Crossing of the Alps (Polybius and Livy)

Word Count: 1067
Hannibal’s March to Italy in 218 BC was a significant event in which it showed how brave and courageous the Carthaginian army and Hannibal was, and also to an extent was a cause of the Second Punic War against the Romans. Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps has been recorded by two ancient historians; Polybius and Livy. These two ancient historians recorded the crossing in accounts, with both similarities and differences between them. The backgrounds of the two historians, method of inquiry, influence on their work all would have influenced both historians writing and ultimately show in the differences and reliability of the two accounts.
Polybius was a Greek historian born in Arcadia in approximately 200BC and was the son of Lycortas, a Greek historian. Polybius was one of the one thousand noble Achaens in 166BC who were transported to Rome as hostages. However he was liked by Aemilius Paulus a Roman counsel through his tuition to his son, and in 150BC Polybius obtained leave to return home. Polybius remained on terms of the most pleasant friendship after Roman victory in Pydna and remained a counsellor to the man who defeated the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War by routing them. Livy was a Roman historian born in Patavium in Northern Italy in 59BC. Livy moved to Rome in 30BC and from this time on he lived and worked mainly in the capital. During this time, Livy served no military service and took no part in politics. As Livy is Roman, he tends to patronise the Romans more in favour rather than the Carthaginians. This leads to the difference and the reliability of the two accounts.
It is known that Livy wrote his account on the crossing approximately two hundred years after the actual event whilst Polybius wrote his account approximately seventy years after. Polybius and Livy both used the same eye witness account written by Sosylus of Lacedaemon. Polybius used the original text written by Sosylus himself and Livy used...