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Encyclopedia > Polybius

Polybius (c. 203 BC - 120 BC, Greek Πολυβιος) was a Greek historian of the Mediterranean world famous for his book called The Histories or The Rise of the Roman Empire, covering in detail the period of 220 BC to 146 BC. Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 250s BC 240s BC 230s BC 220s BC 210s BC - 200s BC - 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC Years: 208 BC 207 BC 206 BC 205 BC 204 BC - 203 BC - 202 BC 201 BC... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC 140s BC 130s BC - 120s BC - 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC Years: 125 BC 124 BC 123 BC 122 BC 121 BC - 120 BC - 119 BC 118 BC... A historian is someone who writes history, and history is a written accounting of the past. ... Composite satellite image of the Mediterranean Sea. ... Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 270s BC 260s BC 250s BC 240s BC 230s BC - 220s BC - 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC Years: 225 BC 224 BC 223 BC 222 BC 221 BC - 220 BC - 219 BC 218 BC... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC - 140s BC - 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC Years: 151 BC 150 BC 149 BC 148 BC 147 BC - 146 BC - 145 BC 144 BC...

Contents

Personal experiences

As the former tutor of Scipio Aemilianus , the famous adopted grandson of the famous general Scipio Africanus, Polybius remained on terms of the most cordial friendship and remained a counselor to the man who defeated the Carthaginians in the Third Punic War. The younger Scipio eventually took Carthage, in 146 BC. Nicholas Poussins painting of the Continence of Scipio, depicting his return of a captured young woman to her fiancé, having refused to accept her from his troops as a prize of war. ... Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major (Latin: P·CORNELIVS·P·F·L·N·SCIPIO·AFRICANVS¹) (235–183 BC) was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic. ... This article is about the ancient city-state of Carthage in North Africa. ... Combatants Roman Republic Carthage Commanders Scipio Aemilianus Hasdrubal the Boetarch Strength 40,000 90,000 Casualties 17,000 62,000 The Third Punic War (149 to 146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic. ... Bold text Carthage Ruins of Roman-era Carthage For other uses, see Carthage (disambiguation). ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC - 140s BC - 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC Years: 151 BC 150 BC 149 BC 148 BC 147 BC - 146 BC - 145 BC 144 BC...


Polybius was a member of the governing class, with firsthand opportunities to gain deep insight into military and political affairs. His political career was devoted largely towards maintaining the independence of the Achaean League. As the chief representative of the policy of neutrality during the war of the Romans against Perseus of Macedonia, he attracted the suspicion of the Romans, and was one of the 1000 noble Achaeans who in 166 BC were transported to Rome as hostages, and detained there for seventeen years. In Rome, by virtue of his high culture, he was admitted to the most distinguished houses, in particular to that of Aemilius Paulus, the conqueror in the First Macedonian War, who entrusted him with the education of his sons, Fabius and the younger Scipio. Through Scipio's intercession in 150 BC, Polybius obtained leave to return home, but in the very next year he went with his friend to Africa, and was present at the capture of Carthage that he described. The Achaean League was a confederation of Greek city states in Achaea, a territory on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. ... Coin of Perseus of Macedon Perseus was a king of the Antigonid dynasty, who ruled the successor state in Macedon created upon the death of Alexander the Great. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC - 160s BC - 150s BC140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC Years: 171 BC 170 BC 169 BC 168 BC 167 BC - 166 BC - 165 BC 164 BC 163... Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus (229 BC-160 BC) was a Roman general and politician. ... The First Macedonian War (215 BC - 205 BC) was fought by Rome, allied (after 211 BC) with the Aetolian League and Attalus I of Pergamon, against Philip V of Macedon, contemporaneously with the Second Punic War against Carthage. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC - 150s BC - 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC Years: 155 BC 154 BC 153 BC 152 BC 151 BC - 150 BC - 149 BC 148 BC...


After the destruction of Corinth in the same year, he returned to Greece and made use of his Roman connections to lighten the conditions there; Polybius was entrusted with the difficult task of organizing the new form of government in the Greek cities, and in this office gained for himself the highest recognition. Corinth, or Korinth (Greek: Κόρινθος, Kórinthos; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a Greek city-state, on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. ...


The succeeding years he seems to have spent in Rome, engaged on the completion of his historical work, and occasionally undertaking long journeys through the Mediterranean countries in the interest of his history, more particularly with a view to obtaining firsthand knowledge of historical sites. It also appears that he sought out and interviewed war veterans in order to clarify details of the events he was writing about, and was given access to archival material for the same purpose. After the death of Scipio he returned once again to Greece, where he died at the age of eighty-two, from a fall from his horse.


As historian

Livy makes reference to and uses him as source material in his own narrative. Polybius is one of the first historians to attempt to present history as a sequence of causes and effects, based upon a careful examination of tradition and conducted with keen criticism. He narrated his History upon what he had himself seen and upon the communications of eye-witnesses and actors in the events. In a classic story of human behavior, Polybius captures it all: nationalism, xenophobia, duplicitous politics, horrible battles, brutality, etc.; along with loyalty, valor, bravery, intelligence, reason and resourcefulness. With his eye for detail and characteristic critically reasoned style, Polybius provided a unified view of history rather than a chronology. A portrait of Titus Livius made long after his death. ... Look up xenophobia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Polybius is considered by some to be the successor of Thucydides in terms of objectivity and critical reasoning, and the forefather of scholarly, painstaking historical research in the modern scientific sense. According to this view, his work sets forth the course of occurrences with clearness, penetration, sound judgment and, among the circumstances affecting the result, lays especial stress on the geographical conditions. It belongs, therefore, to the greatest productions of ancient historical writing. The writer of the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1937) praises him for his "earnest devotion to truth" and for his systematic seeking for the cause of events. Bust of Thucydides residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Recently Polybius's writing has come under more critical assessment. In Peter Green's view (Alexander to Actium) he is often partisan, aiming to justify his and his father's careers. He goes out of his way to portray the Achean politician Callicrates in a bad light, leading the reader to suspect that this is due to Callicrates being responsible for him being sent to Rome as hostage. More fundamentally he, as first hostage in Rome, then client to the Scipios and then finally as collaborator with Roman rule after 146 BC, is not free to express his true opinions. Green suggests that we should always keep in mind that he was explaining Rome to a Greek audience and that further of the need to convince his fellow countrymen of the necessity of accepting Roman rule which he believed as inevitable. Nonetheless, for Green, Polybius's histories remain invaluable and the best source for the era he covers. At least two notable persons have been named Peter Green: Peter Green (musician), founder of Fleetwod Mac Peter Green (historian) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC - 140s BC - 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC Years: 151 BC 150 BC 149 BC 148 BC 147 BC - 146 BC - 145 BC 144 BC...


Cryptography

Polybius was responsible for a useful tool in telegraphy which allowed letters to be easily signaled using a numerical system. This idea also lends itself to cryptographic manipulation and steganography. This was known as the "Polybius square", where the letters of the alphabet were arranged left to right, top to bottom in a 5 x 5 square, (when used with the modern 26 letter alphabet, the letters "I" and "J" are combined). Five numbers were then aligned on the outside top of the square, and five numbers on the left side of the square vertically. Usually these numbers were arranged 1 through 5. By cross-referencing the two numbers along the grid of the square, a letter could be deduced. Optical Telegraf of Claude Chappe on the Litermont near Nalbach, Germany Telegraph and telegram redirect here. ... The German Lorenz cipher machine, used in World War II for encryption of very high-level general staff messages Cryptography (or cryptology; derived from Greek κρυπτός kryptós hidden, and γράφειν gráfein to write) is the study of message secrecy. ... Steganography is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one apart from the intended recipient knows of the existence of the message; this is in contrast to cryptography, where the existence of the message itself is not disguised, but the content is obscured. ... In cryptography, the Polybius square is a device invented by the Ancient Greek historian and scholar Polybius, described in Hist. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ...


Polybius' political beliefs have had a continuous appeal to republican thinkers, from Cicero, to Charles de Montesquieu, to the Founding Fathers of the United States [1]. Since the Enlightenment, Polybius has generally held most appeal to those interested in Hellenistic Greece and Early Republican Rome, and his political and militarial writings have lost influence in academia. More recently, thorough work on the Greek text of Polybius and his historical technique has increased academic understanding and appreciation of Polybius as a historian. According to Edward Tufte, Polybius was also a major source for Charles Joseph Minard's figurative map of Hannibal's overland journey into Italy during the Second Punic War [2] This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Montesquieu can refer to: Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu Several communes of France: Montesquieu, in the Hérault département Montesquieu, in the Lot-et-Garonne département Montesquieu, in the Tarn-et-Garonne département This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages... Founding Fathers of the United States, also known to some Americans as the Fathers of Our Country, the Forefathers, Framers or the Founders, are the political leaders who signed the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution, or otherwise participated in the American Revolution as leaders of the Patriots. ... Edward Rolf Tufte (IPA /ˈtÊŒf. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... Hannibal is one of the most common prenames in Punic and we know several military commanders (strategos) with this prename during the Punic Wars, while their family names or nicknames are often not recorded. ... Combatants Roman Republic Carthage Commanders Publius Cornelius Scipio†, Tiberius Sempronius Longus Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, Gaius Flaminius†, Fabius Maximus, Claudius Marcellus†, Lucius Aemilius Paullus†, Gaius Terentius Varro, Marcus Livius Salinator, Gaius Claudius Nero, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus†, Masinissa, Minucius+, Geminus+, Regulus+ Hannibal Barca, Hasdrubal Barca†, Mago Barca†, Hasdrubal Gisco†, Maharbal...


Notes

    See also

    In cryptography, the Polybius square is a device invented by the Ancient Greek historian and scholar Polybius, described in Hist. ... Mixed government, also known as a mixed constitution, is a form of government that integrated facets of democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy. ...

    References and external links

    Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
    Polybius
    • The Histories or The Rise of the Roman Empire by Polybius:
    • At "LacusCurtius": Short introduction to the life and work of Polybius

      Results from FactBites:
     
    Polybius (4175 words)
    Polybius (c.203-122 BCE) was born in Megalopolis, Arcadia, a Greek city that was an active member of the Achaean League, of which his father, Lycortas, was at one time leader.
    Polybius was thus able to move in the highest circles in Rome and to witness major Roman military campaigns in the Mediterranean region.
    Polybius remarked acidly of other historians that to believe things that were beyond the limits of possibility showed a childish simplicity or the mark of limited intelligence.
      More results at FactBites »

     
     

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