Polybius’ Histories were originally written in 40 volumes, only the first five of which are extant in their entirety. The bulk of the work is passed down to us through collections of excerpts kept in libraries in Byzantium. Polybius, a historian from the Greek city of Megalopolis in Arcadia, was taken as a hostage to Rome after the Roman defeat of the Achaean League, and there he began to write an account of the rise of Rome to a world power. The first English translation, made by Christopher Watson, was published in London in 1568 as The hystories of the most famous and worthy cronographer Polybius. F. W. Walbank wrote a comprehensive commentary on the Histories in three volumes, which was published in 1957.