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surnamed Siculus, or the Sicilian. A Greek historian, native of Agyrion, in Sicily, who lived in the times of Julius Caeesar and Augustus. After thirty years preparation, based upon the results yielded by long travels in Asia and Europe, and the use of the plentiful materials supplied by residence in Rome, he wrote his Bibliotheca, an Universal History in 40 books, extending over a period of some 1,100 years, from the oldest time to 60 B.C. In the first six books he treated the primitive history and mythology of the Egyptians, the natives of Asia, and Africa, slid the Hellenes. The next eleven embraced the period from the Trojan war to the death of Alexander the Great. The remaining 23 brought the history down to the beginning of Caesar's struggle with Gaul. We still possess books 1-5 and 11-20 (from the Persian War under Xerxes to 302 B.C.), besides fragments, partly considerable, of the other books. In the early books his treatment is ethnographical; but from the seventh book onwards, in the strictly historical part of his work, he writes like an annalist narrating all the events of one year at a time, with emphasis on the more important ones. It is obvious that this proceeding must rob the history of all its inner connection. He has other weaknesses. He is incapable of seizing the individual characteristics either of nations or of individuals, and contents himself with giving anecdotes and unconnected details. He follows his authorities blindly, without any attempt to criticize their statements. Then his work falls far short of the ideal which he himself sets up in his introduction. But it is none the less of great value as being one of the main authorities for many parts of ancient history, especially that affecting Sicily. In his style Diodorus aims at clearness and simplicity.
Type: Standard
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