Diodorus Siculus

The Library of History - Diodorus Siculus

Diodorus Siculus (also known as Diodorus of Sicily) was born in Sicily in 90 BC. He worte his universal history called Bibliotheca historica sometime between 60-30 BC.

He described his objective for writing the history as follows:

"Other monuments indure but for a little time, and are often ruin'd and destroy'd by various accidents; but the force and vigour of history, pierces through the whole world, and time it self (which consumes all other things) is its keeper, handing it down to posterity for ever."

Diodorus used the work of other historians when compiling his library. Those authors include: Megasthenes, Timaeus, Hecataeus of Abdera, Ctesias of Cnidus, Ephorus, Theopompus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos, Diyllus, Philistus, Polybius, and Posidonius.

His history was divided into three sections. The first six books included mythical history and end with the Trojan War. These books also include geographical information and describe the history and culture of Ancient Egypt (book I), Mesopotamia, India, Scythia, and Arabia (II), North Africa (III), and Greece and Europe (IV–VI).

Books VII–XVII is the history from the Trojan War down to the death of Alexander the Great.

The remaining books, starting with Book XVII describe the events following the death of Alexander the Great to the time of Julius Ceasar (around 60 BC.).


  • Chap. 1. OF the first Generation of Men. How the World first began. Mens first manner of Life, and who were the first Men. First Men in Egypt. Who were the most ancient Gods of Egypt. Of their Demi-Gods. Sol, Saturn, Rhea, Jupiter, Juno, Vulcan, reign'd in Egypt. Of Osiris and Isis. the Acts of Osiris and Isis. Hermes his Inventions. Osiris prepares for his Expedition through the World, and to that end raises a great Army. Page 1
  • Chap. 2. The Continuation of Osiris his Expedition through Ethiopia; all Arabia, India, and Europe: Bury'd by Isis and Mercury. How he was kill'd. His Death reveng'd by Isis and Orus. Two Bulls, Apis and Mnevis, worship'd in Egypt. Places discuss'd where Osiris and Isis were bury'd. Stories of the Egyptian Priests. Their Tears, Lunar Tears, Giants, Laws about Marriage. Osiris and Isis, their Pillars and Inscriptions. Colonies out of Egypt. 7
  • Chap. 3. The Description of Egypt. Of the Lake of Serbon. The Nature of the River Nile. The Cataracts. The Mouths of Nile. The Fruits of Egypt. The Beasts, Crecodile, &c. Several Opinions concerning the Inundation of Nile. 14
  • Chap. 4. The first way of Living of the Egyptians: Gods and Demi-Gods, their Reigns in Egypt. The ancient Kings of Egypt, Moenis, &c. Their several Works. Thebes built by Busitis. The stately Sepulchres, Obelisks, and Temples there. A Description of Osymanduas his Sepulchre. Memphis built by Uchoreus. Moeris his Lake. Sesostris or Sesoosis, his famous Expedition, and great Works. 22
  • Chap. 5. The Acts of Sesostris the Second: Of Ammosis, Actisan, Mendes, Proteus or Cetes, Remphis, Chemmis, (the great Pyramids built by him:) Cephres, Mycerinus Bocchoris, Sabach. The Reign of Twelve Kings in Egypt. Psammeticus Saites, one of the Kings, gain'd the whole; Two hundred thousand of his Army forsake him, and settle thmeselves in Ethiopia. Apries succeeds long after. Amasis rebels, and next succeeds; and Apries is strangled by the People. Amasis the last King, to the time of the Conquest of Egypt by Cambyses. 31
  • Chap. 6. The Customs of the Egyptians. Of their Kings: As their hourly Employment, Sacrifices, Diet, &c. Burials. Division of Egypt. Their Trades in Egypt. Courts of Justice; their Law-Proceedings. The several Laws of Egypt; Beasts and Birds ador'd as Gods in Egypt, as Lions, Wolves, Cats, the Bird Ibis, Kites, &c. Costs in their Burial of these Creatures. Reasons given of this Adoration. 36
  • Chap. 7. Why the Crocodile is worship'd? Some sorts of Herbs and Roots not eaten. Why other Creatures are worship'd? The manner of their Burials. The Law-makers in Egypt. Learned Men of Greece made Journeys into Egypt, as Orpheus, Homer, Plato, Solon, Pythagoras, &c. Several Proofs of this, as their Religious Rites, Fables, &c. in Greece of Egyptian Extraction. The exquisite Art of the Stone-Carvers in Egypt. Page 46


  • Chap. 1. NInus, the first King of Assyria, his Acts; invades Babylonia, Media, and over-runs several other Countries. Nineveh built by him; the Description of it; Marries Semiramis; Her Descent. Derceta, the Philistines Dagon. His Expedition against Bactria; He dies. Semitamis builds Babylon, and several strange Works there, as a Passage under Water, Jupiter's Temple, &c. Hanging Gardens in Babylon. A vast Stone cut out. The strange Property of a Morass. Her several Expeditions. The wonderful Lake in Ethiopia; Their Burials there. Semiramis's Expedition into India; Her Mock-Elephants. Her Expedition proves fruitless. She surrenders her Kingdom to Ninyas her Son: Her End. 53
  • Chap. 2. Ninyas succeeds Semiramis: His close and slothful manner of Life. The Reign of Sardanapalus: His Luxury and Effeminacy: His Epitaph: Deposed by Arbaces the Mede: And the Assyrian Empire overturn'd. Nineveh raz'd. 64
  • Chap. 3. Of the ancient Chaldeans, and their Philosophy. The Planets, and their Course. The Empire of the Medes, and their Kings. A Description of India. The ancient Manners and Customs of the People. Their Laws; Tribes; Description of Scythia. Of the Amazons. Of the Hyperboreans. 69
  • Chap. 4. A Description of Atabia the Desart. Happy, &c. Metals, Precious Stones, Beasts, &c. AD scription of Taprobana in the Southern Ocean, now call'd Ceylon or Zeilan: The strange Things there: How discover'd by Iambulus. 78


  • Chap. 1. OF the Ethiopians: Their Letters, Laws, Arms, Religion, Funerals: The Description of several Parts of the Country. Manner of making of Gold. Of the Icthyophages, their several sorts and ways of Living. 85
  • Chap. 2. Chelonophages: The manner of taking Sea-Tortoises: The Cetivores, or Whale-Eaters. The Sea-Coasts over-against Babylon; Their manner of taking of Fish. The Rizophages, or Root-Eaters. Those call'd Spermaphages, and Hylophages, Hylogones or Hunters, their taking of wild Beasts: The Elephant-Fighters; how they are taken: The Simoes, Struthophages, Acridophages or Locust Eaters; their miserable Deaths. Cynomolges. The Country of the Troglodites. Wild Beasts: The terrible wild Bull: Serpents; that great one brought alive to Alexandria. 94
  • Chap. 3. A Description of the Coasts and Countries on both sides the Arabian Gulf, or Red Sea. The Perfumes of Arabia the Happy. The Fortunate Islands. A Description of part of Lybia: The Spectras near the Syrtes. 102
  • Chap. 4. Of the Amazons of Africa: Their Acts: Rooted out by Hercules, and the Gorgonians by Perseus. The Atlantides, and the Gods among them. The Original of the Titanes. The Acts of Basilea, or Cybele, said to be born in Phrygia. The Original of Atlas and Saturn. A long Account given of Bacchus, and the several Bacchuses there were. The Description of the Grota in Nysa, where he was brought up. The building of the Temple of Hammon by him. The several Herculeses. The Monsters Aegides and Campes kill'd by Minerva and Bacchus. Page 110


  • Chap. 1. WHat the Grecians say further of Bacchus. The Story of Priapus. Of Hermophroditus. Of the Muses. The Birth of Hercules; and his Twelve Labours injoin'd him by Eurystheus. His wandring Expeditions through Africk, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily; His setting up two Pillars at Gades, and his other Acts by the way. The Story of Orpheus. 127
  • Chap. 2. An Account of Atlas, and his Daughters call'd Atlantides and Hesperides. Amazons routed by Theseus in Attica. The further Acts of Hercules; goes against Laomedon King of Troy, and other Acts. The Story of Meleager Son of King Oeneus. Amalthae's Horn. Hercules his further Acts: His Death by a poison'd Shirt. 141
  • Chap. 3. Of the Argonauts, Medea and the Daughters of Pileus. How the Argonauts gain'd the Golden Fleece. The Pranks of Medea. The Acts of Jason. The Cruelty of Pelias towards Jason's Kindred; How he was kill'd by his Daughters through Medea's Charms. Medea burns the King of Corinth's Palace, and him in it. The miserable End of Jason. Of the Heraclidae, and their return to Peloponnesus. 148
  • Chap. 4. The Acts of Theseus: The Minotaur in Crete: Androgeos, the Son of Minos murder'd by Aegeus. Ariadna, Daughter of Minos, in love with Theseus; Ariadna's Crown. Aegeus, King of Athens kills himself. Theseus his Death. The War of Thebes by the Seven Captains. The Epigoni renew the War. Pedigrees of the Heroes at Troy: Of the Centaurs, and Lapithae. The Pedigrees of Aesculapius, Aeacus, Ajax, Pelops, Tantalus, Oenomeus; Dardanus his Posterity to Priam King of Troy. 159
  • Chap. 5. Of Daedalus and his Works in Crete, Sicily, and elsewhere. His Flight into Sicily; Minos invades Sicily; The manner of his Death there. The Famous Temple of the Curetes or Corybants in Sicily, built by the Posterity of the Cretians that came there with Minos. The Pedigree of Aristaeus; his Acts; his Son Actaeon. Of Eryx: Venus her Temple in Eryx in Sicily; the Fame of it. Of Daphnis the Shepherd; a Description of the Herean Mountains. Of Orion. Of the Straight of Messina. 168


  • Chap. 1. A Description of Sicily: The Aeolide Islands, or Lipari Islands; Of Malta, Gaulus, Cercina, Corsica, Sardinia, Pityusa, and the Baleares. 176
  • Chap. 2. Of Madera, Britain, Gallia, Celtiberia, Iberia, and Tyrrhenia; and of the Inhabitants, and their Laws and Customs. 184
  • Chap. 3. Of Gredosia: Of the Isles of the Arabian Sea: Of the Holy Island: Of Panchaea: Of Samothracia: Of Naxus, Syme, Nausus, Calydna, Nisyrus, Carpathus. Of Rhodes, and of Chersonesus. 194
  • Chap. 4. Of Crete; The first Inhabitants: Of the Idaei Dactyli; Of Jupiter, Saturn, Hyperion, Prometheus, Mnemosyne, Themis, Ceres, Neptune, Pallas: Jupiter's Race, as the Muses, Vulcan, Mars, &c. Of the ancient Hercules, Britomartis, Pluto, Rhadamanthus his Justice. Of Lesbos; Deucalion's Flood: Of the Blessed Islands; Of Tenedos, and the Cyclades. 204


  • Chap. 1. OF Xerxes his Expedition into Greece; and the Fight at Thermopyle, and Sea-Fight at Salamis. Page 215
  • Chap. 2. How the Carthaginians invaded Sicily, and were routed by Gelon: And the time of Pindar the Poet. 226
  • Chap. 3. The Victory of the Greeks over Mardonius at Platea. 230
  • Chap. 4. Of the Fight with the Persians by the Grecians at Mycale in Ionia. Herodotus ends with this Fight, and taking of Sestos. 233
  • Chap. 5. The Death and Commendation of Gelo of Syracuse, and the Rebuilding of Athens by the Policy of Themistocles. 235
  • Chap. 6. The enlarging of the Haven at Athens by Themistocles. The Treason of Pausanias; And the Justice of Aristides. 237
  • Chap. 7. Hiero, King of Sicily, prepares to besiege Agrigentum; Discovers the Treason of them of Himera to Thero their Prince; Expels the Cataneans and Naxians. 240
  • Chap 8. The Lacedemonians quarrel with the Athenians for the Dominion of the Sea. 241
  • Chap. 9. Hiero breaks the Power of the Hetruscans by Sea. 242
  • Chap 10. The War between the Tarrentines and the Japigians. ibid.
  • Chap. 11. The Death of Thero Prince of Agrigentum, and the Tyranny of his Son Thrasydeus, who abdicated the Government, and kill'd himself. Three hundred of the Family of the Fabii slain at one time. 243
  • Chap. 12. The Malice of the Lacedemonians against Themistocles, and his Banishment: His Praise. 244
  • Chap. 13. Cymon, the Athenian General, gains many Places for the Athenians: Routs the Persians by a Stratagem at Eury medentum. 247
  • Chap. 14. A great Earthquake in Sparta; The War upon them by the Helots and Mycenians. 248
  • Chap. 15. The War between the Argives and the Mycenians. 249
  • Chap. 16. The Death of Hiero. 250
  • Chap. 17. Thrasybulus, King of Syracuse, depos'd by force of Arms for his Tyranny. 250
  • Chap. 18. The Murder of Xerxes by Artabanus. 251
  • Chap. 19. The War between the Athenians and Aegineaus. 252
  • Chap 20. The Egyptians revolt from the Persians. New Troubles in Sicily. ibid.
  • Chap. 21. Persians Expedition into Egypt. Wars in Sicily. 254
  • Chap. 22. The War between the Epidaurians and Athenians. Page 255
  • Chap. 23. The War between the Corinthians and Megareans. 256
  • Chap. 24. The War between the Athenians and Boetians. 257
  • Chap. 25. The Athenians invade the Spartans by Tolmides. 258
  • Chap. 26. The War in Sicily between the Aegestines and the Lilybeans. The Custom of Writing upon an Olive Leaf the Names of such as were to be banish'd in Sicily, call'd Petalism. 259
  • Chap. 27. Pericles makes an Inrode into Peloponnesus: Besieg'd Sicyon. Phaylus in Sicily made Admiral against the Tyrrhenian Pirates: Is corrupted and banish'd. The Original of the Palici: And the Stories of the Temple, and Wonders of the Craters in Sicily. 260
  • Chap. 28. The Contests between Deucetius and the Agrigentines. His strange Submission to the Syracusians, who sent him to Corinth, with Promise to supply him with Necessaries. 262


  • Chap. 1. CYmon the Athenian Admiral, his Expedition into Cyprus. Peace concluded between the Persians and Athenians. Cymon dies in Cyprus. 264
  • Chap. 2. Megarians revolt from the Athenians, and are beaten. The Athenians revolted at Cheronea by the Beotians. Many Cities revolt. Peace concluded. 265
  • Chap. 3. The War between the Agrigentines and Syracusians in Sicily. The War between them of Crotona and the Siberites. Sibaris raz'd. The building of Thurium: Charondas his good Laws in Thurium: His remarkable Death. The Laws of Zaleuchus of Locris. 266
  • Chap. 4. Of the Decemviri in Rome chosen to make Laws. War between the Thurians and Tarentines. A sad Story of the Daughter of one Lucius Virginius in Rome, which caus'd a Disturbance and great Sedition. Law of the Twelve Tables. Peace all over the World. 272
  • Chap. 5. War between the Samians and Melesians. A Sedition in Samos, which revolts from the Athenians. War in Sicily by the Syracusians against the Trinacrians 273
  • Chap. 6. Corinthian War against Corcyra. Potidea revolts from the Athenians. Quarrels in Thurium. Meton's Year. Heraclea in Italy built. Potidea besieg'd by Phormio. 275
  • Chap. 7. Of the Peloponnesian War. Potidea revolts; besieg'd by the Athenians, and is surrendred upon Articles. Nicias made the Athenian Admiral. Gorgia, an excellent Orator, sent from Leontine in Sicily to Athens. A Peace concluded, after the War had continu'd ten Years. 278
  • Chap. 8. Continuation of the Peloponnesian War. War by the Romans against the Fidinates, for putting their Ambassadors to death. Quarrels between the Aegistines and the Selinuntines in Sicily. Expedition of the Athenians against Sicily under Nicias, being the 16th Year of the Peloponnesian War. 293


  • Chap. 1. THE Athenian Fleet equipp'd out for Sicily. Alcibiades accus'd: Flies: Is condemn'd: Goes to Sparta out of Italy. Syracusians send for Aid to Lacedemon: Gylippus is sent to them. Battel at Syracuse. 300
  • Chap. 2. The Lacedemonians invade Attica. Fight at Sea between the Syracusians and Athenians. Eurimedon and Demosthenes arrive in Sicily. A Plague in the Athenian Camp. Another Fight between the Syracusians and Athenians; the latter routed at Sea: The Athenians ruin'd in Sicily: Nicholaus his long Oration; Gylippus his Answer. Page 303
  • Chap. 3. Diocles instituted Laws for Sicily: Suffer'd by one of his own Laws. Three hundred appointed to Govern in Athens Athenians beaten at Sea by the Lacedemonians at Oropus. Alcibiades recall'd from Banishment. 315
  • Chap. 4. The Government by Four hundred abrogated in Athens: The Victory by the Athenians over the Lacedemonians at Sea, between Sestus and Abydos. The Persian Garrison driven out of Antandris by the help of the Lacedemonians. Twenty two years of the Peloponnesian War ended. Here Thucydides ends his History. 317
  • Chap. 5. Commotions in Sicily. Carthaginians invited thither by the Aegistines. A Sea-Fight at Dardanum between the Athenians and Lacedemonians. A Sedition in Corcyra. The Sea-Fight at Cyzicum; and at Cleros by Land, wherein the Athenians were Victors. 320
  • Chap. 6. The Spartans seek for Peace. The Speech of Endius. The Athenians refuse. 325
  • Chap. 7. Hannibal the Carthaginian invades Sicily. The miserable Destruction of Selinunte. The Ruin likewise of Himera. The Acts of Hermocrates in Sicily. 326
  • Chap. 8. Thrasybulus assaults Ephesus. The Lacedemonians besiege Pylus; and surrendred. Calcedon besieg'd by Theramenes; and afterwards Byzantium, which was betray'd to Alcibiades. 331
  • Chap. 9 Theramenes and Alcibiades return to Athens; are admir'd by the People. Lysander made General by the Lacedemonians. Antiochus, one of the Athenian Generals, beaten at Ephesus in a Sea-Fight. Agis surprizes part of the Walls at Athens, but was beaten off Alcibiades accus'd for assaulting Cuma, a Confederate City. Conon made Admiral in his Place. 333
  • Chap. 10. Hermocrates kill'd at Syracuse, attempting to surprize it. 336
  • Chap. 11. The Acts of Callicrates, the Lacedemonian General. The Fight at Sea in the Harbour at Mitylene, between Conon and Callicratides. 337
  • Chap. 12. Therma built in Sicily by the Carthaginians; They raise Forces to invade Italy: They land in Sicily. The noble Temple in Agrigentum: The ancient Grandeur of that City: The Riches of Gellias, a Citizen there, and some others. Agrigentum besiege'd. The Syracusians under Daphneus rout the Carthaginians near Agrigentum. Imilcar seizes the Syracusian Fleet, and takes all the Provision going to Agrigentum, which was afterwards quit by the Inhabitants: Their miserable Condition. The Phalarian Bull. 339
  • Chap. 13. The Syracusian Officers accus'd. Dionysius made General of the Syracusians: He moves to have the Exiles recall'd: He's invested with the sole Command: At length by several Artifices gains the Sovereignty. 345
  • Chap. 14. The famous Battel of Argineuse at Sea, wherein the Athenians were Victors: The Officers accus'd for not burying the Dead. The Speech of Diomedon. The Death of Sophocles and Euripides. 348
  • Chap. 15. Lysander made sole Admiral of the Lacedemonian Fleet: He takes Caramium. The Ruin of the Athenian Fleet at Aegos Potamos. Athens taken by Lisander. The end of the Peloponnesian War. 352
  • Chap. 16. Agrigentum sack'd by Imilcar the Carthaginian. The Carthaginians besiege Gela. Dionysius goes to the Aid of Gela. The Skirmishes before Gela. Camarina deserted by order of Dionysius. The Soldiers enrag'd at Dionysius: He hastens to Syracuse. Imilcar makes Peace with Dionysius, and returns to Carthage. The end of the first Carthaginian War with Dionysius. 354


  • Chap. 1. A Peace between the Athenians and Lacedemonians. The Athenians disagree about the manner of their Government; The Government by 30; The Cruelty of the 30 Tyrants, and especially towards. Theramenes. Page 358
  • Chap. 2. Dionysius his Project to strengthen himself in the Sovereignty of Sicily. Syracusians revolt; are dispersed. 360
  • Chap. 3. Lacedemonians establish an Oligarchy in every City. Dionysius disarms the Syracusians. Alcibiades kill'd; manner of his Death. Clearchus his Tyranny in Bizantium; the Battel at Porus by him against his Countrymen the Lacedemonians. Lysander's Project to out the Heraclidae of the Sovereign Power. 361
  • Chap. 4. Dionysius his Actions in Sicily. The Oropians subdu'd by the Thebans. The Lacedemonians quarrel with the Elians. Dionysius fortifies the Epipodae. 364
  • Chap. 5. The War between Cyrus and his Brother Artaxerxes King of Persia. Cyrus Routed. The Grecian Forces in Straits: their brave Behaviour: and long and troublesome March out of Persia into Greece. 366
  • Chap. 6. Thrasybulus opposes the 30 Tyrants. The cruelty of Psamnificus King of Aegypt, towards his old friend Tamos that fled to him for succour from the Persians. Darcyllidas sent General against the Persians into Asia. Conon made Admiral of the Persian Fleet. 373
  • Chap. 7. The War between the Rhegians and Dionysius. He prepares to make War upon the Carthaginians. Most of the Cities submit to Dionysius. He returns to the Siege of Motya: Taken. Forces sent from Carthage against Dionysius. A Sea-fight between the Carthaginians and the Sicilians. Syracuse besieg'd. The Speech of Theodorus against Dionysius. A greivous Plague in the Carthaginian Army. A great Destruction of the Carthaginian Fleet in the Harbour of Syracuse. The miserable Condition of Imilco in his own Country. The Troubles of the Carthaginians. 376
  • Chap. 8. Agesilaus made General against the Persians by the Lacedemonians, goes to Ephesus: They send to the King of Egypt for Assistance. The Persians routed at Sipylus by Agesilaus. Tissaphernes his head cut off in a Bath at Larissa. The War between the Phoceans and Boetians. 392
  • Chap. 9. The Confederate War by the Argives and others against the Lacedemonians. The Battel at Aricas The fight at Nemea. Pisander the Lacedemonian Admiral routed in a Sea-fight at Cnidus by the Persian Fleet, commanded by Conon the Athenian. The Corinthian War against the Lacedemonians, and the great Sedition there. 394
  • Chap. 10. The Quarrel between the Rhegians and Dionysius. Mago the Carthaginian settles Affairs in Sicily. Routed at Abacena by Dionysius. Rhegium near surpriz'd by Dionysius. The Acts of Iphicrates at Corinth, Plias, and Sicyon. Amyntas lost his Kingdom of Macedonia, but was restor'd. The Romans take Veii: Dedicate a Golden Cup to Apollo. Their Ambassadors are taken by the Pyrats of the Lipari Islands, but discharg'd by Timastheus. 396
  • Chap. 11. The Acts of Thrasybulus the Athenian General. The Carthaginians under Mago begin a new War in Sicily against Dionysius. A Peace concluded. Rodes falls off from the Athenians. Evagoras becomes King of Salamis in Cyprus, makes War against the Persians. The Acts of Thimbro the Lacedemonian General in Asia. 398
  • Chap. 12. Dionysius his Expedition against Rhegium. The War between the Lucanians and Thurians in Italy. The Thurians cut off by their own Rashness. Leptines generously sav'd those that swam to his ships, tho' he was a Friend to their Enemies. Dionysius his second Expedition into Italy: besieges Caulonia, and routs Heloris. Makes Peace with the Rhegians. Razes Caulonia to the ground, and transplants the Inhabitants to Syracuse. Watches an occasion to be reveng'd on them of Rhegium. Besieges it. He sends rich Chariots to the Olympick Games. His Poetry ridicul'd. 401
  • Chap. 13. The Peace of Antalcidas. The War by the Persians against Evagoras in Cyprus. The miserable Condition of Rhegium. Surrendred. The cruel Usage of Philo the Governor of Rhegium, and of his Son. The Expedition of the Galls against Italy. The Romans routed by the Galls at the river Allia. Rome taken by the Galls. Romans besieg'd in the Capitol. The Volsci revolt from the Romans. The Galls routed by Marcus Furius in their Return. All cut off afterwards in the Plains of Trausium. 404

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