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Dio Cassius(Cassius Dio Cocceianus) (dīo kăsh`əs), c.155–235?, Roman historian and administrator, b. Nicaea in Bithynia. He was a grandson of Dio Chrysostom. His rise in civil and military office was steady; he became a senator (c.180), praetor (193), consul (220?), proconsul in Africa (224), legate in Dalmatia (226), legate in Pannonia (227), and consul again (229). He was a good commander, but he remained in favor more for his literary works than for his abilities in office. His great work, partially extant, was a history of Rome (written in Greek) from the earliest times until Dio Cassius' own period. Of the original 80 books, 19 survive in full. They are a reputable source for the period of the later republic and the first two centuries A.D. Dio Cassius tried earnestly to study all available sources in the light of a moderate skepticism.
(Cassius Dion Cocceianus). Born between A.D. 155 and 164, in Nicaea; died there after 229. Ancient Greek historian.
The son of a provincial aristocrat, Dio Cassius rose to the position of a Roman senator during the reign of Emperor Commodius and held several high governmental positions. After 229 he retired from affairs of state and returned to Nicaea. Dio Cassius was the author of the work Roman History, consisting of 80 books written in Greek and covering the history of Rome from the most ancient times to 229. The exposition of events is by years (by consuls), based on the principle of annals. Books 36-54 (from the year 68 through 10 B.C.) have come down to us in their entirety, books 55-60 (9 B.C.-A.D. 46) in abbreviated form, and books 17 and 79-80 in fragments. The remaining content is known through abridgments and extracts compiled by Byzantine historians, including Xiphilinus (11th century) and Joannes Zonaras (12th century).
Dio Cassius subordinated the exposition of facts to his endeavor to dramatize the narrative and his predilection for rhetoric and generalizing judgments. This was especially damaging to the books on the history of the Republic, a period whose intricacies evidently escaped Dio Cassius. He illuminated events from the point of view of a convinced supporter of the monarchy, although he was also an opponent of the extreme manifestations of despotism. In language and style he imitated Thucydides.
WORKSCasii Dionis Cocceiani Historiarum Romanorum quae supersunt,vols. 1-5. Edited by U. T. Boisevain. Berlin, 1895-1931.
In Russian translation:
“Rimskaia istoriia.” In Pozdniaia grecheskaia proza. Moscow, 1961.