How highly should we honor the Macedonians, who for the greater part of their lives never cease from fighting with the barbarians for the sake of the security of Greece? For who is not aware that Greece would have constantly stood in the greater danger, had we not been fenced by the Macedonians and the honorable ambition of their kings?

— Polybius

The most special Polybius quotes that will inspire your inner self

If history is deprived of the Truth, we are left with nothing but an idle, unprofitable tale.


Monarchy degenerates into tyranny, aristocracy into oligarchy, and democracy into savage violence and chaos.


A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible.


Since the masses of the people are inconstant, full of unruly desires, passionate, and reckless of consequences, they must be filled with fears to keep them in order. The ancients did well, therefore, to invent gods, and the belief in punishment after death.


All things are subject to decay and change.


From this I conclude that the best education for the situations of actual life consists of the experience we acquire from the study of serious history. For it is history alone which without causing us harm enables us to judge what is the best course in any situation or circumstance.


Nor ought we ever to allow any growing power to acquire such a degree of strength as to be able to tear from us, without resistance, our natural, undisputed rights.


The government will take the fairest of names, but the worst of realities--mob rule.


Those who know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories.


[There can be no] rational administration of government when good men are held in the same esteem as bad ones.


The mob is easily led and may be moved by the smallest force, so that its agitations have a wonderful resemblance to those of the sea.


For peace, with justice and honor, is the fairest and most profitable of possessions, but with disgrace and shameful cowardice, it is the most infamous and harmful of all.


About Polybius

Quotes 21 sayings
Nationality Greek
Profession Historian
Birthday October 16

The glorious memory of brave men is continually renewed;

the fame of those who have performed any noble deed is never allowed to die; and the renown of those who have done good service to their country becomes a matter of common knowledge to the multitude, and part of the heritage of posterity.


Can any one be so indifferent or idle as not to care to know by what means, and under what kind of polity, almost the whole inhabited world was conquered and brought under the dominion of the single city of Rome, and that too within a period of not quite fifty-three years?


Those that know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories.


We can profit only by our own misfortunes and those of others.

The former, though they may be the more beneficial, are also the more painful; let us turn, then, to the latter.


The common people feel themselves oppressed by the grasping of some, and their vanity is flattered by others. Fired with evil passions, they are no longer willing to submit to control, but demand that everything be subject to their authority. The invariable result is that government assumes the noble names of free and popular, but becomes in fact the most execrable thing, mob rule.


Knowing how to win is the first step. We must also know how to make use of our victories.


On any occasion when one can discover the cause of events, one should not resort to the gods.


When the ancients said a work well begun was half done, they meant to impress the importance of always endeavoring to make a good beginning.