- The word "Achaea" was derived from Achaioi,
which was used in the Iliad to mean "Greeks,"
especially the followers of Achilles and Agamemnon.
- Historical Achaea was a small territory on the northern
coast of the Peloponnese.
- The Achaean Confederacy was an ancient alliance
established in 280 BC. It eventually included almost the entire
Peloponnese and parts of central Greece. It was the principle
power in Greece until the conflicts with the Romans.
- It was conquered by the Romans by 146 BC and was under
Romeís arbitration. It eventually included Aetolia, Acarnania,
Euboea, the Cyclades, and part of Epirus. It was secured after a
revolt against Roman dominance, and was made a senatorial province
by Augustus. By 27 BC, it included the greater part of Greece; but
Epirus, Crete and Cyclades later became separate provinces and
Thessaly became part of Macedonia.
- It remained a province until the fall of Rome, except for
a very short period when it was freed by the emperor Nero in AD
67; it was reclaimed a few years later by his successor, Vespasian.
Also, from AD 15-44, the Greeks of Achaea cooperated with the
Macedonians on an embassy to Tiberius to change their status to an
- Because Hellenistic culture was greatly admired and
emulated by Rome, the people were not necessarily "Romanized"
in the sense of a foreign culture adopting Roman customs and
mores. They kept their "Greekness". For example, the
famous schools of philosophy continued until they were banned in
the early Christian period. There was building during the Roman
period that was commissioned to commemorate Roman emperors (see
Arch) and some were built by
Roman architects, but the style came from the Greeks to begin
with. Also, they still spoke and wrote in Greek. Some of the major
cities , such as Athens, were considered "free" (or
leading to Achaea as a Province)
||Polybius (a more scrupulous historian and an Achaean
statesman) and other Greek leaders brought to Rome as hostages.
||Philosophic leaders and others came to Rome;
Hellenization of Rome increased.
||4th Macedonian War and the war against the Achean
League. Corinth is sacked and Macedonia becomes a Roman Province.
||Achaean League dissolved. The immediate territory of
Corinth, Thebes and Chalcis became the property of the Roman people.
||Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus, had wooed the
Greeks in Roman held territory to his side against Rome and invaded
the Aegean. Sulla obtained command of an army, with which he sacked
and beseiged Athens in 86. He was known for the ruthless plundering of
city resources (such as Delphiís treasury) to get funds. Sulla drove
Mithridates out of Greece and eventually compromised with the king of
Pontus. Roman domination was preserved in the East; Greek upper class
realized that their position was more secure under Rome than Pontus.
||Augustus declared Achaea to be a Senatorial Province
- The terrain of Greece is rocky and dry, with much of it
consisting of mountains and islands. This separated the ancient
city/states, which is one reason for the independence and lack of
unity among the Greek cities even into Roman times. There are no
major rivers, but Greece borders (and has islands in) the
Mediterranean Sea, which was a major source of food.
- The climate is hot and dry in the summer, so the Greeks
spent (and still do spend) much time out of doors. The main crop
was olive trees, and sheep, goats, and pigs were raised on higher
ground. Some grain was grown and bees were kept. Donkeys or mules
were used for transportation.
- There was over-seas trade with India for ebony, pearls,
cotton, spices, and pepper. India and China were also reached by
over-land routes, and frankincense from South Arabia was prized
for altars. Furs and high grade iron came from the Far East, and
silver came from Spain.
- What they lacked in natural resources they made up for in
their skill and influence in pottery, sculpture, architecture (see
science, naval experience (although they were militarily weak at
the time) and civic tradition. They were also a source of
man-power and taxes for the Romans.
of the Ancient Sources:
- Appianís Mithridatica
- Ciceroís orations and
- the corpus Caesarianum
- Fragments of Cassius Dio
- Memnonís history of Heraclea
- Pliny writing to Maximus (a
special agent to the "free" cities like Ahens)
- Local inscriptions of the
sources are mainly biased because of politics. Most of the historians
or writers were very partisan, and often wrote how they loved or hated
a particular city. Also, they were keeping in mind the passions and
prejudices among their readers. Itís good to keep in mind that the
Roman sources are very much from the point of view of the Romans. Even
Plutarch, who was Greek and always conscious of it, accepted the role
of Rome as the dominant power.