Polybius, The Histories

LCL 138: 292-293

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The Histories of Polybius

Fragmenta Libri VI


2. Οὐκ ἀγνοῶ μὲν οὖν διότι τινὲς διαπορήσουσι πῶς ἀφέμενοι τοῦ συνάπτειν καὶ προστιθέναι τὸ συνεχὲς τῆς διηγήσεως, εἰς τοῦτον ἀπεθέμεθα τὸν καιρὸν τὸν ὑπὲρ τῆς προειρημένης πολιτείας ἀπολογισμόν· 2ἐμοὶ δ᾿ ὅτι μὲν ἦν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἕν τι τῶν ἀναγκαίων καὶ τοῦτο τὸ μέρος τῆς ὅλης προθέσεως, ἐν πολλοῖς οἶμαι 3δῆλον αὐτὸ πεποιηκέναι, μάλιστα δ᾿ ἐν τῇ καταβολῇ καὶ προεκθέσει τῆς ἱστορίας, ἐν ᾗ τοῦτο κάλλιστον ἔφαμεν, ἅμα δ᾿ ὠφελιμώτατον εἶναι τῆς ἡμετέρας ἐπιβολῆς τοῖς ἐντυγχάνουσι τῇ πραγματείᾳ τὸ γνῶναι καὶ μαθεῖν πῶς καὶ τίνι γένει πολιτείας ἐπικρατηθέντα σχεδὸν πάντα τὰ κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐν οὐδ᾿ ὅλοις πεντήκοντα καὶ τρισὶν ἔτεσιν ὑπὸ μίαν ἀρχὴν τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἔπεσεν, ὃ πρότερον οὐχ εὑρίσκεται 4γεγονός. κεκριμένου δὲ τούτου καιρὸν οὐχ ἑώρων ἐπιτηδειότερον εἰς ἐπίστασιν καὶ δοκιμασίαν τῶν λέγεσθαι μελλόντων ὑπὲρ τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ νῦν ἐνεστῶτος. 5καθάπερ <γὰρ> οἱ κατ᾿ ἰδίαν ὑπὲρ τῶν φαύλων ἢ τῶν σπουδαίων ἀνδρῶν ποιούμενοι τὰς διαλήψεις, ἐπειδὰν ἀληθῶς πρόθωνται δο κιμάζειν, οὐκ ἐκ τῆς


Book VI

Fragments of Book VI1

I. From the Preface

2. I am aware that some will wonder why I have deferred until the present occasion my account of the Roman constitution, thus being obliged to interrupt the due course of my narrative. Now, that I have always regarded this account as also one of the essential parts of my whole design, I have, I am sure, made evident in numerous passages and chiefly at the beginning and in the introduction to my history, where I said2 that the best and most valuable result I aim at is that readers of my work may gain a knowledge how it was and by virtue of what peculiar political institutions that in less than fifty-three years nearly the whole world was overcome and fell under the single dominion of Rome, a thing the like of which had never happened before. Having made this my purpose, I found no occasion more suitable than the present for directing attention to the constitution and testing the truth of what I am about to say on the subject. For just as those who pronounce in private on the characters of bad or good men, do not, when they really resolve to put their opinion to the test,

  • 11.1–1.9 are testimonia, extracts from other books: see WC 1.635–636. They are as follows: 1.1–3 = P.3.2.6; 1.4–5 = P.3.118.11–12; 1.6–7 = P.1.64.1–2; 1.8 = P.10.16.7; 1.9 = P.21.10.11.
  • 2A reference to 1.1.5.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.polybius-histories.2010