Semiramis' Legacy

The History of Persia According to Diodorus of Sicily

Jan P. Stronk

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Presents and contextualises extracts from the Historical Library of Diodorus

There are only a few detailed histories of Persia from Ancient Greek historiography that have survived time. Diodorus of Sicily, a first century BC author, is the only one to have written a comprehensive history (the Bibliotheca Historica or Historical Library) in which more than cursory attention is paid to Persia. The Bibliotheca Historica covers the entire period from Persia’s prehistory until the arrival of the Parthians from the East and that of Roman power throughout Asia Minor and beyond from the West, around 750 years after Assyrian rule ended.

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List of Figures and TablesPrefaceAbbreviationsSeries Editor’s PrefaceIntroduction: Diodorus’ Work and Our SourcesA. IntroductionB. Diodorus’ lifeC. The Bιβλιοθήκη ἱστορική (‘Historical Library’)D. Diodorus’ methodE. Diodorus’ viewsF. The structure of the BibliothecaG. Final observationsH. SummaryI. Our primary sources for Diodorus: manuscripts and relevant editionsManuscripts of books 1-5Manuscripts of books 11-20The Excerpta ConstantinianaManuscripts of the Excerpta ConstantinianaPhotius’ BibliothecaManuscripts of Photius’ BibliothecaSome editions of Diodorus’ Bibliotheca1 Diodorus’ SourcesA. Preliminary remarksB. Books 1-5C. Fragments books 6-10D. Books 11-20E. Fragments books 21-32F. Fragments books 33-40G. Diodorus and his source-authorsH. Diodorus’ use of his sources2 Ancient History: Assyrians, Chaldeans, and MedesA. The Assyrian HistoryB. The Chaldean HistoryC. The Median History3 The Persians and the Greek WarsA. The Arians and general customs of the PersiansB. Cyrus the Great (c. 576/5-530)C. Cambyses II (?–523/2)D. Darius the Great (c. 550-486)E. Xerxes I (c. 519-465)4 Revolt and SeditionA. Artaxerxes I (?–424)B. Xerxes II (?–423)C. Sogdianus (?–423)D. Darius II (?–404)E. Artaxerxes II Mnemon (c. 436-358)F. Artaxerxes III Ochus (425-338)5 Alexander the Great Defeats Darius IIIA. Darius III Codomannus (c. 380-330)B. Alexander’s expedition up to the end of the Battle of IssusC. From Issus to GaugamelaD. From Gaugamela to Persepolis6 From Persepolis to BabylonA. Alexander pursues BessusB. Alexander’s Indian adventureC. The final phase of the expedition7 The Period of the Diadochs: The Rift OpensThe years 323/2-318/178 The Period of the Diadochs: The Rift DeepensThe years 317/16-311/109 The Vicissitudes of the Diadoch Kingdoms: The Final Years of Diodorus’ Persian AccountA. The years 311/10-260/79B. The years after 28010 Semiramis’ LegacyConclusionBibliographyIndex of Classical SourcesIndex of Modern AuthorsGeneral Index

Anyone who deals with the Greco-Iranian East since the later Achaemenids (amongst whom the reviewer counts himself) will find a work by Jan P. Stronk that brings together almost all the testimonies handed down by Diodorus and presents them as appealingly as knowledgeably. It is highly valuable for the future research in this field.
Martin Schottky, Anabasis
‘This much-needed and timely work is a model of its kind and a testament to the author’s massive erudition and good judgement.’
John Dillery, Professor of Classics, University of Virginia
Jan Stronk is Research Associate in the Department of Ancient History at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of The Ten Thousand in Thrace: An Archaeological and Historical Commentary on Xenophon’s Anabasis, Books VI.iii-vi – VII (1995), Ctesias’ Persian History, Part I: Introduction, Text and Translation (2010) and Ctesias’ Persian History, Part 2: Historical Commentary and Conclusions (forthcoming).

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