Diodorus Siculus: the Manuscripts of the "Bibliotheca Historica"

This compendium of history from a wide range of ancient authors was written in 40 books.  A complete set still existed in the imperial palace in Constantinople at the start of the renaissance in the 15th century, but perished with the sack of the city in 1453.  Today only 15 books exist; books 1-5, and books 11-20.  Long quotations from other books are found particularly in Byzantine authors. 

A total of 59 medieval manuscripts exist.  Some contain books 1-5; the remainder books 11-20.  The work must thus have travelled down the centuries in pentads and decades, as with other long ancient works.

There are 28 manuscripts containing books 1-5, of which the first 4 are the prototypes of all the rest.




Shelfmark & Notes

Date /

1DNaples, Biblioteca NazionaleNeapolitanus suppl. gr. 4.  (Formerly Vindobonensis suppl. gr. 74).  Parchment.  212x154 mm.  Binding Leroy C 12C1.  30 lines per page.  Written in a pure minuscule without insertion of uncials at Constantinople, not in Southern Italy as sometimes supposed.  Mutilated and restored in the 13th century with leaves mixing parchment and paper.  The quire signatures on the surviving leaves show that originally it composed 37 quaternions and one bifolio.  The first two original quaternions are lost and the first folio of the next (f.6-22 of the current ms).  The summary of book 1 is missing.  The text breaks off at book 5, 84:1.  The restored pages belong to a different place in the stemma and are given the sigla Db.  

In the 15th century the ms. belonged to Janus Parrhasius, and then to cardinal Antonio Seripandi (f. 297v has a note reading Antonii Seripandi ex Iani Parrhasii testamento).  Then it passed to the monastery of St. John de Carbonaria at Naples.  It was then offered to the emperor Charles VI and was transferred to the imperial library at Vienna.

Only direct copy is #5, which gave rise to a large family.

10 (start)
2CRome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 130.  Parchment, 360x260mm.  Binding Leroy 20C1.  28 lines per page.  According to Mariella Menchelli it is in the same hand as Ms. Parisinus gr. 668, copied in 954 by a certain priest John.  Contains books 1-5 minus the summary of book 1.  Prefaced by a 14th century paper leaf with a note about Diodorus borrowed from the Bibliotheca of Photius.  The titles and summaries are in small uncial.  It arrived at the Vatican library in 1553.

Only an indirect copy is known, #9, and, later, some folios of #10.  The former gave rise to further mss.

10 (middle)
3VRome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 996.  Today bound in two physical volumes.  Arabic paper, 310 x 210 mm.  The paper is of a type attested in Spain at a later date, so possibly the paleographic dating is too early and the manuscript should be assigned to s.12-13.  Contains books 1-5 minus the summary of book 1.  Mutilated at the start and end and mended in the 14th century.  The restored portions are copied from Vaticanus gr. 130, from which the copyist has also added the notice from Photius.  Text includes many abbreviations; its descendants can be recognised by the failure to understand or include these.  The manuscript entered the Vatican library between 1475-1481.  Sole direct copy is #13, copied after the damage was restored.11-12
4LFlorence, Biblioteca Mediceo-LaurenzianaLaurentianus 70,1.  Paper.  289x214 mm.  Contains Arrian's Anabasis, Indica, Plutarch's On the fortune of Alexander, and then (f.111-192) an abbreviated version of books 1-3 and 5 of Diodorus.  Finally ends with an anonymous work made up of fragments of Plutarch.  The summary of book 1 is missing.  Two marginal notes explain that the abbreviation was because the copyist wanted to omit pagan mythological elements as being 'lies'.  This expurgated version is thus recognisable in its descendants.14 (ca. 1330)
5Milan, Ambrosian LibraryAmbrosianus F 110 sup. (gr. 361) Parchment. 250x175mm.  Now mutilated at the start. Sole copy of D, but itself had many children.  Includes marginal notes from D.  Some innovations of detail and corrections in a second hand.  Once belonged to George Merula, then to the Collegium Chalcorum.  The following manuscripts were copied from it before it was mutilated: Marcianus gr. 374 (#6); Mutinensis gr. 185 (#7) and Vaticanus gr. 995 (28).15
6Venice, Biblioteca MarcianaMarcianus gr. 374 (coll. 647)  Paper. 222x148mm.  Written by Andronicos Callistos, apart from ff. 128r and 166v.  Contains conjectural changes.  Copied from #5 before the corrections in a second hand were made.  Once belonged to Cardinal Bessarion, whose ex-libris is on a flyleaf. The following manuscripts were copied from it: the first part of Paris. Cois. 149 (#8a), and, partially, Paris. gr. 1659 (#11) and Vindobonensis Hist. gr. 50 (#12).15 (2nd qtr)
7Modena, Biblioteca EstenseMutinensis gr. 185 (α.U.8.3) Paper. 303x205mm. Copied in Crete by Michel Apostoles (subscriptio on f. 215v).  Corrections in the second hand in #5 are included in it in the primary hand.  It once belong to Marcus Musurus (so an owner's note on the verso of the fly-leaf).15 (ca. 1460)
8a-8bParis, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus Coislinianus 149.  Paper. 340x229mm.  Contains two parts written in two different hands, the first comprising books 1-5, the other books 11-15.  The copyist created new summaries at the start of both parts of book 1.  Apart from this reproduces #6 faithfully.  Corrections in a second hand.  The ms. was bought by the Chancellor Séguier in 1645 and inherited from him by his nephew the Duc de Coislin, bishop of Metz.  He in turn gave it to the Benedictine monks of St.Germains-des-Prés in Paris, whose books were seized at the French Revolution and placed in the national collection.

8b is a copy of M.  The two parts were both copied separately at Venice, and the combination is just a question of binding.

16 (2nd qtr)
9Naples, Biblioteca NazionaleNeapolitanus III B 16 (gr. 240).  Oriental paper. 326 x 251 mm.  Seriously mutilated today at the start and end.  Also missing some folios which were replaced at the start of the 16th century.  Numerous glosses have been interpolated.  Probably an intermediary existed between C and #9, where the glosses were between the lines.  Before its mutilation it gave rise to #11 and #12.13 (end)
10Rome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus Palatinus gr. 423.  Contains various extracts; those of Diodorus are ff.27-51.  These pages are paper. 302x220mm.  Same watermark on the paper as #9.  Two copyists wrote the book.  Copied from C and includes the notice from Photius, the start of book 1 and a frahment of book 5.  These would appear to be pages intended to restore the gaps in #9 and not put into place.As #9
11Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1659.  Paper. 326 x 232mm.  Pages copied from #9 and #6.  Probably copied at Venice.  Acquired by Jerome Fondule and entered the library of Fontainbleu in 1539 (not 1529).  Readings from it appear in the margin of Berlin. gr. 227.16 (2nd qtr)
12ViennaVindobonensis Hist. gr. 50.  Paper of French origin. 285x205mm.  Another composite manuscript.16
13Florence, Biblioteca Mediceo-LaurenzianaLaurentianus 70,16.  Parchment. 236 x 163 mm.  Only direct copy of V, but omitting the notice of Photius.  Summaries not copied but a space left -- perhaps intended to do these later in red ink, but never did so?  Once belonged to the monastery of San Marco before passing to the Laurentian library.  One copy of this exists: #14.15
14Venice, Biblioteca MarcianaMarcianus app. gr. VII,7 (coll. 1078) Parchment. 308 x 213 mm.  Copied by Cesar Strategos (subscription on f. 188r).  A careful copy of #13. A space left at the start of each book for a decorated initial which however was not done.  Most abbreviations have been expanded.  Belonged to the humanist Marcus Musurus, then to the monastery of St. John and St. Paul at Venice.  

In the 16th century Venice was the centre of a copying industry, making and selling Greek mss.  Quite a number of copies of this manuscript exist: #15, #16, #17, #18a, the end of #19 and the start of #20.

16 (start)
15BerlinBerolinensis gr. 227 (once Phillipps 1630).  Paper 345x250mm.  Written in two hands, the second being Bartolomeo Zanetti.  Used by Henri Estienne (Stephanus) for his edition.  A large number of collations were added to it for this purpose, mainly by Arnold Arlenius.  Summaries have been inserted, and one created for book 1.  The manuscript belonged to the college of Clermont (Clar. 219), then to Gerard Meerman, and to Sir Thomas Phillipps.  #19 and #20 are copied mainly from this.16 (2nd qtr)
16GenevaGenavensis 39a.  Paper. 350x245mm. Once property of Robert Estienne.16 (2nd qtr)
17Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 165816 (2nd qtr)
18a-18bMadrid, EscorialScorialensis Υ I.2.  Two parts, the first of books 1-5, the other of books 11-15.  The first part was finished on 4 January 1542 and written by Nicolas Gaitanos Maroulos of Epirus at Venice, for Diego de Mendoza.  F. 227r contains a summary of Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica I.3-9.  #55 is a copy of the second part. 16
19TurinTaurinensis B I 13.  Paper. 341 x 245 mm.  Written by Bartolomeo Zanetti.  Identical to #18a, including the Eusebius.  But the two are not father- and-son.  Book 1 was copied from #15; books 2-5 from #14.  During the busy copying at Venice, perhaps #14 was unavailable temporarily.16 (2nd qtr)
20BerlinBerolinensis gr. 225 (Phillipps 1628)  Paper. 334 x 235 mm.  Written by Bartolomeo Zanetti.   Faithful copy of #15, made after the additions by Arlenius but before other additions by Etienne.  Bought in Venice in 1553 by Louis Beccatello, bishop of Ravellensis for 10 gold coins (scuti).  Then belonged to the college at Clermont (Clar. 218), to Gerard Meerman and to Sir Thomas Phillipps.16 (2nd qtr)
21Florence, Biblioteca Mediceo-LaurenzianaLaurentianus 70,9.  Parchment. 320 x 217 mm. Copy of L. Finished 10 May 1399 by Andreas Leantenos.  Once belonged to San Marco.  #23 is a copy of it.1399
22Florence, Biblioteca Mediceo-LaurenzianaLaurentianus 70,34.  Paper. 231 x 170 mm. Written at Constantinople and finished 12 February 1427 by George Chrysococces for Ch. Garatone.  Very mutilated today.  #28 is a partial copy of it.1427
23Rome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 1511.  Copy of #21.  Parchment. 267x189 mm.  Written by Andreas Leantenos, Saturday 2 August 1399. Omits the first part of book 1.  Copies of this are: #24, 26 and 27a.1399
24Rome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 160 and 1904. Paper.  Probably once belonged to Pope Nicholas V.15
25Milan, Ambrosian LibraryAmbrosianus I 82 sup. (gr. 466)  Came from Crete in 1606.  It belonged to Stephanos Maurocordatos and Michel Sophanios.15
26Florence, Biblioteca Mediceo-LaurenzianaLaurentianus 70,18. Paper. Copied at Constantinople by Theodoros Gazes for Francisco Filelfo, whose arms appear at the end of f.1.  After his death Filelfo's mss. were acquired by Lorenzo di Medici.15 (2nd qtr)
27a-27bSMadrid, EscorialScorialensis Σ III.5.  Paper. Belonged to Angleo Giustiniani, who left his collection to Philip II of Spain at the end of the 16th century.  Part 27b is a copy of P.15 (2nd qtr)
28Rome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 995. Partially copied from #22. Paper.  Belonged to the collection of Ch. Garatone and then to Pope Nicholas V.15 (2nd qtr)
29MVenice, Biblioteca MarcianaMarcianus gr. 375. (coll. 310)  Parchment. 270x190mm.  Binding Leroy 00C1.  31 lines per page.  Contains books 11-15.  A note of ownership identifies a certain Simeon Kalores of Theoupolis (the name given to Antioch by Justinian).  It belonged to Bessarion and entered the monastery of St. Mark in 1468.10 (middle)
30PPatmos, Monastery of St. JohnPatmiacus 50.  Parchment. 261 x 195. Binding Leroy 20C1. 32 lines per page.  Mutilated at the start and end.  Contains books 11-16.  A note by the monk Gregory of Chios states that he read the ms. at Naxos in 1466.10 (end)
31RParis, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1665. Parchment. 305 x 220 mm.  Binding Leroy 00c1.  30 lines per page.  Contains books 16-20.  Belonged to John Lascaris, cardinal Ridolfi and to Catherine di Medici.10 (middle)
32FFlorence, Biblioteca Mediceo-LaurenzianaLaurentianus 70,12. Paper. 285 x 204 mm.  Contains books 11-20.  Written in two contemporary hands.  Books 11-16 were written by Isidore, Metropolitan of Kiev, then cardinal.  The second wrote 17-18, and then Isidore finished the work.  Books 11-15 derive from M. Book 16 derives from P. Books 17-20 derive from a now lost prototype.  The ms. was bought in Constantinople in 1491 by Janus Lascaris on behalf of Lorenzo di Medici.15 (Q2)
BOOKS 11-20: DESCENDANTS OF M (see also 8b)
33Rome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 131.  Paper.  Written by a certain Gideon.  Contains books 11-15.  Belonged to Pope Nicholas V.  A faithful copy of M. #37 is a copy of this.ca. 1440
34Florence, Biblioteca RiccardianaRiccardianus 33.  Paper.  Books 11-15.  #59 is partially copied from this.15
35BerlinBerolinensis gr. 228 (Phillipps 1631).  Paper. Copied by Bartolomeo Zanetti.  Finished at Venice 6th August 1546.  Very faithful copy of M.  Also contains variants by Arnold Arlenius.  Like Berl. gr. 227, it belonged successively to the college of Clermont (Clar. 220), G. Meerman, and Sir Thomas Phillipps before being sold to the library in Berlin.1546
36Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1663. Paper.  Books 11-15.  Once belonged to Colbert.16 (Q1)
37Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1662.  Paper. Books 11-15.  Copied from #33.15 (Q2)
BOOKS 11-20: DESCENDANTS OF P (see also 27b)
38a-38bXVenice, Biblioteca MarcianaMarcianus gr. 376 (coll. 854).  Paper.  In two parts.  Books 15-16 (38a: ff. 1-114) are copied from P; ff.115-355 contain books 17-20, copied from R.  On f.360 is a chronological note describing the arrival of John Paleologus at Constantinople and the departure of the emperor Manuel into the west on the 4th and 10th of December 1399.  The manuscript belonged to cardinal Bessarion.15 (Q2)
BOOKS 11-20: DESCENDANTS OF R (see also 38b)
39YRome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 132.  Paper. Contains books 16-20.  Copied by the scribe Gideon.  Like Vat. gr. 131, the two mss. make up one intended whole.  Belonged to Pope Nicholas V.  #40 and #41 are copied from it.ca. 1440
40ViennaVindobonensis suppl. gr. 30.  Paper. Copy of #39.  Copied at Florence 9th May 1442 by John Scutariotes.  Contains books 16-20.  It belonged to John Pannonius, then to Johannes Alexander Brassicanus, and then Johannes Faber, archbishop of Vienna.  The source for the editio princeps of books 16-20, Basle, 1539.1442
41BrusselsBruxellensis 11374.  Paper. Copy of #39. Copied at Rome by Christophe Auer.  It belonged to Lambert de Tournai, Councillor and secretary of the Privy Council of the Elector of Cologne, and then to the Jesuits of Brussells.1540-50
42Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1664. Paper. Badly written. On f.236r there is a list of the lengths of the reigns of the kings of Egypt; on f. 237r the same note about John Paleologus as in P.  Probably written in the East.  It comes from the monastery of St. Anastasius in Chalcidia, from where many manuscripts were brought to France by the abbé Sevin.  Contains books 15-20.15 (middle)
43Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1666. Paper.  Contains Diodorus (f.1-96), then De insidiis from the Excerpta of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (ff.97-146).  Many pages lost and the rest in disorder.  The ms. is mentioned in 1550 in the catalogue of the library of Fontainbleu.15 (middle)
44GenevaGenavensis 39c.  Paper. Written by Bartolomeo Zanetti.  Contained books 16-17, but mutilated.16 (Q2)
45GenevaGenavensis 39d. Paper. Written by Bartolomeo Zanetti.  Contains books 18-20, and matches #44.16 (Q2)
46Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1668. Paper.  Contains book 17 only.  Contains a notice about Diodorus from ps.Justin.  No doubt copied at Venice by an amateur interested in Alexander the great.  It belonged to J. A. de Thou, then to Colbert. #47 is a copy of it.16 (Q2)
47Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1669. Paper of French manufacture.  Copy of #46.  Contains book 17 only.  Owned by Baluzius, then the king.  #48 is a copy of it.16 (Q2)
48Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1667. Paper. Copy of #47.  Book 17 only.  Also on French-made paper.  Copied by Pierre Danes.  Also owned by Baluzius.16 (Q2)
49Venice, Biblioteca MarcianaMarcianus app. gr. VII,8 (coll. 1097). Parchment. Copied at Florence by Cesar Strategos, like #14.  The presentation of the two mss. is identical.  It belonged to Marcus Musurus, then to the monastery of St. John and St. Paul at Venice.  Contains 11-20.  From it were copied #51, #52, #53, the second part of #18b, perhaps a now lost ms. from which #50 was copied, and part of #57, 58 and #59.16 (start)
50BerlinBerolinensis gr. 226.  (Phillipps 1629) Paper.  Books 11-15. Some corrections in the hand of Arnold Arlenius.  Bought at Venice in 1553 by Louis Beccatello, also for 10 gold scuti, and then belonged to the college of Clermont (Clar. 221), then Gerard Meerman, then Sir Thomas Phillipps.16 (Q2)
51GenevaGenavensis 39b. Paper. Books 11-15. Copied from #51.  Original parchment binding.  Like the other Geneva mss, it belonged to Robert Etienne.16 (Q2)
52MunichMonacensis gr. 7.  Composed of two separate parts.  f.1-249 contain books 11-15 of Diodorus.  Ff.250-294 are a refutation of the Koran by John Cantacuzene.  Paper.  The first part was copied by Emmanuel Bebenes and reread and checked by a unnamed diorthote, according to the subscription.16 (Q2)
53Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1661. Paper. Contains books 11-17.  It belonged to Antonios Eparchos and was offered to king Francis I of France.  It was listed in the library of Fontainbleu.  #54 is a copy of it.16 (start)
54BerlinBerolinensis gr. 229 (Phillipps 1632).  Copy of #53.  Paper. Books 11-17.  Belonged to Guillaume Pelicier (ambassador of Francois I to Venice from 1539-1542), then to Claude Naulot (in 1573), to the college of Clermont (Clar. 222), then, like the other Berlin mss., to Gerard Meerman and Sir Thomas Phillips.16 (Q2)
55Vesontinus 835. Paper. Contains books 11-15.  Once belonged to cardinal de Granville, then to Jean-Baptiste Boisot.  #56 is a copy of it.16 (middle)
56Rome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus gr. 994.  Paper.  Copy of #55.  Contains books 11-15.  Written on paper from France.  Very irregular writing and unruled.  Copyist was not Greek.16 (middle)
57Paris, Bibliothèque NationaleParisinus gr. 1660. Paper. Books 11-20.  Written at Venice.  Partly written by Bartolomeo Zanetti.  Belonged to Jerome Fondule and arrived at the library in Fontainbleu in 1539.16 (Q2)
58Rome, Vatican LibraryVaticanus Reginensis gr. 85. Paper.  Books 11-15.  Written by Bartolomeo Zanetti.  It belonged to Alexander Petau in 1641, then to Queen Christina of Sweden before arriving at the Vatican.16 (Q2)
59GenevaGenavensis 40. Paper. Books 11-20.  Compiled at Venice from several other manuscripts.16 (start)

List of manuscripts by collection

(5) Ambrosianus F 110 sup.
(25) Ambrosianus I 82 sup.
(20) Berolinensis gr. 225
(50) Berolinensis gr. 226
(15) Berolinensis gr. 227
(35) Berolinensis gr. 228
(54) Berolinensis gr. 229
(41) Bruxellensis 11374
(16) Genavensis 39a
(51) Genavensis 39b
(44) Genavensis 39c
(45) Genavensis 39d
(59) Genavensis 40
(4) Laurentianus 70,1 [L]
(21) Laurentianus 70,9
(32) Laurentianus 70,12 [F]
(13) Laurentianus 70,16
(26) Laurentianus 70,18
(22) Laurentianus 70,34
(6) Marcianus gr. 374
(29) Marcianus gr. 375 [M]
(38a-38b) Marcianus gr. 376 [X]
(14) Marcianus app. gr. VII,7
(49) Marcianus app. gr. VII,8
(52) Monacensis gr. 7
(7) Mutinensis gr. 185
(9) Neapolitanus III B 16
(1) Neapolitanus suppl. gr. 4 [D]
(17) Parisinus gr. 1658
(11) Parisinus gr. 1659
(57) Parisinus gr. 1660
(53) Parisinus gr. 1661
(37) Parisinus gr. 1662
(36) Parisinus gr. 1663
(42) Parisinus gr. 1664
(31) Parisinus gr. 1665 [R]
(43) Parisinus gr. 1666
(48) Parisinus gr. 1667
(46) Parisinus gr. 1668
(47) Parisinus gr. 1669
(8a-8b) Parisinus Coislinianus 149
(30) Patmiacus 50 [P]
(34) Riccardianus 33
(27a-27b) Scorialensis Σ III.5 [S]
(18a-18b) Scorialensis Υ I.2
(19) Taurinensis B I 13
(2) Vaticanus gr. 130 [C]
(33) Vaticanus gr. 131
(39) Vaticanus gr. 132 [Y]
(24) Vaticanus gr. 160 and 1904
(56) Vaticanus gr. 994
(28) Vaticanus gr. 995
(3) Vaticanus gr. 996
(23) Vaticanus gr. 1511
(10) Vaticanus Palatinus gr. 423
(58) Vaticanus Reginensis gr. 85
(55) Vesontinus 835
(12) Vindobonensis Hist. gr. 50
(40) Vindobonensis suppl. gr. 30

Summaries and chapter titles

Book 1 formed two rolls, because of its length.  However there is no trace of a summary of the second part of book 1, which according to Chamoux and Bertrac suggests that the summaries were added when the rolls were combined into codices.  The same is true for book 17, also too large for one roll and divided into two by the author.


Pierre BERTRAC & Yvonne VERNIÈRE, Diodore de Sicile: Bibiothèque Historique.  Introduction générale par François Chamoux et Pierre Bertrac.  Livre I.  Paris: Les Belles Lettres (1993) Checked.  The source for most of the above.

Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse. Corrections and additions are very welcome.

This page has been online since 22nd June 2007

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