The Library of History

Diodorus Siculus, Greek historian of Agyrium in Sicily, ca. 80–20 BCE, wrote forty books of world history, called Librar

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The Library of History

Table of contents :
Book I
Introduction to Books I‑II.34
Egypt: the origin of the world and of civilized life: the gods, the first men.
Egypt: the land, the Nile and its flooding.
30 1 The land of Egypt stretches in a general way from north to south, and in natural strength and beauty of landscape is reputed to excel in no small degree all other regions that have been formed into kingdoms. 2 For on the west it is fortified by the desert of Libya, which is full of wild beasts and extends along its border for a long distance, and by reason of its lack of rain and want of every kind of food makes the passage through it not only toilsome but even highly dangerous; while on the south the same protection is afforded by the cataracts of the Nile and the mountains flanking them, 3 since from p99 the country of the Trogodytes1 and the farthest parts of Ethiopia, over a distance of five thousand five hundred stades, it is not easy to sail by the river or to journey by land, unless a man is fitted out like a king or at least on a very great scale. 4 And as for the parts of the country facing the east, some are fortified by the river and some are embraced by a desert and a swampy flat called the Barathra.2 For between Coele-Syria and Egypt there lies a lake, quite narrow, but marvellously deep and some two hundred stades in length, which is called Serbonis3 and offers unexpected perils to those who approach it in ignorance of its nature. 5 For since the body of the water is narrow, like a ribbon, and surrounded on all sides by great dunes, when there are constant south winds great quantities of sand are strewn over it. This sand hides the surface of the water and makes the outline of the lake continuous with the solid land and entirely indistinguishable from it. 6 For this reason many who were unacquainted with the peculiar nature of the place have disappeared together with whole armies,4 when they wandered from the beaten road. 7 For as the sand is walked upon it gives way but gradually, deceiving with a kind of malevolent cunning those p101 who advance upon it, until, suspecting some impending mishap, they begin to help one another only when it is no longer possible to turn back or escape. 8 For anyone who has been sucked in by the mire cannot swim, since the slime prevents all movement of the body, nor is he able to wade out, since he has no solid footing; for by reason of the mixing of the sand with the water and the consequent change in the nature of both it comes about that the place cannot be crossed either on foot or by boat. 9 Consequently those who enter upon these regions are borne towards the depths and have nothing to grasp to give them help, since the sand along the edge slips in with them. These flats have received a name appropriate to their nature as we have described it, being called Barathra.
Egypt: the first kings
Egypt: customs and religion
Mesopotamia: Ninus, Semiramis, the wonders of Babylon; Sardanapalus, Chaldaean astrology
Book II
India, Scythia, Arabia, and the islands of the Ocean
Book III
Contents of the Third Book of Diodorus
Ethiopia and the gold mines of Egypt
The coasts of the Arabian Gulf: inhabitants
The coasts of the Arabian Gulf: animals
Libya, the Gorgons, the Amazons; Ammon and Atlas
Libyan and other myths about Dionysus
Theseus, the Seven against Thebes
Book V
Sicily, Malta, Corsica, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands
Britain, Basileia (identified today as Helgoland), Gaul, Celtiberia, Iberia, Liguria, Tyrrhenia
The islands in the Southern Ocean: Hiera and Panchaea
The Greek islands
Before the Trojan War: Salmoneus, Admetus, Bellerophon
The period just before and after the Trojan War: Orpheus, Aeneas; Romulus and early Roman history
Eusebius, Chronicle7
Eusebius, Chronicle17
Kings of Lacedaemon from the Books of Diodorus
11 1 Eusebius, Chronicle22
Eusebius, Chronicle33
Early history of Messene, Croton, Sybaris, Rome, Cyrene
Stories of the Seven Wise Men; Croesus, Cyrus
Servius Tullius, Pythagoras, Cambyses, Polycrates of Samos, Zeno, the Tarquins, Themistocles
A few very small fragments of uncertain provenience
Book XI
War between Carthage and Sicily, won by Gelon. War between Greeks and Persians, Greek victory at Plataea
Rise of Athens under Themistocles, construction of the Piraeus
Wars of the Greek city-states; Egyptian revolt against Persia
Book XII
450‑416 B.C.: Athenian campaigns against Cyprus and Boeotia. The founding of Thurii
Rome: the Decemvirate. In Greece, revolts against the Athenians, various wars; outbreak of the Peloponnesian War
Further revolts against the Athenians; Peloponnesian War
Wars of the Athenians
415‑405 B.C. : War between Athens and Syracuse
Consequences of the Athenian defeat in the Syracusan War
War between Athens and Sparta. The career of Alcibiades. Carthaginian war against Sicily
Alcibiades. Carthaginian war against Sicily
Dionysius tyrant of Syracuse. Athens the victor in the naval battle of Aeginusae; she puts her generals to death, and loses the battles that follow: end of the Peloponnesian War
Book XIV
Persia: the revolt of Cyrus
Death of Socrates. Greek wars in Asia Minor
War between Carthage and Sicily
Various Greek wars; end of the war between Carthage and Sicily
Siege of Rhegium; coalition of the Italian Greeks against Dionysius; peace of Antalcidas
The Gauls capture Rome
Book XV
Various Greek wars
The Boeotian War
War between Sparta and Thebes, ending with the Theban victory of Leuctra
The Theban invasions of the Peloponnese; various Greek wars
Various Greek wars; career of Epaminondas
Book XVI
360-336 B.C. : Rise of Philip of Macedon; in Syracuse, Dion defeats Dionysius
The Sacred War and Philip's involvement in Greek affairs
Artaxerxes regains Egypt, Phoenicia, and Cyprus; end of the Phocian War
Introduction to Volume VIII
Sources and Character of the Narrative, Book XVI
Sources and Character of the Narrative, Book XVII
The career of Timoleon; Philip consolidates his power in Greece, but is assassinated
Introduction to Books XVIII‑XX
Note on Chronology
Contents of Part Two
335-324 B.C. : Rise of Alexander the Great: Greece
Alexander's invasion of Asia: battle of the Granicus, sieges of Miletus and Halicarnassus, battle of Issus
The career of Alexander: the siege of Tyre, the occupation of Egypt, his journey to the oracle of Ammon; defeat of Darius at Arbela
Alexander in Babylon; the burning of Persepolis; death of Darius. The conspiracy of Parmenio
Alexander's campaigns in Sogdiana, Bactria, and India
The marvels of India. Alexander's return to Babylon, where he dies
323-318 B.C. : Struggles of successors of Alexander after his death
The translation of Alexander's body to Egypt. Rise of Ptolemy
Wars among the successors of Alexander
317-311 BC : The rise of Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse
Antigonus fights and eventually vanquishes an assortment of other generals
The doings of Cassander: the murder of Olympias, the razing of Thebes (again)
The varying fortunes of Cassander in Greece, the Adriatic, and Caria. Acrotatus, tyrant of Sicily
Ptolemy's campaigns and his victory over Demetrius. Seleucus gains control of Babylon. Antigonus in Coelê Syria and Arabia. An account of the Dead Sea. The Romans war against the Samnites
Further doings of Agathocles, most of them pretty horrible; Sicily gets assistance against him from Carthage. The murder of Roxane and her son Alexander
310-302 BC: Agathocles' Libyan campaign
Ptolemy against Cilicia, the Carthaginians against Sicily and Agathocles' mixed successes against them
Demetrius against Ptolemy; Agathocles master of most of Sicily
Antigonus's failed Egyptian campaign; Demetrius' siege of Rhodes, eventually abandoned
Demetrius frees much of Greece; the grand coalition against Antigonus, with successes by Ptolemy and Seleucus
History of the Fragments
The Present Edition
The Manuscripts
p. xxv Sigla
Diodorus: Book 33- translation
Diodorus: Books 34+35
Diodorus: Book 36
Diodorus: Book 37
Diodorus: Books 38+39
1 4a All vice should be shunned by men of intelligence, but especially greed, for this vice, because of the expectation of profit, prompts many to injustice and becomes the cause of very great evils to mankind. Hence, since it is a very metropolis1 of unjust acts, it brings many great misfortunes not only on private citizens but even on the greatest kings.2
Diodorus: Book 40

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