The 53-year period Polybius had in mind stretched from the start of the Second Punic War in 219 BCE until 167, when Rome overthrew the Macedonian monarchy and divided the country into four independent republics. Read more...
The 53-year period Polybius had in mind stretched from the start of the Second Punic War in 219 BCE until 167, when Rome overthrew the Macedonian monarchy and divided the country into four independent republics. This was the crucial half-century of Rome's spectacular rise to imperial status, but Roman interest in its eastern neighbors began a little earlier, with the First Illyrian War of 229, and climaxed later with the infamous destruction of Corinth in 146.
Taken at the Flood chronicles this momentous move by Rome into the Greek east. Until now, this period of history has been overshadowed by the threat of Carthage in the west, but events in the east were no less important in themselves, and Robin Waterfield's account reveals the peculiar nature of Rome's eastern policy. For over seventy years, the Romans avoided annexation so that they could commit their military and financial resources to the fight against Carthage and elsewhere. Though ultimately a failure, this policy of indirect rule, punctuated by periodic brutal military interventions and intense diplomacy, worked well for several decades, until the Senate finally settled on more direct forms of control.
Waterfield's fast-paced narrative focuses mainly on military and diplomatic maneuvers, but throughout he interweaves other topics and themes, such as the influence of Greek culture on Rome, the Roman aristocratic ethos, and the clash between the two best fighting machines the ancient world ever produced: the Macedonian phalanx and Roman legion. The result is an absorbing account of a critical chapter in Rome's mastery of the Mediterranean.
- ISBN-13: 9780199916894
- ISBN-10: 0199916896
- Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
- Publish Date: April 2014
- Page Count: 320
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Series: Ancient Warfare and Civilization
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-01-13
- Reviewer: Staff
In general, there are several go-to topics in Roman history that invariably prove the most popular, regardless of audience or historical moment: Rome’s efficient politics, charismatic leaders, inexorable decline, and a smattering of made-for-TV battles are too good to resist. The relatively slow, borderline obscure, subjugation of the Macedonian Empire decades before the birth of Julius Caesar, however, hardly stirs the popular imagination. Yet, as independent scholar and translator Waterfield (Dividing the Spoils) cogently and convincingly argues, perhaps no other action was more important in allowing Rome to become Rome (it’s the famous defeat of Hannibal that usually gets the nod). But when Macedon finally fell, the bustling Mediterranean world was Rome’s for the taking. Waterfield makes Roman imperialism central to his narrative, demonstrating again and again how exceptionally aggressive Rome was for its age, the subtle execution its policies notwithstanding. On top of producing a traditional academic history, Waterfield has composed a stimulating and provocative meditation on imperialism itself, both in antiquity and in our own society. (Apr.)