Diodorus, commonly called, from the island of his birth, Diodorus Siculus, a historian of the time of Caesar and Augustus, born at Agyrium in Sicily ; the precise dates of his birth and death are unknown. He spent 30 years in composing a universal history, and in the preparation of this work he traversed a large portion of Europe and Asia. The first 6 books treated of the times anterior to the Trojan war; the 11 following extended to the death of Alexander the Great; while in the remaining 23 the history was brought down to the time of Julius Caesar. Of this extensive work, which was styled or
(library, or historical library), we have now only 15 books entire, and a few fragments of the rest. The first 5 books, containing the ancient history of the eastern nations, the Ethiopians, Egyptians, and Greeks, and the 10 from the 11th to the 20th inclusive, comprising events from the second Persian war, 480 B. C, down to 302, remain entire. Many fragments of the other books are preserved in the works of Photius, and in the Eclogoe, or selections, made by order of the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The Bibliotheca is the only authentic work of Diodorus of which we have any knowledge. It is written in the style of annals, in a confused and discordant manner; but the work is valuable as giving us, if not always information of facts, at least of the opinions of men at a period concerning which our knowledge is so exceedingly meagre that the slightest addition is of great value. The first 5 books are especially prized on this account.
Most of the events treated in the other 10 are better told by Thucydides and Xenophon, who are silent, however, upon the Carthaginian wars in Sicily related by Diodorus. The best modern editions of his works are those of Dindorf (6 vols., Leipsic, 1828; 5 vols., 1867-8), Muller (Paris, 1842-'4), and Bekker (4 vols., Leipsic, 1853-'4). That portion which relates to the successors of Alexander was translated into English by Thomas Stocker (4to, London, 1569). The whole work was translated by Thomas Cogan (fob, London, 1653), and by G. Booth (fob, London, 1700 or 1721; republished, 2 vols, royal 8vo, London, 1814).