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Italy 214-208

2nd Punic war; First Macedonian war

215-205 bc

Philippus V of Macedonia conquers a base
As soon as the Romans had learned Philippus V of Macedonia and Hannibal had made a treaty to combine their forces to attack Rome, They immediately created a fleet and a small army. This force under command of praetor Marcus Valerius Laevinus. When Philippus in 214 bc attacked first Oricum and then Apollonia (Illyria opposite to Brundusium), Valerius crossed the Adriatic sea to Oricum. if Apollonia was to stay in Macedonian hands, Philippus would have a base, from where he could easily cross the Adriatic and attack the Italian coasts.

Valerius Laevinus's reaction
The small Macedonian garrison, left in Oricum was beaten easily and from there Valerius marched north to Apollonia, that now was besieged by Philippus. Here in the night Valerius raided the poorly defended Macedonian camp. Livius reports Philippus had to run half naked for his life. At first he sought shelter on his ships. When he was convinced the Romans were too strong, he burnt the ships and retreated to Macedonia.

How to win the Macedonian war: Divide and conquer
In 208 bc Philippus still was a too strong opponent for Valerius to defeat with his small army. So he sought and found allies in Greece. Aetolians, who had also problems with Philippus, made a pact with the Romans and attacked the Macedonians. The Romans supported this attack with 25 quinqueremes. Valerius now had Greek fighting Greek and was assured Philippus had enough problems to keep him away from Italy. Valerius conquered Zacynthus and retreated his fleet and army to the island of Corcyra.

Help from Asia in the Macedonian war
The Romans now had support from the king of Asia (Bergamum) Attalus. They stayed the winter on Aegina. In spring 207 they set out with a fleet of 25+35 quinqueremes and all cities in Greece was at war. Either with one another or with the Romans. Cities were conquered, looted and then reconquered. Although Philippus with his mighty army ran from the one place to the other, most of the came he was to late or prevent the Romans to sack a city.

Attalus returns home
When Attalus's homeland, kingdom of Bergamum, was attacked by it's neighbor, the king went home to defeat and punish this neighbor. This also put an end to the Roman actions for a while. This pause made it possible to make peace between the Greek and the Macedonians. The Romans still fearing a Macedonians attack sent Publius Sempronius with an army of 10,000 foot and 1000 horse together with 35 warships. From Apollonia Sempronius tried to have restarted the war, but the Greek were tired of the war. Philippus reacted immediately and set out to Apollonia with his army. Sempronius stayed within the walls of the city and refused to do battle with Philippus. The people of Epirus totally fed up with this war, sent envoys to both parties in an attempt to tempt them to peace. The Romans who were about to attack Carthago and needed every man they could get, as well as Philippus were interested and concluded peace in 205bc.

    Greek bowman

Greek bowman
Glyptothek München

    Temple of Aegina    

Model of the temple of Aegina
Glyptothek München


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