The Expansion of Rome in the East to 90 BCE


Map Code: Ax02481

The Roman Republic’s successful war against the Achaean League marked the end of Greek political independence, and the beginning of the end of the Hellenistic era. The Kingdom of Pergamon, the only significant remaining power in the Aegean, was generally pro-Roman, and its last king, Attalus III, bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman Republic in 133 BCE, which created the province of Asia. Thus, 70 years after Rome was first involved in Greek affairs in the Macedonian Wars, it was now in control of all of the Greek world and had cemented its position as the dominant power in the Mediterranean. The Roman Republic then began to exert more direct control over the states and cities of Anatolia, increasing taxation and limiting personal freedoms. This would lead eventually to a revolt led by Mithridates VI, king of Pontus known as the Mithridatic Wars (89-63 BCE), which cost the lives of thousands. In one day in either 89 or 88 BCE, over 80,000 Romans and Italians were massacred in cities throughout Anatolia, including Pergamon, in an event now known as the ‘Asiatic Vespers’. Mithridates VI was eventually defeated by the Roman general Pompey the Great in 63 BCE and took his own life to avoid capture.

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