Macedonian Wars

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Macedonian Wars


three wars between Macedonia and Rome in the third and second centuries B.C. for hegemony in Greece and the Hellenistic countries.

During the First Macedonian War (215-205) the Macedonian king, Philip V, acting in alliance with Carthage against Rome, attempted to gain possession of Illyria and to extend his holdings in Asia Minor. The main Roman forces were engaged in fighting Hannibal in Italy (the Punic Wars), and a small force was set aside for actions in the Balkans. However, the Macedonian troops acted indecisively, and the Romans provided all manner of support to the anti-Macedonian movement in the Hellenistic world. As a result, the First Macedonian War did not lead to any significant territorial changes in the Balkans, although Rome succeeded in extending its influence in Greece. After concluding peace with Rome in 205, Philip V continued military actions against Rhodes, Pergamum, and Caria. After its victory over Carthage in the Second Punic War (218-201), Rome adopted a more active policy in the Balkans and accused Macedonia of violating the treaty of 205 by establishing contacts with Carthage and attacking Rome’s allies.

The Second Macedonian War (200-197) then began. Rome succeeded in strengthening its influence in Greece. Macedonia’s material means were exhausted, opposition to the king grew in the country, and the war against Rome was unpopular. Philip V’s efforts to conclude peace with Rome were unsuccessful. The Macedonian army was routed at Cynoscephalae in July 197. In concluding peace, Philip V abandoned all his holdings outside of Macedonia, surrendered his entire fleet to Rome, with the exception of six ships, and promised to reduce his army to 5,000 men and not to wage war on Rome’s allies. Greece was proclaimed free, although it actually came under Rome’s power. After the death of Philip V (179) his son Perseus prepared for war against Rome. He crushed the opposition of the Macedonian aristocracy, strengthened the country’s economy, created an army of 40,000, and established relations with countries hostile to Rome (including Carthage).

The Roman senate accused Perseus of violating previous treaties and began the Third Macedonian War (171-168). A 30,000-man Roman army landed in Greece. At first the military actions proceeded with the advantage alternating between the sides, but in 168 the consul Lucius Aemilius Paulus took command of the Roman troops in Thessaly, and on June 22, 168, he smashed the Macedonian army near Pydna. Perseus fled and was captured. The Roman army occupied and plundered Macedonia. The Roman senate abolished the king’s power and divided the country into four districts that were deprived of political and economic ties with each other. After the suppression of the anti-Roman uprising by Andriscus in 148 in Macedonia, it, together with Illyria and Epirus, was made a Roman province.


Shofman, A. S. Istoriia antichnoi Makedonii, part 2. Kazan, 1963.
Razin, E. A. Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, vol. 1. Moscow, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Principal wars: Social War (220-217); First (215-205) and Second (200-197) Macedonian Wars; War with Nabis (195); First Syrian War (192-189).