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In: Cassius Dio’s Forgotten History of Early Rome

Abstract

This article explores how Cassius Dio utilised the admission in his work: He presented this ritual as a key characteristic of the emperor and his power but also set out a clear expectation that the emperor should present himself as a first among equals in the admission. Furthermore, Dio consistently avoids mentioning non-senatorial participants in the imperial admission and thereby presents it as a ritual during which only the emperor and the senators interacted. Thus, Dio presents a coherent picture of how the admission should be understood, how the emperor should behave and who should participate. This probably both reflected and shaped senatorial opinion and can be seen as an attempt to assert control over the perception of the admission and to influence the imperial self-presentation through this ritual. This sophisticated literary use of the admission is distinctive as it stands in sharp contrast to Dio’s predecessors.

In: The Intellectual Climate of Cassius Dio
In a radical change of approach, Cassius Dio’s Forgotten History of Early Rome illuminates the least explored and understood part of Cassius Dio’s enormous Roman History: the first two decads, which span over half a millennium of history and constitute a quarter of Dio’s work. Combining literary and historiographical perspectives with source-criticism and textual analysis for the first time in the study of Dio’s early books, this collection of chapters demonstrates the integral place of ‘early Rome’ within the text as a whole and Dio’s distinctive approach to this semi-mythical period. By focussing on these hitherto neglected portions of the text, this volume seeks to further the ongoing reappraisal of one of Rome’s most significant but traditionally under-appreciated historians.

Abstract

Cassius Dio’s narrative of Augustus’ reign is fundamental to our understanding of this period. This article will focus on D.C. 55.34.1. After a lacuna, the text reads: ‘… however, declare his opinion among the first, but among the last, his purpose being that all might be permitted to form their views independently’. It has been almost universally assumed for two centuries that this describes Augustus’ interaction with the senators but, through a comparison with Dio’s narrative of Tiberius, I will argue that 55.34.1 actually describes Augustus’ interaction with his advisors. Given the paucity of evidence about Augustus’ interaction with these two bodies, this correction has wide consequences. It also has consequences for research on Dio’s view of Augustus and the ideal monarch as well as scholarship on Dio more broadly.

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In: Mnemosyne