Ancient writers about Macedonia – Diodorus Siculus


AncientMacedonianHistory1 Ancient writers about Macedonia   Diodorus Siculus

[1] The members of the Council then passed a decree admitting Philip and his descendants to the Amphictyonic Council and according him two votes which formerly had been held by the Phocians, now defeated in war.

[Diodoros of Sicily 16.60.1]

[2] that all the cities of the Phocians were to be razed and the men moved to villages, no one of which should have more than fifty houses, and the villages were to be not less than a stade distant from one another; that the Phocians were to possess their territory and to pay each year to the god a tribute of sixty talents until they should have paid back the sums entered in the registers at the time of the pillaging of the sanctuary. Philip, furthermore, was to hold the Pythian games together with the Boeotians and Thessalians, since the Corinthians had shared with the Phocians in the sacrilege committed against the god.


[Diodoros of Sicily 16.60.2]

[3] For he [Philip] was ambitious to be designated general of Hellas in supreme command and as such to prosecute the war against the Persians. And this was what actually came to pass. But these events we shall record severally in their proper periods; we shall now proceed with the thread of our narrative.

[Diodoros of Sicily 16.60.5]

[4] Philip included in the procession statues of the twelve gods wrought with great artistry and adorned with a dazzling show of wealth to strike awe in the beholder, and along with these was conducted a thirteenth statue, suitable for a god, that of Philip himself, so that the king exhibited himself enthroned among the twelve gods. Every seat in the theatre was taken when Philip appeared wearing a white cloak, and by his express orders his bodyguard held away from him and followed only at a distance, since he wanted to show publicly that he was protected by the goodwill of all the Greeks, and had no need of a guard of spearmen.

 [Diodoros of Sicily 16.92.5-93.2]

 [5] Such was the end of Philip, who had made himself the greatest of the kings in Europe in his time, and because of the extent of his kingdom had made himself a throned companion of the twelve gods. He had ruled twenty-four years. [2] He is known to fame as one who with but the slenderest resources to support his claim to a throne won for himself the greatest empire in the Greek world, while the growth of his position was not due so much to his prowess in arms as to his adroitness and cordiality in diplomacy.

[Diodoros of Sicily 16.95.1-2]


[6] and the Athenians were not ready to concede the leading position among the Greeks to Macedon.

[Diodorus of Sicily, 17.3.2]

[7] “Similarly, the Thebans voted to drive out the garrison in the Cadmeia and not to concede to Alexander the leadership of the Greeks.”

 [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.3.4]

 [8] First he [Alexander] dealt with the Thessalians, reminding them of his ancient relationship to them through Heracles

 [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.4.1]

 [9] “where he convened the assembly of the Amphictyons and had them pass a resolution granting him the leadership of the Greeks

 [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.4.2]

 [10] He [Demosthenes] was generally believed to have received large sums of money from that source [King of Persian] in payment for his efforts to check the Macedonians and indeed Aeschines is said to have referred to this in a speech when he taunted Demosthenes with his venality:At the moment, it is true, his extravagance has been glutted by the king’s gold, but even this will not satisfy him; no wealth has ever proved sufficient for a greedy character””

 [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.4.8]

 [11] “he spoke to them in moderate terms and had them pass a resolution appointing him general plenipotentiary of the Greeks and undertaking themselves to join in an expedition against Persia seeking satisfaction for the offences which the Persians had committed against Greece

 [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.4.9]

[12]The king gave burial to the Macedonian dead, more than five hundred in number, and then calling a meeting of the representatives of the Greeks put before the common council the question what should be done with the city of the Thebans. [2] When the discussion was opened, certain men who were hostile to the Thebans began to recommend that they should be visited with the direst penalties, and they pointed out that they had taken the side of the barbarians against the Greeks. For in the time of Xerxes they had actually joined forces with the Persians and campaigned against Greece, and alone of the Greeks were honoured as benefactors by the Persian kings, so that the ambassadors of the Thebans were seated on thrones set in front of the kings. [3] They related many other details of similar tenor and so aroused the feelings of the council against the Thebans that it was finally voted to raze the city, to sell the captives, to outlaw the Theban exiles from all Greece, and to allow no Greek to offer shelter to a Theban. [4] The king, in accordance with the decree of the council, destroyed the city, and so presented possible rebels among the Greeks with a terrible warning. By selling off the prisoners he realized a sum of four hundred and forty talents of silver.

[Diodorus of Sicily, 17.14.1-4]

 [13] Antipater and Parmenion advised him to produce an heir first and then to turn his hand to so ambitious an enterprise, but Alexander was eager for action and opposed to any postponement, and spoke against them. It would be a disgrace, he pointed out, for one who had been appointed by Greece to command the war, and who had inherited his father’s invincible forces, to sit at home celebrating a marriage and awaiting the birth of children.

  [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.16.2]

[14] King Alexander had his siege engines and provisions conveyed by sea to Halicarnassus while he himself with all his army marched into Caria, winning over the cities that lay on his route by kind treatment. He was particularly generous to the Greek cities, granting them independence and exemption from taxation, adding the assurance that the freedom of the Greeks was the object for which he had taken upon himself the war against the Persians.

 [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.24.1]

[15] Some got to important cities and held them for Dareius, others raised tribes and furnishing themselves with troops from them performed appropriate duties in the time under review. The delegates of the League of Corinth voted to send fifteen envoys with a golden wreath as a prize of valour from Greece to Alexander, instructing them to congratulate him on his victory in Cilicia.

 [Diodorus of Sicily, 17.48.6]

[16] He was met by Greeks bearing branches of supplication. They had been carried away from their homes by previous kings of Persia and were about eight hundred in number, most of them elderly. All had been mutilated, some lacking hands, some feet, and some ears and noses. [4] They were persons who had acquired skills or crafts and had made good progress in their instruction; then their other extremities had been amputated and they were left only those which were vital to their profession. All the soldiers, seeing their venerable years and the losses which their bodies had suffered, pitied the lot of the wretches. Alexander most of all was affected by them and unable to restrain his tears. [5] They all cried with one voice and besought Alexander to help them in their misfortunes. The king called their leaders to come forward and, greeting them with a respect in keeping with his own greatness of spirit, promised to make it a matter of utmost concern that they should be restored to their homes. [6] They gathered to debate the matter, and decided that it would be better for them to remain where they were rather than to return home. If they were brought back safely, they would be scattered in small groups, and would find their abuse at the hands of Fortune an object of reproach as they lived on in their cities. If, however, they continued living together, as companions in misfortune, they would find a solace for their mutilation in the similar mutilation of the others. [7] So they again appeared before the king, told him of their decision, and asked him to give them help appropriate to this proposal. [8] Alexander applauded their decision and gave each of them three thousand drachmae, five men’s robes and the same number for women, two yoke of oxen, fifty sheep, and fifty bushels of wheat. He made them also exempt from all royal taxes and charged his administrative officials to see that they were harmed by no one. [9] Thus Alexander mitigated the lot of these unfortunate persons by such benefactions in keeping with his natural kindness.

[Diodorus of Sicily, 17.69.1]


[17] “After this Alexander left Dareius’s mother, his daughters, and his son in Susa, providing them with persons to teach them the Greek language,…”

[Diodoros of Sicily 17.67.1]


[18] There had been many losses among the soldiers, and no relief from fighting was in sight. The hooves of the horses had been worn thin by steady marching. The arms and armour were wearing out, and Greek clothing was quite gone. They had to clothe themselves in foreign materials, recutting the garments of the Indians.

[Diodoros of Sicily 17.94.1-2]

[19] After all this had been done, Alexander marched back with all his army to the Acesines River by the same route by which he had come. There he found the ships built which he had ordered. He fitted these out and built others. [4] At this juncture there arrived from Greece allied and mercenary troops under their own commanders, more than thirty thousand infantry and a little less than six thousand cavalry.

[Diodorus of Sicily, 17.95.3-4]

Diodorus Siculus by Perseus Digital Library

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  1. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Diodorus Siculus
  2. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Plutarch
  3. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Arrian
  4. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Arrian
  5. Ancient sources about Macedonia as a Greek Land
George Kanavos says:

Most worthy reseach. Thank you.