The Roman Years - The Decline.

The intervention of Rome in the affairs of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean in general became increasingly noticeable from the end of the 3rd century BC onwards. The Rhodians did their best to make the most of the way things were turning out, and maintained a friendly stance towards the Romans. However, the Romans were much more interested in restricting the power of the island, and they seized on the Rhodians' reluctance to take part in the Roman war against Perseus, successor of Philip V of Macedonia, to declare Delos a free port. This was a deathblow for Rhodian commerce. The harbor taxes fell from 1,000,000 Rodian drachmas a year, a height which they had reached in recent years and which, at a rate of 2%, mean that total trade in the port must have been of the order of 50,000,000 drachmas, to only 150,000. Forced to its knees, Rhodes was compelled to sign a treaty obliging it to have the same friends and foes as Rome. The agreement brought only disaster for Rhodes, which suffered in both Rome' s colonial wars and in its civil strife. Cassius dealt the last blow. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, the Rhodians refused him aid against his enemies, and in his rage he attacked and conquered the town in 42 B.C., wreaking unprecedented havoc. Among other acts of destruction, he carried off some 3,000 of the works of art which adorned the island.