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Diodorus or Diodorus Siculus or Diodorus of Sicily was a Greek historian. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira).[1]


Universal history Bibliotheca historica

He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC. It is arranged in three parts.

  • The first covers mythic history up to the destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions around the world from Egypt, India and Arabia to Greece and Europe.
  • The second covers the Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great.
  • The third covers the period to about 60BC. The title Bibliotheca, meaning 'library', acknowledges that he was drawing on the work of many other authors.

Diodorus' universal history, which he named Bibliotheca historica (Greek: Ἱστορικὴ Βιβλιοθήκη, "Historical Library"), was immense and consisted of 40 books, of which 1–5 and 11–20 survive: fragments of the lost books are preserved in Photius and the excerpts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.

It was divided into three sections. The first six books treated the mythic history of the non-Hellenic and Hellenic tribes to the destruction of Troy and are geographical in theme, and describe the history and culture of Ancient Egypt (book I), of Mesopotamia, India, Scythia, and Arabia (II), of North Africa (III), and of Greece and Europe (IV–VI).

In the next section (books VII–XVII), he recounts the history of the world from the Trojan War down to the death of Alexander the Great. The last section (books XVII to the end) concerns the historical events from the successors of Alexander down to either 60 BC or the beginning of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. (The end has been lost, so it is unclear whether Diodorus reached the beginning of the Gallic War as he promised at the beginning of his work or, as evidence suggests, old and tired from his labours he stopped short at 60 BC.) He selected the name "Bibliotheca" in acknowledgment that he was assembling a composite work from many sources.

Identified authors on whose works he drew include Hecataeus of Abdera, Ctesias of Cnidus, Ephorus, Theopompus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos, Diyllus, Philistus, Timaeus, Polybius, and Posidonius.

His account of gold mining in Nubia in eastern Egypt is one of the earliest extant texts on the topic, and describes in vivid detail the use of slave labour in terrible working conditions.

Mention by Pliny

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[2] mentions Troglodytice....Beyond it is the Port of Isis, distant ten days' rowing from the town of the Adulitæ: myrrh is brought to this port by the Troglodytæ. The two islands before the harbour are called Pseudepylæ18, and those in it, the same in number, are known as Pylæ19; upon one of these there are some stone columns inscribed with unknown characters. Beyond these is the Gulf of Abalites, the Island of Diodorus20, and other desert islands; also, on the mainland, a succession of deserts, and then the town of Gaza, and the promontory and port of Mossylum21, to the latter of which cinnamon is brought for exportation: it was thus far that Sesostris led22 his army.

18 The "False Gates."

19 The "Gates."

20 D'Anville and Gosselin think that this is the island known as the French Island.

21 Ansart thinks that this promontory is that known as Cape de Meta, and that the port is at the mouth of the little river called Soul or Soal.

22 In his Ethiopian expedition. According to Strabo, he had altars and pillars erected there to record it.

Island of Diodorus

Perim (Arabic: بريم [Barīm]), also called Mayyun in Arabic, is a volcanic island in the Strait of Mandeb at the south entrance into the Red Sea, off the south-west coast of Yemen and belonging to Yemen. It administratively belongs to Dhubab District or Bab al-Mandab District, Taiz Governorate. The island of Perim divides the strait of Mandeb into two channels.

In ancient time, it was called "the island of Diodorus" (Greek: Διοδώρου νῆσος, Latin: Diodori insula).[3] It is mentioned by Pliny the Elder,[4] by the author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea[5] and in Ptolemy's Geography.[6] Perim possibly derives from the Arab term Barim (chain) associated with the history of the Straits and one of its Arab names, the other Arab name being Mayyun. The Portuguese called it Majun or Meho (from Mayyun), although Albuquerque had solemnly named the island Vera Cruz in 1513. On many British and French maps of the 17th and 18th century the island is called Babelmandel, as the Straits are. Some early 19th century navigation guides still call it the island of Bab-el-Mandeb although they may mention that it is also called Perim.[7] By the time the British permanently occupied the island in 1857, the name Perim had come into general usage.

On Jats

"The Jats are none other than the Massagetae (Great Getae) mentioned in Diodorus as an off-spring of the ancient Saka tribe.... a fact now well-known.[8][9]

External links


  1. Diod. History 1.4.4.
  2. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 34
  3. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) - Diodori insula
  4. "Places".
  5. Hunter, F. M. (1877). An Account of the British Settlement of Aden in Arabia. London: Trübner. p. 191. OCLC 1088546.
  6. Claudius Ptolemy, Geography
  7. India Directory, or Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies,[...], London 1836.
  8. Shrava, Satya (1981). The Sakas in India (revised ed.). New Delhi: Pranava Prakashan, 1981
  9. Common Origin of Croats, Serbs and Jats

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