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On this page: Polybus – Polychromy – Polyclitus

500

POLYBUS——POLYCLITUS.

against Perseus of Macedonia, he attracted the suspicion of the Romans, and was one of the 1,000 noble AcliEeans who in 166 were transported to Rome as hostages, and detained there for seventeen years. In Rome, by virtue of his high culture, he was admitted to the most distinguished houses, in particular to that of ^Emilius Paulus, the conqueror in the Macedonian War, who entrusted him with the education of his sons, Fabius and the younger Scipio. He was on terms of the most cordial friendship with the latter, whose counsellor he became. Through Scipio's intercession in 150, Poly-bius obtained leave to return to his home with those of the Achseaus who still sur­vived. But, in the very next year, he went with his friend to Africa, and was present at the capture of Carthage, 146 B.C. After the destruction of Corinth in the same year, he returned to his native land, and made use of his credit with the Romans to lighten, as far as he could, the lot of his unfortunate countrymen. When Greece was converted into a Roman province, he was entrusted with the difficult task of organizing the new form of government in the Greek towns, and in this office gained for himself the highest recognition both from the conquerors and from the con­quered, the latter rewarding his services by setting up statues to him, and by other marks of honour. [Polybius, Epitome, xl 10; Pausanias, viii 9, 30, 37, 44, 48. The pedestal of such a statue has been disco­vered at Olympia.) The succeeding years he seems to have spent in Rome, engaged on the completion of his historical work, and occasionally undertaking long journeys through the Mediterranean countries in the interests of his history, more particularly with a view to obtaining actual ocular knowledge of historical sites. After the death of his patron, he returned to Greece, and died in 122, at the age of eighty-two, in consequence of a fall from his horse.

During his long sojourn inRome, his study of the history and constitution of Rome, as well as his personal experiences, inspired him with the conviction, that the Roman people owed the magnificent development of their power, not to fortune, but to their own fitness, and to the excellence of their political and military institutions, as com­pared with those of other States, and that therefore their rapid rise to world-wide dominion had been in some measure an historical necessity. In order to enlighten his countrymen on this point, and thereby

to supply them with a certain consolation for their fate, he composed his Universal History of the period between 220 and 146 B.C., in forty books. Of these the first two are in the form of an Introduction, and give a compendium of events in Italy, Africa, and Greece, from the destruction of Rome by the Gauls to the first Punic War, thus recording the rise of the Roman supremacy. The first main division (books iii-xxx) con­tained in synchronistic arrangement the occurrences from 220 to 168; that is, of the time in which Rome was founding its world-wide dominion through the Hauni-balic, Macedonian, Syrian, and Spanish wars. The second (books xxxi-xl) de­scribed the maintenance and consolidation of this dominion against the attempts to overthrow it in the years 168-146. Of this work only books i-v have been preserved in a complete form ; of the rest we possess merely fragments and epitomes. This is especially to be regretted in those parts in which Polybius narrates events which came within his own experience. He is the first representative of that particular type of his­torical composition, which does not merely recount the several facts and phenomena in chronological order, but goes back to the causes of events, and sets forth their results. His work rests upon a knowledge of the art of war and of politics, such as few ancient historians possessed; upon a careful examination of tradition, conducted with keen criticism ; partly also upon what he had himself seen, and upon the commu­nications of eye-witnesses and actors in the events. It sets forth the course of occur­rences with clearness, penetration, sound judgment, and love of truth, and, among the circumstances affecting the result, lays especial stress on the geographical condi­tions. It belongs therefore to the greatest productions of ancient historical writing, though, in respect to language and style, it does not attain the standard of Attic prose. The language is often wanting in purity, and the style stiff and inharmonious.

P61ybns. King of Corinth, foster-father of CEdipus (q.v.).

Polychromy. The ancient practice of colouring pieces of sculpture, as well as certain portions of the exterior and interior of buildings. (See sculpture, at end.)

P51yclitus (Lat.; Gr. PdlydeitSs). Next to his somewhat older contemporary PhTdTas, the most admired sculptor of antiquity. He was a native of Argos, and, like Phidias, a pupil of AgSladas. His name marks an epoch

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