Studia Dionea novissima: Historical Narrative, Interpretations of the Past and Political Contexts of Cassius Dio’s “Roman History”. Part II

Markov Konstantin V., Makhlayuk Alexander V.

The article, continuing the overview of current Cassius Dio scholarship, focuses on the debates surrounding issues of narrative modes and patterns of his Roman History, including the role of various speeches in their dramatic context, the correlation between annalistic and biographical techniques, Dio’s treatment of Roman public institutions and especially their evolution within the transition from the Republic to Principate. The discussions concerning Dio’s political and literary career, his political thinking, and the constitutional debate in Book 52 also are under consideration. The present survey demonstrates that modern scholars have completely abandoned the outdated preconception of Dio as a ‘copyist’ or a ‘compiler’. Currently, this historian is treated as an author who had a distinct narrative strategy, elaborated the structure of his work and made deliberate choices between historiographic methods and techniques. Recent studies show, on the one hand, the diversity of methodological agendas applied to different parts of Dio’s work, and on the other hand, a number of recurrent themes and issues. The majority of these elements of consistency belong to the sphere of the author’s political agenda, with the entire conceptual framework of Dio’s narrative being closely connected to the demonstration of paradigms of proper political leadership.

Keywords: Cassius Dio, Graeco-Roman historiography, historical causation, historical narrative, historiographic methods and techniques, political agenda, Cassius Dio scholarship