For several years after the defeat of Antiochus, Rome was involved in no foreign wars in the east. But the uneasiness of the populations under her power grew. Philip V of Macedon continued to plot and scheme, but dared not risk another conflict with Rome. But in 179 BC Phlip V died and his son Perseus succeeded him.
With this new king the rivalries between the Macedonian throne and king Eumenes II of Pergamum reached new heights. But Eumenes was a vital ally of Rome and in 172 BC he brought charges against Macedon before the Roman senate. The verdict of the senate was a forgone conclusion. When an attempt was made to murder Eumenes on his way home, it was assumed that Perseus was the instigator.
In 171 BC declared war.
But Rome met with no swift successes. in 171 and 170 BC her consular armies under Crassus and Mancinus were defeated. But in 168 BC the command was given to an old and tried commander, Aemilius Paullus, the brother-in-law of Scipio Africanus. He reorganized the forces and at Pydna won a victory as overwhelming as that of Cynoscephalae. A few weeks later the unhappy Perseus, deserted and betrayed by his followers, come into the camp of the victor and surrendered.
As a power Macedon was eliminated. Perseus was banished to the small county town of Alba Fucens wher he should spend the rest of his life. The country was divided into four 'republics', each prohibited from any political or commercial relations with each other, deprived of all leaders, and thus left to conduct their own administration as best they could. Illyria, the realm of king Genthius, who had sided with Macedonia, was also broken up, in its case into three republics.
Epirus, which had joined Macedon in the fight against Rome, was mercilessly punished. No fewer than seventy towns were required to deliver up all the gold and silver they contained, their walls were levelled and 150'000 inhabitants were sold into slavery.