The appointed time of the Isthmian Games was at hand, a spectacle always, even on other occasions, attended by crowds, on account of the fondness, native to the race, for exhibitions in which there are trials of skill in every variety of art as well as of strength and swiftness of foot;
moreover, they came because, on account of the favourable situation of the place, lying [p. 365]
between the two opposite seas and furnishing mankind1
with abundance of all wares, the market was a meeting-place for Asia and Greece.
But at this time they had assembled from all quarters not only for the usual purposes, but especially because they were consumed with wonder what thenceforth the state of Greece would be, and what their own condition; they not only had their own silent thoughts, some believing one thing and others another, but discussed openly what the Romans would do; almost no one was convinced that they would withdraw from all Greece.
They had taken their seats at the games and the herald with the trumpeter, as is the custom, had come forth into the midst of the arena, where the games are regularly opened with a ritual chant, and proclaiming silence with a trumpet-call, the herald read the decree:
“The Roman senate and Titus Quinctius, imperator,
having conquered King Philip and the Macedonians, declare to be free, independent, and subject to their own laws, the Corinthians, the Phocians, all the Locrians, the island of Euboea, the Magnesians, the Thessalians, the Perrhaebians, and the Phthiotic Achaeans.”
He had named all the states which had been subject to King Philip.
When the herald's voice was heard there was rejoicing greater than men could grasp in its entirety. They could scarce believe that they had heard aright, and they looked at one another marvelling as at the empty vision of a dream; they asked their neighbours what concerned each one, unwilling to trust the evidence of their own ears.
The herald was recalled, each one desiring not only to hear but to behold the man who brought the tidings of his freedom, and again the herald read the same decree.
Then, when the ground [p. 367]
for their joy was certain, such a storm of applause2
began and was so often repeated3
that it was easily apparent that of all blessings none pleases a throng more than liberty.
The contests were then rapidly finished, no man's eyes or thoughts being fixed upon the sight; joy alone had so completely replaced their perception of all other delightful things.