A historiographical and historical study of Polybius' survey of the early treaties between Rome and Carthage III.21.8-26
The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the significance of Polybius' digression on the early treaties between Rome and Carthage in Book 111.21.8 - 26 from both a historiographical and historical point of view. These early treaties, inscribed on bronze, form a series which allows us an unique opportunity to observe the development of diplomatic relations between Rome and Carthage and the growth in the power and influence of the two states from c. 509 B. C. to 279 B. C. The first part of the thesis analyses the context of Polybius' digression on the early treaties and examines the text, style and format of the treaties. The historical tradition concerning the treaties and Polybius' historiographical technique in the use of documentary material are also examined. The wider implications of the evidence which supports Polybius' dating of the First Treaty to c. 509 B. C. and that he is dealing with genuine treaty documents, leads to a study of documentary practice at Rome, which examines the literary and epigraphic evidence for the Roman use of bronze for documents, the topographical location of public documents at Rome and the ideology associated with the display, use and access to these documents. The last part of the thesis examines the historical implications of the early treaties, analysing the positions of Carthage and Rome, using historical sources and archaeological evidence and ends with a discussion of the relevance of the treaties to the dispute over Saguntum. The conclusions which can be drawn from this research are firstly that Polybius' quoting of the treaty documents was an integral part of his historiographical method and that he was dealing with authentic bronze documents which had been preserved at Rome. Secondly, the chronology and the historical contents of the treaties are supported by historical and archaeological evidence, however they had no relevance in the diplomatic debates of 218 B. C. The treaties only became an issue for discussion after the war when they attracted scholarly attention.