Compare And Contrast Polybius And Livy

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Polybius and Livy were two different historians with unique styles and different personalities. Polybius and Livy agreed on three causes of the Second Punic war which was “Wrath of Barcids” revenge for the loss of Sardinia and Corsica, and the success that Carthaginians had in Spain. Livy was viewing the seizure Saguntum as a primary cause. Polybius on the other hand did not feel the same way, Polybius felt that is was the beginning of the war rather than an underlying cause. After looking at the facts I could find on each of the causes I believe that all four causes are suitable. The ancient causes were too pro-Roman. The revenge idea reflects poorly on the Romans and the legality may rest with Hannibal’s seizure of Saguntum, this last…show more content…
There is a North-East scholar R Malcom Errington (1970) argued the Roman involvement was due to pressure by being invited by Saguntum and Massilia, being fearful of the growing power of Carthage. For Livy he also had strong feelings that Hannibal was to blame in the way that Polybius felt about Hannibal. Livy says that when Saguntum fell Hannibal received dispatches which made him aware of the fact that he was (in Roman eyes) the cause of the impending war. In Livy’s historical account of the battle of Zama, Livy went deeper and made Hannibal say, ‘It was I first began this war against the Roman people’ However it was later that Roman writers (e.g. Appian) who would also put the blame on Hannibal for the start of the war by what they say crossing Ebro and essentially breaking the treaty of 226 B.C When we discuss Livy’s account of the second Punic war he says of Hannibal “ They now came to another canton which, considering that it was a mountain district, had a considerable population. Here he (Hannibal) narrowly escaped destruction, not in fair and opening fighting, but by the practices which he himself employed-falsehood and treachery.”
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