Roman Conquests: Macedonia and Greece (ePub)
This is the third in the Roman Conquests series (following Italy and Spain) and one of those with the most obvious appeal. While Rome was struggling for her very survival against the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War, Philip V of Macedon attempted to take advantage of their apparent vulnerability by allying with Hannibal and declaring war. For the time being the Romans negated this threat by shrewd use of allies to keep Philip occupied in Greece and Illyria. Once Carthage was defeated, however, the Romans were free to turn their full attention to settling the score. The stage was set for the clash of two of the most successful military systems of the ancient world, the Roman legions versus the Macedonian phalanx. Though sorely tested, the legions emerged victorious from the epic battles of Cynoscephelae and Pydna, and the home of Alexander the Great fell under the power of Rome, along with the rest of Greece, the cradle of Western Civilisation, which had a profound effect on Roman culture and society.
Like the other volumes in this series, this book gives a clear narrative of the course of these wars, explaining how the Roman war machine coped with formidable new foes and the challenges of unfamiliar terrain and climate. Specially-commissioned colour plates bring the main troop types vividly to life in meticulously-researched detail.
On the one hand this is a well written summary of historical events. It condenses the relevant detail admirably. There's even a few traces of Philip Matszak's trademark dry humor. On the other hand, I didn't find this to be light reading. It isn't a book to read in one sitting and put away to gather dust. It demands concentration. It demands attention. Not, I must say, due to any failing of the author, but simply because the period was so intense as nations jostled for dominance. Since the city states were all individual nations in their own right it would be hardly fair to view them as a homogenous whole for the sake of an easy read. They were after all of different character and ambition and that is something clearly defined at every stage.UNVR
On balance I think I will be referring to this book again and again as I get to grips with history during the rise of the Roman Republic. Lacking the overall knowledge of the period, I find this summary a very useful guide that allows me to avoid complete relaince on such biased writers as Polybius, and since I'm something of a 'humanist' in learning about history. I enjoy the feel of sitting on a fence watching the armies go by.