Taken at the Flood: The Roman Conquest of Greece

ISBN : 9780199656462

Robin Waterfield
320 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Apr 2014
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  • The Roman conquest of classical Greece - a tale of brutality, determination, and the birth of an empire
  • A story pivotal to the history of Rome, her empire, and later European civilization
  • Charts the thrilling sequence of military victory as Roman power spread over the Greek world, following the conquest of Carthage in the west
  • Shows how conquering the revered Greeks changed the Romans for good - their intellectual culture, their art, even their sense of identity as Romans

The Romans first set military foot on Greek soil in 229 BCE; only sixty or so years later it was all over, and shortly thereafter Greece became one of the first provinces of the emerging Roman Empire. It was an incredible journey - a swift, brutal, and determined conquest of the land to whose art, philosophy, and culture the Romans owed so much. 
Rome found the eastern Mediterranean divided, in an unstable balance of power, between three great kingdoms - the three Hellenistic kingdoms that had survived and flourished after the wars of Alexander the Great's Successors: Macedon, Egypt, and Syria. Internal troubles took Egypt more or less out of the picture, but the other two were reduced by Rome. Having established itself, by its defeat of Carthage, as the sole superpower in the western Mediterranean, Rome then systematically went about doing the same in the east, until the entire Mediterranean was under her control. 
Apart from the thrilling military action, the story of the Roman conquest of Greece is central to the story of Rome itself and the empire it created. As Robin Waterfield shows, the Romans developed a highly sophisticated method of dominance by remote control over the Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean - the cheap option of using authority and diplomacy to keep order rather than standing armies. And it is a story that raises a number of fascinating questions about Rome, her empire, and her civilization. For instance, to what extent was the Roman conquest a planned and deliberate policy? What was it about Roman culture that gave it such a will for conquest? And what was the effect on Roman intellectual and artistic culture, on their very identity, of their entanglement with an older Greek civilization, which the Romans themselves recognized as supreme?


Prelude: Clouds in the West
1: Rome Turns East
2: The Illyrian Wars
3: Barbarians, Go Home!
4: King Philip of Macedon
5: The Freedom of the Greeks
6: The Road to Thermopylae
7: The Periphery Expands
8: Remote Control
9: Perseus' Choice
10: The End of Macedon
11: Imperium Romanum
12: The Greek World after Pydna
Key Dates

About the author: 

Robin Waterfield, Writer and translator
In addition to having translated numerous Greek classics, including works by Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Xenophon, Polybius, and Plutarch, Robin Waterfield is the author of Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the MythsXenophon's Retreat: Greece, Persia and the End of the Golden AgeAthens: A History, and Dividing the Spoils: the War for Alexander the Great's Empire. He lives in the far south of Greece on a small olive farm.

The story Waterfield tells is complex, but he tells it well. - Peter Jones, BBC History

This sorry story is told with great verve and pace by Waterfield. - Literary Review

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