THE ROMAN CONQUESTS
YOU might think that the Romans had all they could do
to fight the Carthaginians in Spain, Italy, and Africa;
but even while the Second Punic War was still raging,
they were also obliged to fight Philip V., King of Macedon.
As soon as the struggle with Carthage was ended, the
war with Philip was begun again in earnest. The army
was finally placed under the command of Flamininus, who defeated Philip, and compelled him to ask for
peace. Then he told the Greeks, who had long been
by the Macedonians, that they were free from further
This announcement was made by Flamininus himself at the
celebration of the Isthmian Games; and when the
 Greeks heard that they were free, they sent up such
mighty shouts of joy that it is said that a flock of
birds fell down to the earth quite stunned.
To have triumphed over the Carthaginians and
Macedonians was not enough for the Romans. They had
won much land by these wars, but were now longing to
get more. They therefore soon began to fight against
Antiochus, King of Syria, who had been the ally of
the Macedonians, and now threatened the Greeks.
Although Antiochus was not a great warrior himself, he
had at his court one of the greatest generals of the
ancient world. This was Hannibal, whom the
Carthaginians had exiled, and while he staid there he
once met his conqueror, Scipio, and the two generals
had many talks together.
On one occasion, Scipio is said to have asked Hannibal
who was the greatest general the world had ever seen.
"Alexander!" promptly answered Hannibal.
"Whom do you rank next?" continued Scipio.
"And after Pyrrhus?"
"Myself!" said the Carthaginian, proudly.
"Where would you have placed yourself if you had
conquered me?" asked Scipio.
"Above Pyrrhus, and Alexander, and all the other
generals!" Hannibal exclaimed.
If Antiochus had followed Hannibal's advice, he might,
perhaps, have conquered the Romans; but although he had
a much greater army than theirs, he was soon driven out
of Greece, and defeated in Asia on land and sea
by another Scipio (a brother of Africanus), who thus
won the title of Asiaticus.
 Then the Romans forced Antiochus to give up all his
land in Asia Minor northwest of the Taurus Mountains,
and also made him agree to surrender his guest,
Hannibal. He did not keep this promise, however; for
Hannibal fled to Bithynia, where, finding that he could
no longer escape from his lifelong enemies, he killed
himself by swallowing the poison contained in a
little hollow in a ring which he always wore.
The Romans had allowed Philip to keep the crown of
Macedon on condition that he should obey them. He did
so, but his successor, Perseus, hated the Romans, and
made a last desperate effort to regain his freedom. The
attempt was vain, however, and he was finally and
completely defeated at Pydna.
Perseus was then made a prisoner and carried off to
Italy, to grace the Roman general's triumph; and
Macedon (or Macedonia), the most powerful country in
the world under the rule of Alexander, was reduced to
the rank of a Roman province, after a few more vain
to recover its independence.