Achaea 2
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  Achaea 

  • 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 Imperial Province.
  • 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 Hadrianís 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 civitates liberatae).

 

----------Time Line----------

(the conditions leading to Achaea as a Province)

168 BC Polybius (a more scrupulous historian and an Achaean statesman) and other Greek leaders brought to Rome as hostages.
155 BC Philosophic leaders and others came to Rome; Hellenization of Rome increased.
149-48 BC 4th Macedonian War and the war against the Achean League. Corinth is sacked and Macedonia becomes a Roman Province.
146 BC Achaean League dissolved. The immediate territory of Corinth, Thebes and Chalcis became the property of the Roman people.
88-83 BC 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.
27 BC Augustus declared Achaea to be a Senatorial Province

 

The Land and Resources:

(see also http://www-adm.pdx.edu/user/sinq/grrekciv/kerri1.html)

  • 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 Megalopolis Theater), literature, 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.

 

Some of the Ancient Sources:
  1. Appianís Mithridatica
  2. Ciceroís orations and letters
  3. the corpus Caesarianum
  4. Fragments of Cassius Dio
  5. peripochae of Livy
  6. Plutarch
  7. Memnonís history of Heraclea Pontica
  8. Pliny writing to Maximus (a special agent to the "free" cities like Ahens)
  9. Tacitus
  10. Polybius
  11. Local inscriptions of the Roman period.
These Roman 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.