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The Histories, Volume I: Books 1-2 (Loeb Classical Library) Hardcover – June 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Loeb Classical Library (Book 128)
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Revised edition (June 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674996372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674996373
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Polybius found a brilliant subject for his history in the Roman drive to supremacy in the Mediterranean. As an experienced Greek politician who lived as a hostage among the elite in Rome from 167 to 159 BC, he was ideally positioned to write it. He had formidable organizational powers, and he really did know what he was talking about. Without him, our understanding of the whole period and of the dynamics of Roman imperialism would be inconceivably impoverished. (Denis Feeney Times Literary Supplement 2010-10-01)

These are the first two volumes of a revised text and translation of the Histories of Polybius. Polybius was the Greek historian who wrote of the rise of Rome to Mediterranean power, and who is usually ranked as one of the ancient world's great historians. This edition is based on that of W. R. Paton (1922), which has long served scholars but has been in sore need of updating and correction. This new version comes thanks to Frank W. Walbank (1909-2008), the great Polybius scholar of the modern world, whose monumental three-volume A Historical Commentary on Polybius (1957–79) is the starting point for all modern studies of the historian and the era he chronicled. While writing his commentary, Walbank systematically corrected Paton's edition in hundreds of places, and these changes have now been incorporated by Christian Habicht, himself one of the great historians of the Hellenistic age. Habicht has provided a new introduction, bibliography, and notes, and the result is a splendid, reliable, and up-to-date edition of Polybius that will be accessible to students and scholars alike. One looks forward eagerly to the remaining volumes that are to appear over the next year. (J. M. Marincola Choice 2011-03-01)

About the Author

F. W. Walbank was Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Christian Habicht is Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Customer Reviews

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Habicht also contributed a useful introduction and a good bibliography of the recent scholarly work on Polybius.
greg taylor
He appears to have been writing for a Greek audience, trying in good part to explain the factors that led to Roman domination.
R. Albin
If you want to read a rarer book or read one in the original language then you can't do better than the Loeb Editions.
Arch Stanton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on June 13, 2010
The purpose of this review is two-fold. I want to speak to the merits of the Loeb edition of Polybius as opposed to the Penguin or the Oxford World's Classic edition. I also want to speak to the pleasure of reading the first volume of Polybius.

The Loeb Classical Library editions (hereafter simply Loeb's)are diglots- the original Greek or Latin is on the left page and the English translation is on the right. The Loeb's thus have several purposes but one of the main ones is to establish an authoritative text in the original work. This is important in this case as this new edition of the Loeb's Polybius is the result of work that F.W. Walbank did on the text and annotation between 1964 and 1993. Thus the improvements over the original Loeb edition are to the Greek text, the translation and the annotation. That part of the work was completed by Christian Habicht over the last few years. Habicht also contributed a useful introduction and a good bibliography of the recent scholarly work on Polybius.
The Loeb's are also complete; at least, they are as complete as what we have. Polybius' History ran to 40 books. We have the first five in their entirety. Of the rest, we have only fragments, quotes in other authors, and in the case of Books 17 and 40 we have nothing. The Loebs have pulled it all together including some material not in the earlier edition. The result is the only complete Polybius in English of which I know. Both the Penguin and the Oxford Edition edit out a lot. For example, the Penguin edits out the whole of Books 4 and 5. I suspect that their reason is that the focus in those books in on Greece, Egypt and the Near East.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 3, 2011
When publication of this set of Polybius volumes is complete, this will be the standard edition. This Loeb set is the culmination of about a century of scholarship. The Greek text is one established by German scholars at the end of the 19th century. The translation is primarily the work of WR Paton, early in the 20th century. The translation was corrected and annotated largely by the great Polybius scholar Frank Walbank in the second half of the 20th century, and the whole project has been finished by the distinguished German-American historian Christian Habricht. I can't read Greek but the translated text is clear and enjoyable reading.

Polybius is regarded generally as one of the greatest of Classical historians, though we have only a rather incomplete version of his great work. As a stylist, he doesn't match the rhetorical gifts of Thucydides or Tacitus, and he doesn't have the former's keen intellect. In terms of scope and ambition, his work is very impressive. He has a great theme, the rise of Rome, and aimed at a comprehensive history of the Mediterrean world during his chosen period. He was a clear writer and seems to have been something of pioneer in his use of documentary data. He appears to have been writing for a Greek audience, trying in good part to explain the factors that led to Roman domination. Active in Greek politics, he spent many years in Rome as a hostage and was very friendly with important Romans. He is generally regarded as fairly objective, though since he is the primary source for many of the events related in his history, it is hard to be completely certain about his objectivity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arch Stanton on October 29, 2011
Since there are so many of these darn things the review shall be divided into three sections. First, a brief description of the Loeb series of books and their advantages/disadvantages. Second shall be my thoughts on the author himself, his accuracy, as well as his style and the style of his translator. This is of course only my opinion and should be treated as such. The final part shall review what this particular book actually covers.

The Loeb series date back to the turn of the last century. They are designed for people with at least some knowledge of Greek or Latin. They are a sort of compromise between a straight English translation and an annotated copy of the original text. On the left page is printed the text in Greek or Latin depending on the language of the writer and on the right side is the text in English. For somebody who knows even a little Greek or Latin these texts are invaluable. You can try to read the text in the original language knowing that you can correct yourself by looking on the next page or you can read the text in translation and check the translation with the original for more detail. While some of the translations are excellent mostly they are merely serviceable since they are designed more as an aid to translation rather than a translation in themselves. Most of them follow the Greek or Latin very closely. These books are also very small, maybe just over a quarter the size of your average hardcover book. This means that you'll need to buy more than just one book to read a complete work. They are also somewhat pricey considering their size. The Loeb Collection is very large but most of the more famous works can be found in better (and cheaper) translations elsewhere.
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The Histories, Volume I: Books 1-2 (Loeb Classical Library)
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