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Polybius's Self-References

It should not excite surprise that I sometimes designate myself by my proper name, and at other times by the common forms of expression—for instance, "when I had said this," or "we had agreed to this." For as I was much personally involved in the transactions about to be related, it becomes necessary to vary the methods of indicating myself; that I may not weary by continual repetition of my own name, nor again by introducing the words "of me," or "through me," at every turn, fall insensibly into an appearance of egotism. I wished, on the contrary, by an interchangeable use of these terms, and by selecting from time to time the one which seemed most in place, to avoid, as far as could be, the offensiveness of talk about one's self; for such talk, though naturally unacceptable, is frequently inevitable, when one cannot in any other way give a clear exposition of the subjects. I am somewhat assisted in this point by the accident that, as far as I know, no one up to our own time has ever had the same name as myself.1 . . .

1 He seems to have forgotten his namesake mentioned in 11, 15.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.18
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