The Histories

The Histories Here is the first new translation for over thirty years of Polybius Histories the major source for our knowledge of the Eternal City s early rise to power covering the years of the Second Punic War

  • Title: The Histories
  • Author: Polybius Robin A.H. Waterfield Brian McGing
  • ISBN: 9780199534708
  • Page: 221
  • Format: Paperback
  • Here is the first new translation for over thirty years of Polybius Histories, the major source for our knowledge of the Eternal City s early rise to power, covering the years of the Second Punic War, the defeat of Hannibal, and Rome s pivotal victories in the Mediterranean Polybius, himself a leading Greek politician of the time, attributes Rome s success to the greatneHere is the first new translation for over thirty years of Polybius Histories, the major source for our knowledge of the Eternal City s early rise to power, covering the years of the Second Punic War, the defeat of Hannibal, and Rome s pivotal victories in the Mediterranean Polybius, himself a leading Greek politician of the time, attributes Rome s success to the greatness of its constitution and the character of its people, but also allows Fortune a role in shaping world events This new translation by Robin Waterfield includes the first five books in their entirety, and all of the fragmentary Books 6 and 12 Brian McGing s lucid introduction discusses the period covered by the Histories, Polybius major role in the reconstruction of Greece after the defeat of the Achaean League, the themes and subject matter of the individual books, Polybius outspoken views on how and how not , and his significance for historiography The book also includes succinct, clear notes, maps, a glossary, and an index of proper names.About the Series For over 100 years Oxford World s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe Each affordable volume reflects Oxford s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up to date bibliographies for further study, and much .

    One thought on “The Histories”

    1. Polybius' account of the rise of Rome, from city on seven hills to world power, has great vigour, reading book one which deals with the first punic war when Rome leapt out of Italy into conflict with Carthage for control over Scilly I had the sensation that the narrative was pursuing me like an elephant, bearing down on me as I fled before it. Although I remembered the injunction to either come home with my shield or on my shield, I cast it away the better to escape unencumbered, some Carthagini [...]

    2. I think reading this book by Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.) is simply fascinating, informative and rewarding since, I think, we can learn and better understand the Roman Empire from the Greek statesman and historian's views as supported by written and oral sources.I think, posting a review for this book needs time and ideas for my friends, therefore, its scope will include a few topics worth mentioning and elucidating (probably more details for future inclusion): 1) How Hannibal crossed the Alps,2) [...]

    3. Thanks to Jan-Maat for bringing this to my attention. I have read quite a bit set during the Roman Empire, or shortly before it, and wondered about all the references to the glories of the republic. And I knew Hannibal had taken his army and his elephants over the Alps, but had no context for the feat. Polybius filled in lots of holes in my knowledge of the history of Rome.

    4. Polybe, grec envoyé comme otage à Rome au deuxième siècle était devenu l'ami des puissants de la plus célèbre des cités Latine. Il entreprit de rédiger une histoire universelle des événements récents qui avaient vu l'essor inexorable de l'influence romaine sur les affaires du monde méditerranéenne. Les événements relatés vont des prémisses de la première guerre punique (laquelle fait défaut dans Tite-Live) jusqu'à la destruction finale de Carthage lors de la troisième guerr [...]

    5. Polybius blends the retelling of the events with his own philosophy about the nature and goals of historical study in addition to his ruminations about the future of Empire (which are pretty much spot on), which can make the text feel a bit uneven at times. That being said, the chapters concerning Hannibal and his campaign against Rome are probably some of the most epically rendered set pieces in written antiquity. And they really help to show how Rome, after vanquishing an enemy this determined [...]

    6. Polybius was a Greek born into an aristocratic family of the Achaean League and was selected as one of the 1000 aristocratic hostages transported to Rome. He fell into the good graces of the house of the Scipios. He read the family archives and grew fond of Publius Cornelius Scipio and his son. Out of the forty or so Histories that he wrote only about five remained extant. The Roman Empire as an event fascinated Polybius and he sought to document its rise. This work is written in a dry, factual [...]

    7. 3.5 stars.I am not a historian, and have encountered almost all the content of this book in later works that probably just cribbed from Polybius. My rating reflects my enjoyment of the history, not it's importance.The content itself is a roller coaster ride. It begins with books covering two wars between Rome and Carthage. The history is exciting and the writing captures it. Next are two books on The Social War occurring in Greece. Compared to the previous conflict, this is children squabbling o [...]

    8. It is an absolute shame that most of this work did not make it down to the present day. And on that note I make my only criticism of this edition: the jacket and web material on this book state that it covers the Second Punic War and the later destruction of Carthage. The original work may have, but what is left to us is the history of the Second Punic War up to the battle of Cannae and nothing further. My favorite quote is on the use of religion as a means of control: "In Rome, nothing plays a [...]

    9. Having a guilty pleasure that includes reading roman adventure novels of carnage and conquest, not to mention modern historians takes on the conflicts and events of the ancient world, I feel compelled to occassionally take on the guys that tend to be the source materials. These can seem pretty forbidding at the outset, but contemporary translations of Herodotus and Polybius made them both pretty easily digested. I really enjoyed David Anthony Durham's take on the Second Punic War (Prince of Cart [...]

    10. I have put this aside for now. Polybius's history is said to be important to our understanding of the formation of the Roman Empire. This I cannot dispute. But there is no art to description of events, and little analysis. It is basically one damn thing after another, which is principally, one damn battle after another, with no reflection on whether any of this is good. Turncoats and killing without sympathy or apparent need are denounced, but the general continuous war and carnage are treated a [...]

    11. The cool thing about Polybius, is that he was a Greek. This book spans his interest in Rome's rise and homogenization of the Mediterranean world. Ranges from 264 thru 146 BCE.


    13. Polybius was born a Greek but spent eighteen years as a hostage in Rome. During that time he became friends with the house of Scipio and also was fascinated in the rapid rise of Rome from obscurity to the greatest power of its day in half a century. The first books in this "Complete Histories" focuses on the Punic Wars and the reasons why they thrust Rome into global dominance. Although they might be considered dry by modern standards they are fascinating reading for anyone who knows or wants to [...]

    14. “There can surely be nobody so petty or so apathetic in his outlook that he has no desire to discover by what means and under what system of government the Romans succeeded in less than fifty-three years in bringing under their rule almost the whole of the inhabited world.”

    15. He's an excellent historian, and would be a great choice for undergraduates interested in learning about historical methodology (while reading a fascinating Roman military and political history.)

    16. A more contemporary view of the 2nd Punic War as Polybius met many of the veterans of this conflict. Additionally, there is more here concerning the fallout of Philip's allegiance with the Carthaginians under Hannibal. The fall of the Hellenes to Rome is a topic of personal interest to Polybius. Here, more than in Livy's account, we see that the campaign against Hannibal is the beginning of Roman dominance as a world empire. Polybius indicates this as an explicit thesis of his work - although he [...]

    17. polybius can suck my dick but sometimes he pulls out these really nice and informative and cool digression on fortune and man's purpose and i'm like.3ars.r u

    18. This book is a sweeping account of the time period of about 260 - 150 BC or so, by the Greek/Roman historian Polybius - who lived during this time period and accompanied the great Roman general Scipio on many of his campaigns.It had really interesting parts that were very enlightening and intriguing to read. It goes into a lot of detail but in my opinion the beauty of history frequently lies in those details that would be lost if we read a summary or commentary of the work.He starts of with the [...]

    19. I have been on a bit of a bender for reading ancient historians lately of the Roman Republic and so, Polybius is my latest reading in this area. I find reading ancient historians is perhaps the most effective way to both get some of the history and the mind set at the same time. Anyway it has worked and supplementing with where necessary, I finally feel like I have a basic understanding of the Roman Republic (I've known the Empire for a long time).This work is selections from Polybius' Historie [...]

    20. Polybius was a leading politician and military officer in ancient Greece, who believed that historians should only write about events they are personally familiar with. He was close to several people he writes about, and he himself becomes an historical figure towards the end of his work.His work focuses on the period from 264-145 B.C or, the period of the Punic Wars. He describes his book as a "universal history", meaning he gives the histories of all major powers at the time: Rome, Carthage, M [...]

    21. Rise of the Roman Empire is not really an easy read. Polybus takes himself and his subject matter very seriously and he refuses to let a ray of humor or irony into the work. But, when you think about it, the subject matter is pretty serious, especially considering that the author was born around 200 BC in Megalopolis, Arcadia, which at that time was an active member of the Achaean League (or what most of us call ancient Greece). During Polybus’ lifetime, the Romans rose to power over the Greek [...]

    22. Polybius' histories extended over dozens of volumes, of which only a few remain fully intact. This is a shame. The man was an intelligent critic of history, military leadership and politics, drawing on a vast array of experience as a Greek leader, and later his relationships in the Roman empire, as well as personal fact-finding journeys, such as that during which he retraced Hannibal's invasion route. Interestingly, it is the fact that he was prevented from carrying out a normal life that likely [...]

    23. Unfortunately Polybius' work stopped quite early in the beginning. To us, his universal history stopped right after the battle of Cannae. I have come across the content here on the Romans before (in later works), but the two books on the social war in Greece were fresh and quite enjoyable. It was indeed telling of the times. The conflicts between the Greek monarchs and leagues, their wars and truces, their ambitions and intrigues were like child's play when compared to the struggle of life and d [...]

    24. Wow! What a read. I don't tend to read many penguin translations. I find them quite dry and uninteresting. However, this one is different and is a must for those who are interested in colonial history, warfare or African history.Polybius is a master storyteller and wrote about forty books of his histories and only a few have survived, some of which appear here. Our author not only talks about the rise of the Roman Empire, he talks about other countries which sounds random at times, because volum [...]

    25. Unfortunately, I am not versed in Greek, so I cannot comment on the accuracy of the translation. I will say that the English is clean, fluid, and does not read as broken attempts to render an inflected language into a non-inflected language.As a historian Polybius is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. On the one hand, he's not as rumor-mongering as Herodotus, which, though it does eliminate the gossip-like tone that sometimes permeates the Father of History, it also causes the narrative to [...]

    26. A history that clings to Polybius's moral concerning Fortune, which is essentially a blueprint for how to appropriately handle yourself when you are blessed with good Fortune and almost more importantly, how to handle yourself when you aren't. And by "you" of course I mean mainly men with elite leadership aspirations, hehe.I am not a gamer, but one great companion while reading this book is the Creative Assembly's war/strategy game Rome Total War, which concerns itself with the same time period [...]

    27. Polybius like many of his contemporaries wrote many volumes 30-40 volumes of work. Unlike many of his contemporaries 5 full books, and several fragments remain of his efforts. Polybius's surviving works concentrate on the campaigns of Carthage against Rome, but also delve into the surrounding military and political scene in Greece and Asia Minor and Egypt. It is largely about warfare of course, and not much about the details of "regular" life that make Herodotus's earlier works so fascinating. P [...]

    28. I wish I had had this book lo those many years ago when I studied Latin. It resolved questions I have had since I first heard of the Punic wars, of Hannibal, of the creation of the Roman Empire, etc, etc.Polybius also commented on historiography, explaining what he was trying to do, i.e bring all of the threads of Roman history together to create a kind of world history which showed the interrelationship of the wars of Rome-Carthage, (Philip) Macedonia-Greece, and Antiochus III-Ptolemy IV for Co [...]

    29. OK, so why did I spend my time reading this book? To learn more about the Mediterranean - the cultures, religions, civilizations, empires, outlooks, beliefs and ways of life that existed on its shores through time.Did I get what I wanted from reading it?Yes! The author himself provides a huge window into his world. His assumptions, judgments, opinions and reflections convey the outlook, values and beliefs of at least one segment of a society that flourished back then. He markets his book as requ [...]

    30. This one took forever. Not because it’s long; I read the far more lengthy Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in much less time. Whereas Gibbon’s prose still seems very contemporary after a couple of centuries, however, no translation can really quite bridge the ten-times-as-long gap between us and Polybius. As I find to be the case with many classic works, it was interesting, and if you settle into its rhythms you can make good progress, but it’s still very easy to set aside.Having finis [...]

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