The Second Punic War made the Romans undisputed masters of the western shores of the Mediterranean. Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were Roman provinces; Spain owned the Roman supremacy; Carthage was completely humbled, and her powerful neighbor Masinissa was the steadfast ally of Rome. The Roman Republic was now the most powerful state in the ancient world. Her legions had been trained to war by long struggles with Gauls, Spaniards, and Africans, and were superior to all other troops in discipline, experience, and valor. She now naturally turned her eyes toward the East, whose effeminate nations seemed to offer an easy conquest.
The Greek kingdoms in Asia, founded by the successors of Alexander the Great, bore within them the seeds of decay. The mighty kingdom of SYRIA, which had once extended from the Indus to the Ægean Sea, had now lost some of its fairest provinces. The greater part of Asia Minor no longer owned the authority of the Syrian kings. PONTUS was governed by its own rulers. A large body of Gauls had settled in the northern part of Phrygia, which district was now called GALATIA after them. A new kingdom was founded in Mysia, to which the name of PERGAMUS was given from its chief city; and Attalus, who was king of Pergamus during the Second Punic War, formed an alliance with Rome as a protection against Syria and Macedonia. The king of Syria at this time was Antiochus III., who, from his victory over the Parthians, had received the surname of the Great.
EGYPT was governed by the Greek monarchs who bore the name of Ptolemy.
They had, even as early as the time of Pyrrhus, formed an alliance with
Rome (see p.