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Polybius, Histories, book 1, Importance and Magnitude of the Subject (search)
greatness of Rome. There are but three that deserve even to be so compared and measured: and they are these. The Persians for a certain length of time were possessed of a great empire and dominion. But every time they ventured beyond the limits of Asia, they found not only their empire, but their own existence also in danger. 2. Sparta. B. C. 405-394. The Lacedaemonians, after contending for supremacy in Greece for many generations, when they did get it, held it without dispute for barely twelveMacedonians obtained dominion in Europe from the lands bordering on the Adriatic to the Danube,—which after all is but a small fraction of this continent,—and, by the destruction of the Persian Empire, they afterwards added to that the dominion of Asia. And yet, though they had the credit of having made themselves masters of a larger number of countries and states than any people had ever done, they still left the greater half of the inhabited world in the hands of others. They never so much as
Polybius, Histories, book 1, The Starting-point of the History (search)
In Greece, what is called the Social war: the first waged by Philip, son of Demetrius and father of Perseus, in league with the Achaeans against the Aetolians. In Asia, the war for the possession of Coele-Syria which Antiochus and Ptolemy Philopator carried on against each other. In Italy, Libya, and their neighbourhood, the coir origin and results as in their localities. But from this time forth History becomes a connected whole: the affairs of Italy and Libya are involved with those of Asia and Greece, and the tendency of all is to unity. This is why I have fixed upon this era as the starting-point of my work. For it was their victory over the Carthaguniversal empire had been taken, which encouraged the Romans for the first time to stretch out their hands upon the rest, and to cross with an army into Greece and Asia. Now, had the states that were rivals for universal empire A sketch of their previous history necessary to explain the success of the Romans. been familiarly known
Polybius, Histories, book 1, Roman Dominion in Italy (search)
red all the Latini; then they went to war with the Etruscans; then with the Celts; and next with the Samnites, who lived on the eastern and northern frontiers of Latium. The Etruscans, Gauls, and Samnites. Some time after this the Tarentines insulted the ambassadors of Rome, and, in fear of the consequences, invited and obtained the assistance of Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus, B. C. 280. This happened in the year before the Gauls invaded Greece, some of whom perished near Delphi, while others crossed into Asia. Then it was that the Romans—having reduced the Etruscans and Samnites to obedience, and conquered the Italian Celts in many battles—attempted for the first time the reduction of the rest of Italy. Southern Italy. The nations for whose possessions they were about to fight they affected to regard, not in the light of foreigners, but as already for the most part belonging and pertaining to themselves. The experience gained from their contests with the Samnites and the Celts had served as a genu
Polybius, Histories, book 2, Greece At This Time (search)
For since I have not undertaken, as previous writers have done, to write the history of particular peoples, such as the Greeks or Persians, but the history of all known parts of the world at once, because there was something in the state of our own times which made such a plan peculiarly feasible,—of which I shall speak more at length hereafter,—it will be proper, before entering on my main subject, to touch briefly on the state of the most important of the recognised nations of the world. Of Asia and Egypt I need not speak before the time at which my history commences. The previous history of these countries has been written by a number of historians already, and is known to all the world; nor in our days has any change specially remarkable or unprecedented occurred to them demanding a reference to their past.The progress of the Achaean league. But in regard to the Achaean league, and the royal family of Macedonia, it will be in harmony with my design to go somewhat farther back: for
Polybius, Histories, book 2, Conclusion of Book 2 (search)
my, and Seleucus—fell in the same Olympiad, as was the case with the three immediate successors to Alexander the Great,—Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus,— for the latter all died in the 124th Olympiad, and the former in the 139th. I may now fitly close this book. I have completed the introduction and laid the foundation on which my history must rest. I have shown when, how, and why the Romans, after becoming supreme in Italy, began to aim at dominion outside of it, and to dispute with the Carthaginians the dominion of the sea. I have at the same time explained the state of Greece, Macedonia, and Carthage at this epoch. I have now arrived at the period which I originally marked out,—that namely in which the Greeks were on the point of beginning the Social, the Romans the Hannibalic war, and the kings in Asia the war for the possession of Coele-Syria. The termination therefore of the wars just described, and the death of the princes engaged in them, forms a natural period to thi
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Plan: Events in Greece (search)
which they invited the aid of Antiochus, and thereby gave rise to what is called the Asiatic war against Rome and the Achaean league. Having stated the causes of this war, and described the crossing of Antiochus into Europe, I shall have to show first in what manner he was driven from Greece; secondly, how, being defeated in the war, he was forced to cede all his territory west of Taurus; and thirdly, how the Romans, after crushing the insolence of the Gauls, secured undisputed possession of Asia, and freed all the nations on the west of Taurus from the fear of barbarian inroads and the lawless violence of the Gauls. Next, after reviewing the disasters of the Aetolians and8. Gallic wars of Eumenes and Prusias. Cephallenians, I shall pass to the wars waged by Eumenes against Prusias and the Gauls; as well as that carried on in alliance with Ariarathes against Pharnaces. Finally, after speaking of the unity and settlement of the9. Union of the Peloponnese. Antiochus Epiphanes in Egypt.
Polybius, Histories, book 3, The True Theory of Historical Causes (search)
The True Theory of Historical Causes The events I refer to are the wars of Rome against the A new departure the breaking-up of the arrangement made after the fall of Macedonia. Wars of Carthage against Massinissa; and of Rome against the Celtiberians, B. C. 155-150; and against Carthage (3d Punic war, B. C. 149-146). Celtiberians and Vaccaei; those of Carthage against Massinissa, king of Libya; and those of Attalus and Prusias in Asia. Then also Ariarathes, King of Cappadocia, having been ejected from his throne by Orophernes through the agency of King Demetrius, recovered his ancestral power by the help of Attalus; while Demetrius, son of Seleucus, after twelve years' possession of the throne of Syria, was deprived of it, and of his life at the same time, by a combination of the other kings against him. Then it was, too, that the Romans restored to their country those Greeks who had been charged with guilt in the matter of the war with Perseus, after formally acquitting them of the c
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Causes of the Second Punic War (search)
in the war, I cannot admit them to be its causes. One might just as well say that the crossing of Alexander the Great into Asia was the cause of the Persian war, and the descent of Antiochus upon Demetrias the cause of his war with Rome. B. C. 192, Imarch of the Greeks under Xenophon through the country from the upper Satrapies; in the course of which, though throughout Asia all the populations were hostile, not a single barbarian ventured to face them: secondly, the invasion of Asia by the SparAsia by the Spartan king Agesilaus, in which, though he was obliged by troubles in Greece to return in the middle of his expedition without effecting his object, he yet found no resistance of any importance or adequacy. It was these circumstances which convinced Phreat eagerness to undertake this war; and was in fact at the time of his death engaged in making every kind of preparation for it. Here we have the cause and the pretext of the Persian war. Alexander's expedition into Asia was the first action in it.
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Three Geographic Divisions of the World (search)
o make the geography of our own part of it intelligible by a corresponding division. It falls, then, into three divisions, each distinguished by a particular name,—Asia, Libya, Europe.This division of the world into three parts was an advance upon the ancient geographers, who divided it into two, combining Egypt with Asia, and AfrAsia, and Africa with Europe. See Sall. Jug. 17; Lucan, Phars. 9, 411; Varro de L. L. 5, § 31. And note on 12, 25. The boundaries are respectively the Don, the Nile, and the Straits of the Pillars of Hercules. Asia lies between the Don and the Nile, and lies under that portion of the heaven which is between the northeast and the south. Libya lAsia lies between the Don and the Nile, and lies under that portion of the heaven which is between the northeast and the south. Libya lies between the Nile and the Pillars of Hercules, and falls beneath the south portion of the heaven, extending to the south-west without a break, till it reaches the point of the equinoctial sunset, which corresponds with the Pillars of Hercules. These two divisions of the earth, therefore, regarded in a general point of view, occ
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Unknown Areas in the North and the South (search)
Unknown Areas in the North and the South But as no one up to our time has been able to settle in regard to those parts of Asia and Libya, where they approach each other in the neighbourhood of Ethiopia, whether the continent is continuous to the south, or is surrounded by the sea, so it is in regard to the part between Narbo and the Don: none of us as yet knows anything of the northern extent of this district, and anything we can ever know must be the result of future exploration; and those who rashly venture by word of mouth or written statements to describe this district must be looked upon as ignorant or romancing. The extreme north and south unknown. My object in these observations was to prevent my narrative being entirely vague to those who were unacquainted with the localities. I hoped that, by keeping these broad distinctions in mind, they would have some definite standard to which to refer every mention of a place, starting from the primary one of the division of the sky int
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