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information about this edition. In the succeeding years, Polybius resided in Rome, completing his historical work while occasionally undertaking long journeys through the Mediterranean countries in the furtherance of his history, in particular with the aim of obtaining firsthand knowledge of historical sites.
The point of Polybius' work is to explain the rise of Rome to pre- eminence in the known world. He was also noted for witnessing the events that he recorded. A key theme of The Histories is the good statesman as virtuous and composed. Polybius (/pəˈlɪbiəs/; Greek: Πολύβιος, Polýbios; c. 200 – c. 118 BC) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period noted for his work The Histories, which covered the period of 264–146 BC in detail. "Learning from Experience: Polybius and the Progress of Rome.
In Book III, Polybius sketches a modified plan, proposing to add an account of how the Romans exercised their supremacy and to extend coverage to the destruction of Carthage, in 146. Polybius is important for his analysis of the mixed constitution or the separation of powers in government, which was influential on Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws and the framers of the United States Constitution. Polybius, a historian from the Greek city of Megalopolis in Arcadia, was taken as a hostage to Rome after the Roman victory in the Third Macedonian War (171-168), and there he began to write an account of the rise of Rome to a world power. , As a hostage in Rome, then as client to the Scipios, and after 146 BC, a collaborator with Roman rule, Polybius was probably in no position to freely express any negative opinions of Rome. These words ring true for one Greek historian named Polybius. In Book XII, Polybius discusses the worth of Timaeus’ account of the same period of history. More recently, thorough work on the Greek text of Polybius, and his historical technique, has increased the academic understanding and appreciation of him as a historian. He describes the First and Second Punic Wars. Niccolò Machiavelli in his Discourses on Livy evinces familiarity with Polybius. In either 169 BC or 170 BC, Polybius was elected hipparchus (cavalry officer) with the intention of fighting for Rome during the Third Macedonian War. Much of the text that survives today from the later books of The Histories was preserved in Byzantine anthologies. At Rome, Polybius had the good fortune to attract the friendship of the great Roman general Scipio Aemilianus; he became Scipio’s mentor and through his family’s influence was allowed to remain in Rome. Greeks at this time believed that the strength of a state is manifested in the strength of its constitution. He wrote: Hitherto the affairs of the world had been as it were dispersed…; since this date [220 bce] history has formed an organic whole, and the affairs of Italy and Africa have been interlinked with those of Greece and Asia, all tending towards one end (I, 3, 3–4). 525) (original publication: Vol.
The mixed constitution was touted as the strongest constitution as it combined the three integral types of government: monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. - Bryn Mawr Clasical Review, "No one else in our times has attempted to write a universal history". Of Polybius’ life after 146 little is known. Polybius’ Histories (Greek: Ἱστορίαι Historíai) were originally written in 40 volumes, only the first five of which are extant in their entirety. In Polybius' time, the profession of a historian required political experience (which aided in differentiating between fact and fiction) and familiarity with the geography surrounding one's subject matter to supply an accurate version of events. Late in his life, as a trusted mediator between Greece and the Romans, he helped in the discussions that preceded the final war with Carthage, and after 146 was entrusted by the Romans with the details of administration in Greece. The writer of the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1937) praises him for his "earnest devotion to truth" and his systematic pursuit of causation.
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