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  • the winter flooding of the Elpeus river was used as a defensive military device by Perseus of Macedon (pictured on coin)?

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Tetradrachm of Perseus of Macedon. British Museum.
Coin of Perseus of Macedon. Greek inscription reads "ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΕΡΣΕΩΣ" (King Perseus).

Perseus (Greek: Περσεύς) (ca. 212 BC - 166 BC) was the last king (Basileus) of the Antigonid dynasty, who ruled the successor state in Macedon created upon the death of Alexander the Great. He also has the distinction of being the last of the line, after losing the Battle of Pydna on 22 June 168 BC; subsequently Macedon came under Roman rule.


In 179 BC Philip V of Macedon died. In the previous year Philip had his pro-Roman son Demetrius executed. Perseus had been jealous of Demetrius' success as ambassador to Rome and had convinced their father to have him poisoned as a potential usurper. The Romans favored Demetrius, and Perseus' role in killing Demetrius did not endear him to Rome when he took the throne.

One of his first acts on becoming king was to renew the treaty with Rome. Yet, Perseus' other actions troubled Rome. His interference in the affairs of his neighbors, his ousting of Roman ally Abrupolis from his territories, his armed visit to Delphi, his avoidance of the Roman ambassadors to Macedonia, and his dynastic marriages all gave Rome cause for concern. Soon Rome and Perseus went to war in the Third Macedonian War (171-168 BC). Although Perseus had some initial success, the war ended with the King's surrender to the Roman general Lucius Aemilius Paullus after his decisive defeat at the Battle of Pydna, and his eventual imprisonment in Rome with his half-brother Philippus and son Alexander.[1 ] Blaise Pascal mentions in his Pensées (Lafuma 15) that Perseus was blamed for not committing suicide, supposedly after his defeat and capture at Pydna. The Antigonid kingdom was dissolved, and replaced with four republics. Andriscus of Macedon broke off the Roman rule for about a year, but was defeated in 148 BC by the Romans. In 146 BC, the four republics were dissolved, and Macedon officially became the Roman province of Macedonia.

On 178 BC he had married Laodicea, daughter of Seleuco IV from Syria. Perseus' one son, Alexander, was still a child when Perseus was conquered by the Romans, and after the triumph of Aemilius Paullus in 167 BC, was kept in custody at Alba Fucens, together with his father. He became a skillful toreutes, learned the Latin language, and became a public notary.[2][3][4]


Perseus of Macedon
Born: ca. 212 BC Died: 166 BC
Preceded by
Philip V
King of Macedon
179–167 BC
Succeeded by
Macedonia annexed by Rome


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