Historiōn ta Sōzomena
Historiōn ta Sōzomena: Polybii Lycortae F. Megalopolitani Historiarum Libri qui Supersunt
|Historiōn ta Sōzomena|
Title page from Historiōn ta Sōzomena, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.
|Published||Amstelodami: Officina Johannis Janssonii à Waesberge, & Johannis van Someren|
|Language||Greek and Latin|
|Volumes||3 volumes in 5 volume set|
|Desc.||8vo (18 cm.)|
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. 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. 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.
This particular edition is a Latin translation of what remains of Polybius’s Histories.
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
Listed twice in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Polybius. Gr. Lat. 3.v. 8vo. Thomas Jefferson gave one copy to John Wayles Eppes and the other to Thomas Jefferson Randolph. Jefferson had sent at least one of these copies to Wythe from Paris. Brown's Bibliography includes the 1763-64 edition of Polybius published in Leipzig based on an edition Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress. George Wythe's Library on LibraryThing indicates "Precise edition unknown." Because we do not know which edition Wythe owned, the Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the 1670 Amsterdam edition when a copy became available.
Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy
Bound in later full calf, uniformly bound, with raised bands and spines in six panels. Has morocco title label to second panel, contrasting morocco volume label to third, and remaining panels with gilt central lozenge and volute corner pieces. Gilt rolled border to covers with all edged marbled and blue endpapers. Purchased from Temple Rare Books.
View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.
- M.C. Howatson, ed. "Poly'bius" in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
- John Roberts, ed. "Polybius" in Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
- Howatson, "Poly'bius."
- See Thomas Jefferson to Wythe, 16 September 1787, page 5.
- Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
- E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 1:25 [no.51].
- LibraryThing, s.v. Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013.