Dio Cassius: History of Rome Background

Dio Cassius: History of Rome Background

History of Rome, or Roman History, is a series of 80 books which chronicles the history of Rome from the arrival of Aeneas in Italy until the year 229 C.E., six years before the author’s death. The books were written over the course of 22 years and cover about 1,400 years of Roman history, including its foundation, the Republic, and the Empire.

Only fragments of the first 36 books remain today. These fragments are categorized into Fragmenta Valesiana (collected by Henri Valois), Fragmenta Peiresciana (included in a manuscript belonging to Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc), Fragmenta Ursiniana (discovered by Fulvio Orsini) and Excerpta Vaticana. The 37th to 53rd books are almost entirely complete, as are the 56th to 60th. Fragments from the 61st to the 80th books are included in the Excerpta Vaticana.

While the books describing history before the first century B.C.E. contain mostly general summaries of events, Dio Cassius’ accounts of later history are more detailed and extensive. History of Rome includes very detailed accounts of events that occurred during the author’s lifetime. A prominent political official of the Roman Empire, Dio Cassius personally witnessed several of the events about which he wrote, and met several of the historical figures which were alive during his own lifetime. 

However, he was also a Greek from Bithynia, in Asia Minor. History of Rome was written in Greek and in a style heavily influenced by Athenian historian and philosopher Thucydides.  

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.