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Moral Vision in the Histories of Polybius

Arthur M. Eckstein (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 325 pages
ISBN: 9780520085206
February 1995
$68.95, £51.95
Arthur Eckstein's fresh and stimulating interpretation challenges the way Polybius' Histories have long been viewed. He argues that Polybius evaluates people and events as much from a moral viewpoint as from a pragmatic, utilitarian, or even "Machiavellian" one. Polybius particularly asks for "improvement" in his audience, hoping that those who study his writings will emerge with a firm determination to live their lives nobly. Teaching by the use of moral exemplars, Polybius also tries to prove that success is not the sole standard by which human action should be judged.
Arthur M. Eckstein is Professor of History at the University of Maryland
"A major accomplishment. Eckstein's merit is to have demonstrated that Polybius was fully aware of the moral component of historiography and was able to reconcile this with the purposes of a responsible and critical scholarly historian."—Kurt Raaflaub, Director, Center for Hellenic Studies

"A major book on a major author, this fresh and stimulating interpretation represents a significant challenge to current specialist thinking. It forcefully raises the fundamental historiographic questions of praise and blame and the function of history."—Philip A. Stadter, Falk Professor in The Humanities, University of North Carolina

"In Polybius's Histories, as Eckstein so adroitly shows, politicians see their predecessors, even in defeat or failure, praised when they act nobly and responsibly, thus finding by example a code of ethical behavior and moral duty that remains a guide to conduct even in changin circumstances."—Richard Mitchell, author of Patricians and Plebians: The Origins of the Roman State (1990)

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