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DION.

conducted himself on all occasions" as an upright and virtuous man. The accession of Septimius Severus raised great hopes in Dion of being further promoted; but these hopes were not realized, not­withstanding the favour which Sevenis shewed him in the beginning of his reign. Soon after the acces­sion of Severus, Dion wrote a work on the dreams and prodigies which had announced the elevation of this emperor, and which he presented to Severus, who thanked him for it in a long epistle. The night after he had received this epistle, Dion was called upon in a dream to write the history of his own time, which induced him to work out the ma­terials he had already collected for a history of Commodus. A similar dream or vision afterwards led him to write the history of Septimius Severus and Caracalla. When the history of Commodus was completed, Dion read it to the emperor, who received it with so much approbation, that Dion was encouraged to write a history of Rome from the earliest times, and to insert in it what he had already written about the reign of Commodus. The next ten years, therefore, were spent in mak­ing the preparatory studies and collecting materials, and twelve years more, during the greater part of which he lived in quiet retirement at Capua, were employed in composing the work. It was his inten­tion to carry the history as far down as possible, and to add an account of the reigns of the emperors suc­ceeding Severus, so far as he might witness them. Reimarus conceives that Dion began collecting his materials in A. d. 201, and that after the death of Severus, in A. D. 211, he commenced the composi­tion of his work, which would thus have been completed in a. d. 222.

The reason why Severus did not promote Dion is probably owing to the emperor's change of opi­nion respecting Commodus; for, during the latter part of his reign, he admired Commodus as much as he had before detested him; and what Dion had written about him could not be satisfactory to an admirer of the tyrant. Dion thus remained in Italy for many years, without any new dignity being conferred upon him. In the reign of Cara­calla it became customary for a select number of senators to accompany the emperor in his expedi­tions and travels, and Dion was one of them. Pie bitterly complains of having been com­pelled in consequence to spend immense sums of money, and not only to witness the tyrant's dis­graceful conduct, but to some extent to be an accomplice in it. In the company of the emperor, Dion thus visited Nicomedeia; but he does not appear to have gone any further ; for of the subsequent events in Asia and Egypt he does not speak as an eye-witness, but only appeals to re­ports. Macrinus, however, appears to have again called him to Asia, and to have entrusted to him the administration of the free cities of Pergamus and Smyrna, which had shortly before revolted. Dion went to this post about a. D. 218, and seems to have remained there for about three years, on account of the various points which had to be set­tled. At the expiration of his-office, however, he did not return to Rome, but went to Nicaea in Bithynia. On his arrival there he was taken ill, but notwithstanding was raised, during his ab­sence, to the consulship, either a. d. 219 or 220. After this he obtained the proconsulship of Africa, which, however, cannot have been earlier than A d. 224. After his return to Italy, he was sent,

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DION.

in a. D.'226, as legate to Dalmatia, and the year after to Pannonia. In the latter province he re­stored strict discipline among the troops; and on his return to Rome, the praetorians began to fear lest he should use his influence for the purpose of inter­fering with their conduct likewise, and in order to prevent this, they demanded of the emperor Alex­ander Severus to put him to death. But the em­peror not only disregarded their clamour, but raised Dion, a. d. 229, to his second consulship, in which Alexander himself was his colleague. Alexander also conferred other distinctions upon him, and undertook out of his own purse to defray the ex­penses which the dignity of consul demanded of Dion. However, as Dion could not feel safe at Rome under these circumstances, the emperor re­quested him to take up his residence somewhere in Italy at a distance from the city. After the expira­tion of his consulship, Dion returned to Rome, and spent some time with the emperor in Campania; but he appears at length to have become tired of the precarious life at Rome, and under the pretext of suffering from a bad foot, he asked and obtained permission to return to his native place, and there to spend the remainder of his life in quiet retire­ment. At Nicaea Dion completed his history, and there he also died. The time of his death is un­known. Respecting his family nothing is recorded, except that in two passages he just mentions his wife and children; and it may be that the Dion Cassius whom we find consul in A. d. 291 was a grandson of our historian. The account we have here given of the life of Dion Cassius is derived from scattered passages of his own work, and from a short article in Suidas.

The following list contains the works which are attributed by the ancients to Dion Cassius : 1. The work on dreams and prodigies, which we men­tioned above, is lost. Dion had probably written it only to please the emperor, and he seems after­wards to have regretted its publication; for, al­though he is otherwise rather credulous and fond of relating prodigies, yet in his history he mentions those which have reference to Septimius Severus only very cursorily. 2. The history of the reign of Commodus, which he afterwards incorporated in his history of Rome. 3. On the reign of the em­peror Trajan. This work is mentioned only by Suidas; and, if it really was a distinct work, the substance of it was incorporated in his Roman history. 4. A history of Persia is likewise men­tioned only by Suidas, but is probably a mistake, and Suidas confounds Dion with Deinon, who is known to have written a work on Persia. 5. *Ev6-5m, that is, Itineraries, is mentioned by Suidas; but it is very doubtful whether it was a work of Dion Cassius, or of his grandfather, Dion Chrysos-tomus, whose extensive travels may have led him to write such a work. 6. A life of Arrian is altogether unknown, except through the mention of Suidas. 7. Getica is attributed to Dion Cassius by Suidas, Jornandes, and Freculphus; while from Philostratus ( Vil. Soph. i. 7) we might infer, that Dion Chrysostomus was its author. 8. The History of Rome ('Pco/xai/CT] forropi'a), the great work of Dion Cassius, consisted of 80 books, and was further divided into decads, like Livy's Roman history. It embraced the whole history of Rome from the earliest times, that is, from the landing of Aeneas in Italy down to a. d. 229, the year in which Dion quitted Italy and returned to Nicaen.

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