Epilogue: Into the Future

I wish to assemble together the opinions and reasonings of
philosophers, politicians and historians, who have taken the
most extensive views of men and societies, whose charac-
ters are deservedly revered, and whose writings were in the
contemplation of those who framed the American constitu-
tions. It will not be contested that all these characters are
united in Polybius.

—-John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions
of Government of the United States of
America
(1787), Letter XXX

It is not my intention in this brief epilogue to offer an exhaustive survey of the reception of Polybius by his successors. But it seems desirable to touch on at least some of the highlights of the career his Histories enjoyed after his death. It was a career by no means as brilliant as the giants of classical literature. Polybius did not receive the acclaim or attention awarded to Plato, Aristotle, or Cicero or to Thucydides, Herodotus, Livy, or Tacitus. Although his work

-203-

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Polybius' Histories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editors’ Foreword v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Maps xi
  • Contents xv
  • Introduction 3
  • 1- Contents and Organization of the Work 17
  • 2- The Historian’s Task 51
  • 3- Art and History- The Narrative of Books 4 and 5 95
  • 4- The Historian as Homeric Hero 129
  • 5- The Political Theorizing of Book 6 169
  • Epilogue- into the Future 203
  • Appendix- Outline of the Work 223
  • Bibliography 241
  • Prominent Persons 247
  • Index 257
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