Macedonian Wars

  • Series of conflicts between the Roman and Macedonian empires in 211–168 BC

First Macedonian War

  • 214–205 BC
  • During the Second Punic War, Philip V of Macedon allied himself with Hannibal
  • Romans dispatched some forces across the Adriatic sea to seize some Macedonian territory
  • Ended with the treaty of Phoenice

Second Macedonian War

  • In 204 BC, Ptolemaic king dies, leaving his throne to his six-year-old son
    • Macedon and the Seleucid Empire decide to exploit this opportunity
  • In 201 BC, Philip V launches a campaign into Asia Minor
    • After successfuly blockading Philip’s fleet (but still fearing Macedon), Rhodes and Pergamon send an appeal to Rome
      • The Roman senate passes a supportive decree and Marcus Valerius Laevinus is sent to investigate
      • Rhodian ambassadors also persuaded Athens to declare war on Macedon
  • Initially, Rome didn’t intend to fight a war against Macedon, but rather to intervene on behalf of its new allies diplomatically
    • Rome gave Philip an ultimatum that he must cease in his campaigns
      • Philip, doubting Rome’s strength, ignored this
    • Believing their honor and reputation was on the line, Romans launched a campaign to Macedon under Titus Quinctius Flaminius
      • Flaminius tried to persuade many Greek city-states to join an alliance with Rome against Macedonia

Battle of Cynoscephalae

  • 197 BC
  • About 26,000 troops on each side
  • Decisive Roman victory
  • Resulted in the Treaty of Tempea
    • Allied greek states have been freed from Macedonian control
  • Rome withdrew all its forces afterwards

Seleucid War

  • 192–188 BC
  • Rome thought they had left behind a stable peace in Greece, but, in fact, they removed the last check on Seleucid expansion
    • Now not only Greek states, but Philip’s Macedon sought Rome for help against Seleucids
    • Hannibal also became the chief military advisor to the Seleucid empire and that posed a major threat to Rome itself
  • A big Roman-Greek army was mobilized under Sicpio Africanus (important character in the Second Punic War) and a campaign launched against Seleucids

Battle of Magnesia

  • Roman-Greek army against slightly bigger Seleucid army
  • Decisive Roman victory
    • Antiochus (Seleucid king) was forced to cease all military campaigns in Greece
      • This was pretty much the beginning of the end of the Seleucid empire
  • This battle marked the end of the Macedonian phalanx’s dominance in warfare

Third Macedonian War

  • 172–168 BC
  • Perseus, Philip’s son, attempted to restore Macedonian influence
  • Perseus was implicated in an asssassination plot against an ally of Rome
    • Thus Rome was re-injected into the war
    • Initially, Rome didn’t do as well as in the Seleucid war

Battle of Pydna

  • 168 BC
  • Romans under Aemilius Paulus against the Macedonians under Perseus
  • Decisive Roman victory
    • Very high casualties in the Macedonian phalanx


  • The kingdom of Macedonia was divided into four client republics
  • Rome established a permanent presence in Greece