The last person to see a complete Diodorus Siculus

The splendid efforts by Bill Thayer to scan the still-massive  remains of the Universal History by Diodorus Siculus have reminded me that the complete text still existed in 1453.  N. G. Wilson in Scribes and Scholars p.72 tells us of a well-established fact, stated by Constantine Lascaris who says that he saw a complete copy of the work in the imperial palace in Constantinople, and that it was destroyed by the Turks. 

Scribes and Scholars is a masterwork, but one of its defects is the casual attitude to referencing.  But by chance a French correspondent asked me about this very event, and in order to give him a page reference, I pulled down the French translation by the excellent Pierre Petitmengin, D’Homère a Érasme.  I was surprised, but delighted, to find on page 48 a reference for this statement: Patrologia Graeca, t. 161, c. 918.  One of the reasons why the French edition is useful is that it does fill in some of the gaps like this.

It would be nice to have Constantine Lascaris’ words in English, but that must wait another day!


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