The Greek Slogan of Freedom and Early Roman Politics in Greece elucidates the main steps and ways in which the slogan of freedom emerged and developed into the fundamental principle of Greek diplomacy and politics, long before the Romans appropriated and used this slogan to establish their domination over the Mediterranean.
Originally employed by the Spartans and Athenians, who used it to subvert each other's military alliances before and during the Peloponnesian war, the slogan of freedom helped to maintain political and military balance among the major Greek powers during the classical period, putting a check on their aspirations. After Philip II and Alexander III (the Great) established Macedonian rule over Greece, and in the subsequent Hellenistic period, the slogan of freedom not only continued to be an important tool for undermining rival military alliances and vindicating aggressions on behalf of those whose freedom was allegedly violated or endangered, but also served to determine the status of individual Greek communities.
Once Rome became involved in Greek affairs, she made the slogan of freedom part of her policy in Greece. The Romans' claim of protecting Greek freedom was their only justification for interfering in Greek affairs. Individual Greek cities preserved their status, including freedom, by pledging loyalty and good faith to Rome. This network of mutual obligations and responsibilities evolved into a system of political control over the Greeks, which came to be known as the Roman Peace (pax Romana). This book argues, therefore, that the Roman Mediterranean empire was built not only on military might, but also on diplomacy, including a skillful Roman adaptation to local political practices and vocabulary.
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