The Augustan Succession: An Historical Commentary on Cassius by Peter Michael Swan

By Peter Michael Swan

Written within the author's maternal Greek, the Roman historical past of the third-century A.D. historian Cassius Dio is our fullest surviving historic resource for the reign of the Emperor Augustus. within the Augustan Succession Peter Michael Swan presents an plentiful ancient and historiographic observation on Books 55-56 of the historical past. those books recount Augustus's final twenty-three years (9 B.C.-A.D. 14), in which the getting older monarch, amid dynastic tragedies and armed forces setbacks, orchestrated the continuation of the constitutional and imperial approach constructed lower than his management, which led to his transmission of strength to his son-in-law Tiberius. The Augustan Succession is the 1st observation because the eighteenth century to provide complete and clean remedy of this section of Dio's work.This remark will pay shut serious recognition to Dio's old resources, equipment, and assumptions because it additionally strives to give him as a determine in his personal correct. in the course of a longevity (ca. 164-after 229), Dio served as a Roman senator lower than seven emperors from Commodus to Severus Alexander, ruled 3 Roman provinces, and was once two times consul. An acute and modern observer of extensive event, situated with regards to the seat of imperial energy, he was once a confident character who embodied deeply conservative political and social perspectives and prejudices. a majority of these components tell the pages of Dio's Augustan narrative, as does, chiefly, his doctrine that the simplest therapy for the concerns of his personal age of "rust and iron" used to be rule at the version of Augustus. this is often an ancient statement on Books 55-56 of Dio's Roman historical past. those books recount the final half the reign of the Emperor Augustus, primarily his orchestration of the 1st imperial succession. Addressed to either scholars and students, the recent statement is the 1st because the eighteenth century to provide complete and clean therapy of this phase of Dio's paintings.

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The “late” chronologies, whose prime advocates are Letta and Barnes, diverge sharply from the “early,” generally by a decade or more. These two scholars put less weight (arguably too little) on Dio’s account of how he came to write the History than on references to contemporary events found scattered through his narrative. , provides the most remarkable instance:132 here Dio refers to the 128. For criticism cf. W. Bowersock, Review of Millar Study in Gnomon 37 (1965), 470–473. ” 129. Schwartz “Dio” 1686; Gabba RSI 67 (1955), 295–301; Schmidt “Dio” 2605–2625.

For lists see Smilda 474–476 and Schwartz “Dio” 1718–1719 (Millar Study 78 n1 notes two omissions). 119. 2–9. 120 Showy productions, aimed equally at self-presentation (cf. sec. 121 They make a better impression if read with sympathetic imagination on their own terms as an idiom of ancient rhetorical culture and historiography. The speeches set by Dio in Augustus’ reign offer a mélange of characterizations, situations, and viewpoints that makes them a challenge to interpret. Notably hard to plumb are the dynamics of Augustus’ recusatio imperii, which Dio presents archly as a charade that duped the senators into consolidating Augustus’ monarchic position; here Dio’s cold realism and irony jar with the tendency of his narrative to idealize the mature Augustus and his new regime.

4. DIO ON AUGUSTUS’ PLACE IN ROMAN HISTORY The program of Dio’s magnum opus offers few surprises to a reader brought up on standard political histories of Rome. ). ). ) have been lost almost entirely, their exiguous remains indicate a denser narrative fabric and a slower chronological pace, dictated by the complex domestic and external crises that marked the period from the Gracchi to the coup d’état of Pompey in 70. c. (Books 36–44). d. 14) contain Dio’s “Augustan” account, which is climaxed by two epochal events.

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