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Rome's Conquest of the East

Eastern Mediterranean was dominated by the Hellenistic states from the end of the 4th century BC. Macedonia; the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt; the Seleucid realm and, in the 3rd century , the Pergamum.

Rome entered into eastern politics at the time of the Second Punic War, when King Philip V of Macedon made an alliance with Hannibal.

To contain Philip's ambitions on the Dalmatian coast, the Romans went to war in 214 BC and again in 200 BC, winning a crushing victory at Cynoscephalae in 197 BC. This was their first success over the spearman known as the Macedonian phalanx. Five years later the Romans appealed for help against his eastern neighbour, the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III. The Romans were then able to crush Antiochus' land army at Magnesia in 190 BC.

The legions were back in action in Macedonia 20 years later, this time agains Philip's son Perseus. At the battle of Pydna in 168 BC, the Romans won a decisive victory and reduced Macedonia to a Roman province. Greece was added in 146 BC, after a war in which the Romans destroyed the leading greek city, Corinth. Rome acquiured its first territory beyond the Aegean in 133 BC, when the last king of Pergamum bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman people; it became the province of Asia. In 101 BC, Romans established a further province of Cilicia in an effort to stamp out piracy.