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Title: A reassessment of Philip V of Macedon in Polybios' Histories
Author: Nicholson, Emma Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 0818
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis offers a new evaluation of Philip V of Macedon (221-179 BC) through a reassessment of his portrait in our primary literary source, Polybios of Megalopolis. Chapter 1 introduces the topic and explores how Polybios’ presentation of his content, including Philip, is greatly dependent on his intention to produce a pragmatic, didactic, universal history, facilitated by the unifying concepts of symploke and tyche. Chapter 2 investigates Polybios’ Achaian background, patriotism and admiration of the Achaian leader Aratos, and how this political bias shapes Philip’s depiction. Chapter 3 questions the validity of the historian’s claim that the king suddenly turned from a brilliant king to a treacherous tyrant in 215 BC, and reveals how Polybios overemphasises this change to explain the king’s downfall, encourage correct political and moral behaviour, and defend Aratos and the League’s association with the king. Chapter 4 assesses Polybios’ conviction that Philip’s treatment of his Greek allies turned deceitful after his change for the worse in 215, and reveals how his statements are exaggerated and once again in pursuit of vilifying the king, justifying the League’s defection to Rome in 198 BC and ultimately explaining Macedonia’s demise. Lastly, Chapter 5 discusses Polybius’ tragic account of Philip’s last years and its modern reception, arguing that while the account may not be historically accurate, it still represents a completely satisfactory, consistent and justifiable end to Polybius’ account of the Macedonian king. This thesis concludes that Polybios’ picture of the king is intensely loaded and complex, dependent on a number of wider literary factors and personal biases. Yet, it also proves that it is possible to unravel Philip from some of the historian’s weavings and uncover a more balanced portrayal of the monarch than the generally negative one presented in the Histories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available