Polybius (ca 203 BC - 120 BC, Greek) was a Greek historian of the Mediterranean world famous for his book called The Histories or The Rise of the Roman Empire, covering the period of 220 BC to 146 BC.
He spent many years 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 first-hand 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. He returned once again to Greece, where he died at the age of eighty-two, from a fall from his horse.
Livy used him as a reference and Polybius had excellent sources. Polybius narrated events which came within his own experience. He 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, conducted with keen criticism; partly also 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, racism, 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. His work sets forth the course of occurrences with clearness, penetration, and sound judgment . 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. Polybius's histories remain invaluable and the best source for the era he covers.
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