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The Unthinking Multitude

What happened in the case of Perseus in regard to the feeling of the multitude was very similar to this. For if any one had pulled them up and asked them plainly, in so many words, whether they wished such great power to fall to one man, and were desirous of trying the effect of an utterly irresponsible despotism, I presume that they would have promptly bethought themselves, recanted all they had said, and gone to the other extreme of feeling. Or if some one had briefly recalled to their recollection all the tyrannical acts of the royal house of Macedonia from which the Greeks had suffered, and all the benefits they had received from the Romans, I imagine they would have at once and decisively changed their minds. However, for the present, at the first burst of thoughtless enthusiasm, the people showed unmistakable signs of joy at the news, being delighted at the unlooked-for appearance of a champion able to cope with Rome. I say this much to prevent any one, in ignorance of human nature, from bringing a rash charge of ingratitude against the Greeks for the feelings which they displayed at that time. . . .

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 42.29
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