J. L. Strachan-Davidson (essay date 1879)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

J. L. Strachan-Davidson (essay date 1879)

SOURCE: "Polybius and His Times," in The Quarterly Review, Vol. 148, No. 295, July, 1879, pp. 186-222.

[In the following excerpt from an originally unsigned article on the Roman Republic, Strachan-Davidson briefly reviews Polybius's life and work, praising his "strict integrity" and " sound practical intelligence."]

In the centuries when the knowledge of the classical writings slumbered, the tradition of ancient politics was summed up in the memory of the Roman Cæsar. The idea of law and order concentrated in the person of a universal monarch, and sanctified by the name of Rome, had impressed itself deeply...

(The entire section is 1794 words.)

Mountstuart E. Grant Duff (essay date 1897)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

Mountstuart E. Grant Duff (essay date 1897)

SOURCE: "Presidential Address," in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, New Series, Vol XI, 1897. Reprint by Kraus, 1971, pp. 1-17.

[In the following excerpt, Duff cites passages from the writings of Polybius to demonstrate the timeliness of his political ideas and to advocate a wider study of his works.]

In previous Addresses I have spoken of Thucydides, Tacitus, Herodotus, and Aristotle, with special reference to the amount of light to be gained from their writings by the modern statesman. To-day I propose to take for my subject a far less famous personage, but one who should certainly not be...

(The entire section is 2638 words.)

J. B. Bury (lecture date 1909)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

J. B. Bury (lecture date 1909)

SOURCE: "Polybius and Poseidonius," in The Ancient Greek Historians, 1909. Reprint by Dover Publications, 1958, pp. 191-223.

[In the following excerpt, Bury provides an overview of Polybius's philosophy of history, emphasizing his views on the purpose of historical study, the role of Fortune, and the significance of the individual.]

The life of Polybius covered about the first eighty years of the second century B.C. (c. 198-117 B.C.)—the period of the great political process which linked together the destinies of Greece and Rome. He was born in the Hellenistic world, a noble representative of its...

(The entire section is 5652 words.)

Kurt von Fritz (essay date 1954)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

Kurt von Fritz (essay date 1954)

SOURCE: "Polybius's Principles of Historiography and His Theory of the Origin of the State," in The Theory of the Mixed Constitution in Antiquity: A Critical Analysis of Polybius's Political Ideas, Columbia University Press, 1954, pp. 40-59.

[In the following excerpt, von Fritz compares elements of Polybius's political thought with the ideas of Aristotle, Plato, and the Stoics.]

It was Polybius who coined the expression "pragmatic history" or "the pragmatic method of historiography," yet the meaning of "pragmatic," as Polybius uses it, is not quite identical with, though it is closely related to, the meaning which...

(The entire section is 6889 words.)

F. W. Walbank (essay date 1957)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

F. W. Walbank (essay date 1957)

SOURCE: In A Historical Commentary on Polybius, Vol. 1, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1957, pp. 1-37.

[A British Professor of ancient history and classical archeology, Walbank is the twentieth century's most noted authority on Polybius. In the following excerpt, Walbank provides an introduction to the life and works of Polybius, focusing in particular on his view of history and his use of the concept of Tyche (Fortune).]

1. Polybius' Life and Journeys

Born about the end of the third century at Megalopolis, Polybius spent his first thirty years acquiring the military and...

(The entire section is 8313 words.)

Michael Grant (essay date 1970)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

Michael Grant (essay date 1970)

SOURCE: "Polybius," in The Ancient Historians, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970, pp. 144-64.

[A highly respected British classical scholar, Grant has published numerous books on ancient history for the general public as well as many scholarly works. In the following excerpt, he traces Polybius's role in political and military events of his time and briefly reviews the strengths and weaknesses of his political thought.]

Polybius of Megalopolis in Arcadia (c. 200-118 BC) wrote a Universal History in his native Greek. We are told of the stages by which Rome had gained its dominion over the whole...

(The entire section is 8222 words.)

Arnaldo Momigliano (lecture date 1973)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

Arnaldo Momigliano (lecture date 1973)

SOURCE: "Polybius's Reappearance in Western Europe," in Essays in Ancient and Modern Historiography, Wesleyan University Press, 1977, pp. 79-98.

[An Italian scholar, Momigliano (1908-1987) was widely known as one of the most learned historians of his time. In the following excerpt from a lecture originally delivered in 1973, he traces the rediscovery of Polybius 's writings in Western Europe during the Renaissance and discusses his significance for the development of Western historical, political, and military theory.]

I

Polybius arrived twice in Italy, the first time in 167 B.C., the...

(The entire section is 6458 words.)

A. M. Eckstein (essay date 1985)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

A. M. Eckstein (essay date 1985)

SOURCE: "Polybius, Syracuse, and the Politics of Accommodation," in Greek and Byzantine Studies, Vol. 26, No. 3, Autumn, 1985, pp. 265-82.

[In the following excerpt, Eckstein discusses Polybius's attitude towards the political hegemony exercised by Rome, arguing that the historian "was a political realist from beginning to end."]

Polybius' intended audience was made up of political men; his avowed purpose was to prepare such men for political action in the real world; his theme was the expansion of Roman power. Despite the simplicity of these basic principles of the Histories, there remains...

(The entire section is 5776 words.)

Wesley E. Thompson (essay date 1985)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

Wesley E. Thompson (essay date 1985)

SOURCE: "Fragments of the Preserved Historians— Especially Polybius," in The Greek Historians: Literature and HistoryPapers Presented to A. E. Raubitschek, Anma Libri, 1985, pp. 119-39.

[In the following excerpt, Thompson examines ways in which the fragmentary state of the remains of Polybiu's Histories may have affected historians' views of his work.]

There is a romantic allure to collecting and interpreting fragments of lost works. What could be more pleasurable than reconstructing the plot of Prometheus Unbound? And Toni Raubitschek certainly enjoyed himself studying what Theopompus...

(The entire section is 7404 words.)