavian, Octavia. Despite this marriage, Antony carried on a love affair with Cleopatra, who bore him three children, further straining relations with Octavian. Lepidus was expelled from the association in 36 BC, and in 33 BC disagreements between Antony and Octavian caused a split between the remaining Triumvirs. Their ongoing hostility erupted into civil war in 31 BC, as the Roman Senate, at the direction of Octavian, declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. Later that year, Antony was defeated by Octavian at the Battle of Actium. Defeated, Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt, where they committed suicide.

In all the Second Triumvirate fought in four civil conflicts, of which the first two were against various political enemies, and the latter two amongst themselves.

Liberators War (43 BC - 42 BC)

The Liberators war was started by the Second Triumvirate to avenge the death of Julius Caesar. The war was fought by the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian (the Second Triumvirate members) against the forces of the assassins of Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

Sicilian Revolt (44 BC - 36 BC)

The Sicilian revolt was a revolt against the Second Triumvirate of the Roman Republic which occurred between 44 BC and 36 BC. The revolt was led by Sextus Pompey, son of Pompey the Great, and ended in a Triumvirate victory.

Perusine War (41 BC - 40 BC)

The Perusine War was a civil war of the Roman Republic. It was fought by Lucius Antonius and Fulvia to support Mark Antony against his political enemy, Octavian. It ended in the capture of Perusia and the forced exile of Fulvia, who was married to Mark Antony at the time of the civil war, and Lucius Antonius his younger brother. Fulvia died in 40 BC, and with her death came a peace between Antony and Octavian. The peace would be short lived, however, as a civil war began a few years later.


Accession of Augustus

Augustus (63 BC - 14 AD)

Augustus was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, ruling from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.

He was born Gaius Octavius into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian Octavii family. Following the assassination of his maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar in 44 BC Octavius, was named in the will of Caesar as his adopted son and heir. Together with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves. The Triumvirate was eventually torn apart under the competing ambitions of its members. Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, and Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Augustus in 31 BC.

After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, the reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana.

Augustus dramatically enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, expanded possessions in Africa, expanded into Germania, and completed the conquest of Hispania.

Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states, and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, and rebuilt much of the city during his reign.

Augustus died in 14 AD at the age of 75. He may have died from natural causes.

The final war of the Roman Republic, was the last of the Roman civil wars of the republic, fought between Cleopatra, who was assisted by Mark Antony, and Octavian. It led to the ascension of Octavian to power as sole and undisputed ruler of Rome.

Final War of the Republic (32 BC - 30 BC)

After the decisive victory for Octavian at the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra and Antony withdrew to Alexandria, where Octavian besieged the city until both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide.

Cleopatra (69 BC - 30 BC)

Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Macedonian Greek origin that ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic period after the death of Alexander the Great.

Cleopatra originally ruled jointly with her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes, and later with her brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. She eventually became sole ruler, as pharaoh, when she consummated a liaison with Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne, and bore a son named Caesarion.

After the assassination of Caesar in 44 BC, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. With Antony, she bore the twins Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, and another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus.

After losing the Battle of Actium to forces of Octavian, Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra followed suit, according to tradition killing herself by means of an asp bite on August 12, 30 BC.

Following the end of the war, Octavian brought peace to the Roman state that had been plagued by a century of civil wars. Octavian became the most powerful man in the Roman world and the Senate bestowed upon him the name of Augustus in 27 BC. Octavian, now Augustus, would be the first Roman Emperor and would transform the Republic into the Roman Empire.

Cantabrian War (29 BC - 19 BC)

The Cantabrian Wars were the final stage of the two-century long Roman conquest of Hispania. Under the reign of Augustus, Rome waged a bloody conflict against the last independent nations of Hispania: the Cantabri, the Astures, and the Gallaeci. These warlike peoples presented fierce resistance to Roman domination. Ten years of war and eight legions with their auxiliary troops were needed to subdue the region.


Germanic Wars

A series of sporadic battles and revolts were fought between Rome and various Germanic tribes and Illyrian tribes during the first century AD. It concluded with the subjugation of the Illyrians, but the Romans had mixed results with the Germanic tribes.

Battle of the Lupia River (11 BC)

The Battle of the Lupia River was fought in 11 BC between a Roman force led by Nero Claudius Drusus and the Sicambri. Drusus defeated the Sicambri, and some of the defeated were moved to west of the Rhine River.

Arminius (17 BC - 21 AD)

Arminius was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci. He was the son the Cheruscan chief Segimerus and trained as a Roman military commander. He had lived in Rome as a hostage in his youth, where he had received a military education, and obtained Roman citizenship.

Around the year 4 AD, Arminius assumed command of a Cheruscan detachment of Roman auxiliary forces, probably while fighting in the Pannonian wars on the Balkan peninsula. There he witnessed the Romans putting down the Great Illyrian revolt. He returned to northern Germania in 7 or 8 AD, where the Roman Empire had established secure control of the territories just east of the Rhine, and was now seeking to extend its hegemony further eastward, under Publius Quinctilius Varus, a high-ranking administrative official appointed by Augustus as governor. Arminius began plotting to unite various Germanic tribes to thwart Roman efforts to incorporate their lands into the empire.

With the end of the Roman threat, a war broke out between Arminius and Marbod, king of the Marcomanni. It ended with Marbod fleeing to Ravenna and Roman protection, but Arminius failed to break in, and the war ended in a stalemate.

Arminius suffered death in 21 AD, murdered by opponents within his own tribe who felt he was becoming too powerful.

Great Illyrian Revolt (6 AD - 9 AD)

The Great Illyrian Revolt was a series of military conflicts between an Illyrian alliance and the Roman Empire. The rising began among the Daesitiates under their leader Bato, but were soon joined by the Breuci and numerous other Illyrians. The four-year war, saw huge concentrations of Roman forces in the area to quell the revolt. It ended with the surrender of the Breuci and after a blockade also with the surrender of the Daesiates.

Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 AD)

In the fall of 9 AD, the 25-year-old Arminius brought to Varus a report of rebellion in northern Germany. He persuaded Varus to divert the three legions under his command plus three cavalry detachments and six cohorts of auxiliaries from the march to winter quarters to suppress the rebellion. Varus and his legions marched right into the trap Arminius had set for them near the Teutoburg Forest. The Cherusci, and their allies the Marsi, Chatti, Bructeri, Chauci, and Sicambri, ambushed and annihilated the entire army, totaling over 20,000 men. This was one of the most devastating defeats Rome suffered in its history, and a high point of Germanic power for centuries.

Roman attempts to reconquer Germany failed, although they did manage to break the alliance of Arminius.

Between 14 AD and 16 AD, Germanicus launched punitive operations into Germany, twice defeating Arminius. Arminius also faced opposition from his father-in-law and other pro-Roman Germanic leaders. Tiberius denied the request of Germanicus to launch a third campaign, having decided the frontier with Germania would stand at the Rhine river.

Battle of Baduhenna Wood (28 AD)

Another battle took place in 28 AD and was a battle between the Frisii and a Roman army led by Roman General Lucius Apronius. The battle came about after the Romans had imposed a heavy taxation, apparently the Frisians had been under a short suzerainty imposed by Drusus in 12 BC. By AD 28 the Frisii had had enough. They hanged the Roman soldiers collecting the tax and forced the governor to flee to a Roman fort, which they then besieged. The battle resulted in an indecisive victory for the Frisians. For whatever reason, the Romans did not seek revenge and the matter was closed. The prestige of the Frisii among the neighboring Germanic tribes was raised considerably as a result.

Revolt of the Batavi (69 AD - 70 AD)

The Revolt of the Batavi took place in the Roman province of Germania Inferior. It was an uprising against the Roman Empire started by the Batavi, a small but militarily powerful Germanic tribe that inhabited the delta of the river Rhine. The Batavi were soon joined by some neighbouring Germanic tribes, from both inside and outside the territory of the empire, and also by some Celtic tribes from Gallia Belgica.

Under the leadership of their hereditary prince Gaius Julius Civilis, an auxiliary officer in the Imperial Roman army, the Batavi and their allies managed to inflict a series of humiliating defeats on the Roman army, including the destruction of two legions. After these initial successes, a massive Roman army led by the Roman general Quintus Petillius Cerialis eventually defeated the rebels. Following peace talks, the Batavi submitted again to Roman rule, but were forced to accept humiliating terms and a legion stationed permanently on their territory, at Noviomagus.


Claudian Dynasty

The Julio-Claudian dynasty normally refers to the first five Roman Emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, or the family to which they belonged. This dynasty ruled the Roman Empire from its formation, until AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide.

Tiberius (42 BC - 37 AD)

Tiberius was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Born Tiberius Claudius Nero, Tiberius was the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian. Tiberius would later marry Julia the Elder and even later be adopted by Augustus.

Tiberius was one of the greatest generals of Rome at that time. His conquest of Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and temporarily, parts of Germania laid the foundations for the northern frontier. But he came to be remembered as a dark, reclusive, and sombre ruler who never really desired to be emperor.

After the death of his son Drusus Julius Caesar in 23 AD, he became more reclusive and aloof. In 26 AD Tiberius removed himself from Rome and left administration largely in the hands of his unscrupulous Praetorian Prefects Lucius Aelius Sejanus and Quintus Naevius Sutorius Macro.

Tiberius died in Misenum on 16 March AD 37, at the age of 78. In his will, Tiberius had left his powers jointly to Caligula and Tiberius Gemellus. Caligula had Gemellus executed and so became the new emperor.

Caligula (12 AD - 41 AD)

Caligula was the popular nickname of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. His father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and was one of the most beloved public figures in Rome. He earned the nickname Caligule meaning little soldier boot from the soldiers of his father while accompanying him during his campaigns in Germania.

Caligula was a noble and moderate ruler during the first six months of his reign. After this he became an insane tyrant and grew more and more cruel, sadistic and perverted.

He initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the Kingdom of Mauretania as a province.

In early AD 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers. The Praetorian Guard declared his uncle, Claudius, the next Roman emperor. This started a chain of events that would ultimately lead to the rise of Nero and the downfall of the Julo-Claudian dynasty.

Claudius (10 BC - 54 AD)

Claudius was Roman emperor from 41 to 54. He was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul, the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy. Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37 AD.

The infirmity of Claudius probably saved him from the fate of many other nobles during the purges of Tiberius and Caligula. Potential enemies did not see him as a serious threat. His survival led to his being declared Emperor by the Praetorian Guard after the assassination of Caligula, at which point he was the last man of his family.

Despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an able and efficient administrator. He was also an ambitious builder, constructing many new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the Empire. During his reign the Empire began the conquest of Britain not counting earlier invasions of Britain by Caesar. Having a personal interest in law, he presided at public trials, and issued up to twenty edicts a day.

He was seen as vulnerable throughout his reign, particularly by elements of the nobility. Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position. This resulted in the deaths of many senators.

Claudius was probably murdered by his own wife. After his death in 54 AD, his grand-nephew and adopted son Nero succeeded him as Emperor.

Nero (37 AD - 68 AD)

Nero was Roman Emperor from 54 AD to 68 AD, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade and enhancing the cultural life of the Empire. He ordered theatres built and promoted athletic games. During his reign, the redoubtable general Corbulo conducted a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire. His general Suetonius Paulinus crushed a revolt in Britain. Nero annexed the Bosporan Kingdom to the Empire and began the First Roman–Jewish War.

In 64 AD, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome. This allowed Nero to embark on a huge construction scheme for Rome and his palace on the Palatine hill, that put a serious drain on the Roman treasury, and almost led to a bankruptcy of the empire.

His rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance. He is known for many executions, including that of his mother, and the probable murder by poison of his stepbrother Britannicus.

In 68, the rebellion of Vindex in Gaul and later the acclamation of Galba in Hispania drove Nero from the throne. Facing a false report of being denounced as a public enemy who was to be executed, he committed suicide on 9 June 68. His death ended the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, sparking a brief period of civil wars known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

Rome Londinium Camulodunum

Conquest of Britain

Roman conquest of Britain (43 AD - 84 AD)

The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Roman Britain.

Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. In common with other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had enjoyed diplomatic and trading links with the Romans in the century since the expeditions of Julius Caesar in 55 BC and 54 BC.

Between 55 BC and the 40s AD, the status quo of tribute, hostages, and client states without direct military occupation, begun by the early invasions of Britain, largely remained intact. Augustus prepared new invasions, but these were called off due to problems elsewhere in the empire.

By 43 AD things had changed. Claudius mounted an invasion force to re-instate Verica, an exiled king of the Atrebates. Aulus Plautius, a distinguished senator, was given overall charge of four legions, totalling about 20,000 men, plus about the same number of auxiliaries. The main invasion force under Aulus Plautius crossed in three divisions and moved to subdue Britain.

The invasion suffered a setback when a revolt occured in 60 AD, known as the Boudica Rebellion.

Boudicca (? AD - 60 AD)

Boudica was queen of the British Iceni tribe. Her husband Prasutagus was ruler of the Iceni tribe. He ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome and left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman emperor in his will.

When the will was ignored she instigated a revolt against the Roman empire, which ended in her defeat.

Boudica Rebellion (60 AD)

When Prasutagus died, his will was ignored and the kingdom was annexed as if conquered. Boudica was flogged, her daughters were raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans.

In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was leading a campaign against the Druids on the island of Anglesey, Boudica led the Iceni as well as the Trinovantes and others in revolt.

They destroyed Camulodunum. Camulodunum was earlier the capital of the Trinovantes, but at that time was a colonia, as well as the site of a temple to the former Emperor Claudius. Upon hearing the news of the revolt, Suetonius hurried to Londinium, the twenty-year-old commercial settlement that was the next target of the rebels, but saw that the place was unsalvagable.

The Romans then retreated and joined up with the other legions in Britain and finally managed to suppress the rebellion.

Cartimandua (? AD - 69 AD)

Cartimandua was a 1st-century queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people living in what is now northern England. She came to power around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and formed a large tribal agglomeration that became loyal to Rome.

She remained a loyal client queen throughout her, but was ousted from power in 69 AD during the year of four emperors, when her rival Venutius staged another revolt. Cartimandua was evacuated and afterwards disappeared.

Rome Hierosolyma

Jewish Revolts

Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD)

The suicide of emperor Nero, in 68 AD, was followed by a brief period of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. The Year of the Four Emperors was a year, in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. The latter ultimately won and started a new dynasty called the Flavian dynasty.

First Jewish Revolt (66 AD - 73 AD)

The First Jewish Revolt was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judea Province against the Roman Empire.

The First Jewish Revolt began in the year 66 CE, originating in the Greek and Jewish religious tensions. The crisis escalated due to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens. The Romans responded by plundering the Jewish Temple and executing up to 6,000 Jews in Jerusalem, prompting a full-scale rebellion. The Roman military garrison of Judaea was quickly overrun by rebels, while the pro-Roman king Agrippa II, together with Roman officials, fled Jerusalem. As it became clear the rebellion was getting out of control, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought in legions from the Roman province of Syria, to restore order and quell the revolt. Despite initial advances and conquest of Jaffa, the Syrian Legion was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon with 6,000 Romans massacred. A result that shocked the Roman leadership.

The experienced and unassuming general Vespasian was given the task of crushing the rebellion in Judaea province. His son Titus was appointed as second-in-command. Given four legions in 67 AD. Avoiding a direct attack on the reinforced city of Jerusalem, which was defended by the main rebel force, the Romans launched a persistent campaign to eradicate rebel strongholds and punish the population. Within several months Vespasian and Titus took over the major Jewish strongholds of Galilee and finally overran Jodapatha, after a 47-day siege.

Driven from Galilee, Zealot rebels and thousands of refugees arrived in Judea, creating political turmoil in Jerusalem. Confrontation between the mainly Sadducee Jerusalemites and the mainly Zealot factions of the northern revolt erupted into bloody violence. Bitter infighting followed through the year 69 AD.

After a lull in the military operations, owing to civil war and political turmoil in Rome, Vespasian was called to Rome and appointed as Emperor in 69 AD. His son Titus moved to besiege the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in early 70 AD. The first two walls of Jerusalem were breached within three weeks, but a stubborn rebel standoff prevented the Roman Army from breaking the third and thickest wall. Following a brutal seven-month siege, during which Zealot infighting resulted in burning of the entire food supplies of the city, the Romans finally succeeded in breaching the defenses of the weakened Jewish forces in the summer of 70 AD. Following the fall of Jerusalem, Titus left for Rome, leaving one legion to defeat the remaining Jewish strongholds, and finalizing the Roman campaign in Masada in 74 AD.

Vespasianus (9 AD - 79 AD)

Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire for twenty seven years. Vespasian was from an equestrian family that rose into the senatorial rank under the Julio–Claudian emperors. Although he fulfilled the standard succession of public offices, and held the consulship in 51 AD, his renown came from his military success.

He was legate of a legion during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD and he subjugated Judaea during the Jewish rebellion of 66 AD.

While Vespasian besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion, emperor Nero committed suicide and plunged Rome into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho perished in quick succession, Vitellius became the third emperor in 69 AD. The Roman legions of Roman Egypt and Judaea reacted by declaring Vespasian emperor. In his bid for imperial power, Vespasian joined forces with Mucianus, the governor of Syria, and Primus, a general in Pannonia, leaving his son Titus to command the besieging forces at Jerusalem. Primus and Mucianus led the Flavian forces against Vitellius, while Vespasian took control of Egypt. Vitellius was defeated, and the following day Vespasian was declared Emperor by the Roman Senate.

During his reign, he reformed the financial system at Rome after the campaign against Judaea ended successfully, and initiated several ambitious construction projects. He built the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known today as the Roman Colosseum. Vespasian forced through an improvement in army discipline. Through his general Agricola, Vespasian increased imperial expansion in Britain. After his death in 79 AD, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus.