Polybius of Megalopolis
Grey slab
The stele of Kleitor depicting Polybius, Hellenistic art, 2nd century BC, Museum of Roman Civilization[1]
Bornc. 200 BC
Diedc. 118 BC (aged approx. 82)
Notable work
The Histories (events of the Roman Republic, 220–146 BC)
Main interests
History, philosophy of history
Notable ideas

Polybius (/pəˈlɪbiəs/; Greek: Πολύβιος, Polýbios; c. 200 – c. 118 BC[2]) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period. He is noted for his work The Histories, which covered the period of 264–146 BC and the Punic Wars in detail.

Polybius is important for his analysis of the mixed constitution or the separation of powers in government, his in-depth discussion of checks and balances to limit power, and his introduction of "the people", which influenced Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws, John Locke's Two Treatises of Government, and the framers of the United States Constitution.[3]

The leading expert on Polybius for nearly a century was F. W. Walbank (1909–2008), who published studies related to him for 50 years, including a long commentary of his Histories and a biography.[4]

  1. ^ John Ma. (2013). Statues and Cities: Honorific Portraits and Civic Identity in the Hellenistic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-966891-5, pp 281-282.
  2. ^ Derow 2016.
  3. ^ "Polybius and the Founding Fathers: The separation of powers".
  4. ^ Gibson & Harrison: Polybius, pp. 1–5.