Diodorus Siculus (/ˌdaɪəˈdɔːrəs ˈsɪkjʊləs/; Greek:
Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης Diodoros Sikeliotes)
(fl. 1st century BC) or Diodorus of
Sicily was a Greek historian.
He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca
historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC. It is
arranged in three parts. The first covers mythic history up to the
destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions
around the world from Egypt,
Greece and Europe.
The second covers the
Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great.
The third covers the period to about 60 BC. Bibliotheca, meaning
'library', acknowledges that he was drawing on the work of many other
3 See also
6 External links
6.1 Text of Diodorus
6.1.1 Greek original
6.1.2 English translations
6.2 Secondary Material
According to his own work, he was born at Agyrium in
called Agira). With one exception, antiquity affords no further
information about his life and doings beyond in his work. Only Jerome,
in his Chronicon under the "year of
Abraham 1968" (49 BC), writes,
"Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious".
However, his English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on
the "striking coincidence" that one of only two known Greek
inscriptions from Agyrium (
Inscriptiones Graecae XIV, 588) is the
tombstone of one "Diodorus, the son of Apollonius".
Main article: Bibliotheca historica
Bibliotheca historica, 1746
Diodorus' universal history, which he named Bibliotheca historica
(Greek: Ἱστορικὴ Βιβλιοθήκη, "Historical
Library"), was immense and consisted of 40 books, of which 1–5 and
11–20 survive: fragments of the lost books are preserved in
Photius and the excerpts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.
It was divided into three sections. The first six books treated the
mythic history of the non-Hellenic and Hellenic tribes to the
Troy and are geographical in theme, and describe the
history and culture of
Ancient Egypt (book I), of Mesopotamia, India,
Arabia (II), of
North Africa (III), and of
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 Wars. (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 labours 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.
His account of gold mining in
Nubia in eastern
Egypt is one of the
earliest extant texts on the topic, and describes in vivid detail the
use of slave labour in terrible working conditions. Pappus of
Alexandria wrote a Commentary on Diodorus's Analemma. The now lost
Analemma applied geometrical constructions in a plane to solve some
astronomy-related problems of spherical geometry. It contained, for
example, a discussion of sundial theory.
He also gave an account of the Gauls: "The
Gauls are terrifying in
aspect and their voices are deep and altogether harsh; when they meet
together they converse with few words and in riddles, hinting darkly
at things for the most part and using one word when they mean another;
and they like to talk in superlatives, to the end that they may extol
themselves and depreciate all other men. They are also boasters and
threateners and are fond of pompous language, and yet they have sharp
wits and are not without cleverness at learning." (Book 5)
Pliny the Elder
^ Diod. History 1.4.4.
^ Diodorus of
Sicily In Twelve Volumes by Charles Henry Oldfather
^ Ctesias' Persian History: Introduction, text, and translation by
Ctesias by Jan P. Stronk (2010), p. 60.
^ "Diodorus Siculus" entry in the Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ Alexander Jones, Introduction,
Pappus of Alexandria
Pappus of Alexandria Book 7 of the
Collection: Part 1. Introduction, Text, and Translation (2013) ed.,
Tr. & commentary by Alexander Jones, Sources in the History of
Mathematics and Physical Sciences 8
^ "LacusCurtius •
Diodorus Siculus — Book V Chapters 19‑40".
Ambaglio, Dino, Franca Landucci Gattinoni and Luigi Bravi. Diodoro
Siculo: Biblioteca storica: commento storico: introduzione generale.
Storia. Ricerche. Milano: V&P, 2008. x, 145 p.
Buckley, Terry (1996). Aspects of Greek History 750-323 BC: A
Source-based Approach. London: Routledge.
Lloyd, Alan B. (1975). Herodotus, Book II. Leiden: Brill.
pp. Introduction. ISBN 90-04-04179-6.
Siculus, Diodorus; Oldfather, C. H. (Translator) (1935). Library of
History: Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University
Siculus, Diodorus; G. Booth (Translator); H. Valesius; I. Rhodomannus;
F. Ursinus (1814). The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in
Fifteen Books to which are added the Fragments of Diodorus. London: J.
Davis. Downloadable via Google Books.
Siculi, Diodori; Peter Wesseling (Editor); L. Rhodoman; G. Heyn; N.
Eyring (1798). Bibliothecae Historicae Libri Qui Supersunt: Nova
Editio (in Ancient Greek and Latin). Argentorati: Societas
Bipontina. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Downloadable via Google Books.
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Text of Diodorus
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Siculus, Diodorus. "Library" (in Ancient Greek). Perseus Digital
Library. pp. Books 1‑5 only. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
"The Library of History" (in Ancient Greek). LacusCurtius.
pp. Books 6–10 only. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
Siculus, Diodorus. "Library" (in Ancient Greek). Perseus Digital
Library. pp. Books 9‑17 only. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
Siculus, Diodorus; C.H. Oldfather et al. (Translators). "The Library
of History". LacusCurtius. pp. Books 1‑32 only. Retrieved
Siculus, Diodorus; C.H. Oldfather (Translator). "Library". Theoi
E-Texts Library. pp. Books 4‑6 only. Retrieved
Siculus, Diodorus; C.H. Oldfather (Translator). "Library". Perseus
Digital Library. pp. Books 9‑17 only. Retrieved
Siculus, Diodorus; Andrew Smith (Translator). "Historical Library".
Attalus.org. pp. Books 33‑40 only. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
Lendering, Jona (1996–2008). "Diodorus of Sicily". Livius Articles
on Ancient History. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
Pearse, Roger (2007). "Diodorus Siculus: the manuscripts of the
'Bibliotheca Historica". Retrieved 2008-10-08.
L. I. Hau, A. Meeus and B. Sheridan (eds.) (2018). Diodoros of Sicily:
Historiographical Theory and Practice in the Bibliotheke. Leuven:
ISNI: 0000 0001 2020 835X
BNF: cb11900233c (data)