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Bill Thayer

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Polybius: The Histories

The Author, the Manuscripts

As with most ancient authors, not that much is known of Polybius, and the Loeb edition's introductory material, by H. J. Edwards, is about as good as one can get. The principal manuscripts of the Histories are also treated there; but only very summarily.


The Text of Polybius on LacusCurtius

As almost always, I retyped the text rather than scanning it: not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

I ran a first proofreading pass immediately after entering each book, and also benefited from the sustained help of several other readers, so that the text of all the books is quite good already. I've now started final proofreading: in the table of contents below, books the text of which I believe to be completely errorfree are shown on blue backgrounds.

Since I put this English text Polybius online, a Greek text and a different English translation (Shuckburgh 1889) are now available at Perseus. Readers have alerted me, however, that there are problems with that Web transcription; for example: "it's amazingly user-unfriendly; when I try to move through it to another chapter, it regularly delivers a blank page". For students who wish to read the Shuckburgh translation, Alan Arthur (one of those who've done yeoman's work proofreading "my" Polybius) suggests the Google Books transcription.

Edition Used

Loeb Classical Library, 6 volumes, Greek texts and facing English translation: Harvard University Press, 1922 thru 1927. Translation by W. R. Paton.

Now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright on the earlier volumes has lapsed and that on the later volumes was not renewed in the appropriate years. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

For citation purposes, the Loeb edition pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode.

Book Subject

1

In Greece: the Social War. In Asia: the war for Coele-Syria. In Italy and Africa: the beginning of the Second Punic War.

2

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

3

Hannibal in Italy, up to the battle of Cannae included.

4

Events in Greece: Peloponnesian wars etc.

5

More of the same.

6

The Roman Constitution.

7

Hieronymus of Syracuse. Treaty between Hannibal and Philip V. Philip V and Messene, Siege of Sardis.

8

Greece: Philip V captures Lissus. Critique of the historian Theopompus. Asia: Capture of Achaeus. Italy: Tarentine War. Siege and capture of Syracuse.

9

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

10

Scipio's siege of New Carthage.

11

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

12

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

13

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

14

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

15

In Africa, the end of the Second Punic War; in Egypt, the overthrow of the regent Agathocles.

16

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

None of Book 17 is extant.

18

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

None of Book 19 is extant.

20

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

21

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

22

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

23

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

24

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

25

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

26

The eccentric personality of Antiochus Epiphanes.

27

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

28

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

29

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

30

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

31

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

32

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

33

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

34

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

35

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

36

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

None of Book 37 is extant.

38

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

39

[No abstract yet, but the Book is online]

According to Polybius' own statement (39.8.8), the work should have or must have concluded with a Table of Contents and Index, which would have formed Book 40. It is not extant.


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Site updated: 29 Sep 14