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Thread: Philip V of Macedon's empire against Rome

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    Default Philip V of Macedon's empire against Rome

    Could Philip of Macedon had done anything different to protect Macedon and Greece against the Romans, or to consolidate more control in Hellas proper?
    We know after his defeat to the Romans he expanded mining, settled Thracians in Macedon(probably to fill his depleted phalanx ranks), and took other measures to the point when Perseus fought the Romans he was in a much better financial and numerical situation than his father. Could Philip have done any of these earlier to have been in a better position when the war with Rome arrived? Did he have any option to be more secure, or did the defeat and protective cloak of Rome only then give him the time needed to build infrastructure and expand?

    Could he have allied or annexed any Thracian tribes in large number to create more phalangites with Macedonian training and officers? Same with cavalry, as I understand Thracian cavalry to be quite good, with formal training and officers possibly elite? Was there any scenario where he could have allied with any of the leagues or leaders in Greece?

    Thank you alot!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Philip V of Macedon's empire against Rome

    Quote Originally Posted by Exiled Spartan View Post
    Could Philip of Macedon had done anything different to protect Macedon and Greece against the Romans, or to consolidate more control in Hellas proper?

    No I think his "starting position" was too weak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exiled Spartan View Post
    We know after his defeat to the Romans he expanded mining, settled Thracians in Macedon(probably to fill his depleted phalanx ranks), and took other measures to the point when Perseus fought the Romans he was in a much better financial and numerical situation than his father.
    Indeed, but the near-incessant wars of the Diadochi, the infamous Gallic incursion and the loss of so much manpower to the Macedonian kingdoms "overseas" meant Makedon was coming off a very depleted base.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exiled Spartan View Post
    Could Philip have done any of these earlier to have been in a better position when the war with Rome arrived?
    Phillip did divert resources meddling in Illyria, which first brought him into collision with Rome. That said, the Roman social system with its "cursus honorum" required a steady stream of wars and conquests to feed the glory factory. Covetous Proconsuls and later would-be dictators fought their way around the Mediterranean basin invading or subordinating every state. Macedonia was on the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exiled Spartan View Post
    Did he have any option to be more secure, or did the defeat and protective cloak of Rome only then give him the time needed to build infrastructure and expand?


    Perhaps, although any economic development seems to have attracted the legions. Under the empire economic development in Dacia led pretty directly to their conquest by Trajan and incorporation as Roman provinces.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exiled Spartan View Post
    Could he have allied or annexed any Thracian tribes in large number to create more phalangites with Macedonian training and officers? Same with cavalry, as I understand Thracian cavalry to be quite good, with formal training and officers possibly elite?


    Manpower was a problem for any military power at the time, perhaps he could have although the King of Makedonia had to pay attention to the wishes of his powerful nobles. Phillip II did overcome manpower problems by incorporating conquered tribes and tapping new sources (he armed his peasant farmers as pikemen): under Phillip V these sources were diminished (Macedonian farmes had been savaged by the Gallic invasions) and the other Diadochi were exploiting the same alternate sources of manpower (eg mercenaries from Hellas and the Balkans).

    Armies under the diadochi are not impressively huge. Not even the vast Seleucid Empire fielded fores to match Alexander III's great army, let alone Darius' seemingly numberless forces.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exiled Spartan View Post
    Was there any scenario where he could have allied with any of the leagues or leaders in Greece?


    As "top dog" Madeconia held the "fetters of Greece" which were a source of income: surrendering those might win friends but it would lose money and power. Any increase in power led to an inexorable increase in hostility from other powers: Pergamum and Rhodes IIRC called for Roman help against Philip. The other Diadochi were delighted to see one another fall, and occasionally ganged up for short term gain only.

    Makedonia was the first domino in the eastern Med to fall to Rome. The moment when one (or even an alliance) of powers could taker Rome down was I think past once Hannibal was beaten. A concerted effort by the Seleucids and Antigonids in say 216 BC when the thunderclap of Cannae shook Rome might have stopped the Romans dead, but why would they? Rome really only emerged as a superpower once Carthage was shattered.

    A colossal treasury, a true genius commander (Hannibal, one of the top three or four general evah!) and an experienced loyal brilliant army (which is what Carthage effectively had available) could not evaporate Rome's supply of loyal manpower. The dented remnant of Macedonia was far less of a challenge, but at the same time too tempting a target to survive the avarice of Rome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exiled Spartan View Post
    Thank you alot!
    Please check with other posters more conversant with this subject.
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    Default Re: Philip V of Macedon's empire against Rome

    Could Philip of Macedon had done anything different to protect Macedon and Greece against the Romans, or to consolidate more control in Hellas proper?


    Probably not. Too effectively play with Rome you had to be a state as reliant as Rome in both manpower and political capacity to spent blood and treasure to the bitter end. A classical democratic Athens might do that after all loosing was loosing the democracy. Macedonia had no particular better offer to make to Greece at large than that of Rome. What freedom or right would the average Boeotian or Rhodian be fighting for in fighting for Macedonia? Athenian official. "OK so let me get this clear. You want us to call up our cavalry and soldiers on our drachmas to go fight the Romans? These Romans have not attacked us or you - right? We have been pretty happy you know avoiding your recent war all over Greece. I can't see as the Aetolians are going to fight for you or Sparta. The
    Achaean League is sort of your puppet now, and hardly unified. If I squint its not a Roman garrison in Corinth I see. I am also rather certain Rhodes will show you the door. Well I guess Crete voted to be your client state - umm no huh. I can't help but recall in was you lot oppressing us since Philip. So bugger off we are sitting this one out"

    Macedonia was the oppressor Greece knew, Rome an unknown I doubt Philip could do anything to convince Greece to fight for him in any meaning full way outside of hiring mercenaries. Macedonian Hegemony provided no particular benefits. Elites were not integrated into some larger Macedonian state, piracy and banditry were not controlled. Macedonia could not even stop the Gauls when they invaded. All in all I don't see a way P V could have rallied greece to some war with Rome that was not in anyone else's interest. I'm sure most other polities in Greece would not see themselves has protected by Macedon (as in your quote).
    Last edited by conon394; December 03, 2018 at 12:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Philip V of Macedon's empire against Rome

    Thank both you guys for the responses. Very helpful!

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