Hardly had peace been signed with Carthage when the Roman people was asked by the Senate to declare war against Philip, King of Macedon. Doubtless the ordinary Roman citizen was somewhat surprised and wondered what Greek politics had to do with Rome, but he was soon to learn that Rome’s interests and obligations were no longer confi ned to Italy. The struggle with Carthage had broken down barriers which could not be raised up again, and Rome had become a world power. She had crushed one great power and must now align herself with the monarchies of the east. For the Greek world consisted of three great kingdoms, the remains of Alexander’s empire, together with a number of Greek leagues and states more or less free. Throughout there reigned a balance of powers whose equilibrium could easily be upset. It only needed a spark to set the whole Hellenistic world ablaze. But before seeing how this confl agration was started we must glance round the eastern Mediterranean.