Episode 13 (Diodorus of Sicily)


Diodorus is a famous ancient historian who also wrote a Biography of Alexander the Great of Macedon. He lived in the 1st century BC, and was born in the city of in Sicily. Nothing else is known about his life, but parts of his works remain preserved. They are collected under a shared title “Historical Library” and are divided into 40 books. We won’t go into detailsabout the Alexanders’ biography that Diodorus wrote as a part of his “History”. We will just quote two extracts that are the most exclusive to the subject we are covering.

One of them is in the 17th book and it refers to the collaboration between the Greeks and the Persians during the battle of Gaugamela (which in his work is called Arbela) that took place in 330 BC between the Macedonian and the Persian army. While the Macedonians fought against the Persians in Asia, the Greek cities that were occupied from Macedonia wanted to rebel against the Macedonians. Related to these events, Diodorus of Sicily writes:

“In this yearword was brought to Greece about the battle near Arbela, and many of the cities became alarmed at the growth of Macedonian power and decided that they should strike for their freedom while the Persian cause was still alive. They expected that Darius would help them and send them much money so that they could gather great armies of mercenaries, while Alexander would not be able to divide his forces. If, on the other hand, they watched idly while the Persians were utterly defeated, the Greeks would be isolated and never again be able to think of recovering their freedom… The Lacedaemonians (which meant the Spartans) thought that the time had come to undertake a war and issued an appeal to the Greeks to unite in defence of their freedom. (SOURCE: Diodorus Siculus, Book 17, 62.1, 62.2, 62.3 and 62.6).

So, here we can see another ancient testimony from which not only can we see that the Greeks of that time felt raided by the Macedonians, but we also see the great hatred they felt towards them. The Greeks were prepared to even unite with their long-time enemies the Persians just to get rid of the Macedonians.

Diodorus writes about the wounding of Alexander as well. When the Greeks that were part of the Macedonian army and were later forced to stay in Asia found out about this, they, thinking that Alexander was dead, began to rebel against the Macedonians, wanting to go back to their homeland. Diodorus writes:

          “For many days the king lay helpless under his treatment,1 and the Greeks who had been settled in Bactria and Sogdiana, who had long borne unhappily their sojourn among peoples of another race and now received word that the king had died of his wounds, revolted against the Macedonians. They formed a band of three thousand men and underwent great hardship on their homeward route. Later they were massacred by the Macedonians after Alexander’s death.”

          Diodorus also writes about the rebellion in the Greek cities against Alexander, which was led by Leosthenes.

From all these testimonies (which are not the only ones) we can clearly see that according to the famous ancient historian Diodorus of Sicily, the Macedonians and the Greeks were two separate nations, who were enemies more often than not.


Dionysius of  Halicar­nassus was born around the year 60 BC, and died sometime in the year 7 AD. He was a historian. For sometime, he stayed in Rome where he studied the Latin language. His most famous work is “Roman Antiquates” which contained the history of Rome from the oldest times,to the beginning of the First Punic war. This work was divided into 22 books. The first 9 are completely preserved, while the rest are just in fragments.

In the Second book (chapter 17) he clearly states that the Macedonians took away the freedom from the Greeks, after defeating them in a battle at Chaeronea:

And the Thebans and Athenians through the single disaster at Chaeronea were deprived by the Macedonians not only of the leadership of Greece but at the same time of the liberty they had inherited from their ancestors.”(SOURCE: “Roman Antiquites”, Book II, 17).