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THE RISE OF ROME
HOW ROME HAPPENED
 THE Roman Empire was an accident. No one planned it.
It "happened." No famous general or statesman or
cut-throat ever got up and said "Friends, Romans, Citizens, we
must found an Empire. Follow me and together we shall conquer
all the land from the Gates of Hercules to Mount Taurus."
HOW ROME HAPPENED
Rome produced famous generals and equally distinguished
statesmen and cut-throats, and Roman armies fought all over
the world. But the Roman empire-making was done without
 a preconceived plan. The average Roman was a very
matter-of-fact citizen. He disliked theories about government. When
someone began to recite "eastward the course of Roman Empire,
etc., etc.," he hastily left the forum. He just continued
to take more and more land because circumstances forced him
to do so. He was not driven by ambition or by greed. Both
by nature and inclination he was a farmer and wanted to stay
at home. But when he was attacked he was obliged to defend
himself and when the enemy happened to cross the sea to ask
for aid in a distant country then the patient Roman marched
many dreary miles to defeat this dangerous foe and when this
had been accomplished, he stayed behind to administer
newly conquered provinces lest they fall into the hands of
wandering Barbarians and become themselves a menace to
Roman safety. It sounds rather complicated and yet to the
contemporaries it was so very simple, as you shall see in a moment.
In the year 203 B.C. Scipio had crossed the African Sea
and had carried the war into Africa. Carthage had called Hannibal
back. Badly supported by his mercenaries, Hannibal
had been defeated near Zama. The Romans had asked for his
surrender and Hannibal had fled to get aid from the kings of
Macedonia and Syria, as I told you in my last chapter.
The rulers of these two countries (remnants of the Empire
of Alexander the Great) just then were contemplating an
expedition against Egypt. They hoped to divide the rich Nile
valley between themselves. The king of Egypt had heard of
this and he had asked Rome to come to his support. The stage
was set for a number of highly interesting plots and counter-
plots. But the Romans, with their lack of imagination, rang
the curtain down before the play had been fairly started.
Their legions completely defeated the heavy Greek phalanx
which was still used by the Macedonians as their battle formation.
That happened in the year 197 B.C. at the battle in the
plains of Cynoscephalae, or "Dogs' Heads," in central Thessaly.
The Romans then marched southward to Attica and informed
the Greeks that they had come to "deliver the Hellenes
 from the Macedonian yoke." The Greeks, having learned
nothing in their years of semi-slavery, used their new freedom
in a most unfortunate way. All the little city-states once more
began to quarrel with each other as they had done in the good
old days. The Romans, who had little understanding and less
love for these silly bickerings of a race which they rather despised,
showed great forbearance. But tiring of these endless
dissensions they lost patience, invaded Greece, burned down
Corinth (to "encourage the other Greeks") and sent a Roman
governor to Athens to rule this turbulent province. In this
way, Macedonia and Greece became buffer states which protected
Rome's eastern frontier.
CIVILIZATION GOES WESTWARD
Meanwhile right across the Hellespont lay the Kingdom of
Syria, and Antiochus III, who ruled that vast land, had shown
great eagerness when his distinguished guest, General
Han-  nibal, explained to him how easy it would be to invade Italy
and sack the city of Rome.
Lucius Scipio, a brother of Scipio the African fighter who
had defeated Hannibal and his Carthaginians at Zama, was
sent to Asia Minor. He destroyed the armies of the Syrian
king near Magnesia (in the year 190 B.C.) Shortly afterwards,
Antiochus was lynched by his own people. Asia Minor
became a Roman protectorate and the small City-Republic of
Rome was mistress of most of the lands which bordered upon