Illyrian Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Roman control of the ports and shipping lanes in the southern portion of the Adriatic Sea. Result: Rome achieved hegemony over the free cities and peoples of the Illyrian coast and came into conflict with Macedonia.
During the third century b.c.e., Rome steadily increased its influence throughout the Italian peninsula. In 244 b.c.e., Rome signaled its domination of southern Italy by founding a colony at Brundisium on the southern coast. This established Rome’s interest in the sea-going activity between southern Italy and the Greek mainland across the Straits of Otranto, the southern opening to the Adriatic Sea.
Until about 250 b.c.e., the Illyrian tribes, who occupied the eastern Adriatic seaboard, had operated independently of one another, preying on Adriatic shipping. Illyrian power shifted with the dissolution of the monarchy of Epirus and the unification of the southern tribes under the leadership of Agron, king of the Illyrian Ardiaei. By 230 b.c.e., the confederation of the Ardiaei had cooperated with Demetrius II of Macedonia to guarantee peace and security along the southern Adriatic coast and Macedonia’s volatile northwestern frontier.
Agron was succeeded by his wife, Teuta, who transformed the Illyrians into a legitimate imperialistic threat. In 230 b.c.e., Teuta captured Phoenice, the main seaport of the Aetolian...
(The entire section is 655 words.)
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