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Document Details :
Title: Polybius II 24
Subtitle: Roman Manpower and Greek Propaganda
Author(s): ERDKAMP, Paul
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 38 Date: 2008
In his account of the Gallic wars of the 220s BC Polybius inludes a unique survey of troops and men able to bear arms in Italy. Polybius derived these figures from the work of Fabius Pictor. The Gallic digression, culminating in the battle of Telamon, should be seen against the background of contemporary Hellenistic propaganda. Succeeding the Persians, the Galatians served as archetypical enemies of Greece, and victories over these barbarians were exploited by Hellenistic kings to legitimize their rule. Fabius Pictor used the same propagandistic tool to present Rome as the saviour of the civilized world. Greek diplomatic discourse emphasized that only a united Greece could withstand its external enemies. Hence, there was a long tradition among Greek writers to present details on the coalitions that had defeated Persians and Galatians. In Polybius II 24 Italy is presented as united under its hegemon Rome. When including a survey of troops and manpower, Fabius Pictor was following the Greek example. The strength of Italy under Roman leadership is deliberately presented not as that of the aggressor threatening neighbouring states, but as the defender of prosperity and peace in Italy.