Diodorus Siculus

The Library of History - Diodorus Siculus

THE HISTORICAL LIBRARY OF Diodorus the Sicilian.

In Fifteen BOOKS.

The First FIVE, Contain the Antiquities of Egypt, Asia, Africa, Greece, the Islands, and Europe.

The Last TEN, An Historical Account of the AFFAIRS of the Persians, Grecians, Macedonians, and other Parts of the World.

To which are added, The FRAGMENTS of DIODORUS that are found in the BIBLIOTHECA of Photius: TOGETHER With those Publish'd by H. Valesius, L. Rhodomannus, and F. ∆≤rsinus.

Made English, By G. BOOTH, of the City of Chester, Esq;

LONDON, Printed by Edw. Jones, for Awnsham and John Churchil, at the Black-Swan in Pater-Noster-Row, and Edw. Castle next Scotland-Yard Gate. M D C C.


THIS Translation of Diodorus, (the Fruits of some vacant Hours,) when first attempted, was as early design'd by a Dedication to be shrowded under the Shelter and Protection of Your Lordship's Honourable Father, whose Publick Spirit ever prompted him to those Generous and Worthy Actions, (without Self-seeking,) that might any ways Advance and Further the Publick Good, in the Preservation of the Peace and Happiness of his Country. Besides the Honour of his particular Respect to my self, his Noble Imitation of the Patterns of Virtue here presented, so far Encourag'd me, as not in the least to doubt of a Favourable Acceptance; especially from him who breath'd (as it were) the same Spirit and Soul with those Noble Hero's (that are long since gone) for the Defence of the Laws and Liberties of his own Country, as they in their several Generations did in theirs. As Your Lordship therefore is an Immediate Branch of that Honourable Stock, and next in Succession to his Estate; so I hope, and have great Reason to believe his Virtues, and Generous Qualifications, as well as his Honour and Lands, are Your Lordship's Inheritance: In Confidence therefore of the like Acceptance, as from him, I intreat Your Lordship's Favourable Entertainment of this Greek Stranger, (now Cloath'd, as well as I could, in an English Dress.) He'll be no Burthen, but a Diverting and Profitable Companion, useful not only to the Expert General, and Honest Statesman, but to all Degrees for a Prudent Conduct of their Lives, by Examples of other Mens Harms. In all which Respects, that it may be Serviceable to the Publick, and, as such, Accepted and Approv'd by Your Lordship, is the Ambition of,


Your Lordship's Most Affectionate Kinsman, And Humble Servant, G. BOOTH.


SO many are the Encomiums of History, both by Ancient and Modern Authors, that little or nothing can be further added to what is already extant upon that Subject; and therefore I shall wave troubling my Self or the Reader with Discourses of that kind, but leave every Judicious Person to his own Experience, which is the best Judge, and will give the surest Testimony to the Truth of these Commendations. He that rests barely in the Matter of Fact related in History, pleases his Fancy for a Moment while he is Reading, but never Improves his Judgment to make it Usefull in Conversation, or in the Management of Publick Affairs. He gains no more than Children by hearing a Winter Tale, and Strange Stories of this brave Hero, and that mighty Giant, who did Wonders in the Land of ∆≤topia. The Profitable Reader is He that not only seeks to please his Fancy, but makes use of his Reason in observing chiefly the Wonderful Providence of God, in Ruling and Governing the World in all Ages to this day; His Setting up, and Pulling down of States, Kingdoms and Empires in certain Periods of Time; His Justice in punishing Wickedness, and therein the Confirmation of his Truth and Holiness; to see and consider his Wisdom, in Ordering and Disposing of one Event for the Effecting of his Purpose in another. To observe the Causes, Progress, and End of this or that Accident, this War, that Revolution, this Success and that miserable Disaster, are the main and chief Ends and Designs of Reading of History; whereby the Understanding and Memory are not only furnish'd with Notions of Things done, and long since past; but the Judgment is improv'd with that Moral Prudence (and sometimes Religious too) as to be careful to avoid the Rocks others have before split upon; and to imitate the Virtue and honourable Actions of others, (at least for the sake of Reputation that attends upon them in this World.) Here may be found Examples which may justly put Christians to the Blush, who come not up to the Moral Virtues of poor Heathens heretofore famous (upon that account) in the Ages wherein they liv'd; as Themistocles for his Faithfulness to his Country, Aristides for his Justice, Scipio for his Chastity, Cato for his Sobriety, and several others for Eminent and Virtuous Qualifications. As to this present Author, and his History, he's well known among the Learned to be a Treasury of Ancient History. Amongst others, Henry Stephen, in his Tract of Diodorus, gives him this honourable Encomium: Quantum Solis lumen inter Stellas, tantum inter Omnes, quotquot ad nostra tempora pervenerunt, Historicos (si utilitas potius, quam voluptatis aurium habenda est ratio) noster hic Diodorus eminere dici potest. And Justin Martyr, and some others, call him the most famous Author of all the Greek Historians. Amongst other Excellencies of this Author, he is peculiarly observable to have a Regard and Respect to the Providence of God in the Affairs of the World; and is the Only ancient Author that takes notice in the Course of his History of the Times, wherein the most famous Historians, Philosophers and Poets flourish'd. Our Author himself liv'd about Threescore Years before our Saviour's Birth, in the time of Julius Caesar, and the Reign of Augustus; and writ a General History from the beginning of the World to his own time, in Forty Books call'd the Historical Library, of which only Fifteen are extant, the rest lost by the Injury of Time. The Five first are properly the Mythological Part of the History, more incertain, and full of Egyptian and Grecian Fables; but very useful for the Understanding of Ancient Authors, and the Knowledge of the Assyrian Monarchy. They give an Account of the Affairs of the World from the Beginning of Time (known to the Heathens) to the Trojan War exclusively: The Five next in order are perish'd, which is the reason the Eleventh Book immediaelty follows, which begins with the Expedition of Xerxes into Greece, and from thence the History is continued in Five Books to the beginning of the Reign of Philip King of Macedon, Father of Alexander the Great; and from the Reign of Philip in Five more, to the Expedition of Seleucus Nicanor in Capadocia, containing an Account of Things done for the space of 179 Years.

The Books are divided into Chapters, for the Ease of the Reader, who may thereby the better Pause and Breath when he thinks fit; and to supply a Chronological Table in the Ten last Books, the distinction of Times is observ'd in the Margin, both by the Olympiads, and the Christian Aera; for the Relations in the first Five Books, were long before the Olympiads began, and the History is so ancient, that the certain Times of Persons and Things there related, are for the most part unknown or very uncertain.

To the present Translation, is added that of the Excerpts or Pragments of some of those Books of Diodorus Siculus that are lost, Collected by Photius in his Bibliotheca, and by others, annexed at the end of the Edition of Diodorus Publish'd by Rhodomannus. You have here likewise a further Addition of Valesius his Excerpts, Publish'd by him in the Year of Our Lord 1634.

After the Fragments, there's a Supplement taken out of Quintus Curtius and Arrianus, to fill up a great Chasm in Diodorus, lib. 17. p. 557. where that part of his History is lost. As those Authors had their Materials from him, (as is not doubted among the Learned) so 'tis but a piece of common Gratitude to help him over the Ditch by a Staff made out of his own Pile. That the Matter contained in this Supplement is that which is wanting in Diodorus, is apparent not only from some Part of the broken History that is there, but from the Index immediately before the 17th Book in Rhodomannus's Edition, where the Heads of the Subject Matter are to be found in their Order together, but nothing of 'em in the Body of the History. The said Heads are placed over every distinct Subject in the said Supplement.

But as to the Translation of the Whole, it may be very well expected some Apology should be made, or Reason given, for Translating the Five first Books, which appeared in the English Tongue above Forty Years ago. To give therefore Satisfaction in that Particular, we can truly and sincerely say, it was not undertaken without some Regret, not willing to seem a captious Censurer of other Mens Labours; therefore to obviate that Suspicion, we are willing to be an Advocate to excuse what was before done in this Kind, as to those Five Books; for the Errors and Defects that appear in the former Translation, are chiefly occasion'd by an old Latin Edition of Diodorus, whereunto the Translator wholly apply'd himself, having at that time (without doubt) no better an Edition to direct him. At the first it was design'd to have spar'd so much time, because they had been before Translated, but often hearing the former Censur'd, and a new Translation desir'd of those Five Books (which thro' a Mistake are divided by the old Latin Edition into Six, by taking the First Book to be two, because it's in two Parts) we were the more inclin'd, and at length resolv'd to endure the Toil, tho' withal we might, perhaps, fall under Censure, in undertaking to Reform the Errors of another, and yet prove as much, if not more Faulty in the same Things our selves.

But whatever it be, here we Present it to the Judgment of the Ingenuous Reader, together with the other Books, intreating him to accept what he Judges worthy his Approbation, and, with a Favourable Censure, to pass by the Errors and Mistakes he may espy in the Perusal. As for the Carping Momus, if the whole were in all respects Exact and Compleat, (which were a Vanity to pretend,) it were far more likely from such to meet with a Cavilling Sarcasm, than to be Indulg'd with any Favourable Acceptance.

Previous Forward

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books

The last ten books


Free Books

The Histories of Herodotus written in 440 BC is considered to be the founding work of history in Western literature. His history included stories and fables but he claimed to have traveled extensively and learned about many countries through direct observation.

The thesis of Stolen Legacy is that the Egyptians created what is wrongly called Greek philosophy. Dr. James argues that the African origin of Greek Philosophy is well known but rarely discussed. Ancient Greek historians such as Herodotus and Diodorus the Sicilian wrote in significant detail about the contributions of Egypt. Egyptian technology and libraries were unmatched and Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras and Plato studied there. The contribution of Africa to the intellectual foundation of modern knowledge is tremendous but unacknowledged.

The Library of History by Diodorus the Sicilian is one of the most highly regarded universal histories in antiquities. His work includes the history of Egypt, Asia, Africa, Greece and Europe. His book is a must read for research of ancient history.

Bible Study The King James Bible (kjv), World English Bible (web) and Bible in Basic English (bbe) are all examples of public domain books. The King James Bible (kjv) online uses the content from these books and open source software to enhance Bible study capabilities. The site includes the verse of the day, search tools, christian literature and links to related content. It demonstrates the use of open source to create a valuable service.