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1 Polybius XXVII. 9 illustrates this sentiment with an anecdote of the Olympic Games: “The phenomenon was very like what happens in boxing contests at the games. For there, when a humble and much inferior combatant is matched against a celebrated and seemingly invincible athlete, the sympathy of the crowd is at once given to the inferior man. They cheer him on, and back him up enthusiastically; and if he manages to touch his opponent's face, and gets in a blow that leaves any mark, there is at once again the greatest excitement among them all. They sometimes even try to make fun of the other man, not out of any dislike for him or disapproval but from a curious sort of sympathy and a natural instinct to favour the weaker. If, however, one calls their attention at the right time to their error, they very soon change their minds and correct it. This was what Clitomachus did, as is told. He was considered to be a quite invincible boxer, and his fame had spread over the whole world, when Ptolemy, ambitious to destroy his reputation, trained with the greatest care and sent off the boxer Aristonicus, a man who seemed to have a remarkable natural gift for this sport. Upon this Aristonicus arriving in Greece and challenging Clitomachus at Olympia, the crowd, it seems, at once took the part of the former and cheered him on, delighted to see that some one, once in a way at least, ventured to pit himself against Clitomachus. And when, as the fight continued, he appeared to be his adversary's match, and once or twice landed a telling blow, there was great clapping of hands, and the crowd became delirious with excitement, cheering on Aristonicus. At this time they say that Clitomachus, after withdrawing for a few moments to recover his breath, turned to the crowd and asked them what they meant by cheering on Aristonicus and backing him up all they could. Did they think he himself was not fighting fairly, or were they not aware that Clitomachus was now fighting for the glory of Greece and Aristonicus for that of King Ptolemy? Would they prefer to see an Egyptian conquer the Greeks and win the Olympian crown, or to hear a Theban and Boeotian proclaimed by the herald as victor in the men's boxing-match? When Clitomachus had spoken thus, they say there was such a change in the sentiment of the crowd that now all was reversed, and Aristonicus was beaten rather by the crowd than by Clitomachus” (tr. Paton, L.C.L.).
2 B.C. 171
3 Cf. XXXVIII. v. 4.
4 The margin of Lake Copaïs.
5 B.C. 171
6 Strabo IX. 2. 30 notes: “Haliartus no longer exists, having been destroyed in the war with Perseus, and the Athenians have the territory as a gift of the Romans..” This is probably incorrect, as an inscription has been found indicating the existence of a community here subject to Athens. Pausanias (IX. 32. 5 ff.) found the site inhabited.
7 Perhaps including the members of the families.
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