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Joelius Chapmanicus

Achaean War

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I am currently reading about the Roman dominance over the various Greek City states following the end of the Third Macedonian war and the defeat of Antiochus III of the Seleucid empire. I am unsure why in 146 BC the Achaean league chose to rebel against Rome. I am aware of the action Rome took with the destruction of Corinth under the leadership of Lucius Mummius, but i am slightly baffled as to why they rebelled. There is a suggestion in some of the source material i have read that mercantile factions within the senate wanted the destruction of Corinth to prevent competition for key trade routes, perhaps Rome 'forced' them to revolt. I would be grateful for your thoughts and any details or facts you may have uncovered.

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I am currently reading about the Roman dominance over the various Greek City states following the end of the Third Macedonian war and the defeat of Antiochus III of the Seleucid empire. I am unsure why in 146 BC the Achaean league chose to rebel against Rome. I am aware of the action Rome took with the destruction of Corinth under the leadership of Lucius Mummius, but i am slightly baffled as to why they rebelled. There is a suggestion in some of the source material i have read that mercantile factions within the senate wanted the destruction of Corinth to prevent competition for key trade routes, perhaps Rome 'forced' them to revolt. I would be grateful for your thoughts and any details or facts you may have uncovered.

Salve, JC!

 

Here is a related thread to begin with.

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There is a suggestion in some of the source material i have read that mercantile factions within the senate wanted the destruction of Corinth to prevent competition for key trade routes, perhaps Rome 'forced' them to revolt.

 

I've read modern speculation along these lines, but I don't see any primary source material that would support it. What are you talking about?

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There is a suggestion in some of the source material i have read that mercantile factions within the senate wanted the destruction of Corinth to prevent competition for key trade routes, perhaps Rome 'forced' them to revolt.

 

I've read modern speculation along these lines, but I don't see any primary source material that would support it. What are you talking about?

 

Here is some modern speculation in Theodor Mommsen's words (1817-1903) (R

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There is a suggestion in some of the source material i have read that mercantile factions within the senate wanted the destruction of Corinth to prevent competition for key trade routes, perhaps Rome 'forced' them to revolt.

I've read modern speculation along these lines, but I don't see any primary source material that would support it. What are you talking about?

 

Like Cato, I too am unfamiliar with any primary sources supporting the theory. A good deal of the specifics we do have come from fragmented sources unfortunately. The best chronology of the whole affair that I have found comes from Pausanias' Description of Greece. What I can find does not dismiss the suggestion that Rome "forced" them to revolt, but I think makes it unlikely. Let's look at a bulletized chronology:

 

147 B.C.

 

-Roman envoys arrive to arbitrate between the Lacedaemonians and the Achaeans (disupte between them instigated by Diaeus).

-The envoys are maltreated by the Achaeans (the work of Critolaus).

 

146 BC

 

-Critolaus takes over for Diaeus and persuades the League to declare war.

-Rome despatches Mummius to fight the Achaeans .

-Metellus doesn't want Mummius to get all the credit so he sends envoys with terms to Critolaus.

-Critolaus still refuses and his forces are defeated by Metellus.

-Diaeus takes over and also refuses to entertain terms.

-Mummius arrives, takes command, enters Corinth and...

 

If Rome's actions up to the point where their legation was mistreated were designed to "force" the Achaeans into revolt it would have had to have been a very deep and complex political maneveur that could have easily failed (what if they simply said yes to their terms?). I am sure they could have enticed rebellion in a more simple manner if they were so inclined. I am of the opinion that at this point the Romans did not want another war (yet). Macedonia was still being settled and despite good progress in the war in Africa they were still fully engaged against Carthage. Now, it does appear that Mummius was ordered to attack and raze Corinth:

 

Livy, Periochae, 52

In his place Diaeus, the instigator of the Achaean revolt, was elected as leader by the Achaeans, and he was defeated at the Isthmus by consul Lucius Mummius. Having received the surrender of all Achaea and being ordered to do so by the Senate, he sacked Corinth, where the Roman envoys had been maltreated.

But their is no evidence that the basis of this decision was for commercial purposes (but it leaves the door open for such a suggestion).

 

My theory as to the reason war broke out was because Critolaus and Diaeus manipulated the situation in that direction for their own purposes. Why would they do such a thing (that so clearly appears to us to be a war they could not win)? From their perspective, this was most likely their last chance to maintain power. If Rome faced setbacks in their war against Carthage or wasw even outrightly defeated, the Achaens would have been in a very good position (the war was still in progrees when they started their shenanigans). Perhaps they felt if they did nothing, they would eventually be overcome...but if they could exert some dominance while Rome was stretched thin, and might reinforce their power. They rolled the dice and lost against unfavorable odds. However, I firmly believe had they not provoked Rome, Corinth would not have been razed. Would Rome have benefitted from a ruined Corinth...of course, but they would have had little justification for such actions without war.

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Like Cato, I too am unfamiliar with any primary sources supporting the theory.

 

Would Rome have benefitted from a ruined Corinth...of course, but they would have had little justification for such actions without war.

 

Salve, PNS.

 

I basically agree, I haven't found those primary sources either. It

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