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Diodorus Siculus (Greek: Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης), was a Greek historian who flourished in the 1st century BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira). With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doing than is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca historica. Only Jerome, in his Chronicon under the year of Abraham 1968 (49 BC), writes, "Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious". His English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on the "striking coincidence" that one of only two known Greek inscriptions from Agyrium (I.G. XIV, 588) is the tombstone of one "Diodorus, the son of Apollonius".

Work

Diodorus' universal history, which he named Bibliotheca historica ("Historical Library"), consisted of 40 books, of which 1–5 and 11–20 survive, and were divided into three sections. The first six books treat the mythic history of the non-Hellenic and Hellenic tribes to the destruction of Troy and are geographical in theme, and describe the history and culture of Ancient Egypt (book I), of Mesopotamia, India, Scythia, and Arabia (II), of North Africa (III), and of Greece and Europe (IV–VI). His account of gold mining in Egypt is one of the earliest extant texts on the topic, and describes in vivid detail the use of slave labour in terrible conditions.

In the next section (books VII–XVII), he recounts the history of the world from the Trojan War down to the death of Alexander the Great. The last section (books XVII to the end) concerns the historical events from the successors of Alexander down to either 60 BC or the beginning of Julius Caesar's Gallic War. (The end has been lost, so it is unclear whether Diodorus reached the beginning of the Gallic War as he promised at the beginning of his work or, as evidence suggests, old and tired from his labors he stopped short at 60 BC.) He selected the name "Bibliotheca" in acknowledgment that he was assembling a composite work from many sources. Identified authors on whose works he drew include Hecataeus of Abdera, Ctesias of Cnidus, Ephorus, Theopompus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos, Diyllus, Philistus, Timaeus, Polybius, and Posidonius.

References

  • Buckley, Terry (1996). Aspects of Greek History 750-323 BC: A Source-based Approach. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415099587, ISBN 9780415099585.  
  • Lloyd, Alan B. (1975). Herodotus, Book II. Leiden: Brill. pp. Introduction. ISBN 9004041796, ISBN 9789004041790.  
  • Siculus, Diodorus; Oldfather, C. H. (Translator) (1935). Library of History: Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.  
  • Siculus, Diodorus; G. Booth (Translator); H. Valesius; I. Rhodomannus; F. Ursinus (1814) (in English). The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in Fifteen Books to which are added the Fragments of Diodorus. London: J. Davis.   Downloadable Google Books.
  • Siculi, Diodori; Peter Wesseling (Editor); L. Rhodoman; G. Heyn; N. Eyring (1798) (in Ancient Greek, Latin). Bibliothecae Historicae Libri Qui Supersunt: Nova Editio. Argentorati: Societas Bipontina.   Downloadable Google Books.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Diodorus Siculus (c. 90 BC – c. 30 BC) was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily.

Sourced

  • He (King Philip) wanted as many Greeks as possible to take part in the festivities in honour of the gods, and so planned brilliant musical contests and lavish banquets for his friends and guests. Out of all Greece he summoned his personal guest-friends and ordered the members of his court to bring along as many as they could of their acquaintances from abroad.
    • Histories 16.91.5-6
  • Every seat in the theater was taken when Philip appeared wearing a white cloak and by his express orders his bodyguard held away from him and followed only at a distance, since he wanted to show publicly that he was protected by the goodwill of all the Greeks, and had no need of a guard of spearmen.
    • Histories 16.93.1
  • Such was the end of Philip (II, king of Macedonia) ...He had ruled 24 years. He is known to fame as one who with but the slenderest resources to support his claim to a throne won for himself the greatest empire among the Hellenes (Greeks), while the growth of his position was not due so much to his prowess in arms as to his adroitness and cordiality in diplomacy.
    • Histories 16.95.1-2
  • After this Alexander left Dareius's mother, his daughters, and his son in Susa, providing them with persons to teach them the Greek language, and marching on with his army on the fourth day reached the Tigris River.
    • Histories 17.67.1
  • Alexander observed that his soldiers were exhausted with their constant campaigns. ... The hooves of the horses had been worn thin by steady marching. The arms and armour were wearing out, and the Greek clothing was quite gone. They had to clothe themselves in materials of the barbarians,...
    • Histories 17.94.1-2

1911 encyclopedia

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