Synopses & Reviews
"Is there anyone on earth who is so narrow-minded or uninquisitive that he could fail to want to know how and thanks to what kind of political system almost the entire known world was conquered and brought under a single empire, in less than fifty-three years-an unprecedented event?" --Polybius,
The 53-year period Polybius had in mind, counting inclusively, stretched from the start of the Second Punic War in 219 B.C.E. until 167, when Rome, at last, overthrew the Macedonian monarchy and divided it into four independent republics. Until now, this critical period of history has been overshadowed by the events of the Hannibalic war, but equally important to Rome's rise to dominance was its defeat of Macedon, its superpower neighbor to the east.
Taken at the Flood chronicles the momentous activity and expansion by Rome into the Greek east, with an epilogue on the infamous destruction of Corinth in 146. Though focused primarily on Rome's eastern imperialism, the book's narrative takes into account Rome's concurrent western conflicts, most notably with Hannibal, as these influenced its strategy in Greece. Robin Waterfield interweaves other topics and themes into his history, such as cultural developments in literature, the Roman aristocratic ethos, and the tactics employed by the two best fighting machines the ancient world ever produced: the Macedonian phalanx and Roman legion.
Elegant and absorbing, Taken at the Flood is a dynamic narrative of an unjustly forgotten war in ancient history.
"In general, there are several go-to topics in Roman history that invariably prove the most popular, regardless of audience or historical moment: Rome's efficient politics, charismatic leaders, inexorable decline, and a smattering of made-for-TV battles are too good to resist. The relatively slow, borderline obscure, subjugation of the Macedonian Empire decades before the birth of Julius Caesar, however, hardly stirs the popular imagination. Yet, as independent scholar and translator Waterfield (Dividing the Spoils) cogently and convincingly argues, perhaps no other action was more important in allowing Rome to become Rome (it's the famous defeat of Hannibal that usually gets the nod). But when Macedon finally fell, the bustling Mediterranean world was Rome's for the taking. Waterfield makes Roman imperialism central to his narrative, demonstrating again and again how exceptionally aggressive Rome was for its age, the subtle execution its policies notwithstanding. On top of producing a traditional academic history, Waterfield has composed a stimulating and provocative meditation on imperialism itself, both in antiquity and in our own society." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Waterfield has made himself into a living international treasure by his lean and lucid accounts of some of the most involved periods of ancient history (here, Rome's wars in Greece and Macedonia; in Dividing the Spoils, the wars of Alexander the Great's successors). The current story Waterfield tells clearly and enjoyably, with a deft selection of detail." --J.E. Lendon, The Weekly Standard
"The story Waterfield tells is complex, but he tells it well." --Peter Jones, BBC History
"This sorry story is told with great verve and pace by Waterfield." --Literary Review
"Taken at the Flood is a thrilling account of the bloody process that created Greco-Roman civilization. It is also a masterpiece of ancient history. Much has been written about the march of Roman arms, but for some reason scholars have never gotten around to producing a comprehensive volume of Rome's most crucial conquest--Greece. This has filled that void, in what will long remain the definitive account of Rome's subjugation of the once powerful Greek states." --Jim Lacey, author of The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization and Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World
"Taken at the Flood is as elegant and powerful an introduction to the Roman conquest of Greece as you are likely to find. Waterfield tells the story in all its blood and cunning." --Barry Strauss, author of Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership
"Taken at the Flood offers a vivid and exciting retelling of a key chapter in the story of Rome's rise to power, the conquest of the Greeks." --Greg Woolf, Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews and author of Rome: An Empire's Story
About the Author
is an independent scholar, living in southern Greece. In addition to more than twenty-five translations of works of Greek literature, he is the author of numerous books, most recently Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Prelude: Clouds in the West
1. Rome Turns East
2. The Illyrian Wars
3. Barbarians, Go Home!
4. King Philip of Macedon
5. The Freedom of the Greeks
6. The Road to Thermopylae
7. The Periphery Expands
8. Remote Control
9. Perseus' Choice
10. The End of Macedon
11. Imperium Romanum
12. The Greek World after Pydna