Shorter Fragments

The first eight of these fragments belong to book 6, but as they do not fall in with what remains of the text, I have placed them here. I have divided these fragments into two classes: (A) those which seem to have some distinct reference which can be recognised or guessed: (B) those which though fairly complete in themselves cannot be so classed. A good many more, generally quoted by Suidas for the sake of some one word, did not seem worth putting in an English dress. The numbers in brackets are those of Hultsch's text.

A: Fragments whose reference is known

I (6, 2)

B. C. 751.
I believe Rome to have been founded in the second year of the 7th Olympiad.1

II (6, 2)

B. C. 672.
Polybius, like Aristodemus of Elis, informs us that the register of the athletic victors at the Olympic games began to be kept from the 27th Olympiad, at which Coroebus of Elis was first registered as conqueror in the stadium; and this Olympiad was regarded as an era by the Greeks from which to calculate dates.2

III (6, 2)

The Palatine was named after Pallas, who died there. He was the son of Heracles and Lavina, daughter of Evander. His maternal grandfather raised a barrow as his tomb on this hill, and called the place after him the Pallantium.

IV (6, 2)

Among the Romans women are forbidden to drink wine; and they drink what is called passum, which is made from raisins, and tastes very like the sweet wine of Aegosthena or Crete. This is what they drink to quench their thirst. But it is almost impossible for them to drink wine without being found out. For, to begin with, the woman has not got the charge of wine; and, in the next place, she is bound to kiss all her male relatives and those of her husband, down to his cousins, every day on seeing them for the first time; and as she cannot tell which of them she will meet, she has to be on her guard. For if she has but tasted wine, there is no occasion for any formal accusation.3

V (6, 2)

Ancus Marcius, Livy, 1, 33.
He also founded Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.

VI (6, 2)

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus comes to Rome.
Lucius, the son of Demaratus of Corinth, came to Rome relying on his own ability and wealth, and convinced that the advantages he possessed would place him in the front rank in the state: for he had a wife who, among other useful qualities, was admirably suited by nature to assist in any political enterprise. Arrived at Rome, and admitted to citizenship, he devoted himself to flattering the king; and before very long his wealth, his natural dexterity, and, more than all, his early training, enabled him so to please the king's taste that he gained his cordial liking and confidence. As time went on his intimacy became so close that he lived with [Ancus] Marcius, and assisted him in managing his kingdom. While so engaged, he contrived to make himself useful to every one. All who were suitors for anything found in him an active supporter and friend: his wealth was spent with noble liberality and judgment on various objects of national importance; and thus he secured for himself the gratitude of many, and the goodwill and good word of all, and finally obtained the throne. . . .4

Every branch of virtue should be practised by those who aim at good training, from childhood, but, above all, courage. . .

(6, 1) An impossible lie admits of no defence even.

(6, 1) It is the act of a wise and sensible man to recognise—as Hesiod puts it—"how much greater the half is than the whole."5

VII (6, 1)

To learn sincerity towards the Gods is a kind of image of truthfulness towards each other.

VIII (6, 1)

It generally happens in the world that men who acquire have a natural turn for keeping; while those who succeed to wealth, without any trouble to themselves, are apt to squander it.

IX (10)

The strongest fortifications are in general dangerous to both sides; which may be illustrated from what occurs in the case of citadels. These last are regarded as contributing greatly to the security of the cities in which they stand, and to the protection of their freedom; but they often turn out to be the origin of slavery and indisputable misfortunes.6

X (13)

Some few approved of his doing so, but the majority objected, saying, some that it was folly, and others that it was madness for a man thus to risk and hazard his life, who was quite unacquainted with the kind of fighting in use among these barbarians.7

XI (16)

"Secure retreat in case disaster fall."

One ought always to keep this line in mind. From failing to do so Lucius the Roman8 met with a grave disaster. So narrow is the risk of destruction to the most powerful forces when the leaders are unwise. A sufficient illustration to thoughtful men is furnished by the headstrong invasion of Argos by Pyrrhus king of the Epirotes,9 and the expedition through Thrace of king Lysimachus against Dorimichaites, king of Odrysae;10 and indeed many other similar cases.

XII (23)

Marcellus never once conquered Hannibal, who in fact remained unbeaten until Scipio's victory.11

XIII (25)

No darkness, no storm however violent, turned him from his purpose. He forced his way through all such obstacles; he overcame even disease by resolute labour, and never once failed in an object or experienced a variation in his uniform good fortune.

XIV (29)

In old times single combats among the Romans were conducted with good faith [but in our days many contrivances have been hit upon].

XV (31)

The horse, from the agony of the wound, first fell forward, and then galloped furiously through the middle of the camp.

XVI (42)

Seeing that the superstitious feelings of the soldiers were roused by these portents, he exerted himself to remove the scruples of the men by means of his own intelligence and strategic skill.

XVII (63)

Ships with six banks of oars

These vessels appear to be as swift sailers as penteconters, but to be much inferior to triremes; and their construction has been abandoned for many years past. Polybius, however, is supposed to lay down the measurements of such vessels, which the Romans and Carthaginians appear to have often employed in their wars with each other.12

XVIII (64)

Getting completely drunk, and all flung on the ground in the various tents, they neither heard any word of command nor took any thought of the future whatever.13

XIX (66)

In consultations of war, as in those relating to bodily sickness, one ought to take as much account of the symptoms that have since arisen as of those originally existing.

XX (90)

Cappadocia extends from Mount Taurus and Lycaonia up to the Pontic Sea. The name is Persian and arose thus. A certain Persian [named Cappadocus?] was present at a hunt with Artaxerxes, or some other king, when a lion sprang upon the king's horse. This Persian happened to be in that part of the hunting company, and drawing his sword rescued the king from his imminent danger and killed the lion. This Persian therefore ascending the highest mountain in the neighbourhood received as a gift from the king as much territory as the human eye could take in, looking east, west, north, and south.14

XXI (95)

The Celtiberians have a peculiar manœuvre in war. When they see their infantry hard pressed, they dismount and leave their horses standing in their places. They have small pegs attached to their leading reins, and having fixed them carefully into the ground, they train their horses to keep their places obediently in line until they come back and pull up the pegs.

XXII (96)

The Celtiberians excel the rest of the world in the construction of their swords; for their point is strong and serviceable, and they can deliver a cut with both edges. Wherefore the Romans abandoned their ancestral swords after the Hannibalian war and adopted those of the Iberians. They adopted, I say, the construction of the swords, but they can by no means imitate the excellence of the steel or the other points in which they are so elaborately finished.15

XXIII (102)

The Roman praetor Marcus16 wished to get rid of the war against the Lusitani, and laying aside war altogether, to shirk— as the saying is—"the men's hall for the women's bower," because of the recent defeat of the praetor by the Lusitani.


But those of the Ligurians who fought against Mago were unable to do anything important or great.

XXIV (113)

A mora consisted of nine hundred men.17

XXV (117)

A general needs good sense and boldness; they are the most necessary qualities for dangerous and venturesome undertakings.

XXVI (154)

The second king of Egypt, called Philadelphus, when giving his daughter Berenice in marriage to Antiochus king of Syria, was careful to send her some Nile water, that the young bride might drink no other water.

XXVII (156)

I say this to point out the wisdom of the Romans, and the folly of those who despise the practice of making comparisons with the habits of foreign nations, and believe themselves competent to reform their own armies without reference to others.18

XXVIII (157)

The Romans were wont to take great care not to appear to be the aggressors, or to attack their neighbours without provocation; but to be considered always to be acting in self-defence, and only to enter upon war under compulsion.19

XXIX (166)

When Scipio Africanus, the younger, was commissioned by, the Senate to settle the kingdoms throughout the world, and see that they were put in proper hands, he only took five slaves with him; and, on one of these dying during the journey, he wrote home to his relations to buy another and send him to take the place of the dead one.20

XXX (184)

If one ought to speak of Fortune in regard to such things; for I fear she often gets credit of that sort without good reason; while the real fault lies with the men who administer public business, who sometimes act with seriousness and sometimes the reverse.

B: Fragments of uncertain reference

XXXI (1)

But not making at all a good guess at the king's mind, he acted in a most inconsiderate manner.


Want of civilisation appears to have an extraordinary influence on mankind in this direction.


But the general being unable to endure the unfairness of those who made these assertions. . .


But he determined to hold out to the last, trusting to the supplies from Egypt.

XXXV (6)

But having fallen in with him he gained an extremely fortunate victory.


In all these things the Aetolians had been deceived.


And some he honoured with gold cloths and spears, because he wished that his promises should agree with his performances.


He wrote in bitter and frantic terms, calling them fiends and murderers in his letter, if they abandoned the positions thus disgracefully, before they had suffered or witnessed any hardship.

XXXIX (12)

There is a courage in words too which can despise death.

XXXIX (14)

Before he had been rejoined by the stragglers of the skirmishing parties.

XL (27)

Being utterly at a loss, at last he rested his chance of escape from the difficulty which was upon him on some such hope as this.

XLI (30)

None of the citizens being aware of what was taking place owing to the distance, for the city was a large one.

XLII (32)

But trusting to them he undertook the war against Ariarathes.

XLIII (34)

Harpyia is a city in Illyria near Encheleae, to which Baton, charioteer of Amphiaraus, removed after the latter's disappearance.

XLIV (35)

And he waited for the coming of Hasdrubal.

XLV (36)

Hearing all this through the curtain the king laughed.

XLVI (39)

Foreseeing and fearing the fierce temper and obstinacy of the men.

XLVII (40)

At that time, persuaded that he was enduring a fiery test, he was released from the suspicion.


He thought therefore that it was dangerous to have shared in their enterprise when their plan had failed and come to an end.

XLIX (44)

Having urged the soldiers to make haste, and exhorted the tribunes to engage.

L (46)

Thinking it better and safer not to be present at the hour of the enemy's opportunity, nor when they were under the influence of popular excitement and fury.

LI (47)

Whenever it is possible to obtain satisfaction from those who have wronged us either by law or by any other settled forms of justice.

LII (54)

Having drawn his army from the pass he encamped.

LII (55)

And then they took up some sort of order, as though by mutual consent, and fought the battle in regular formation.

LIII (56)

That which causes the most pain at the time involves also the most signal revulsion of joy.

LIV (57)

Having ordered the pilots to steer the ships as fast as they could to Elaea.

LV (61)

They not only drove themselves off the stage, but ruined also all Greece.

LV (62)

But he, from his long experience of war, did not all lose his presence of mind.

LVI (67)

He persuades them by reckoning all the wealth he considered they would gain in the battle.

LVII (68)

The Romans had been inspired by some divine influence, and having fortified their courage with irresistible might . . .

LVII (69)

To signalise some by favours, and others by punishments, that they might be a warning to the rest.

LVIII (72)

And they, being persuaded, and throwing themselves in the way of the enemy's charge, died gallantly.

LIX (73)

He tried to take the city by an intrigue, having long secured a party of traitors within it.

LX (74)

He brought up the transports, by lading which with rocks and sinking them at the mouth of the harbour he planned to shut out the enemy entirely from the sea.

LXI (80)

Though I have much more to say, I fear lest some of you may think that I am unnecessarily diffuse.

LXII (81)

They are reserving themselves for an opportunity, and are quite ready to meet them again.

LXIII (85)

To be eager for life and to cling to it is a sign of the greatest baseness and weakness.

LXIV (86)

He was feeling something like starters in horse races, which are started by the raising of torches.

LXV (88)

Their boldness transgresses the bounds of propriety, and their actions are a violation of duty.

LXV (91)

Seeing that the Carthaginians had obeyed all injunctions in the most honourable spirit.

LXVI (92)

To have fifty ships built entirely new, and to launch fifty of those already existing from the docks.

LXVII (100)

Lucius being appointed to go on a mission to the Lapateni and speak to them in favour of an unconditional surrender, was unprepared for the task before him.

LXVIII (101)

Of all the determining forces in war the most decisive of failure or success is the spirit of the combatants.

LXIX (104)

Having mentioned summarily the defeats they had sustained, and putting before them the successes of the Macedonians.

LXX (105)

For he perceived that the Macedonian kingdom would become contemptible, if the rebels succeeded in their first attempt.

LXXI (109)

Therefore it was intolerable that the Romans even then should make their way into Macedonia unobserved.

LXXII (110)

He, if any one of our time has done so, has examined all that has been said scientifically on tactics.

LXXIII (111)

Metrodorus and his colleagues, frightened at the threatening aspect of Philip, departed.

LXXIV (112)

The Romans made no show of bearing a grudge for what had taken place.

LXXV (113)

But putting both spurs to his horse he rode on as hard as he could.

LXXVI (114)

Being annoyed at the treaty, Nabis paid no attention to its provisions.

LXXVII (120)

It was neither possible to examine the man closely in his state of physical weakness, nor to put a question to him for fear of worrying him.


The Pannonians having seized the fort at the beginning of the war, had taken it as a base of operations, and had fitted it up for the reception of booty.

LXXIX (124)

But wishing to point the contrast between his policy to those who trusted and those who disobeyed him, he commenced the siege.

LXXX (126)

So that those in the assembly were thunderstruck and unable to collect their thoughts, sympathising with the poignant sorrow of those thus dispossessed of their all.

LXXXI (131)

They immediately sent a courier to Perseus to tell him what had happened. (132) It was Perseus's design to keep it close, but he could not hide the truth.

LXXXII (133)

In other respects he was well equipped for service, but his spear was limp.


Publius was anxious to engage and avail himself of the enthusiasm of the barbarians. (135) He put in at Naupactus in Aetolia. (136) He escorted Publius out with great respect. (137) Having received Publius and Gaius with kindness and honour.

LXXXIV (140)

It was the deliberate intention of the Romans to fight at sea.

LXXXV (141)

While they were still together and were fighting at close quarters with their swords, taking his stand behind them he stabbed him under the armpit.

LXXXVI (151)

This man presented Prusias with many silver and gold cups during the banquet.


Taking a wise view of the future, he came to the conclusion to get rid of the garrison sent by Ptolemy.


On that occasion both Romans and Carthaginians bivouacked on the embankment.

LXXXIX (159)

Not being able to persuade him again, owing to that king's cautious and inactive character, he was forced to offer five hundred talents. And so Seleucus agreed to give the aid.

XC (161)

Chance and Fortune, so to speak, enhanced the achievements of Scipio, so that they always appeared more illustrious than was expected.

XCI (162)

One must not pass over even a minor work of his, as in the case of a famous artist.

XCII (163)

Scipio counselled him either not to try, or to do so in such a manner as to succeed at all risks. For to make an attempt on the same man twice was dangerous in itself, and was apt to make a man altogether contemptible.

XCIII (164)

But being jealous of Scipio they tried to decry his achievements.

XCIV (168)

Fixing the stocks upright in the ground in a semicircle touching each other.

XCV (170)

The important point of their resolution was that they would not admit a garrison or governor, and would not give up their constitution as established by law.

XCV (177-179)

He said that we should not let the enemy escape, or encourage their boldness by shirking a battle. . . .

Conceiving a slight hope from the besieged garrison, he made the most of it. . . .

Pretending warm friendship, he tried every manœuvre whereby he might promote the enemy's interests, and surround us by the gravest perils. . . .

XCVI (182)

As the rock caused them difficulty because they were obliged to bore a hole in it, they completed the mine which they were making by using wooden bolts.

XCVII (183)

He did not think it right to leave the war in Etruria, and give his attention to the cities in that part of the country. He feared that he should waste all the time, which was not very long to begin with, in less important details.

XCVIII (185)

And having got his boats and hemioliae dragged across the Isthmus he put to sea, being anxious to be in time for the Achaean congress.

XCIX (191)

Philip was annoyed at the request of the Corcyreans.

C (192)

Since circumstances debar Philip, the king wishes to give that man the credit of the achievement, making the proposal to him in the light of a favour.

CI (193)

Philip, having given out that he was about to serve out rations, made a proclamation that a return should be made to him of all who had not provisions for more than thirty days.

CII (195)

After two days from starting for the seat of war Philip passed the order to make two rations three, whenever he wanted an additional day, and sometimes to make two four. (? Cp. Livy, 35, 28.)

CIII (195)

A swipe (φρεατοτόπανον) is one of the implements mentioned by Polybius. (See 9, 43, Hultsch.)

CIV (199)

It was impossible to convey the equipments and provisions for the legions by sea or upon beasts of burden; they must carry ten days' provisions in their wallets.

1 Dionysius Hal. (1, 74) quotes this statement of Polybius with the remark that it is founded on a single tablet in the custody of the Pontifices. Various calculations as to the date were:—

Eratosthenes followed by Olymp. 7, 1 B. C. 752.
Apollodorus Olymp. 7, 1 B. C. 752.
Nepos Olymp. 7, 1 B. C. 752.
Dionysius Olymp. 7, 1 B. C. 752.
Lutatius Olymp. 7, 1 B. C. 752.
Q. Fabius Pictor Olymp. 8, 1 B. C. 748.
Timaeus 38th year before Olymp. 1 B. C. 813.
L. Cincius Alimantus Olymp. 12, 4 B. C. 729.
M. Porcius Cato 432 years after the Trojan war B. C. 752.
Varro Olymp. 6, 2 B. C. 755.
Velleius Paterculus Olymp. 6, 2 B. C. 755.
Pomponius Atticus Olymp. 6, 3 B. C. 754.

But even granting a definite act of foundation (on which see Mommsen, H. of R. vol. i. p. 4), the Olympic register before 672 B. C. is a very uncertain foundation on which to build. See Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. ii. p. 164 sq.

2 From Eusebius. It may be noted that this statement of Polybius is an earlier evidence than any other for the existence of an Olympian register prior to B. C. 600. Pausanias also dates the register from the year of Coroebus's victory (5, 8, 6).

3 I have translated this passage as it stands in the various editions of Polybius. But I feel convinced that none of it belongs to him except the first sentence. It comes from Athenaeus, 440 E.

4 See Livy, 1, 34. Dionys. Halic. 3, 46.

5 Hesiod, Works and Days, 40,νήπιοι, οὐδὲ ἴσασιν ὅσῳ πλέον ἥμισυ παντός.

6 Polybius is perhaps referring to the Acrocorinthus especially. But we must remember that many of the citadels in the third century B.C. were in the hands of Macedonian garrisons.

7 This has been referred by some to the account of Scipio Aemilianus's single combat with the Spaniard. See 35, 5.

8 Perhaps L. Postumius, Livy, 23, 24 (Hultsch).

9 B.C. 272. Plutarch, Pyrrh. 31-34.

10 See Pausan. i. 9, 6. His disaster compelled him to give up his dominions beyond the Danube. Another and more successful war in Thrace seems referred to in Diod. Sic. 18, 14.

11 Livy, however, records more than one success of Marcellus against Hannibal, see 23, 16, 46; 27, 14. Scipio's victory of course is at Zama.

12 From Zosimus, 5, 20, 7. See 1, 26.

13 Some refer this to a circumstance narrated in Livy, 41, 2. But Hultsch points out that Livy is not using Polybius in that period.

14 From Constantine Prophyrogenneta de thematis, p. 18, ed. Bonnensis (Hultsch). He says that there are two Cappadocias, great and little. Great Cappadocia extending from Caesarea (Neo-Caesarea), and Mount Taurus to the Pontus, bounded on the south-west by the Halys and on the east by Melitene.

15 See 6, 23. The excellence of Spanish steel has never perhaps been surpassed even to our day.

16 See 35, 2-4.

17 Plutarch, Pelop. 17, who says that other authorities reckoned it at 500 and 700 men. There were originally six morae in the Spartan army. See Xenophon, Rep. Lac. 11, 4; Hell. 6, 4, 12-17.

18 See 6, 25.

19 This is referred by Nissen to the account of the origin of the third Punic war. See 36, 3-5.

20 This moderation in the number of slaves was perhaps imitated from Cato. See Cato, Orationum frgm. 3. Ed. Jordan.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
752 BC (6)
755 BC (2)
672 BC (2)
813 BC (1)
754 BC (1)
751 BC (1)
748 BC (1)
729 BC (1)
600 BC (1)
272 BC (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: