Only one surviving source provides a continuous narrative of Greek history from Xerxes' invasion to the Wars of the Successors following the death of Alexander the Great—the Bibliotheke, or "Library," produced by Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus (ca. 90–30 BCE). Yet generations of scholars have disdained Diodorus as a spectacularly unintelligent copyist who only reproduced, and often mangled, the works of earlier historians. Arguing for a thorough critical reappraisal of Diodorus as a minor but far from idiotic historian himself, Peter Green published Diodorus Siculus, Books 11-12.37.1, a fresh translation, with extensive commentary, of the portion of Diodorus's history dealing with the period 480–431 BCE, the so-called "Golden Age" of Athens.
This is the only recent modern English translation of the Bibliotheke in existence. In the present volume—the first of two covering Diodorus's text up to the death of Alexander—Green expands his translation of Diodorus up to Athens' defeat after the Peloponnesian War. In contrast to the full scholarly apparatus in his earlier volume (the translation of which is incorporated) the present volume's purpose is to give students, teachers, and general readers an accessible version of Diodorus's history. Its introduction and notes are especially designed for this audience and provide an up-to-date overview of fifth-century Greece during the years that saw the unparalleled flowering of drama, architecture, philosophy, historiography, and the visual arts for which Greece still remains famous.