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Princess Omphale,
wearing Hercules's lions skin
Abguss_museum_München (GE)

Ancient texts

Pol.(2.8-12)

First Illyran war

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229 bc

Omphale, as one of his 12 works Hercules was forced to do women's work in Ophales dress whill she wore his lion's skinw

Illyrian piracy
In the period after the first Punic war Illyria (modern Albania) started to develop into a state of pirates. In 229 bc it was ruled by queen Teuta, who came to this power after the death of her husband king Agron. As Polybius states the queen ordered the captains to treat every state as the enemy.

Threat to the Roman trade
It is obvious this threatened also the Roman trade with Greece. The senate sent ambassadors to queen Teuta. Polybius who is very biased in favour of the Romans accuses queen Teuta of being rude and impolite, but knowing the Romans they will have been there utting demands and being equally overbearing.

Murder
Polybius accuses Teuta of ordering the murder of one of the ambassadors, an action doubted by modern historians. True or not, it was the perfect base for a justum bellum (just war). Rome levied an army and manned a fleet. Both consuls set sail to Illyria

Submission
A number of cities submitted volontarily to Rome others had to be conquered. One consul stayed during the winter in Illyria the other returned with his army to Rome. Teuta who had
retreated to Rhizon, a well defendable city, sent messengers
to consul Postumius in the early spring. They declared she
would pay the demanded tribute and retreat from Illyria.
The Romans left a man,
who had betrayed Teuta to the Romans, Demetrius in charge and
left for Rome. They would soon regret this decision.


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