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Proclamation At the Isthmian Games

When these decisions had been come to, the time for
The Isthmian games, July B. C. 196.
the celebration of the Isthmian games arrived. The expectation of what would happen there drew the men of highest rank from nearly every quarter of the world; and there was a great deal of talk on the subject from one end of the assembled multitude to the other, and expressed in varied language. Some said that from certain of the places and towns it was impossible that the Romans could withdraw; while others asserted that they would withdraw from those considered most important, but would retain others that were less prominent, though capable of being quite as serviceable. And such persons even took upon themselves in their ingenuity to designate the precise places which would be thus treated. While people were still in this state of uncertainty, all the world being assembled on the stadium to watch the games, the herald came forward, and having proclaimed silence by the sound of a trumpet, delivered the following proclamation: "The senate of Rome and Titus Quintus, proconsul and imperator, having conquered King Philip and the Macedonians in war, declare the following peoples free, without garrison, or tribute, in full enjoyment of the laws of their respective countries: namely, Corinthians, Phocians, Locrians, Euboeans, Achaeans of Phiotis, Magnesians, Thessalians, Perrhaebians."
Proclamation of the freedom of the Greek cities.

Now as the first words of the proclamation were the signal

An exciting scene.
for a tremendous outburst of clapping, some of the people could not hear it at all, and some wanted to hear it again; but the majority feeling incredulous, and thinking that they heard the words in a kind of dream, so utterly unexpected was it, another impulse induced every one to shout to the herald and trumpeter to come into the middle of the stadium and repeat the words: I suppose because the people wished not only to hear but to see the speaker, in their inability to credit the announcement. But when the herald, having advanced into the middle of the crowd, once more, by his trumpeter, hushed the clamour, and repeated exactly the same proclamation as before, there was such an outbreak of clapping as is difficult to convey to the imagination of my readers at this time. When at length the clapping ceased, no one paid any attention whatever to the athletes, but all were talking to themselves or each other, and seemed like people bereft of their senses. Nay, after the games were over, in the extravagance of their joy, they nearly killed Flamininus by the exhibition of their gratitude. Some wanted to look him in the face and call him their preserver; others were eager to touch his hand; most threw garlands and fillets upon him; until between them they nearly crushed him to death. But though this expression of popular gratitude was thought to have been extravagant, one might say with confidence that it fell short of the importance of the actual event. For that the Romans and their leader Flamininus should have deliberately incurred unlimited expense and danger, for the sole purpose of freeing Greece, deserved their admiration; and it was also a great thing that their power was equal to their intention. But the greatest thing of all is that Fortune foiled their attempt by none of her usual caprices, but that every single thing came to a successful issue at the same time: so that all Greeks, Asiatic and European alike, were by a single proclamation become "free, without garrison or tribute, and enjoying their own laws."

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load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
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196 BC (1)
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