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Greece Against Rome (Paperback)

The Fall of the Hellenistic Kingdoms 250–31 BC

Ancient History Rome Military

By Dr Philip Matyszak
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 16 illustrations
ISBN: 9781399000123
Published: 4th October 2021

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Towards the middle of the third century BC, the Hellenistic kingdoms (the fragments of Alexander the Great’s short-lived empire) were near their peak. In terms of population, economy and military power each individual kingdom was vastly superior to Rome, not to mention in fields such as medicine, architecture, science, philosophy and literature.

Philip Matyszak relates how, over the next two-and-a half centuries, Rome conquered and took over these kingdoms while adopting so much of Hellenistic culture that the resultant hybrid is known as ‘Graeco-Roman’

Refreshingly, the story is largely told from the viewpoint of the Hellenistic kingdoms. At the outset, the Romans are little more than another small state in the barbarian west, and less of a consideration than the Scythians or Jews. Much of the narrative therefore focuses on the ‘game of thrones’ between the Hellenistic powers, a tale of assassinations, double crosses, dynastic incest and warfare. As the Roman threat grows, however, it belatedly becomes the primary concern of the kingdoms as the legions destroy them one by one.

He has written an engaging text that reads like a sweeping novel at times, and he puts Rome on the outside of the Hellenistic world, so that its insidious intrusion becomes more creeping and menacing, if that’s possible. Thus, Greece Against Rome is a refreshing and readable take on a fascinating story.

Read the full review here

Beating Tsundoku

Featured in

Greece & Rome, Volume 86: Issue 2 - Journal of Classics Teaching

A good history book about the period, going into lots of detail and providing a good commentary about the happenings throughout.

NetGalley, Zee M

An engaging read for a fascinating (and often overlooked) period of history. The book is easy to follow, a good introduction to the Hellenistic period and the growing threat of Rome with a focus on political intrigues, successions, and battles. An interesting book and I’d like to read further on the impact, the progress and accomplishments during this time in history.

NetGalley, E Vasi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was great brush-up on Greek History and a good reminder how smart and humble the Greek civilization was/is. Even though I read about Greek History before, this book was able to still introduce me to important Greek actors of that fascinating yet so intricate and rich historic period.

Pick this one up if you want to better understand that period.

NetGalley, Mairy Tsirigotis

It's a well researched and well written book, informative and entertaining at the same time.
I liked the style of writing and how the book is organised.
Recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

About Dr Philip Matyszak

Philip 'Maty' Matyszak holds a doctorate in Ancient History from St John's College, Oxford University, and has been studying, teaching and writing on the subject for over twenty years. The author of over twenty books, he specializes in the history of Classical Greece and of the Late Republic and Early Imperial periods of Rome but has also written two historical novels. Maty saw combat as a conscript in the Rhodesian army and served with the Territorial Army in Britain. These days he splits his time between writing in his home in Canada's Monashee Mountains and providing e-learning courses for Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education.

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