Cassius Dio: Between War and Civil War

Carsten Hjort Lange, Andrew G. Scott

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This volume focuses on Dio’s approaches to foreign war and stasis (as in violence) as well as civil war (= stasis, emphylios polemos). The chapters as a whole have – or so it has turned out –turned this into a slightly imbalanced book in as much as there are rather many civil war articles and few foreign war/expansion articles (with some of the foreign war articles focusing partly on civil wars). There may be many reasons for this. An answer may partly be the new trend of impact of civil war. On the other hand, the authors may be responding directly to a main theme in Dio. In addition to the survey of Dio’s view of civil war and its relationship to his views on human nature above, a common reading of Dio’s history suggests that one of his primary concerns was to examine what form of government best suited Rome. His answer, monarchy, was achieved through civil war, and Dio devotes the largest proportion of his history to the events of this civil war and the monarchical settlement that followed, committing an entire book (52), coming approximately at the halfway point of the work, to a debate about the best form of government, democracy or monarchy. But this is not all: scholars have noted that Dio’s work as a whole is shot through with internal conflict and strife, from the founding up to Dio’s own day (Lange 2019a, 238: “There is much added value to be gained in thinking about Dio as a (historical) theorist of factions, stasis, and civil war”; Lange 2019b; Madsen 2019; Madsen 2020). The centrality of these themes can be found even in the closing chapters of the history. Dio brings his history to an end in 229 CE, when he retired from public life, departed Rome, and travelled home to his native Bithynia. The history concludes with a grim message about internal discord (ἐπαναστάσεις), the threat from abroad (Persia) and internal stability (in Dio’s view, the fault of the military) (80[80].3-4). There is also plenty of evidence that Dio thought that the monarchy of his own day was in trouble, a far cry from his idealized take on the reigns of Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. We thus find, at the conclusion of the work, a coalescence of the themes of this volume: civil discord, foreign war, and the threat of violence, both at home and from abroad. The impact of war on Rome as well as on the history of Rome has long be recognised by scholars (see above), and recent years have seen an increasing interest in the civil-war periods in Roman history, mainly that of the Late Republic, especially with respect to the enormous impact of civil war on Roman society during the aftermath of the murder of Caesar. Combining this with recent trends in historiography, especially with the publication of The Fragments of the Roman Historians (2013), the collected volume on Appian‘s civil war narratives (Welch 2015), and the volume on The Historiography of Late Republican Civil War (Lange & Vervaet 2019), offers a perfect starting point for the study of Cassius Dio and the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War. There is a certain amount of scholarship on Dio’s views of Roman external policy and expansion, focusing particularly on the speeches at the start of the Second Punic War and Caesar's Vesontio speech as well as various authorial statements (Kemezis 2016). Dio’s description of foreign war is also essential for understanding civil strife and civil war (frg. 52.1, see above), a subcategory of the broader phenomenon of war. Dio wanted to understand Roman history on its own terms, including war and civil strife and in the light of long-term experience, as part of the realities of power; he wanted to understand human nature (echoing Thucydides) and the leading (civil war) protagonists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War
EditorsCarsten Hjort Lange, Andrew G. Scott
Place of PublicationLeiden & Boston
PublisherBrill
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
EventCassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War - Aalborg Universitet, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 8 Nov 201710 Nov 2017
https://www.academia.edu/30269460/NEW_conference_Aalborg_Denmark_November_2017_Cassius_Dio_the_Impact_of_Violence_War_and_Civil_War_Call_for_papers_deadline_1_March_2017

Conference

ConferenceCassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War
LocationAalborg Universitet
CountryDenmark
CityAalborg
Period08/11/201710/11/2017
Internet address
SeriesBrill's Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series
ISSN2468-2314

Fingerprint

Civil War
Cassius Dio
History
Rome
Strife
Monarchy
Stasis
Government
Historiography
Roman History
Threat
Discord
Human Nature
Democracy
Bithynia
Founding
Fault
Marcus Aurelius
Persia
Military

Cite this

Lange, C. H., & Scott, A. G. (Accepted/In press). Cassius Dio: Between War and Civil War. In C. H. Lange, & A. G. Scott (Eds.), Cassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War Leiden & Boston: Brill. Brill's Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series
Lange, Carsten Hjort ; Scott, Andrew G. / Cassius Dio: Between War and Civil War. Cassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War. editor / Carsten Hjort Lange ; Andrew G. Scott. Leiden & Boston : Brill, 2020. (Brill's Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series).
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Lange, CH & Scott, AG 2020, Cassius Dio: Between War and Civil War. in CH Lange & AG Scott (eds), Cassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War. Brill, Leiden & Boston, Brill's Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series, Aalborg, Denmark, 08/11/2017.

Cassius Dio: Between War and Civil War. / Lange, Carsten Hjort; Scott, Andrew G.

Cassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War. ed. / Carsten Hjort Lange; Andrew G. Scott. Leiden & Boston : Brill, 2020. (Brill's Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series).

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Lange CH, Scott AG. Cassius Dio: Between War and Civil War. In Lange CH, Scott AG, editors, Cassius Dio: the Impact of Violence, War, and Civil War. Leiden & Boston: Brill. 2020. (Brill's Historiography of Rome and Its Empire Series).