Reputation matters. History bears this out repeatedly, but one example will suffice. By 168 BC, the Roman Republic had become a force to be reckoned with throughout the Mediterranean world. But knowing that no Roman legions were near, and knowing that Egypt was riven internally, King Antiochus IV of the Seleucid Empire decided it was time to settle old scores and conquer Egypt. Antiochus did not expect any kind of serious challenge because of these factors, and so invaded. Rome, however, considered Egypt within the borders of its own sphere of influence, and would not stand for this.