Inscriptions and Writing in Diodoros’ Bibliotheke

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In this paper, which draws upon a catalogue of epigraphical quotations and paraphrases in Diodoros’ Bibliotheke (Appendix), I argue that, while there is little to suggest that he himself consulted inscriptions, themes that span Diodoros’ work imply a conscious decision to maintain his sources’ references to epigraphical material and strong views on inscriptions and writing throughout his work. On the one hand, Diodoros takes the view that inscriptions are one of several sources of information, and are important in the preservation of knowledge about the past. But another widespread deployment of inscriptions is to illustrate the nature and culture of particular places; moreover, inscriptions are used to emphasise, and to assess (in moralistic and pietist terms) the achievements of individuals and their legacy, and to embed a Euhemeristic view of religion. The content of Diodoros’ work also indicates an interest in a wide variety of writing practices. He views them as a measure of intellectual progress and thinks that they can offer improvement to his readers: in this sense, they play a significant role in the morally educative agenda of his history. Diodoros’ interest in writing illustrates his readiness to combine the ideas of his literary predecessors with his own understanding of the intention of inscriptions to produce a thoughtful and independent synthesis of ideas about the culture and uses of writing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiodoros of Sicily. Historiographical Theory and Practice in the Bibliotheke
EditorsLisa Hau, Alexander Meuss, Brian Sheridan
Place of PublicationLeuven
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9789042934986
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameStudia Hellenistica


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