CLA230 Lecture 20 Notes

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Published on 22 Apr 2013
CLA230 Lecture 20 Notes
- Greek politics in the east
- extent to which Rome takes over
- different, for example, between Egypt and Greek mainland
- Hellenistic Greece much larger
- must understand this from a Roman perspective
- technically, most of the Greek mainland is declared free despite being very
Romanized and basically under Roman control
- technically not important until later
Roman Advantages
- advantage of Roman republic over the Greek polis
manpower and citizenship
more flexible military formation
institutional features
- republic is able to field large armies year after year – polis cannot do so
unless they had very large amounts of money
- Roman notion of citizenship is much more inclusive
- Greek polis had closely guarded citizenship
- while still not very easy, it is much more open regarding citizenship of Rome
- more open concept of Roman citizenship
- Rome as more effective at binding its allies to itself – loyalty of allies
- Roman military formation as very different that the Greek phalanx – can be
more open therefore it works better in certain environments
- phalanx works will on open fields but has difficulty adapting to more ragged
areas – not flexible
- Roman republic as very different from Greek constitutional systems – familiar
in some ways but different organization
- Hellenistic Period – kings
- therefore:
bad kings = bad period
- death of the king could result in civil strife/warfare
- senators in the republic – elected consuls – many competing consuls
- nature of the republic can be seen as an advantage – more continuity in
- in Hellenistic government – if a king dies, there can be unrest – upheaval with
bad kings
- with consuls there is a sense of replaceability – however, this perhaps can be
disadvantageous regarding its policy of a one-year office
- 319-272 B.C.
- advantages at work
- king of Eparus – king of Molossians
- Molossians – Alexander the Great’s mother was a Molossian princess
- Molossians claim descent from Achilles
- Pyrrhus – one of the alternate names of Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles
- Pyrrhus becomes involved in Roman politics
- expansion south into territory in Tarentum
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- Tarentum – only Spartan colony sent – “illegitimate” children sent out during
Messenian wars
- textile industry in Tarentum – also produces the best wool
- also has the largest navy in southern Italy
- Rome begins pushing south and takes Tarentum
- problems with Tarentum and Rome – series of treaties
- worry about Romans in Tarentum – call in Epirus to help in fighting the
- mention of events in Pyrrhus written by Plutarch
- from Epirus to Tarentum – wins the Battle of Heraclea
- travels Roman territory and attempts to turn Roman allies over to his side
- attempt to find allies in Italy to win a war
- Pyrrhus can win individual battles but Romans can replenish troops and he
- unsuccessful in gaining allies – goes to Sicily but is called back to allies of
- quote: “His appearance, speed and movements reminded them of
Alexander... The other kings resembled Alexander only by their purple
garments, their bodyguards, the way they inclined their head... But Pyrrhus
alone did so by his arms and his exploits. His skill and mastery in tactical and
strategic matters are readily illustrated by the writings he has left behind on
these subjects.”
- Pyrrhus as an adventurous man – works circulating
- second battle at Asculum after winning minor battle at Herculaneum
- Battle of Asculum – 279 B.C.
- quote: “So the Romans…were obliged to engage on level ground and front to
front; and being anxious to repulse the enemy's men-at-arms before their
elephants came up, they fought fiercely with their swords against the
Macedonian spears... After a long time, however, as we are told, they began
to be driven back…but the greatest havoc was wrought by the furious
strength of the elephants, since the valour of the Romans was of no avail in
fighting them…”
- Pyrrhus has war elephants – feature of Hellenistic warfare that Romans are
unaccustomed to – Romans also have difficulty with Macedonian infantry on
level ground
- archers likely on elephants
- “Pyrrhic Victory” – post-Asculum
- quote: “Pyrrhus said to one who was congratulating him on his victory, “If we
are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly
ruined.” For he had lost a great part of the forces with which he came, and all
his friends and generals except a few... moreover, he had no others whom he
could summon from home, and he saw that his allies in Italy were becoming
indifferent, while the army of the Romans, as if from a fountain gushing forth,
was easily and speedily filled up again, and they did not lose courage in
defeat, but their wrath gave them all the more vigour and determination for
the war.”
- lost most of his generals and allies
- likely dramatic but shows his difficulty – manpower, and likely a money,
- end of Pyrrhus’ Italian adventures – final battle
- Battle of Beneventum in 275 B.C.
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