[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

Diodorus Siculus

 p1  Introductiona1

Diodorus's Chronology

The parts of Diodorus's Library of History which are covered in this volumea2 offer few serious chronological problems. As elsewhere, Diodorus identifies each year by the Attic archon and the Roman consuls, adding the number of the Olympiad every four years. As elsewhere, he tries to complete the narrative of each event at one time, and this often leads him to continue a story beyond the year to which it belongs, or to begin its account later than would be strictly correct. Specific dates as an aid to the reader are here added in footnotes, when they are known.

Consuls' and archons' names differ not infrequently from those which are attested otherwise, either in part or in whole, and these latter are supplied in footnotes, the archons from J. Kirchner's Prosopographia Attica (Vol. 2 (1903), 635) and the consuls from T. R. S. Broughton's The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (Vol. 1, 1951). The manuscript form of the names is kept in text and translation. For the consuls, it is enough to refer to the study of the problem by G. Perl, Kritische Untersuchungen zu Diodors römischer Jahrzählung (1957). The years covered by this volume, 345 to 323 B.C., offer fewer problems than elsewhere. Since he lacks the so‑called dictator years, one of which (333 B.C.) falls within this period, the consuls are dated by Diodorus two or three years later than in the Varronian chronology.

 p2  For some reason, the consuls of 345 B.C. are placed three years earlier than in other lists.

The problems of the calendar year employed by Diodorus to date events in the Alexander story haveº recently been investigated by M. J. Fontana, Kokala, 2.1 (1956), 37‑49. His conclusion that Diodorus here follows the Macedonian year which began in the autumn, but identified it by the names of the archon and the consuls who took office up to eight or nine months later, seems well founded. In the later years of Alexander's life, Diodorus's chronology becomes quite confused.1

Earlier, in Book XVI, on the other hand, the assignment of the battle of Chaeronea to 338/7 B.C. (chaps. 84‑87) shows that Diodorus was there not following the Macedonian calendar. His choice in each case was presumably made for him in his source. His assignment of the sieges of Perinthus and Byzantium to 341/0 B.C. (chaps. 74‑76), while they were narrated by Philochorus under 340/39 B.C. (F. Jacoby, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, no. 328, F 54), is explained by the fact that the events occurred in the spring and summer of 340 B.C.

Sources and Character of the Narrative, Book XVI

Unlike Book 17, which only rarely interrupts the story of Alexander's career to mention events elsewhere,  p3 the second half of Book 16 contains two principal narratives, interspersed by two literary references (chaps. 71.3; 76.5‑6) and a number of notes referring to other matters, chiefly of a chronological interest: the Molossians (chap. 72.1), Caria (chap. 74.2), Tarentum (chap. 88.3‑4), Heracleia Pontica (chap. 88.5), Cius (chap. 90.2) and Rome (chaps. 69.1; 90.2). There are two references to Athenian activities (chaps. 74.1; 88.1‑2). Otherwise the stories of Timoleon and of Philip are interwoven on a chronological basis (Timoleon: chaps. 66‑69.6; 70.1‑6; 72.2‑73.3; 77.4‑83; 90.1; Philip: chaps. 69.7‑8; 71.1‑2; 74.2‑76.4; 77.2‑3; 84.1‑87.3; 89; 91‑95). The source or sources of all this have been much discussed, and certainty is impossible.

In one chapter (83), it is reasonable to suppose that Diodorus, the Siceliote, is writing from his own observation, as he expressly does of Alexandria in Book 17.52.6. Otherwise the problem of Diodorus's sources is complicated by the fact that we have very few specific fragments of earlier historians whom he may have used in this period. Since we have so little, for example, of Ephorus, Theopompus, Diyllus, Timaeus and the rest, and since J. Palm has shown how drastically Diodorus not only abridged and even distorted his sources but also rephrased them (Über Sprache und Stil des Diodorus von Sizilien, 1955), all analyses based on style are unrewarding. On the other hand, there are certain indications which may be mentioned.

In the latter part of Book 16, Diodorus quotes Demosthenes (chaps. 84‑85) and Lycurgus (chap. 88), possibly also Demades (chap. 87), and these quotations may or may not have been direct. On one occasion he uses a word which may be traced back to  p4 Theopompus (chap. 70.3; p37, n28). He specifically mentions Theopompus (chap. 71.3) and Ephorus and Diyllus (chap. 76.5) as authors whom he knew and presumably had read. Once he seems to differ from the little known historian Athanis (chap. 82.5; p67, n74). Diyllus, Ephorus, and Theopompus together can have covered all the events here described by Diodorus. I do not feel, with most of the commentators, that chap. 71.3 means that Theopompus dealt with no Sicilian events later than the expulsion of Dionysius; he merely did not devote any books exclusively to the area after Book 43.

A certain presumption exists that Diodorus took his account of Timoleon from Theopompus (or possibly from Diyllus, but we know almost nothing about him), or, at any rate, not from Timaeus, in view of the markedly different tone of his narrative from that of Plutarch. Plutarch's Timoleon is a barely probable and clearly tendentious eulogy; cp. E. Schwartz, Real-Encyclopädie, 5 (1905), 687, and especially the analysis of H. D. Westlake, Timoleon and his Relation with Tyrants (1951). Diodorus, on the other hand, while laudatory, is generally credible. If Plutarch's account goes back to Timaeus, as is very likely in view of that writer's great partiality for Timoleon (Polybius, Book 12; cp. Jacoby, op. cit. no. 566; R. Laqueur, Real-Encyclopädie, A 11 (1936), 1156‑1162; T. S. Brown, Timaeus of Tauromenium, 1958), then Diodorus must have drawn on another source.

In the case of Philip, the only specific evidence we have is that (in contrast with the situation in Book 17) the story of Diodorus differs sharply from that of Trogus-Justin. Diodorus's account of Philip is generally favourable. The Greeks joined Philip willingly  p5 out of gratitude and affection (chaps. 69.8; 71.2); Philip preferred to make friends rather than to defeat enemies (chap. 95.3). In Justin, on the other hand, Philip is wily and treacherous. I make no suggestion as to the source of Justin, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that Diodorus's portrait is taken from Theopompus. It is true that the preserved fragments of the Philippic History do not give a rounded picture of Philip. Many of them are concerned with his conviviality (or depravity, depending on how you look at it). Theopompus was evidently interested in stories of the festive life in general, and so was Athenaeus, through whose agency most of these reports have been preserved. Drinking and conjoined activities were a Macedonian pleasure. We see this also in the case of Alexander. In Diodorus, however, this is all controlled and made serviceable to Philip's political ends, as in the celebration following the victory of Chaeronea (chap. 87) and in the wedding of Cleopatra (chap. 91). Essentially the same balance appears in Theopompus (note especially Jacoby, op. cit. no. 115, F 162). We may remember Theopompus's critical attitude toward Demosthenes, as reported in Plutarch, Demosthenes, 13.1; 25‑26. This strongly suggests a favourable attitude towards Philip.2

As to the narrative in the second part of Book 16 in general, Diodorus displays the unevenness for which he is well known. He indulges in vague generalities and often fails to get things quite right. On the other hand, he is capable of writing, or of  p6 repeating, dramatic and exciting stories. His account of the siege of Perinthus (chaps. 74‑76), of the battle of the Crimisus (chaps. 79‑80), of Chaeronea (chaps. 84‑87), and of the death of Philip (chaps. 91‑95) are good reading, all the more because in all but the second instance they are our only surviving account of these events. Diodorus is interested in the operations of Fortune and the reverses which that deity could produce (chap. 70.2) and he is piously delighted when sacrilegious men meet their just deserts (chaps. 78‑79.1; 82.1‑2). We may be grateful that he has been preserved.

Sources and Character of the Narrative, Book XVII

Diodorus does not name his source or sources in the Alexander History,3 nor does he anywhere cite any of the historians of Alexander except in Book 2.7.3, where Cleitarchus is quoted as his authority for the size of Babylon. Ptolemy, the future king and Arrian's principal source, is mentioned only as an actor in the story. Diodorus does not even give in a literary note information about historians who dealt with the period, as he does frequently elsewhere; for example, in Book 16.71.3 and 76.5. Once he refers to his own observation in Alexandria and what was told him of the city and the country during his visit to Egypt (chap. 52.6). Otherwise he tells a factual story on his own responsibility, rarely inserting  p7 an "it is said" or "they say" in support of a specific statement (chaps. 4.8; 85.2; 92.1; 110.7; 115.5; 118.1). Twice he introduces an item with the words "as some have written," in one case (chap. 73.4) certainly, in the other (chap. 65.5) probably, to give a variant version; the language of the latter instance is confused in a way which elsewhere is most naturally explained as due to Diodorus's careless abridgement of his source.4

Our knowledge of the career of Alexander the Great is based primarily upon the surviving accounts of Diodorus, Quintus Curtius, Plutarch, and Arrian, and upon the excerpts of Pompeius Trogus made by Justin; the earliest of these belongs to the period of Augustus. Behind them lie the narrators of the early Hellenistic period, the fragments of whose histories have be collected by Jacoby and translated by Robinson.5 Ever since the beginning of modern scholarship, commentators have been busy with the problem posed by these relationships in the attempt to provide a scientific basis for reconstructing the personality and the accomplishments of the great Macedonian. Their answers have varied all the way from that of Schwartz, who regarded Diodorus's Book 17 as merely an abridgement of the history of Cleitarchus of Alexandria, to that of Tarn, who believed that Diodorus used a variety of sources including  p8 Aristobulus, Cleitarchus, and a "Mercenaries Source" never mentioned by any ancient writer.6

I suspect that the question has been phrased wrongly. When, for example, we find Diodorus giving the number of Sambus's subjects killed as 80,000 (chap. 102), and Curtius, in giving the same figure, attributes it to Cleitarchus, are we then required to suppose that Diodorus, or Curtius either, used Cleitarchus as his source? Curtius's statement establishes that Cleitarchus gave that figure, but that is all. We may speak of Diodorus and Curtius as "following" Cleitarchus, but there is nothing to prove that they did not find Cleitarchus's statement in another history than his own. It was the custom for abridgers and compilators in antiquity to pass on such comments in their sources, even when these were not precisely applicable to their own texts.7

Completeness in these matters is impossible to attain, but I may list instances which I have observed where Diodorus "follows" one or another of the primary historians of Alexander. The evidence is given below in notes on the relative passages.

Crows guided Alexander on the road to Siwah (chap. 49; Callisthenes and Aristobulus).

The meaning of the oracle of Ammon was conveyed  p9 by nods and signs (chap. 50; Callisthenes).

Alexandria was founded after Alexander's return from Siwah (chap. 52; Aristobulus).

Thaïs incited Alexander to burn Persepolis (chap. 72; Cleitarchus).

Alexander found in Hyrcania a tree dripping honey (Onesicritus) and a ferocious bee (Cleitarchus; chap. 75).

The queen of the Amazons stayed with Alexander thirteen days in Hyrcania8 (chap. 77; Cleitarchus,9 Onesicritus, and others).

In northern India, Alexander found imitative monkeys (Cleitarchus), snakes sixteen cubits long (Cleitarchus) and small poisonous snakes (Nearchus), as well as huge banyan trees (chap. 90; Onesicritus and Aristobulus).

Alexander found the Adrestians practising suttee and the subjects of Sopithes admiring human beauty (chap. 91; Onesicritus).

Alexander killed 80,000 subjects of Sambus (chap. 102; Cleitarchus).

 p10  The Oreitae exposed their dead (Onesicritus), and the Gedrosians let their fingernails grow long (Cleitarchus) and built their houses out of whales' ribs (Nearchus; all chap. 105).

Alexander celebrated his own and Nearchus's safe completion of the journey from India (chap. 106; somewhat variously in Nearchus and Onesicritus).

Nearchus reported whales frightened by noise (chap. 106; Nearchus).

Harpalus kept various mistresses (chap. 108; Cleitarchus and Theopompus).

This is evidently not the material from which statistics are built, but it may be noted that Diodorus "follows" Cleitarchus eight times, Onesicritus six times, Nearchus and Aristobulus three times each, and Callisthenes twice. No one has ever supposed that Diodorus wrote in such an eclectic fashion, even if we were to believe that he would have dissembled his erudition by failing to mention it. Evidently these attributions are of different sorts. From Aristobulus and Callisthenes came a basic narrative, from Nearchus details of his own voyage and Indian experiences, and from Cleitarchus and Onesicritus various curiosities. Since all of these authors wrote systematic histories, it is clear that they all must have told much the same story, differing in detail. Perhaps the later of them referred by name to their predecessors. Diodorus can be best supposed to have followed a single manuscript which contained all of this material.

Little more can be asserted positively, in view of our lack of certainty as to Diodorus's method of work in general.10 Probably he followed one source for any  p11 given subject, rewriting rather than excerpting, and adding additional material when it occurred to him. It has been impossible to establish any instance where he collated two or more parallel accounts. If, then, we should look for a single source for Book 17, what can that have been?

Lacking any extensive text of any of the primary historians, and in some uncertainty as to the scope and manner and even the date of many of them, it is impossible for us to prove or to disprove that Diodorus used, for example, Aristobulus or Cleitarchus.11 It seems certain, of course, that he did not use Ptolemy; and specific disagreement with Aristobulus and Cleitarchus makes it unlikely that he used them directly.12  p12 On the other hand, in spite of the objections of Tarn, I regard it as certain that whatever source Diodorus used, it was the same as that employed by Curtius.13 Schwartz assembled a formidable list of parallels between the two writers, without exhausting the subject.14 It is adequate to prove the point. To reconstruct this source would be a useful task; it obviously  p13 cannot be attempted here. Both Diodorus and Curtius give much which the other lacks and certainly add much of their own, especially Curtius: the long speeches with which his narrative abounds may be his own composition. Enough remains in Justin to suggest, although not to prove, that the history of Trogus was at least very similar.

Like Diodorus, Trogus wrote a universal history. He gave like Diodorus an account of events in Greece, like Diodorus also omitting contemporary events in the West. It was long ago suggested that Diodorus's source was a general history, and Wachsmuth's suggestion of Diyllus of Athens, although rejected by Jacoby, would seem to fit well enough, although we know very little of Diyllus. Fontana suggests that the source was Duris of Samos, but again, we know very little of Duris. Both are mentioned in Book 21.5‑6, as if still used. Is it, on the other hand, possible that Diodorus used Trogus? For Curtius, writing in the Flavian period, there is no chronological problem, but Diodorus and Trogus were contemporaries, writing under Augustus, and we have no way of knowing which was the earlier. This is, in fact, the conclusion of Seel (op. cit., especially p116), as I discovered after I had found myself moving inevitably in the same direction. It is true that Diodorus did not use Trogus in Book 16 (above, p4). But the three writers worked in Rome, and must have been known to each other. Trogus used Greek sources and wrote in Latin, a language with which Diodorus was familiar (Book 1.4.4). Curtius also wrote in Latin. If Diodorus and Curtius had used Trogus, they had reason enough not to say so. Ancient historians did not like to cite secondary sources by name, and in the case of Diodorus,  p14 the admission that he followed the narrative of a contemporary would be a confession of plagiarism, only slightly mitigated by the fact that his source was a Gaul who wrote for Romans while he was a Sicilian who wrote for Greeks.15

In any event, the account of Diodorus is of interest and importance, although his conventional style of writing and his carelessness in abridgement often deprive him of the clarity and dramatic effect for which he aimed.16 His expression is turgid and laboured. True to his principles expressed in his Introduction (Book 1.1‑5), he administers praise and blame and attempts to edify, calling attention to the reversals inflicted by Fortune. This has been thought to have a Stoic tone, but his enthusiasm as a narrator is called forth by valiant deeds of war, battles and sieges. This leads to a somewhat stereotyped pattern of engagement, combat with fluctuating success, and disengagement, and makes one suspect both that historical details have been blurred and that extraneous rhetorical material has been introduced. Nevertheless in more than one instance Diodorus preserves specific and statistical information which we should otherwise lack.

Without attempting completeness, I may list some of the incidents told by Diodorus which are lacking in the other preserved historians.

 p15  1. The removal of Attalus (chaps. 2, 5).
2. Description of Mt. Ida, and of Memnon's campaign in the Troad (chap. 7).
3. Appeal to Alexander by Antipater and Parmenion to beget an heir before crossing over to Asia (chap. 16).
4. Detailed figures of Alexander's army (chap. 17).
5. The fallen statue of Ariobarzanes (chap. 17).
6. The Persian order of battle at the Granicus (chap. 19).
7. Dispatch of Memnon's wife to the Great King (chap. 23).
8. Exploits of Ephialtes and Thrasybulus at Halicarnassus (chap. 25).
9. Suicide of the Marmares (chap. 28).
10. Alexander's substitution of the forged letter from the Great King (chap. 39).
11. Mechanisms of attack and defence at Tyre (chap. 43).17
12. Description of Alexandria (chap. 52).
13. Revolt of Memnon in Thrace (chap. 62).
14. Reorganization of the army (chap. 65).
15. Transport of fruit from the country of the Uxii to Babylon (chap. 67).
16. Description of Persepolis (chap. 71).
17. The institution of suttee (chap. 91).
18. Description of Ecbatana (chap. 110).
19. Description of Hephaestion's funeral pyre (chap. 115).

On other occasions, Diodorus gives a narrative differing from that of the other historians of Alexander.  p16 Sometimes, but by no means always, he is in error.

1. His account of the siege of Thebes is longer than that of Arrian; the Thebans fight well, and Alexander's victory is gained by a stratagem (chaps. 8‑13).
2. The account of events at Athens is short, and emphasizes the part of Demades; Phocion does not appear, and no one is exiled (chap. 15).
3. At the Granicus, Diodorus has Alexander cross the river unopposed in the morning, probably locating the battle downstream from Arrian (chap. 19).
4. Neoptolemus is killed while fighting on the Macedonian side at Halicarnassus (almost certainly wrong; chap. 25).
5. Alexander did not receive Parmenion's appeal for help at Gaugamela (chap. 60).
6. Alexander was wrecked on the Indus (chap. 97).
7. The Oreitae expose their dead to be eaten by wild beasts (Onesicritus in Strabo 11.11.3 tells a similar story of the Bactrians, but the victims were the sick and elderly; chap. 105).

At times, Diodorus omits elements which are traditional parts of the Alexander history.

1. The boyhood of Alexander.
2. The heroism of Timocleia of Thebes.
3. The sweating statue of Orpheus in Pieria and the visit to Diogenes at Corinth.
4. The adoption of Alexander by Ada, the Carian queen, and Alexander's attack on Myndus.
5.  p17  The miraculous passage of the Climax in Lycia and the episode of the Gordian knot.
6. There is no description of Babylon (already in Book 2.7.3) or of Susa.
7. Alexander feels no shame for the burning of Persepolis.
8. No real mutiny on the Hyphasis. Alexander saw and pitied his soldiers' weariness.
9. No voyage to the Rann of Kutch.

In these idiosyncrasies, of course, Diodorus invites comparison with Curtius and Justin, rather than with Plutarch and Arrian, whose sources were different. The Persian or Greek point of view which Diodorus reflects at times may have been lacking in Ptolemy and perhaps in Aristobulus also. On the other hand, taken in contrast with Curtius, Diodorus writes essentially sober history little coloured by rhetoric, and I find it quite impossible to follow Tarn in finding in Diodorus an unhappy blend of favourable and unfavourable elementsº drawn from different traditions.18 As a matter of fact, prejudice may always exist in our sources, although such comments as that of Arrian (Book 7.14.2‑3; cp. Just. 12.12.12) are directed to the moral judgements of historians expressed as judgements, not by way of distortion of fact. Probably ancient as well as modern historians have tended to omit or to stress traditional stories depending on how these fitted their own concept of Alexander. Nevertheless there is a risk in our following this principle too enthusiastically in source criticism. How can we know, for example, that any given ancient would have regarded the burning of Persepolis (it was, of course, a little silly to burn  p18 your own property) or the massacre of 80,000 subjects of Sambus as unworthy of the great Macedonian?

* * *

The editing of this volume was originally assigned to Professor Sherman, who had so capably handled the problems of Volume VII of this series, and came into my hands after his untimely and regretted death. He had made a good beginning with the translation, and I owe much to him, although, translation being a subjective thing, not much of his phrasing remains. I thank Mrs. Martin A. Peacock for her meticulous care in typing my manuscript.

For the manuscripts of these books, I may refer to the notes in the previous volumes of this series. My text is essentially that of C. Th. Fischer in the Teubner, and I have made no independent collation of the readings. It will be noted, however, that I have been more conservative than Fischer, more conservative than Professor Post would wish, in admitting corrections. I have preferred to follow the manuscripts as closely as possible in view of their differences rather than to make corrections of even obvious errors. The impression which others have formed of Diodorus's often careless method of abridgement of his sources leads me to suspect that these errors are as likely to be due to Diodorus himself as to copiers, and in any given instance it is difficult if not impossible to determine the responsibility. Preferable readings and corrections will be found in the notes.

The footnotes appended to the translation are intended to furnish material of use to a general reader interested in this period of classical antiquity, and also, especially in the Alexander story, to provide a  p19 guide to the parallel accounts of other ancient writers. In editing Diodorus, it is impossible to attempt the harmony of the Alexander historians for which we look confidently to Professor C. A. Robinson, Jr. In pointing out, however, the close parallelism which exists between the narratives of Diodorus, Curtius, and Justin, in contrast especially with that of Arrian, I have intended to furnish documentation of my thesis of a common origin of these three, mentioned earlier in this Introduction.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 The chronological system followed by the Marmor Parium is somewhat different, and seems to have no bearing on the tradition of Diodorus. Cp. Jacoby, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, no. 239, B 1‑8, and Jacoby's commentary, pp698‑702.

2 Cp. further the useful studies of the sources of Book 16 by P. Treves, Annali della R. Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa; Lettere, Storia e Filosofia, 2.6 (1937), 255‑279, and N. G. L. Hammond, Classical Quarterly, 31 (1937), 79‑91; 32 (1938), 136‑151.

3 The only direct quotation (chap. 4.8) is from Aeschines, and as with that from Demosthenes in Book 16, the quotation probably occurred in his immediate source.

4 These instances are listed by W. W. Tarn, Alexander the Great, Vol. 2 (1948), p63, note 5. There is also the mention of the "Caucasus, which some call Mt. Paropanisus" (chap. 83.1). Diodorus visited Egypt in 60‑56 B.C. (Book 1.44.1; 46.7).

5 Jacoby, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, nos. 117‑153; C. A. Robinson, Jr., The History of Alexander the Great, Vol. 1 (Providence, 1953). See Addenda.

6 E. Schwartz, Real-Encyclopädie, 5 (1905), cols. 682‑684; Tarn, Alexander the Great, pp63‑91. For criticisms of Tarn's analysis cp. T. S. Brown, American Journal of Philology, 71 (1950), 134‑155; M. J. Fontana, Kokalos, 1 (1955), 155‑190; O. Seel, Pompei Trogi Fragmenta (1956), 84‑119; E. Badian, Classical Quarterly, 52 (1958), 144‑157.

7 Curt Wachsmuth, Ueber das Geschichtswerk des Sikelioten Diodorus, Vol. 2 (Leipzig, 1892), pp3‑6. R. Laqueur, Hermes, 86 (1958), 257‑290, thinks that Diodorus used little but scissors and paste.

8 Plutarch, Alexander, Sect. 46, is our source. He states at the beginning of the section that the visit of the Amazon took place entautha. Just previously, Plutarch has referred to Alexander's crossing of the Jaxartes River, and Tarn and Jacoby take the entautha to refer to that area. That reference, however, is introduced only as an illustration of Alexander's disregard of his bodily injuries or infirmities, and the thread of the narrative shows that the visit of the Amazon occurred about where Diodorus places it. At the beginning of section 45, Alexander advanced into Parthia, and at the beginning of section 47, he marched into Hyrcania. The incident of the Jaxartes is an obiter dictum, remote from its chronological and geographical location.

9 On this historian cp. recently T. S. Brown, Onesicritus, A Study in Hellenistic Historiography (1949).

10 Jonas Palm, Ueber Sprache und Stil des Diodorus von Sizilien (Lund, 1955).

11 Tarn (Alexander the Great, pp5‑43) argues with great ingenuity that Cleitarchus was a later writer than Aristobulus, insisting particularly that Aristobulus wrote in the 280s at the latest, that the geographer Patrocles wrote 281 or later, and that Cleitarchus used, and so followed, Patrocles. This is, however, at the cost of mistranslating (p11, note 3) the clear statement of Strabo (11.7.3) that Aristobulus used Patrocles. I am myself unwilling to take the statement of Diodorus (Book 2.7.3) literally when he refers to "Cleitarchus and some of those who later crossed with Alexander to Asia." I find nothing in the fragments of Cleitarchus to demonstrate that he was not with Alexander during the campaigns, and whatever may have been his manner or his substance of writing, he was as much an eyewitness of the events as Aristobulus. Which of the two wrote earlier may well be impossible to say, but there is a report that Aristobulus wrote late in life, like Ptolemy (Lucian, Macrobioi, 22 = Jacoby, no. 139, T 3; in the opposite sense, Lucian, Quomodo historia conscribenda, 12 = Jacoby, T 4). Cp. further Fontana and Badian, op. cit.

12 It is always hard to prove a negative. When Diodorus gives an account differing from a known fragment of an earlier writer, he may not have used him or he may simply have omitted or altered his account for some reason. There is little evidence against Diodorus's following Cleitarchus, although we might have expected him in that case to include Ptolemy with Peucestas as Alexander's champion in the city of the Malli (chap. 99; cp. Jacoby, no. 137, F 24). There is more in the case of Aristobulus, who did not report the visit of Alexander and Hephaestion upon the Persian queen dowager (chap. 37; Jacoby, F 10) nor that of the Amazon upon Alexander (chap. 77; Jacoby, F 21). He confined the flora of the Caucasus to terebinth and asafoetida (chap. 83; Jacoby, F 23) and he omitted Alexander's well-known commission of his kingdom "to the strongest" (chap. 117; Jacoby, F 60). On the other hand, Diodorus often agrees with him, as in the arrest of Bessus by his generals, not by Ptolemy (chap. 83; Jacoby, F 24); Ptolemy wrote that he had done it (Jacoby, no. 138, F 14). This list of agreements and disagreements could be extended, but additional, more or less certain examples would prove no more. Diodorus often agrees with Aristobulus and Cleitarchus, sometimes differs from them. Considering Diodorus's known method of work, it is easier to suppose that he used a source which was based on their histories than that he himself was so selective.

13 Alexander the Great, pp91‑122. Tarn believed that the account of Curtius was unfriendly to Alexander, that of Diodorus friendly in part, and so the two could not be based on a common source. He believed that similarities in the narratives could be accounted for by the supposition that Curtius used Diodorus (pp116‑122). It is unnecessary to point out that this argument is highly subjective. Cp. Badian, loc. cit.

14 Schwartz, loc. cit. His list of parallels is so full that I do not need to comment further. Again and again, Diodorus and Curtius agree so closely that the hypothesis of a common source is inescapable, while one or the other, usually Curtius, is often so much fuller that they cannot have influenced each other directly.

15 If Diodorus was using a Latin source for Book 17, we should have an explanation for his lack of technical terminology. The ἑταῖροι of Arrian appear as φίλοι (but cp. chap. 114.2), even when the reference is to the Companion Cavalry (chap. 57.1; Plutarch, Alexander, also uses φίλοι, but not always, cp. 19.3). The ὑπασπισταί (correctly in chap. 99.4) appear as Silver Shields (chap. 57.2) or as ὑπηρέται (chap. 109.2: Latin satellites; in chap. 110.1, the term is used of the Companion Cavalry). See Addenda.

16 Palm, loc. cit.

17 Tarn (p121) thinks that Diodorus's source may have been a Hellenistic siege manual, but this is pure speculation.

18 So also Badian, loc. cit.

Thayer's Note:

a1 a2 This is the introduction, not to the entire Loeb edition of Diodorus, but only to Vol. 8, comprising Books XVI.66‑XVII.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 5 Aug 16