Greek historian, who wrote works of history between 60 and 30 BC. He is known for the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica. According to Diodorus’ own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira). With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus’ life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work. Only Jerome, in his Chronicon under the “year of Abraham 1968" (i.e., 49 BC), writes, "Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious". His English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on the “striking coincidence” that one of only two known Greek inscriptions from Agyrium (I.G. XIV, 588) is the tombstone of one “Diodorus, the son of Apollonius”.

"Now the Ethiopians, as historians relate, were the first of all men and the proofs of this statement, they say, are manifest. For they did not come into their land as immigrants from abroad but were natives of it and so justly bear the name “autochthones” is they maintain, conceded by practically all men; furthermore, that those who dwell beneath the noon-day sun were, in all likelihood, the first to be generated by the earth, is clear to all; since, inasmuch as it was the warmth of the sun which, at the generation of the universe, dried up the earth when it was still wet and impregnated it with life, it is reasonable to suppose that the region which was nearest to the sun was the first to bring forth living creatures.”

We must now speak about the Ethiopian writing which is call hieroglyphic among the Egyptians, in order that we may omit nothing in our discussion of their antiquities. … .”

"They [the Ethiopians] say also that the Egyptians are colonists sent out by the Ethiopians, Osiris ["King of Kings and God of Gods"] having been the leader of the colony … they add that the Egyptians have received from them, as from authors and their ancestors, the greater part of their laws." 

Diodorus’s declared intention to trace the origins of the cult of Osiris, alias the Greek Dionysus also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus. The Homeric Hymn locates the birth of Dionysus in a mysterious city of Nysa “near the streams of Aegyptus [Egypt]” (Hesiod 287). Diodorus cites this reference as well as the ancient belief that Dionysus was the son of Ammon, king of Libya (3.68.1), and much of Book 3 of the Bibliotheka Historica [Library of History] is devoted to the intertwined histories of Dionysus and the god-favored Ethiopians whom he believed to be the originators of Egyptian civilization.


(Photo via TheHistoryBlog)

A tombstone tells a story, but some do it better than others. An 1,800 year-old tombstone of a Roman gladiator has been deciphered by a professor at Brock University in St. Catherines, Canada. 

The tombstone depicts a gladiator, Diodorus, standing over his opponent while holding two swords. The fallen fighters is seen signalling his apparent surrender. The epitaph on the tombstone reads, “After breaking my opponent Demitrius I did not kill him immediately. Fate and the cunning treachery of the summa rudis killed me.” A summa rudis is a referee who may have had past experience as a gladiator. Diodorus had to return Demitrius’ weapon after a mis-called surrender and fight him once more, however, Diodorus lost this time.

Evidently, the family believed the referee had lied or cheated and so they made this epitaph telling of how Diodorus was cheated out of a win.

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Their aspect is terrifying…They are very tall in stature, with ripling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so: they bleach it, to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheaads. They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse’s mane. Some of them are cleanshaven, but others - especially those of high rank, shave their cheeks but leave a moustache that covers the whole mouth and, when they eat and drink, acts like a sieve, trapping particles of food…The way they dress is astonishing: they wear brightly coloured and embroidered shirts, with trousers called bracae and cloaks fastened at the shoulder with a brooch, heavy in winter, light in summer. These cloaks are striped or checkered in design, with the seperate checks close together and in various colours…
—  Diodorus Siculus

We find the first evidence of the wildcat’s small cousin, Felis catus, in ancient Egypt — where the beasts were so sacred that any [person] who killed one was condemned to death. When a house cat died, the entire family shaved its eyebrows as a sign of grief; and mummified cats (along with tiny mummified mice) have been found in Egyptian tombs. In the 1st century BC, the Greek historian Diodorus reported the fate of a hapless Roman who’d caused the death of a cat:

"The populace crowded to the house of the Roman who had committed the ‘murder’; and neither the efforts of the magistrates sent by the King to protect him nor the universal fear inspired by the might of Rome could avail to save the man’s life, though what he had done was admitted to be accidental. This is not an incident which I report from hearsay, but something I saw myself during my sojourn in Egypt."


Terri Windling

(edited for sexist language)

Weird stuff I find on Wikipedia:

Meet Sardanapalus, the decadent, totally fucked-up last king of Assyria, who served as the inspiration for many writers and artists during the Romantic period. According to the Greek writer and historian Diodorus Siculus, he ruled in 7th Century BC and led an impressively hedonistic and self-indulgent lifestyle, complete with his own personal swarm of male and female concubines.

Naturally, everyone hated him, especially Arbaces, who happened to be one of his commanding army generals at the time. Arbaces, along with other fellow Assyrian dissidents and the neighboring Medes, Persians, and Babylonians, decided to conspire against Sardanapalus and launch an attack against his kingdom.

A war quickly ensued, which Sardanapalus foolishly believed he won due to his early and successful attempts to route the rebels. Feeling rather proud of himself, he then held a massive celebration for his troops and proceeded to do even more incorrigible, self-indulgent things. However, the festivities were cut short, when his enemies managed to successfully surge towards his capital and former stronghold, Nineveh. As a result, many people in his army died, including his brother-in-law, who had earlier assumed his position as Commander, while Sardanapalus was, you know, presumably screwing virgins and being fed grapes by his eunuchs.

Defeat was, thus, imminent; so as to avoid complete and utter humiliation, he decided to control his own fate rather than have it forcibly taken away from him. He commissioned the construction of a large funeral pyre, filled it with all his priceless belongings, trapped his concubines and slaves inside it, and then proceeded to burn them and himself to death.

The painting found above is Eugène Delacroix’s colourful depiction of his death.

Here is the girl’s head like an exhumed gourd.
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.

They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty.
Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:
Her broken nose is dark as a turf clod,
Her eyeholes blank as pools in the old workings.
Diodorus Siculus confessed
His gradual ease with the likes of this:
Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible
Beheaded girl, outstaring axe
And beatification, outstaring
What had begun to feel like reverence.

—  Strange Fruit, Seamus Heaney.

By @tvco via :
#CANnabis was first documented in Kemet (#AncientEgypt) around 2000 B.C.E. to treat sore eyes and #cataracts. According to Diodorus Siculus (historian who lived from 90 to 21 B.C.E.) #Egyptian women used CANnabis as a medication to relieve sorrow and bad humour… You can’t spell Healthcare with THC. #hemp #Kemet #HempCANSaveTheWorld #medicinal #highsociety #CANnabisEnthusiast #Colorado #healTHCare

Diodorus Siculus' Account of the Life of Semiramis

Semiramis is the semi-divine Warrior-Queen of Assyria, whose reign is most clearly documented by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (90-30 BCE) in his great work Bibliotheca Historica (“Historical Library”) written over thirty years, most probably between 60-30 BCE. Diodorus drew on the works of earlier authors, such as Ctesias of Cnidus (c. 400 BCE), which are no longer extant. Ctesias…

Continue reading: Diodorus Siculus’ Account of the Life of Semiramis on Ancient History Encyclopedia

Many people dance to make their crops grow, by sympathetic magic. But such dances elsewhere are annual like the crops, not biennial like the ὀρειβασία; their season is spring, not midwinter; and their scene is the cornland, not the barren mountaintops. Late Greek writers thought of the dances at Delphi as commemorative: they dance, says Diodorus (4.3), “in imitation of the maenads who are said to have been associated with the god in the old days.” Probably he is right, as regards his own time; but ritual is usually older than the myth by which people explain it, and has deeper psychological roots.
Europe[edit] Celts[edit]

The Celts of western Europe long pursued a "cult of the severed head", as evidenced by both Classical literary descriptions and archaeological contexts.[28] This cult played a central role in their temples and religious practices and earned them a reputation as head hunters among the Mediterranean peoples. Diodorus Siculus, in his 1st-century History had this to say about Celtic head-hunting:

They cut off the heads of enemies slain in battle and attach them to the necks of their horses. The blood-stained spoils they hand over to their attendants and striking up a paean and singing a song of victory; and they nail up these first fruits upon their houses, just as do those who lay low wild animals in certain kinds of hunting. They embalm in cedar oil the heads of the most distinguished enemies, and preserve them carefully in a chest, and display them with pride to strangers, saying that for this head one of their ancestors, or his father, or the man himself, refused the offer of a large sum of money. They say that some of them boast that they refused the weight of the head in gold.

Both the Greeks and Romans found the Celtic decapitation practices shocking and the latter put an end to them when Celtic regions came under their control.[29]

According to Paul Jacobsthal, “Amongst the Celts the human head was venerated above all else, since the head was to the Celt the soul, centre of the emotions as well as of life itself, a symbol of divinity and of the powers of the other-world.”[30] Arguments for a Celtic cult of the severed head include the many sculptured representations of severed heads in La Tène carvings, and the surviving Celtic mythology, which is full of stories of the severed heads of heroes and the saints who carry their own severed heads, right down to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where the Green Knight picks up his own severed head after Gawain has struck it off, just as St. Denis carried his head to the top of Montmartre.

A further example of this regeneration after beheading lies in the tales of Connemara's St. Feichin, who after being beheaded by Viking pirates carried his head to the Holy Well onOmey Island and on dipping the head into the well placed it back upon his neck and was restored to full health.

Classical Antiquity[edit]

The ancient Greeks and Romans regarded decapitation as a comparatively honorable form of execution for criminals. The traditional procedure, however, included first being tied to a stake and whipped with rods. Axes were used by the Romans, and later swords, which were considered a more honorable instrument of death. Those who could verify that they were Roman citizens were to be beheaded, rather than undergoing the much more horrific experience of crucifixion. In the Roman Republic of the early 1st century BC, it became the tradition for the severed heads of public enemies — such as the political opponents of Marius and Sulla for example — to be publicly displayed on the Rostra in theForum Romanum after execution. Perhaps the most famous such victim was Cicero who, on instructions from Mark Antony, had his hands (which had penned the Philippics against Antony) and his head cut off and nailed up for display in this manner.

Head hunting[edit]

The iconography of the human head is believed by many archaeologists and historians to have played a significant part in Celtic religion. The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, writing in the 1st century BCE, described how Celtic warriors “cut off the heads of enemies slain in battle and attach them to the necks of their horses.”[42] Strabo meanwhile commented in the same century that until the Roman authorities put a stop to it, amongst the Celts, “the heads of enemies held in high repute they used to embalm in cedar oil and exhibit to strangers.”[43]Archaeological evidence indicating that the Celts did indeed behead humans and then display their heads, possibly for religious purposes, has been unearthed at a number of excavations; one notable example of this was found at the Gaulish site of Entremont near to Aix-en-Provence, where a fragment of a pillar carved with images of skulls was found, within which were niches where actual human skulls were kept, nailed into position, fifteen examples of which were found.[44]

The archaeologist Barry Cunliffe believed that the Celts held “reverence for the power of the head” and that “to own and display a distinguished head was to retain and control the power of the dead person”[45] whilst the archaeologist Anne Ross asserted that “the Celts venerated the head as a symbol of divinity and the powers of the otherworld, and regarded it as the most important bodily member, the very seat of the soul.”[46] The archaeologist Miranda Green meanwhile stated that “I refute any suggestion that the head itself was worshipped but it was clearly venerated as the most significant element in a human or divine image representing the whole.”[47] The historian Ronald Hutton however criticised the idea of the “cult of the human head”, believing that both the literary and archaeological evidence did not warrant this conclusion, noting that “the frequency with which human heads appears upon Celtic metalwork proves nothing more than they were a favourite decorative motif, among several, and one just as popular among non-Celtic peoples.”[48]