Monday, October 26, 2009

Prometheus and Diodorus

FLG is reading "The Myth of Prometheus: Its Survival and Metamorphoses up to the Eighteenth Century"; Olga Raggio; Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 21, No. 1/2 (Jan. - Jun., 1958), pp. 44-62. In it, Raggio mentions that Diodorus Siculus claimed Prometheus was a governor in Egypt at the time of Osiris, whom FLG must assume, from the context of Raggio's writing, Didorous believed to be real people.

FLG has read Diodorus because, surprise, surprise, Diodorus is one of the surviving contemporary ancient sources on Alexander, but FLG hasn't read anything beyond the Alexander parts.


Alpheus said...

The early books of Diodorus are full of this kind of euhemerism. But whether Diodorus personally believed the gods and demi-gods were really kings and great benefactors of early civilization is debated.

The standard assumption about Diodorus is that he's a slave to whatever source he happens to be using for a particular part of his history. For early history, and especially for the history of civilizations that weren't Greece or Rome, he might well have chosen sources full of assumptions and speculation, as being the most detailed.

FLG said...


I don't disagree with the euhemeristic conception of myth, as I think that superstition often has a rational basis.

I've actually heard that description of Diodorus before, but had completely forgotten.

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