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During the period of 350 to 300 BCE Rome recovered from the war with the Gauls, and successfully defended itself from war with the Etruscans and other nations seeking to take advantage of Rome's weakness. This period also covers Philip II and the Rise of Macedon. Philip's son, Alexander, would launch of an invasion of the Persian Empire using the foundations that his father had created, but would ultimately be killed at the Battle of the Granicus against Persia. '
Olynthian War (349 – 348)
Wars of Philip II
Molossia and Cassopaea (342)
Thrace (342 – 340)
First Samnite War (343 – 341)
With the Latins and Etruscans subdued or bind by truce with the Romans, a decade of peace followed within the Roman Republic. During this time however, conflict elsewhere led by the Samnites was brewing in the Italian Peninsula. For centuries native Samnites of the Apennines had sought after the fertile lands along the coast of the Italian peninsula, and had been locked in conflict with Etruscans and Latins alike. By this time the Samnites had turned their attention to the south, advancing into Campania, where they adopted a more civilized lifestyle based on that of the native inhabitants. By the mid fourth century BCE, a confederation of Samnite tribes had invaded Campania again, fighting against the previous conquerors, who had assimilated to life there. At the same time the Lucanians and Bruttians had also begun attacking Greek colonies in the south. With their land now threatened by the Samnite invaders, the Greeks appealed to Epirus for help, while the settlers of Campania appealed to Rome.
Rome and the Samnites' relations went back for centuries. Most recently the Romans and Samnites had signed a treaty in 353 BCE, setting their mutual boundary. No enmity existed between the Romans and the Samnites that would have sparked war. Instead war came when the Samnites attacked without provocation the Sidicini, a tribe living north of Campania centered around the settlement of Teanum Sidicium. Sidici asked for assistance from the League of Campani, centered around the city state of Capua, which had become one of the wealthiest cities of the Italian peninsula. The Samnites pushed on and defeated the Campani in Sidicine territory. The Tifata hills overlooking Capua were seized, and later the Samnites defeated the Campani in a second battle near the city, pushing the Campani within the city walls, and compelling the defenders to ask for Roman assistance.
Campanian ambassadors in the city of Rome were admitted to an audience with the Roman Senate, where they proposed an alliance between the Rome and Capua. They stated that with Campani's great wealth the Romans would become even more powerful, whereas if they were conquered by the Samnites it would be them who became the most powerful state on the peninsula. In the end however, the Romans concluded that they could not sign an alliance with Capua without breaking the treaty they had signed with the Samnites. The Campanian ambassadors, as part of their instructions in case the Romans refused, surrendered the city of Capua and the Campanian people unconditionally into the power of Rome. The Roman Senate was moved by this surrender, and decided that the Roman Republic most mobilize its forces to protect these new Roman possessions from Samnite attack.
The Romans sent envoys the the Samnites' national assembly, demanding that the Samnites withdraw from Capua and Campanian lands, which were now under the protection of the Romans. The Samnites responded by declaring that they would ravage Campania, and continue their war against Capua, ordering their armies to march at once. With the Roman requests to the Samnites rejected, the Roman Republic declared war. In 343 BCE Roman forces under the command of the two consuls Marcus Valerius Corvus and Aulus Cornelius Cossus marched against the Samnites. The army led by Valerius entered into Campania to aid Capua, while Cornelius marched directly against Samnium, camping at Saticula.
Valerius first encountered the enemy at the Battle of Mount Gaurus, near Cumae. The majority of the Samnite army had marched into Campania, expecting the Roman army to primarily focus their efforts here. When a Samnite army met Valerius several skirmishes ensued, before the Romans finally marched out of their camp and began a full out engagement. Both sides were nearly equally matched, with neither side obtaining the upper hand in the initial fighting. A cavalry charge was ordered by Valerius in order to break the Samnite lines, but the charge failed and the Roman cavalry was forced to retreat. Valerius dismounted and led his infantry personally in a frontal assault, but again the Samnite line did not break, even after taking heavy losses. As night approached, the long hours of fighting angered the Romans, who made one last charge in an effort to end the battle. Finally the Samnites routed, with nightfall protecting their retreat.
Macedon's War against Perinthos and Byzantion (340 – 339)
Latin War (340 - 338)
Philip's Final Wars (339 – 338)
Fourth Sacred War
League of Corinth
Assassination of Philip II (336)
In 336 BCE Philip II of Macedon was beginning preparations for a Greek invasion of Persia. While attending the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra by Olympias, to Olympias's brother, Alexander I of Epirus in Aegea, Philip was assassinated by the captain of his bodyguard, Pausanias. The Macedonian army and noblemen declared Philip's son Alexander to be his successor, and Alexander was proclaimed king.
Potential rivals to Alexander's throne were murdered, including his cousin Amyntas IV, as well as two Macedonian princes from the region of Lyncestis. Olympias had Cleopatra Eurydice and her daughter by Philip, Europa, burned alive, which made Alexander furious at his mother. Alexander also had Attalus murdered, who was in command of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor. At the time of this order Attalus was in correspondence with Demosthenes and the possibility of defecting to Athens, and whether or not this influenced Alexander's decision, Attalus was probably viewed too powerful to be left alive by Alexander. The only possible threat to the throne spared by Alexander was his half brother Arrhidaeus, who was believed to be mentally disabled.
When the other nations of Greece learned of Philip's death they entered into a state of rebellion against Alexander. This included Thebes, Athens, Thessaly, and the Thracian tribes to the north of Macedon, which sought to be freed of Macedonian influence. Alexander's advisers cautioned the king by recommending he use diplomacy to subdue the Greeks. This was ignored by Alexander, who mustered an army of 3,000 Macedonian cavalry and rode south into Thessaly. The Thessalian army had garrisoned in the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, and Alexander had his men ride over Mount Ossa to launch a surprise attack on the defending Greeks. When the Thessalian army awoke the next morning they found Alexander to their rear and surrendered, their cavalry joining Alexander's force as he rode down towards the Peloponnesus. Alexander rode on to Thermopylae, before heading south for Corinth, where he received the title of Hegemon. After crossing into the Peloponnesus the city of Athens sued for peace with Alexander. Alexander was appointed commander of the upcoming war with Persia, succeeding his father as commander of the Greek army.
Balkan Campaign (335)
With the majority of the Greek states now under Alexander's control, he embarked on a campaign in the Balkans to pacify the region and to ensure his border would be safeguarded during his invasion of Persia. With an army of 2,000 heavy infantry, 8,000 light infantry, and 3,000 cavalry, Alexander first marched into Thrace, to deal with revolts from the native Illyrians and Triballi. Alexander's friend Langarus, of the Agriani, a Thracian tribe in the region, reinforced Alexander's forces further as he advanced into the rebellious territory. Alexander's forces marched onto Mount Haemus, where they engaged a Thracian garrison stationed on the mountainside. The defending Thracian army had constructed a defensive wall out of carts, which they intended to throw upon the Macedonians as they approached. Alexander ordered his heavy infantry to proceed up the hill, and when the carts were released, to either jump to the side or duck underneath the carts. At the same time the Macedonian archers opened fire upon the defender's position. With the hill clear to advance up, the Macedonian infantry proceeded toward the defensive positions causing the Thracians to rout.
As the battle was breaking out, King Syrmus of the Triballi had arrived with a large army intending to advance against the Macedonian rear. The Triballi were unable to penetrate the enemy lines and retreated to the gorge, before being drawn back out by Alexander's light infantry. As they proceeded back into the open battlefield the Triballi were crushed by Alexander's forces, leaving an estimated 3,000 dead.
With the battle against the Thracians and Triballi over, the Macedonias marched to the Danube River, where they encountered the Getae tribe waiting on the opposite shore. Alexander's ships failed to enter the river, so instead Alexander's army constructed rafts out of their leather tents, transporting a force of 4,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry across the river. The Getae army, numbering about 14,000 men in size, retreated after the Macedonian cavalry engaged them, leaving their town to be taken by the Macedonian army.
Alexander's Campaign in Asia (PoD)
Succession of Alexander of Macedon
Lamian War (333 - 332)
Epirot-Macedonian War (331)
Macedonian Civil War (330)