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Cultural Politics in Polybius's Histories$
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Craige Champion and William Joseph Sanders

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520237643

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520237643.001.0001

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Akmē Politeiōn

Akmē Politeiōn

Roman and Achaean Virtues

(p.100) Chapter 4 Akmē Politeiōn
Cultural Politics in Polybius's Histories

Craige B. Champion

University of California Press

This chapter explores the Romans in books 1–5. The narrative pattern of Achaean history in books 2, 4, and 5 parallels that of Rome in books 1–3. It is also argued that in the Roman sections of books 1–3, the Illyrians Agron, Teuta, and Demetrius of Pharos exemplify Illyrian group character. Polybius's narrative reveals his representation of Roman collective group character. Polybius provides the reader with a catalogue of the barbarous behaviors of Gallic peoples. In books 2, 4 and 5, he stresses the legality of Achaean collective actions, and also strives to present Achaean and Aetolian group characters as exact opposites. Polybius then underscores the importance of the individual in historical events in his consideration of Aratus. In their exercise of rationality and through excellent political and social institutions, Rome and Achaea managed to place the good of the community before the interest of the individual.

Keywords:   Akmē Politeiōn, Agron, Teuta, Demetrius, Polybius, group characters, Aratus, Rome, Achaea

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