The Classical Quarterly

Research Article

Polybius, Philinus, and the First Punic War

F. W. Walbanka1

a1 The University of Liverpool

Polybius' sources for his account of the First Punic War are not in question. It is agreed that Fabius Pictor and Philinus of Agrigentum, whom he criticizes didactically in i. 14–15, were his sole authorities. But, as Gelzer has most recently pointed out,1 difficulties soon appear when one begins to assign the various sections of the narrative to one or other of Polybius' predecessors. This task has frequently been attempted, and a good deal of common ground has been won. It is not my purpose in this paper to go over that ground again. What I propose to do is, first, to discuss the most recent article on Philinus of Agrigentum, which is in my opinion based on false principles and comes to novel, but wrong, conclusions; this done I shall try to relate what can be discovered with certainty about the character of Philinus' work to the general body of Hellenistic historical writing and historical theory. I hope that such a study may help to throw light on one part of Polybius' direct literary inheritance.