Polybius - an ancient historian - Ancient Rome
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Polybius

Polybius (po-LIB-ee-us) was a rich Greek man, who was born in the Greek city of Athens, about 200 BC. When the Romans conquered his city-state, they demanded some hostages from that city. The Romans took these hostages to Rome, and they said if the city-state tried to get free of Roman rule, or did anything the Romans didn't like, then the Romans would kill the hostages.

Polybius volunteered to be one of these hostages, and so he ended up spending the rest of his life living in Rome. While he was there, he spent his time writing a history of Rome up to that point. Polybius wrote in Greek, because he was Greek, and also because he wanted to help Greek people understand who these Romans were that had conquered them.

Today, Polybius is one of our best sources (the other one is Livy) for the history of the early Roman Republic and the Punic Wars. Most of what we know about this time comes from either Polybius or Livy.

Learn by doing: read Polybius' introduction to his history
More about early Rome from Livy

Bibliography and further reading about Polybius and Livy:

Livy
The Punic Wars
More Roman literature
Ancient Rome
Quatr.us home


LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 27 April, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT