In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor and existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia during the late Byzantine Empire. Extending inland from the southeastern coast of modern Turkey, Cilicia is due north and northeast of the island of Cyprus, Cilicia extended along the Mediterranean coast east from Pamphylia, to the Nur Mountains, which separated it from Syria. North and east of Cilicia lie the rugged Taurus Mountains that separate it from the central plateau of Anatolia. Ancient Cilicia was naturally divided into Cilicia Trachaea and Cilicia Pedias by the Limonlu River, the city on the east coast of Cyprus, was included in its administrative jurisdiction. Homer mentions the people of Mopsus, identified as Cilices, as from the Troad in the northernwesternmost part of Anatolia, the English spelling Cilicia is the same as the Latin, as it was transliterated directly from the Greek form Κιλικία. The palatalization of c occurring in the west in Vulgar Latin accounts for its pronunciation in English.
The district is watered by the Calycadnus and was covered in ancient times by forests that supplied timber to Phoenicia, many of its high places were fortified. The plain is watered by the three rivers, the Cydnus, the Sarus and the Pyramus, each of which brings down much silt from the deforested interior. The Sarus now enters the sea almost due south of Tarsus, but there are indications that at one period it joined the Pyramus. Through the rich plain of Issus ran the great highway that linked east and west, on which stood the cities of Tarsus on the Cydnus, Adana on the Sarus, Cilicia was settled from the Neolithic period onwards. Dating of the ancient settlements of the region from Neolithic to Bronze Age is as follows, Aceramic/Neolithic, 8th and 7th millennia BC, Early Chalcolithic,5800 BC, Middle Chalcolithic, c. 3400 BC, and Early Bronze Age IA, 3400–3000 BC, EBA IB, 3000–2700 BC, EBA II, 2700–2400 BC, EBA III A-B, the area had been known as Kizzuwatna in the earlier Hittite era. The region was divided into two parts, Uru Adaniya, a plain, and rough Cilicia, in the mountainous west.
The Cilicians appear as Hilikku in Assyrian inscriptions, and in the part of the first millennium BC were one of the four chief powers of Western Asia. Homer mentions the plain as the Aleian plain in which Bellerophon wandered, the Cilician cities unknown to Homer already bore their pre-Greek names, Ingira, Danuna-Adana, which retains its ancient name, Pahri and Karatepe. After the death of Murshili around 1595 BC, Hurrians wrested control from the Hitties, the first king of free Cilicia, Išputahšu, son of Pariyawatri, was recorded as a great king in both cuneiform and Hittite hieroglyphs. Another record of Hittite origins, a treaty between Išputahšu and Telipinu, king of the Hittites, is recorded in both Hittite and Akkadian. Niqmepa, who succeeded Idrimi as king of Alalakh, went so far as to ask for help from a Hurrian rival, Shaushtatar of Mitanni, to try and reduce Cilicias power in the region
Liberators' civil war
The Liberators civil war was started by the Second Triumvirate to avenge Julius Caesars murder. The war was fought by the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian against the forces of Caesars assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC. After the murder of Caesar and Cassius had left Italy and taken control of all Eastern provinces, in Rome the three main Caesarian leaders, who controlled almost all the Roman army in the west, had crushed the opposition of the senate and established the second triumvirate. One of their first tasks was to destroy the Liberators’ forces, not only to get control of the Roman world. The triumvirs decided to leave Lepidus in Italy, while the two partners of the triumvirate moved to Northern Greece with their best troops. In 42 BC Gaius Norbanus Flaccus and Decidius Saxa, were sent by the triumvirs with an eight legions strong advance guard into Macedonia against the murderers of Julius Caesar, in the neighborhood of Philippi and Saxa met the combined advancing troops of Cassius and Brutus.
As they were outnumbered and Saxa occupied a position near Philipi which prevented the republicans from advancing any further, by a ruse and Cassius managed to make Norbanus leave this position, but Norbanus discovered the ruse in time to recover the dominating position. When Brutus and Cassius managed to outflank them and Saxa retreated toward Amphipolis, when Marc Antony and the bulk of the triumvirs troops arrived, they found Amphipolis well guarded and Norbanus was left in command of the town. The triumvirs brought 19 legions to the battlefield, Appian reports that the triumvirs legions were almost at full-ranks. Furthermore, they had a large allied cavalry force, the Liberators army had seventeen legions. Only two of the legions were at full ranks, but the army was reinforced by levies from the Eastern allied kingdoms, Appian reports that the army mustered a total of about 80,000 foot-soldiers. Allied cavalry included a total of 17,000 horsemen, including 5,000 bowmen mounted in the Eastern fashion and this army included Caesars old legions present in the East, thus much of the Liberators army was made up of former Caesarean veterans.
However, at least the XXXVI legion consisted of old Pompeian veterans, the loyalty of the soldiers who were supposed to fight against Caesar’s heir was a delicate issue for the Liberators. Cassius tried in all ways to reinforce the soldiers loyalty both with strong speeches and with a gift of 1,500 denari for each legionary and 7,500 for each centurion. The Battle of Philippi consisted of two engagements in the plain to the west of the ancient city of Philippi, the first occurred in the first week of October, Brutus faced Octavian, while Antonys forces were up against those of Cassius. At first, Brutus pushed back Octavian and entered his legions camp, but to the south, Antony defeated Cassius, and Cassius, hearing a false report of Brutus failure, committed suicide. Brutus rallied Cassiuss remaining troops and both sides ordered their army to retreat to their camps with their spoils, and the battle was essentially a draw, but for Cassius suicide. On the same day of the first battle of Philippi the Republican fleet, patrolling the Ionian Sea was able to intercept, the triumvirs had to send a legion south to Achaia to collect more supplies
Slavery in ancient Rome
Slavery in ancient Rome played an important role in society and the economy. Besides manual labour, slaves performed many services, and might be employed at highly skilled jobs. Accountants and physicians were often slaves, Greek slaves in particular might be highly educated. Unskilled slaves, or those sentenced to slavery as punishment, worked on farms, in mines and their living conditions were brutal, and their lives short. Slaves were considered property under Roman law and had no legal personhood, unlike Roman citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment, sexual exploitation and summary execution. Over time, slaves gained increased legal protection, including the right to file complaints against their masters, attitudes changed in part because of the influence among the educated elite of the Stoics, whose egalitarian views of humanity extended to slaves. Roman slaves could hold property which, despite the fact that it belonged to their masters, skilled or educated slaves were allowed to earn their own money, and might hope to save enough to buy their freedom.
Such slaves were freed by the terms of their masters will. A notable example of a slave was Tiro, the secretary of Cicero. Tiro was freed before his masters death, and was enough to retire on his own country estate. However, the master could arrange that slaves would only have enough money to buy their freedom when they were too old to work. They could use the money to buy a new young slave while the old slave, unable to work, Rome differed from Greek city-states in allowing freed slaves to become citizens. After manumission, a slave who had belonged to a Roman citizen enjoyed not only passive freedom from ownership. A slave who had acquired libertas was thus a libertus in relation to his former master, as a social class, freed slaves were libertini, though writers used the terms libertus and libertinus interchangeably. Libertini were not entitled to public office or state priesthoods. During the early Empire, freedmen held key positions in the government bureaucracy, any future children of a freedman would be born free, with full rights of citizenship.
Vernae were slaves born within a household or on a farm or agricultural estate. There was a social obligation to care for vernae, whose epitaphs sometimes identify them as such
Caesar's Civil War
The Great Roman Civil War, known as Caesars Civil War, was one of the last politico-military conflicts in the Roman Republic before the establishment of the Roman Empire. The changes to Roman government concomitant to the war eliminated the political traditions of the Roman Republic. The First Triumvirate, comprising Julius Caesar and Pompey, ascended to power with Caesars election as consul, the First Triumvirate was unofficial, a political alliance the substance of which was Pompeys military might, Caesars political influence, and Crassus money. The alliance was further consolidated by Pompeys marriage to Julia, daughter of Caesar, at the conclusion of Caesars first consulship, the Senate tasked him with watching over the Roman forests. This job, specially created by his Senate enemies, was meant to him without giving him command of armies, or garnering him wealth. Caesar, with the help of Pompey and Crassus, evaded the Senates decrees by legislation passed through the popular assemblies, by these acts, Caesar was promoted to Roman Governor of Illyricum and Cisalpine Gaul.
The various governorships gave Caesar command of an army of four legions, the term of his proconsulship, and thus his immunity from prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the customary one year. His term was extended by another five years. During this ten-year period, Caesar used his forces to conquer Gaul and invade Britain. In 52 BC, at the First Triumvirates end, the Roman Senate supported Pompey as sole consul, Caesar had become a military hero and champion of the people. Knowing he hoped to become consul when his governorship expired, the Senate, politically fearful of him, in December of 50 BC, Caesar wrote to the Senate agreeing to resign his military command if Pompey followed suit. Offended, the Senate demanded he immediately disband his army, or be declared an enemy of the people, a secondary reason for Caesars immediate want for another consulship was delaying the inevitable senatorial prosecutions awaiting him upon retirement as governor of Illyricum and Gaul. These potential prosecutions were based upon alleged irregularities that occurred in his consulship, Caesar loyalists, the tribunes Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius Longinus, vetoed the bill, and were quickly expelled from the Senate.
They joined Caesar, who had assembled his army, whom he asked for support against the Senate, agreeing. The proscription protected the Roman Republic from a coup détat and this act of war on the Roman Republic by Caesar led to widespread approval amongst the Roman civilians, who regarded him as a hero. The historical records differ about which decisive comment Caesar made on crossing the Rubicon, Caesars march on Rome was a triumphal progress. The Senate, not knowing that Caesar possessed only a single legion, feared the worst, Pompey declared that Rome could not be defended, he escaped to Capua with those politicians who supported him, the aristocratic Optimates and the regnant consuls. Cicero characterised Pompeys outward sign of weakness as allowing Caesars consolidation of power, as Caesar progressed southwards, Pompey retreated towards Brundisium, initially ordering Domitius to stop Caesars movement on Rome from the direction of the Adriatic seaboard
Second Mithridatic War
The Second Mithridatic War was one of three wars fought between Pontus and the Roman Republic. The second Mithridatic war was fought between King Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena, Murena, as Sullas legate, was stationed in Asia as commander of the two legions formerly under the command of Gaius Flavius Fimbria. Murena invaded Pontus on his own authority claiming that Mithridates was re-arming, after several inconclusive skirmishes, Mithridates inflicted a minor defeat on Murena and forced his withdrawal from Pontus. Peace was restored on the orders of Sulla and this was followed by the Third Mithridatic War. D. Reynolds Texts and Transmission, A Survey of the Latin Classics, - ed. F. Jacoby FGrH no.257 - English translations and commentary by William Hansen, Phlegon of Tralles Book of Marvels AbbreviationsRE = Real-Encyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, eds. Gelzer, Matthias, L. Licinius Lucullus cos.74, RE vol. XIII, s. v. Licinius no.104, van Ooteghem, J, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Arthur, Lucullus.
Scardigli, B, Problemi cronologici, Athenaeum 49, 229-270 Glew, Dennis G, Between the Wars, Mithridates Eupator and Rome, 85-73 B. C
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. The wars paved the way for Julius Caesar to become the ruler of the Roman Republic. Still, Gaul was of significant military importance to the Romans, conquering Gaul allowed Rome to secure the natural border of the river Rhine. The Gallic Wars are described by Julius Caesar in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico, as a result of the financial burdens of his consulship in 59 BC, Caesar incurred significant debt. When the Governor of Transalpine Gaul, Metellus Celer, died unexpectedly, Caesars governorships were extended to a five-year period, a new idea at the time. Caesar had initially four veteran legions under his command, Legio VII, Legio VIII, Legio IX Hispana. As he had been Governor of Hispania Ulterior in 61 BC and had campaigned successfully with them against the Lusitanians, Caesar had the legal authority to levy additional legions and auxiliary units as he saw fit.
His ambition was to conquer and plunder some territories to get out of debt. It is more likely that he was planning a campaign against the Kingdom of Dacia, the countries of Gaul were civilized and wealthy. Most had contact with Roman merchants and some, particularly those that were governed by such as the Aedui. The Romans respected and feared the Gallic tribes, only fifty years before, in 109 BC, Italy had been invaded from the north and saved only after several bloody and costly battles by Gaius Marius. Around 62 BC, when a Roman client state, the Arverni, conspired with the Sequani and the Suebi nations east of the Rhine, to attack the Aedui, the Sequani and Arverni sought Ariovistus’ aid and defeated the Aedui in 63 BC at the Battle of Magetobriga. The Sequani rewarded Ariovistus with land following his victory, Ariovistus settled the land with 120,000 of his people. When 24,000 Harudes joined his cause, Ariovistus demanded that the Sequani give him land to accommodate the Harudes people.
This demand concerned Rome because if the Sequani conceded, Ariovistus would be in a position to all of the Sequani land. They did not appear to be concerned about a conflict between non-client and allied states, by the end of the campaign, the non-client Suebi under the leadership of the belligerent Ariovistus, stood triumphant over both the Aedui and their coconspirators. Fearing another mass migration akin to the devastating Cimbrian War, the Helvetii was a confederation of about five related Gallic tribes that lived on the Swiss plateau, hemmed in by the mountains, and the Rhine and Rhone rivers. They began to come under increased pressure from German tribes to the north, by 58 BC, the Helvetii were well on their way in the planning and provisioning for a mass migration under the leadership of Orgetorix
The Illyrian Wars were a set of wars fought in the period 229–168 BC between the Roman Republic and the Ardiaei kingdom. Rome expelled Illyrian garrisons from a number of Greek cities including Epidamnus, Corcyra, the Romans set up Demetrius of Pharos as a power in Illyria to counterbalance the power of Teuta. The Second Illyrian War lasted from 220 BC to 219 BC, in 219 BC, the Roman Republic was at war with the Celts of Cisalpine Gaul, and the Second Punic War with Carthage was beginning. These distractions gave Demetrius the time he needed to build a new Illyrian war fleet, leading this fleet of 90 ships, Demetrius sailed south of Lissus, violating his earlier treaty and starting the war. Demetrius fleet first attacked Pylos, where he captured 50 ships after several attempts, from Pylos, the fleet sailed to the Cyclades, quelling any resistance that they found on the way. Demetrius foolishly sent a fleet across the Adriatic, with the Illyrian forces divided, from Dimale the navy went towards Pharos.
In 171 BC, the Illyrian king Gentius was allied with the Romans against the Macedonians, but in 169 BC he changed sides and allied himself with Perseus of Macedon. During the Third Illyrian War, in 168 BC, he arrested two Roman legati and destroyed the cities of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, which were allied to Rome. He was defeated at Scodra by a Roman force under L. Anicius Gallus, in the second half of the third century BC, the Ardiaei kingdom was transformed into a formidable power under the leadership of Agron. During this time, Agron invaded part of Epirus, Corcyra and Pharos in succession, the Illyrians used the lembus, a small and fast warship with a single bank of oars. Raids by sea from the Adriatic and Ionian were probably a familiar threat to the north-western Greeks, what was new was the use of a land army to follow up and profit from the victories gained by the navy. The Greek cities on the coast of Illyria were systematically attacked, Rome answered an appeal from the island of Issa, threatened by Agron, by sending envoys.
They were attacked en route by Illyrian vessels, and one of them was killed and that time a number of political events marked the adjacent Greek states. In 234 BC, the succession in Epirus came to an end. In the south, the part of Acarnania seceded from this arrangement. Besieged at Medion, the Acarnanians sought assistance from Demetrius II of Macedonia, in response, the king requested assistance from Agron to relieve the siege. The Illyrian attack under Agron was mounted in either 232 or 231 BC, one hundred lembi, with 5000 men on board, sailed up to land at Medion. They formed up in the order that was usual in their own country and this defeat of the Aetolians, who were famed for their victory over the invading Gauls a generation before, caused a sensation in Greece
Campaign history of the Roman military
These accounts were written by various authors throughout and after the history of the Empire. The Roman army battled first against its neighbours and Etruscan towns within Italy. From the outset, Romes military typified this pattern, and the majority of Romes campaigns were characterised by one of two types, the second is the civil war, which plagued Rome from its foundation to its eventual demise. Roman armies were not invincible, despite their reputation and host of victories. Nevertheless, it was generally the fate of even the greatest of Romes enemies, such as Pyrrhus and Hannibal, to win the battle, the history of Romes campaigning is, if nothing else, a history of obstinate persistence overcoming appalling losses. Knowledge of Roman history stands apart from other civilizations in the ancient world and its chronicles and otherwise, document the citys very foundation to its eventual demise. Romes earliest history, from the time of its founding as a tribal village. Although the early Romans were literate to some degree, this void may be due to the lack of will to record their history at that time, or such histories as they did record were lost.
Although the Roman historian Livy lists a series of seven kings of early Rome in his work Ab urbe condita, from its establishment through its earliest years, a number of points of view have been proposed. Very little is known of Romes military history from this era, Romulus, after founding the city, fortified the Palatine Hill, and shortly thereafter, Rome was equal to any of the surrounding cities in her prowess in war. The first of the campaigns fought by the Romans in this account are the wars with various Latin cities. According to Livy, the Latin village of Caenina responded to the event of the abduction of the Sabine women by invading Roman territory, the Latins of Antemnae and those of Crustumerium were defeated next in a similar fashion. The remaining main body of the Sabines attacked Rome and briefly captured the citadel, there was a further war in the 8th century BC against Fidenae and Veii. In the 7th century BC there was a war with Alba Longa, a war with Fidenae and Veii. Ancus Marcius led Rome to victory against the Latins and, according to the Fasti Triumphales, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus first war was waged against the Latins.
Tarquinius took the Latin town of Apiolae by storm and took great booty from there back to Rome, according to the Fasti Triumphales, the war occurred prior to 588 BC. His military ability was tested by an attack from the Sabines, Tarquinius doubled the numbers of equites to help the war effort, and defeat the Sabines. Tarquinius returned to Rome and celebrated a triumph for his victories that, according to the Fasti Triumphales, the Latin cities of Corniculum, old Ficulea, Crustumerium, Ameriola and Nomentum were subdued and became Roman
Under the reign of Augustus, Rome waged a bloody conflict against the last independent Celtic nations of Hispania, the Cantabri, the Astures, and the Gallaeci. The Emperor himself moved to Segisama, to supervise the campaign personally, the major fighting was completed in 19 BC, although there were minor rebellions until 16 BC and the Romans had to station two legions there for seventy more years. Sub occasu pacata erat fere omnis Hispania, nisi quam Pyrenaei desinentis scopulis inhaerentem citerior adluebat Oceanus, hic duae validissimae gentes, Cantabri et Astures, inmunes imperii agitabant. The Cantabri first appear in history in earlier wars in Iberia, in this way, in the years preceding the wars in Cantabria and Asturias, the Roman military became familiar with the warlike characteristics of the peoples of northern Hispania. There are accounts, for instance, of Cantabrians in the army of Hannibal during the Second Punic War, there is evidence that they fought alongside the Vaccaei in 151 BC, and helped break the Roman siege of Numantia.
It is believed there were Cantabrian troops present in the Sertorian Wars. According to Julius Caesars own testimony, there were Cantabrians at the battle of Ilerda in 49 BC, with all these antecedents, the Cantabrians began to be known throughout the Roman Empire. Roman troops even lost one of their standards to them, something inexplicable, finally, in 26 BC, the Emperor himself, Caesar Augustus, went to Hispania, establishing his base in Segisama. The Astures entered the record in the late 3rd century BC. After the 2nd Punic War, their history is less clear, according to the Roman historian Dio Cassius, the tactics of the Cantabri were of guerrilla warfare, avoiding direct attacks on the Roman forces because of their inferior numbers. According to what remains from representations on coins and Cantabrian stelae, lucan referred to this when he wrote, Cantaber exiguis et longis Teutonus armis. They went equipped with swords, small spears or javelins, round or oval shields of wood. They used a weapon like the Iberian falcata, and the bipennis, there is no proof of their use of archery or slings, although it is quite probable that they knew and used them.
The Cantabrian were able at the time to ride horses, as reflected in the fact some of their cavalry tactics would be adopted by the Roman army.000 soldiers. The Roman navy was sent to the Cantabrian coast from Gallia Aquitania. It was an important factor in the resolution, since it completed the encirclement of the Cantabri begun by the ground forces. It is calculated that, in total, the Roman Army deployed 70,000 men, although these vary amongst authors. In reality, the figure should surpass 80,000 men counting auxiliaries since, through the reforms of Gaius Marius, the legion had about 6,000 soldiers
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage and the Roman Republic. The Punic Wars were named because of the Roman name for Carthaginians, the Third Punic War ended Carthages independent existence. Carthage, stripped of allies and territory, was suffering under a huge indemnity of 200 silver talents to be paid every year for 50 years, cicero put a similar statement in the mouth of Cato in his dialogue De Senectute. He was opposed by the senator Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, who favoured a different course that would not destroy Carthage, and who usually prevailed in the debates. Moreover, the retirement of the indemnity removed one of the incentives the Romans had to keep the peace with Carthage – there were no further payments that might be interrupted. The Romans had other reasons to conquer Carthage and her remaining territories, by the middle of the 2nd century BC, the population of the city of Rome was about 400,000 and rising.
Feeding the growing populace was becoming a major challenge, the farmlands surrounding Carthage represented the most productive, most accessible and perhaps the most easily obtainable agricultural lands not yet under Roman control. In 151 BC Numidia launched another raid on Carthaginian soil, besieging the Punic town of Oroscopa. As a result, Carthage suffered a defeat and was charged with another fifty year debt to Numidia. ”In 149 BC. Even after this was done the allied Punic city of Utica defected to Rome, the consuls demanded that Carthage hand over all weapons and armour. After those had been handed over, Rome additionally demanded that the Carthaginians move at least 16 kilometres inland, when the Carthaginians learned of this, they abandoned negotiations and the city was immediately besieged, beginning the Third Punic War. Censorius lost more than 500 men when they were surprised by the Carthaginian cavalry while collecting timber around the Lake of Tunis, a worse disaster fell upon the Romans when their fleet was set ablaze by fire ships which the Carthaginians released upwind.
Manilius was replaced by consul Calpurnius Piso Caesonius in 149 after a defeat of the Roman army at Nepheris. Scipio Aemilianuss intervention saved four cohorts trapped in a ravine, Nepheris eventually fell to Scipio in the winter of 147-146. In the autumn of 148, Piso was beaten back while attempting to storm the city of Aspis, undeterred, he laid siege to the town of Hippagreta in the north, but his army was unable to defeat the Punics there before winter and had to retreat. When news of these setbacks reached Rome, he was replaced as consul by Scipio Aemilianus, the Carthaginians endured the siege, starting 149 BC to the spring of 146 BC, when Scipio Aemilianus successfully assaulted the city. Though the Punic citizens offered a strong resistance, they were pushed back by the overwhelming Roman military force. Many Carthaginians died from starvation during the part of the siege
The Pyrrhic War was a war fought by Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus. Pyrrhus was asked by the people of the Greek city of Tarentum in southern Italy to help them in their war with the Roman Republic. A skilled commander, with a strong army fortified by war elephants, Pyrrhus enjoyed initial success against the Roman legions, but suffered heavy losses even in these victories. Plutarch wrote that Pyrrhus said after the battle of the war, If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans. He could not call up more men from home and his allies in Italy were becoming indifferent, the Romans, by contrast, had a very large pool of military manpower and could replenish their legions even if their forces were depleted in many battles. This has led to the expression Pyrrhic victory, a term for a victory that inflicts losses the victor cannot afford in the long term, worn down by the battles against Rome, Pyrrhus moved his army to Sicily to instead war against the Carthaginians. After several years of campaigning there, he returned to Italy in 275 BC, following this, Pyrrhus returned to Epirus, ending the war.
Three years later, in 272 BC, the Romans captured Tarentum, the Pyrrhic War was the first time that Rome confronted the professional mercenary armies of the Hellenistic states of the eastern Mediterranean. Romes victory drew the attention of states to the emerging power of Rome. Ptolemy II, the king of Egypt, established relations with Rome. After the war, Rome asserted her hegemony over southern Italy, to the south of the Roman sphere of influence in Italy there were a number of city-states founded by Greek settlers from the 8th to the 6th century BC. Tarentum was the largest and most powerful Greek city in Italy, the Tarentines attacked a Roman fleet off their coast, sinking some of their ships and capturing some prisoners. As a result, Rome declared war, there are different versions of the events which led to the declaration of war. Appian, Cassius Dio and Zonaras appear to have been intent on blaming the war on the Tarentines, the part of the text of Dionysius of Halicarnassus which deals with the events in the run-up to the declaration war has been lost and Plutarch did mention them.
In Appians version, in 282 BC ten Roman ships appeared close to Tarentum, according to Appian, Publius Cornelius Dolabella was sailing along the coast of Magna Graecia, sight-seeing. A demagogue reminded the townsfolk about an old treaty in which Romans had bound themselves not to sail beyond the promontory of Lacinium and he persuaded them to attack the ships, four were sunk and one was captured with all on board. This would have happened in 282 BC, the year after Dolabellas consulship, Appian did not explain why the consul was sight-seeing with so many ships. Neither Cassius Dio nor Zonaras mentioned any treaties between the Romans and the Tarentines, the Tarentines had not participated in these battles