Filling in the Gaps. Studying Anachronism in Diodorus Siculus’ Narrative of the First Sicilian ‘Slave War’

Peter Morton

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Abstract

Diodorus Siculus’ narrative of the First Sicilian ‘Slave War’ is often considered to offer an ‘accurate, reliable, and comprehensive’ account of the war. This article aims to demonstrate that the text is not necessarily authoritative by reassessing the narrative function of an anachronistic explanatory passage that is often ‘fixed’ in modern accounts with a plausible, but hypothetical alternative. It is argued that we cannot ‘fix’ this anachronism without thereby jeopardising the text’s narrative structure. In sum, the anachronism was inserted because the author did not understand the events he narrated or their immediate historical context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-143
Number of pages29
JournalHistos
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2018

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