2007 — A Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book
Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus (ca. 100-30 BCE) is our only surviving source for a continuous narrative of Greek history from Xerxes' invasion to the Wars of the Successors following the death of Alexander the Great. Yet this important historian has been consistently denigrated as a mere copyist who slavishly reproduced the works of earlier historians without understanding what he was writing. By contrast, in this iconoclastic work Peter Green builds a convincing case for Diodorus' merits as a historian. Through a fresh English translation of a key portion of his multi-volume history (the so-called Bibliotheke, or "Library") and a commentary and notes that refute earlier assessments of Diodorus, Green offers a fairer, better balanced estimate of this much-maligned historian.
The portion of Diodorus' history translated here covers the period 480-431 BCE, from the Persian invasion of Greece to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. This half-century, known as the Pentekontaetia, was the Golden Age of Periclean Athens, a time of unprecedented achievement in drama, architecture, philosophy, historiography, and the visual arts. Green's accompanying notes and commentary revisit longstanding debates about historical inconsistencies in Diodorus' work and offer thought-provoking new interpretations and conclusions. In his masterful introductory essay, Green demolishes the traditional view of Diodorus and argues for a thorough critical reappraisal of this synthesizing historian, who attempted nothing less than a "universal history" that begins with the gods of mythology and continues down to the eve of Julius Caesar's Gallic campaigns.
Peter Green is James R. Dougherty, Jr., Centennial Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently he serves as Adjunct Professor of Classics at the University of Iowa and Editor of Syllecta Classica.
Diodorus Siculus: Life and Background
The Bibliotheke I: Composition, Antecedents, Influences
The Bibliotheke II: Aims, Achievements, Criticism
The Persian Wars and the Pentekontaetia
Translation and Commentary, Diodorus Siculus Bibliotheke Book 11: 480-451 B.C.E.
Translation and Commentary, Diodorus Siculus Bibliotheke Book 12.1.1-12.37.1: 450-431 B.C.E.
Appendix A: The Terminal Date of the Bibliotheke
Appendix B: Athenian Losses in the Egyptian Campaign
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