2. Beginnings of Rome
3. Institutions of Early Rome
4. Etruscan Kings of Rome
5. Reorganization of Kingdom

6. Struggle against Kingship
7. Struggle for Economic Rights
8. Struggle for Equal Laws
9. Struggle for Political Equality
10. Conquest of Latium
11. Conquest of Central Italy
12. Conquest of Southern Italy
13. Supremacy of Rome in Italy
14. First Punic War
15. Second Punic War
16. Conquests in East
17. Reduction of Roman Conquests
18. Rome as a World Power
19. Times of Gracchi
20. Times of Marius and Sulla
21. Times of Pompey and Caesar
22. Times of Antony and Octavius

23. Reign of Augustus
24. Julian Emperors
25. Flavian Emperors
26. Five Good Emperors
27. Decline of Empire
28. Reorganization of Empire
29. Extinction of Western Empire
Outlines of Roman History
by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company (1901).



Table of contents




The Condition of the East, I.The First and Second Macedonian Wars, II.War with Antiochus of Syria (B.C. 192-189), III.The Third Macedonian War (B.C. 171-168), IV.


   The Divisions of the Empire of Alexander.—At the time of the second Punic war, the countries about the Mediterranean may be considered as forming two distinct worlds: the Western world, in which Rome and Carthage were struggling for mastery; and the Eastern world, which was divided among the successors of Alexander the Great. It was more than a century before this time that Alexander had built up a great empire, extending from Greece to the middle of Asia. By his conquests the ideals of Greek art and literature and philosophy had been spread into the eastern countries. But Alexander had none of the genius for organization which the Romans possessed, and so at his death his empire fell to pieces. The fragments were seized by his different generals, and became new and distinct kingdoms. At this time there were three of these kingdoms which were quite extensive and powerful. These were: (1) the kingdom of Egypt under the Ptolemies, in Africa; (2) the kingdom of Syria under the Seleucidae, in Asia; and (3) the kingdom of Macedonia under the direct successors of Alexander, in southeastern Europe (see map, p. 124).

   Egypt under the Ptolemies.—Under the reign of the Ptolemies, Egypt had attained a remarkable degree of prosperity. Her territory not only included the valley of the Nile, but extended into Asia, taking in Palestine, Phoenicia, and the southern part of Syria (Coele-Syria), besides Cyprus and some other islands. Its capital, Alexandria, was perhaps the most cultivated city of the world, where the learned men of all countries found their home. So devoted was Egypt to the arts of peace, that she kept aloof, as far as possible, from the great wars of this period. But she was an object of envy to the kings of Syria and Macedonia; and toward the close of the second Punic war, in order to protect herself, she had formed an alliance with Rome. The friendly relations between Rome and Egypt were preserved, while Rome carried on war with the other great powers of the East.

   Syria under Antiochus III.—The most important fragment of Alexander’s empire in Asia was Syria, or the kingdom of the Seleucidae—so called from the name of its founder, Seleucus the Conqueror. It covered a large part of western Asia, comprising the valley of the Euphrates, upper Syria, and portions of Asia Minor. Its rulers included four kings by the name of Seleucus, and eight by the name of Antiochus. These names also appear in the capital cities of the Syrian empire, Seleucia on the Tigris and Antioch in upper Syria. The most powerful of these kings was Antiochus III., surnamed the Great. He did much to enlarge and strengthen the empire. But he incurred the hostility of Rome by giving asylum to Rome’s great enemy, Hannibal, and also by attempting to make conquests in Europe. There were a few small states in Asia Minor, like Pergamum, Bithynia, Pontus, and the island republic of Rhodes, which were not included in the kingdom of Syria and which were inclined to look to Rome for protection.

   Macedonia and the Greek Cities.—The third great fragment of Alexander’s empire was Macedonia, which aspired to be supreme in eastern Europe. A part of Greece fell under its authority. But many of the Greek cities remained free; and they united into leagues or confederations, in order to maintain their independence. One of these was the Achaean league, made up of the cities of southern Greece, or the Peloponnesus; and another was the Aetolian league, including a large number of cities in central Greece. When Philip V. came to the throne of Macedonia, his kingdom was in a flourishing condition. The young ruler was ambitious to extend his power; and came into hostile relations with Rome, which espoused the cause of the Greek cities.


   The First Macedonian War (B.C. 215-206).—It was the indiscreet alliance of Philip of Macedonia with Hannibal, during the second Punic war, which we have already noticed, that brought about the first conflict between Rome and Macedonia. But Rome was then so fully occupied with her struggle with Carthage that all she desired to do was simply to prevent Philip from making his threatened invasion of Italy. Rome therefore sent a small force across the Adriatic, made friends with the Aetolians, and kept Philip occupied at home. The Macedonian king was thus prevented from sending any force into Italy. The Aetolians, not satisfied with the support given to them by Rome, soon made peace with Philip; and the Romans themselves, who were about to invade Africa, were also willing to conclude a treaty of peace with him. Thus closed what is generally called the first Macedonian war, which was really nothing more than a diversion to prevent Philip from giving aid to Hannibal after the battle of Cannae.

   Beginning of the Second Macedonian War (B.C. 200-197).—When the second Punic war was fairly ended, Rome felt free to deal with Philip of Macedonia, and to take a firm hand in settling the affairs of the East. Philip had annoyed her, not only by making an alliance with Hannibal, but afterward by sending a force to assist him at the battle of Zama. And now the ambitious schemes of Philip were not at all to the liking of Rome. For instance, he made an agreement with Antiochus of Syria to cut up the possessions of Egypt, a country which was friendly to Rome. He was also overrunning the coasts of the Aegean Sea, and was threatening the little kingdom of Pergamum in Asia Minor, and the little republic of Rhodes, as well as the cities of Greece. When appeal came to Rome for protection, she espoused the cause of the small states, and declared war against Macedonia.

   Battle of Cynoscephalae (B.C. 197).—The great hero of this war was T. Quinctius Flamininus; and the decisive battle was fought near a hill in Thessaly called Cynoscephalae (Dog’s Heads). Here Philip was completely defeated, and his army was destroyed. Although Macedonia was not reduced to the condition of a province, it became practically subject to Rome. Macedonia was thus humbled, and there was no other power in Europe to dispute the supremacy of Rome.

   The Liberation of Greece (B.C. 196).—To complete her work in eastern Europe, and to justify her position as defender of the Greek cities, Rome withdrew her garrisons and announced the independence of Greece. This was proclaimed by Flamininus at the Isthmian games, amid wild enthusiasm and unbounded expressions of gratitude. Rome was hailed as “the nation which, at its own expense, with its own labor, and at its own risk, waged war for the liberty of others, and which had crossed the sea that justice, right, and law should everywhere have sovereign sway” (Livy, xxxiii, 33).


   Beginning of the War; the Aetolians.—There was now left in the world only one great power which could claim to be a rival of Rome. That power was Syria, under its ambitious ruler, Antiochus III. A number of things led to the conflict between Rome and this great power in Asia. But the direct cause of the war grew out of the intrigues of the Aetolians in Greece. This restless people stirred up a discord among the Greek cities, and finally called upon Antiochus to espouse their cause, and to aid them in driving the Romans out of the country. Antiochus accepted this invitation, crossed the Hellespont, and landed in Greece with an army of 10,000 men (B.C. 192).

   Battles of Thermopylae and Magnesia.—Rome now appeared as the protector of Europe against Asia. She was supported by her previous enemy, Philip of Macedonia; and she was also aided by the kingdom of Pergamum and the republic of Rhodes. The career of Antiochus in Greece was short. He was defeated by Marcus Porcius Cato in the famous pass of Thermopylae (B.C. 191), and was driven back across the sea into Asia Minor. The next year the Romans followed him, and fought their first battle upon the continent of Asia. The Roman army was nominally under the command of the new consul, L. Cornelius Scipio, but really under the command of his famous brother, Scipio Africanus, who accompanied him. The decisive battle was fought at Magnesia (B.C. 190), not far from Sardis in western Asia Minor. Forty thousand of the enemy were slain, with a comparatively small loss to the Romans. Scipio imposed the terms of peace, which required Antiochus (1) to give up all his possessions in Asia Minor—the most of which were added to the kingdom of Pergamum, with some territory to the republic of Rhodes; (2) to give up his fleet and not to interfere in European affairs; (3) to pay the sum of 15,000 talents (nearly $20,000,000) within twelve years; and (4) to surrender Hannibal, who had taken an active part in the war.

   Subjection of the Aetolians.—After the great victory of Magnesia, Rome turned her arms against the Aetolians, who were so foolish as to continue the struggle. Their chief city, Ambracia, was taken; and they were soon forced to submit. Macedonia and all Greece, with the exception of the Achaean league, were now brought into subjection to the Roman authority.

   The Fate of Hannibal.—To the Romans it seemed an act of treachery that Hannibal, who had been conquered in a fair field at Zama, should continue his hostility by fighting on the side of their enemies. But Hannibal never forgot the oath of eternal enmity to Rome, the oath which he had sworn at his father’s knee. When Antiochus agreed to surrender him, Hannibal fled to Crete, and afterward took refuge with the king of Bithynia. Here he continued his hostility to Rome by aiding this ruler in a war against Rome’s ally, the king of Pergamum. The Romans still pursued him, and sent Flamininus to demand his surrender. But Hannibal again fled, and, hunted from the face of the earth, this great soldier, who had been the most terrible foe that Rome had ever encountered, took his own life by drinking poison. It is said that the year of his death was the same year (B.C. 183) in which died his great and victorious antagonist, Scipio Africanus.


   Roman Policy in the East.—By the great battles of Cynoscephalae and Magnesia, Rome had reason to believe that she had broken the power of her rivals in the East. But she had not yet adopted in that part of the world the policy which she had previously employed in the case of Sicily and Spain, namely, of reducing the territory to the condition of provinces. She had left the countries of the East nominally free and independent; and had placed them in the condition of subject allies, or of tributary states. She had compelled them to reduce their armies, to give her an annual tribute, and to promise not to make a war without her consent. In this way she believed that Macedonia and Syria would be obliged to keep the peace. Over the weaker powers, like the Greek cities, the kingdom of Pergamum, and the republic of Rhodes, she had assumed the position of a friendly protector. But in spite of this generous policy, a spirit of discontent gradually grew up in the various countries, and Rome was soon obliged, as we shall see, to adopt a new and more severe policy, in order to maintain peace and order throughout her growing empire.

   Beginning of the Third Macedonian War.—Philip of Macedonia had been a faithful ally of Rome during the late war with Antiochus; but at its close he felt that he had not been sufficiently rewarded for his fidelity. He saw that the little states of Pergamum and Rhodes had received considerable accessions to their territories, while he himself was apparently forgotten. On account of this seeming neglect, he began to think of regaining his old power. When he died, he was succeeded by his son, Perseus, who continued the design of making Macedonia free from the dictation of Rome. Perseus did what he could to develop the resources of his kingdom, and to organize and strengthen his army. He even began to be looked upon by the Greek cities as their champion against the encroachments of Rome. But the time soon came when he was obliged to answer for his arrogant conduct. The Romans became convinced of the ambitious scheme of Perseus, and entered upon a new war against Macedonia.

   Battle of Pydna (B.C. 168).—After three unsuccessful campaigns, the Romans finally placed in command of their army an able general, Aemilius Paullus, the son of the consul who was slain at Cannae. The two armies met near Pydna, (see map, p. 128), and Perseus suffered a crushing defeat. Here the Macedonian phalanx fought its last great battle, and the Roman legions gave a new evidence of their superior strength. Twenty thousand Macedonians were slain, and eleven thousand were captured. It is said that the spoils of this battle were so great that the citizens of Rome were henceforth relieved from the payment of taxes. Paullus received at Rome the most magnificent triumph that had ever been seen. For three days the gorgeous procession marched through the streets of Rome, bearing the trophies of the East. Through the concourse of exultant people was driven the chariot of the defeated king of Macedonia, followed by the victorious army adorned with laurels, and its successful commander decked with the insignia of Jupiter Capitolinus, with a laurel branch in his hand.

   The Settlement of Macedonia.—The question now arose as to what should be done with Macedonia, which had so many times resisted the Roman power. The Romans were not yet ready to reduce the country to a province, and were not willing to have it remain independent. It was therefore split up into four distinct republics, which were to be entirely separated from one another, but which were to be dependent upon Rome. With a show of generosity, Rome compelled the people to pay as tribute only half of what had been previously paid to the Macedonian king. But the republics could have no relations with one another, either by way of commerce or intermarriage. All the chief men of Greece who had given any aid to the Macedonian king were transported to Italy, where they could not stir up a revolt in their native country. Among these Achaean captives was the famous historian, Polybius, who during this time gathered the materials of his great work on Roman history.


Pelham, Bk. III., Ch. 2, “Rome and the East” (
Arnold, Hist., Ch. 35, “State of the East” (2).
How and Leigh, Ch. 25, “Eastern States and Second Macedonian War” (1).
Liddell, Ch. 39, “Settlement of Greece” (1).
Mommsen, Vol. II., Bk. III., Ch. 8, “The Eastern States” (2).
Mommsen, abridged, Ch. 17, “War with Antiochus” (2).
Merivale, Gen. Hist., Ch. 25, “Deaths of Three Great Men” (1).
Plutarch, “Aemilius Paullus,” “Flamininus” (11).
Livy, Bk. XXXIII., Chs. 32, 33, The Liberation of Greece (4).


   ACHAEAN AND AETOLIAN LEAGUES.—Liddell, pp. 416-417 (1); Shuckburgh, pp. 413-415 (1); How and Leigh, pp. 257-259 (1); Mommsen, Vol. II., pp. 262-265 (2).

1 The figure in parenthesis refers to the number of the topic in the
Appendix, where a fuller title of the book will be found.


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