Hellas under the Roman heel

Philip V of Macedon had ambitions to restore his kingdom to its former glory and met the Romans head on as a consequence — to his cost.

Early Roman coins did
not carry portraits on
the obverse (front).
The first known to do
so was struck in
197 BC in Macedonia
to commemorate the
victory of Titus Quinctius
Flaminius at the battle of
Cynoscephalae, and it shows his portrait. It's the first example of using coinage as propoganda in the Greek-Oriental style to bolster a victorious general's post-military political ambitions.


The energetic Seleucid king Antiochus III had ambitions to restore Alexander the Great’s Hellenic empire. He had already re-established Seleucid power from the edges of India to Asia Minor and took advantage of the Roman withdrawl from Greece to establish a footing in Thrace in 192 BC. In part, his ambitions to take on Rome were fuelled by his house guest — the self-exiled Hannibal Barca. The Aetolian League appointed him their commander in chief — and that brought the Romans back.

The legions routed his Seleucid forces at Thermopylae and then invaded Asia Minor under the command of Lucius Scipio (brother of Africanus, who accompanied the expedition), and defeated Antiochus in pitched battle at Magnesia in 190.

The Treaty of Apamea (188 BC) handed all the country north of the Taurus Mountains into Rome's hands, which was distributed among her friends. Antiochus was killed during a campaign in Luristan, Persia, in 187 BC.

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