polybius' histories greek
I think, for instance, that those who have recorded for our information the invasion of Greece by the Persians, and of Delphi by the Gauls, have contributed materially to the struggles made for the common freedom of Greece. § 4.45. It was through his work of universal histories that he hoped to achieve a way to explain how the land was conquered by the Romans by describing the events that lead to the weakening of the city-state. When, thirty years after the capture of the city, the Celts came again as far as Alba, the Romans were taken by surprise; and having had no intelligence of the intended invasion, nor time to collect the forces of the Socii, did not venture to give them battle. With Rome now conquering every power it can reach, Polybius suggested that it was now possible to write a universal history. § 2.22. The Insubres and Boii were clothed in their breeches and light cloaks; but the Gaesatae from vanity and bravado threw these garments away, and fell in in front of the army naked, with nothing but their arms; believing that, as the ground was in parts encumbered with brambles, which might possibly catch in their clothes and impede the use of their weapons, they would be more effective in this state. For instance, when broaching the issue of the final destruction of Carthage — an event which sent ripples across the Mediterranean — Polybius avoids taking a clear position on the strategic necessity of such a radically punitive action. each other that noting their resemblances and differences, we reach a Last but not least, American primacy can only be preserved if it continues to appear more appealing than various structural alternatives, ranging from competitive multipolarity to a world divided by a twenty-first century concert of nations, or segmented into spheres of influence. § 2.26. He posed his ethical challenges to the Romans with a deeper educational intention in mind, namely, to challenge the Romans’ self-destructive tendencies to behave harshly, arrogantly, and overconfidently. This rising power was in stark contrast to Greece’s main rivals of the Persians and the Spartans, who had tried for centuries to conquer the known world without luck. Indeed, ancient Greek culture distinguished between different modes of knowledge, and between speculative reason and practical wisdom. While Rome’s military efficiency and capacity for innovation played a major role in its final victory, Polybius argues that its institutional solidity and sense of societal cohesiveness played an equally significant part. Polybius, however, was no ordinary political detainee. As almost always, I retyped the text rather than scanning it: not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend. Jeffrey Sherrill Critique of the historian Theopompus. Hide browse bar Your current position in the text is marked in blue. Polybius’ hometown was Megalopolis, the most powerful member of the Achaean confederation, a collection of city-states that had joined forces to counterbalance Macedonian military might. (Eckstein, 10) Though this seemingly biased writing is not that at all, Polybius had no choice but to write in a way to endorse his superiors. Another version of the scene has the Roman general grasping his friend’s hands, and mentioning his “dread foreboding” that one day the same doom would be visited on his own country. His work encompasses mainly the 36 books that make up the Histories; however, much of the work has been lost over the years. Monarchy usually devolved into tyranny, aristocracy into oligarchy, and democracy — the most dangerous system of all — inevitably collapsed into what Polybius called ochlocracy, i.e. As Polybius contemplated the future of Roman imperial rule, his reflections began to appear more pessimistic. One of the reasons Rome prevailed, he suggests, was because even though it may have been equal to Carthage at the outset of the competition, it was on an ascending curve, while Carthage’s power trajectory had begun to trend downward. However, Polybius’s ideas there unique as each part of the period had both a pristine and corrupt version. “Pragmatic History”: Polybius as the Father of Applied History, The ruins of Carthage, Tunisia. The historian was therefore required to walk something of a literary tightrope: providing an unvarnished assessment of the new hegemon’s strategic performance for the benefit of his fellow Greeks, yet taking care not to unduly alienate his Roman hosts and captors.


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