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Diodorus Siculus(dīədôr`əs sĭk`yo͞oləs), d. after 21 B.C., Sicilian historian. He wrote, in Greek, a world history in 40 books, ending with Caesar's Gallic Wars. Fully preserved are Books I–V and XI–XX, which cover Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Scythian, Arabian, and North African history and parts of Greek and Roman history. The history, which is a compilation of other sources, is often repetitive and contradictory. Historians generally regard it as uncritical and unreliable. It is valuable, however, as a source for the lost works of earlier authors, from whom he borrowed freely, and for his chronological lists of prominent figures from the 5th cent. to 302 B.C.
Born circa 90 B.C. in Agyrium, Sicily; died 21 B.C. Ancient Greek historian.
Diodorus was the author of the 40-volume work The Historical Library, of which only volumes 1-5 and 11-20 and fragments of the remaining volumes have survived. This work presents a synchronous account of the history of the ancient East, Greece, the Hellenistic states, and Rome from legendary times to the middle of the first century B.C. Even though Diodorus’ works are mere compilations, and chronologically inaccurate, they have a certain value owing to their use of several sources lost in ancient times. Of particular interest is the information on the classical period of Greek history, the description of the reigns of the emperors Philip II and Alexander the Great, and the reports of the slave uprisings in Sicily in the second century B.C.
WORKSDiodori Bibliotheca historica, vols. 1-5. Edited by J. Teubner. Leipzig, 1888-1906.
In Russian translation:
In Istoricheskaia biblioteka, vols. 1-6. St. Petersburg, 1774-75.