Semiramis’ Legacy

Stronk, Jan p. 2016. Semiramis’ Legacy: The History of Persia According to Diodorus of Sicily (Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia). Edinburgh University Press.

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.

Diodorus’ contribution to our knowledge of Persian history is therefore of great value for the modern historian of the Ancient Near East and in this book Jan Stronk provides the first complete translation of Diodorus’ account of the history of Persia. He also examines and evaluates both Diodorus’ account and the sources he used to compose his work, taking into consideration the historical, political and archaeological factors that may have played a role in the transmission of the evidence he used to acquire the raw material underlying his Bibliotheca.

Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables



Series Editor’s Preface

Introduction: Diodorus’ Work and Our Sources

A. Introduction

B. Diodorus’ life

C. The Bιβλιοθήκη ἱστορική (‘Historical Library’)

D. Diodorus’ method

E. Diodorus’ views

F. The structure of the Bibliotheca

G. Final observations

H. Summary

I. Our primary sources for Diodorus: manuscripts and relevant editions

Manuscripts of books 1-5

Manuscripts of books 11-20

The Excerpta Constantiniana

Manuscripts of the Excerpta Constantiniana

Photius’ Bibliotheca

Manuscripts of Photius’ Bibliotheca

Some editions of Diodorus’ Bibliotheca

1 Diodorus’ Sources

A. Preliminary remarks

B. Books 1-5

C. Fragments books 6-10

D. Books 11-20

E. Fragments books 21-32

F. Fragments books 33-40

G. Diodorus and his source-authors

H. Diodorus’ use of his sources

2 Ancient History: Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Medes

A. The Assyrian History

B. The Chaldean History

C. The Median History

3 The Persians and the Greek Wars

A. The Arians and general customs of the Persians

B. 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 Sedition

A. 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 III

A. Darius III Codomannus (c. 380-330)

B. Alexander’s expedition up to the end of the Battle of Issus

C. From Issus to Gaugamela

D. From Gaugamela to Persepolis

6 From Persepolis to Babylon

A. Alexander pursues Bessus

B. Alexander’s Indian adventure

C. The final phase of the expedition

7 The Period of the Diadochs: The Rift Opens

The years 323/2-318/17

8 The Period of the Diadochs: The Rift Deepens

The years 317/16-311/10

9 The Vicissitudes of the Diadoch Kingdoms: The Final Years of Diodorus’ Persian Account

A. The years 311/10-260/79

B. The years after 280

10 Semiramis’ Legacy



Index of Classical Sources

Index of Modern Authors

General Index