THE FIRST EASTERN WAR.
Scipio remained in Africa till he had arranged matters and won such a claim to Massinissa’s gratitude that this king of Numidia was sure to watch over the interests of Rome. Scipio then returned home, and entered Rome with a grand triumph, all the nobler for himself that he did not lead Hannibal in his chains. He had been too generous to demand that so brave an enemy should be delivered up to him. He received the surname of Africanus, and was one of the most respected and beloved of Romans. He was the first who began to take up Greek learning and culture, and to exchange the old Roman ruggedness for the graces of philosophy and poetry. Indeed the Romans were beginning to have much to do with the Greeks, and the war they entered upon now was the first for the sake of spreading their own power. All the former ones had been in self-defence, and the new one did in fact spring out of the Punic war, for the Carthaginians had tried to persuade Philip, king of Macedon, to follow in the track of Pyrrhus, and come and help Hannibal in Southern Italy. The Romans had kept him off by stirring up the robber AEtolians against him; and when he began to punish these wild neighbors, the Romans leagued themselves with the old Greek cities which Macedon oppressed, and a great war took place.
Titus Quinctius Flaminius commanded in Greece for four years, first as consul and then as proconsul. His crowning victory was at Cynocephalae, or the Dogshead Rocks, where he so broke the strength of Macedon that at the Isthmian games he proclaimed the deliverance of Greece, and in their joy the people crowded round him with crowns and garlands, and shouted so loud that birds in the air were said to have dropped down at the sound.
Macedon had cities in Asia Minor, and the king of Syria’s enemy, Antiochus the Great, hoped to master them, and even to conquer Greece by the help of Hannibal, who had found himself unable to live in Carthage after his defeat, and was wandering about to give his services to any one who was a foe of Rome.
As Rome took the part of Philip, as her subject and ally, there was soon full scope for his efforts; but the Syrians were such wretched troops that even Hannibal could do nothing with them, and the king himself would not attend to his advice, but wasted his time in pleasure in the isle of Euboea. So the consul Acilius first beat them at Thermopylae, and then, on Lucius Cornelius Scipio being sent to conduct the war, his great brother Africanus volunteered to go with him as his lieutenant, and together they followed Antiochus into Asia Minor, and gained such advantages that the Syrian was obliged to sue for peace. The Romans replied by requiring of him to give up all Asia Minor as far as Mount Tarsus, and in despair he risked a battle in Magnesia, and met with a total defeat; 80,000