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.

The panic they had sown was caused by their savagery, the din they made and their habit of attacking naked. But they did not exploit this victory. Instead of pursuing the fleeing enemy at once into Rome itself, ‘the Celts spent the morrow of the battle cutting the heads off their slain foes, in accordance with custom’ – at least so Diodorus says. Meanwhile, he adds, they did not dare exploit the situation, as the apparently open city seemed too obvious a trap. Evidently it did not occur to them that the gates were left open because the enemy had been so terrified by their attack. After their experience on the Allia the Romans no longer trusted their own walls but fled at once to the better-fortified Capitol, abandoning everything under this castle-hill and temple to the enemy.
—  Gerhard Herm, The Celts

İslam’a göre Kabe’yi Adem yapmış. İbrahim ve oğlu İsmail de yeniden inşa etmiş. Bu bilgiler sadece Kur’an’da ve Kur’an’dan sonra yazılmış olan kitaplarda geçiyor. İslam öncesine ait bu bilgileri destekleyen hiçbir kayıt yok.

Kabe’den ilk olarak M.Ö. 60 senesinde Roma’lı tarihçi Diodorus bahsediyor. Arapların büyük saygı gösterdiği putevi olarak kitaplarında geçiyor. Ondan önce hiçbir tarihçi bahsetmemiş. Örneğin Heredot bütün Arabistan’ı gezmiş, Arap tanrılarını yazmış ama Kabe’den hiç bahsetmemiş. Halbuki Kabe o sıra varolsaydı muhakkak yazardı. Bu durumda anlaşılıyor ki Kabe Heredot ile Diodorus arasındaki zamanda yapılmış. Yani M.Ö. 440 ile M.Ö. 60 arasında.

İbrahim ise M.Ö. 2000’li yıllara yakın yaşamış. Yani bu tarihlerden 1500 yıl önce. Ve Tevrat’ta İbrahim’in hakkında yazılan geniş anlatımlarda ne Kabe’den bahseder ne de İbrahim’in Arabistan’a gittiğinden. İslamcılar bunu “Tevrat tahrif edilmiş” diyerek geçiştirmeye çalışırlar. Halbuki Muhammed’den 600 sene öncesine ait Tevrat bulundu ve bu tarihi Tevrat günümüzdekiyle aynı, hiç değişmemiş. Yani, dense ki “İslam’dan dolayı tahrif ettiler”, daha İslam ortada yokken, Muhammed dünyaya gelmemişken Tevrat’ta bir bahis yok. En basit şeyleri bile yazan Tevrat böylesine önemli bir ayrıntıyı atlamazdı.

Ve bir önemli nokta da Kur’an da dahil, hiçbir kitapta hac yapan, Kabe’yi ziyaret eden bir peygamberden söz edilmez. Madem ki Adem zamanında yapıldı ve Allah’ın eviydi burası, neden peygamberler hac yapmamıştır? Sadece Muhammed’in bahsetmesi ve Kur’an’da geçmesi; putperestliğin yerine İslam yerleştirilirken hac ve Kabe hakkındaki bilgilerin de İslam’a uygun şekilde düzenlendiğini gösteriyor.

Just how many people were enslaved in the Roman Republic?

It is still unclear just how many people were enslaved in the Roman Republic. Walter Scheidel estimates 1.2 million people, about 20% of the low-count estimated total population, at any given time, in mainland Italia in the late Republic and early Empire.

I get the impression that slavery was associated with cash crops, in the food industry, and with wool, in the clothing industry. Diodorus certainly emphasizes the fact that the Romans in Sicilia used slaves as shepherds, and the slave-plantation manuals emphasize wine and olive oil.

I can’t be sure how much of the economy these accounted for. Going by Jonathon Roth’s recunstruction of Roman military rations, the olive oil and wine account for about 27% of the food costs, although it would seem the army subsidized food costs. In Italia, wool and wool-working probably account for more than 50% of the clothing costs. In Aegyptus, with the better records, linen accounted for more, and soldiers often paid more than the standard 181 1/2 sestertii on clothing including shoes and socks.

On the whole, I think that the ‘traditional’ interpretation that slaves accounted for somewhere around 33% of the Italian population seems more plausible than the newer estimates that they accounted for around 20% of the Italian population.