Polybiou tou Lykorta Megalopolitou Historiōn ta Sōzomenea = Polybii Lycortae F. Megalopolitani Historiarum Libri qui Supersunt

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by Polybius

Polybiou tou Lykorta Megapolitou Historion ta Sozomenea
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Polybius
Published Leipzig:
Date 1763-1764? (Possible edition; precise edition unknown)
Language Greek and Latin
Volumes volume set

Polybius (c. 200 BCE–c. 118 BCE) was born in Arcadia, a region of Greece, around 200 BCE to a member of the Achaean confederacy ruling Greece. He became hipparchos (cavalry commander) of the confederacy in 169, but this victory was short-lived when he was included in a group of one thousand prominent Achaeans deported to Rome in 168. This “political purge” followed the Roman conquest of Macedonia, and resulted in Polybius being kept in Italy for sixteen years without a trial.[1] Polybius befriended and mentored powerful Roman general and politician Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus and was consequently allowed to stay in Rome, interspersed with various political and military trips to Spain and Carthage.[2] Following the Roman sack of Corinth in 146 BCE, Polybius “helped to usher in the Roman settlement of Greece.”[3]

Polybius is unique for being the only Hellenistic historian for whom a substantial amount of his works survives. Though all of his minor works are gone, the first five books of his Histories remain in their entirety, and many excerpts and quotations from the remainder of the forty books are preserved by other writers. In his introduction, Polybius states that his purpose in writing the Histories was to “describe and explain Rome’s rise to world dominion” in just under 53 years.[4] His belief that the perfection of the Roman constitution, “an even blend of monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic elements as he saw it” was responsible for the greatness of Rome had long-term impacts on influential Romans and historians.[5] Written in Greek, his history was primarily intended for Greeks, though also included were upper-class Romans who knew Greek. Aiming to be useful to his contemporaries, Polybius took a political approach to his history, explaining and analyzing wars and politics while avoiding emotional or cultural factors. Polybius was one of the first historians to attribute a role in Rome’s success to Fortune. Although he steers clear of giving divinities credit, but emphasizes Rome’s success being a result of her own merits. [6]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

See also


  1. M.C. Howatson, ed. "Poly'bius" in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  2. Ibid.
  3. John Roberts, ed. "Polybius" in Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  4. Ibid.
  5. Howatson, Polybius
  6. Ibid.