The city states of Greece were Rome’s nearest neighbors. Greece’s loss against the Romans can be found on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History at 282 BC. The Greeks established colonies in the southern tip of Italy, the historically called ‘Magna Graecia.’ Which included the cities of Neopolis, Syracuse, Tarentum, Sybaris, and Croton. These cities were near the coast and the profits reaped from the trade that went through these harbors made the cities of Magna Graecia wealthy and powerful.
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Unfortunately, the cities’ position on the coast also made them vulnerable to attacks from clashing powers such as Rome, Carthage, and Greece. One of those was the coastal city of Tarentum (Taras). It that was caught up in a quarrel between a Samnite tribe and the Greek city of Thurii. The Greek city asked Rome for naval assistance. For Tarentum, that was an act of provocation, so they asked Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, to help them.
Pyrrhus arrived to help Tarentum and was initially victorious against the Roman forces. It was during this war that the term ‘Pyrrhic victory’ was first used. Pyrrhus suffered huge losses even though he won the war. He left Italy to help the Greeks in Sicily but was defeated when he returned to Rome. Tarentum and other Greek colonies were besieged by Roman forces soon after. They were also caught between the Roman armies and the Carthaginian forces led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War. Hannibal captured the city, but the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus retook it years later.
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