Cassius Dio's Speeches and the Collapse of the Roman Republic

The Roman History, Books 3–56


In Cassius Dio’s Speeches and the Collapse of the Roman Republic, Christopher Burden-Strevens provides a radical reinterpretation of the importance of public speech in one of our most significant historical sources for the bloody and dramatic transition from Republic to Principate. Cassius Dio’s Roman History, composed in eighty books early in the 3rd century CE, has only recently come to be appreciated as a sophisticated work of history-writing. In this book, Burden-Strevens demonstrates the central role played by speeches in Dio’s original analysis of the decline of the Republic and the success of the emperor Augustus’ regime, including a detailed study of their possible sources, themes, methods of composition, and their distinctiveness within the traditions of Roman historiography.

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Christopher Burden-Strevens (Ph.D. 2015, University of Glasgow) is Lecturer in Roman History at The University of Kent. He has published and edited numerous studies on Roman historiography, including most recently Cassius Dio’s Forgotten History of Early Rome (Brill, 2019).
"Speeches are part of the historical narrative; they can add information which the author may not be inclined to share in his own voice; and they can reveal more of the author’s evaluation of his characters and the historical events he is narrating. Therefore, it behoves us to grant the speeches particular thought and analysis. This is the main objective which this book intends to achieve and it does so successfully."
- Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, in Histos 15 (2021).
"Burden-Strevens has written an indispensable study of Cassius Dio’s Roman History, which should be read carefully by any scholar of Dio, and, I would say, anyone investigating the Greek historiography of the Empire writ large." Leanne Jansen, BMCR 2021.12.22
Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series
Table of Speeches

1 Introduction
 1 From One King to Another
 2 Speechwriting and the Historian
 3 Cassius Dio and the Decline of the Republic
 4 The Historian and his World
 5 Using This Book

2 Method
 1 The Composition of Dio’s Speeches: Three Problems
 2 Three Problems, or Three Strengths?

3 Oratory
 1 Beginnings: Early Roman Oratory
 2 Decline: Dynasty and Deception
 3 Restoration: Augustus and the Principate

4 Morality
 1 Envy and Odium
 2 Selfish Ambition, or Love of Honour?
 3 Covetousness and Cupidity
 4 Moral Revolution, or Constitutional Change?

5 Institutions & Empire
 1 Successive Office-Holding and the High Command
 2 The Dictatorship and Tyranny
 3 Tradition and Innovation

6 Epilogue
All students and specialists in the history of the Late Republic and Augustan Principate, as well as scholars of ancient historiography (especially the Greek history-writing of Rome).