Polybius

Historisk strategi - anbefalt litteratur

Polybus 4

Spillteori sies ofte å stamme fra von Neumann og Morgenstern – altså fra ca. 1944. Det er imidlertid opplagt at kjernetemaet i spillteori er analyse av strategiske situasjoner og valg av strategier, og disse temaene er på ingen måte nye. I den sammenheng vil jeg gjerne anbefale alle tilhengere av spillteori og strategi å lese Polybius' The Rise of the Roman Empire.

Mens spillteoretikere ofte begeistrer seg over å finne anvendelser av sine modeller i det daglige liv (som i koordineringsproblemer mellom ektefeller o.l.), er det til avveksling svært givende å lese historie med det formål å anvende spillteoretiske modeller.

Kritikk og originalitet

Indeed in this respect he [Polybius omtaler her Timaeus] very much resembles Strato of Lampsacus, the writer on physical science. He, too, is apt to shine most when he sets out to expound and refute the theories of others, but when he puts forward any original proposition or explains his own ideas, he appears to men of science to be far more stupid and dull than they had expected.

- Polybius (1979)

Religion for alle?

[...] my own view is that the Romans have adopted these practices for the sake of the common people. This approach might not have been necessary had it ever been possible to form a state composed entirely of wise men. But as the masses are always fickle, filled with lawless desire, unreasoning anger and violent passions, they can only be restrained by mysterious terrors or other dramatizations of the subject. For this reason I believe that the ancients were by no means acting foolishly of haphazardly when they introduced to the people various notions concerning the gods and belief in the punishments of Hades, but rather that the moderns are foolish and take great risks in rejecting them.

- Polybius (1979)

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