Cassius Dio, competition and the decline of the Roman Republic

Lindholmer, Mads Ortving (2017) Cassius Dio, competition and the decline of the Roman Republic. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis argues that Dio’s narrative of the Late Republic constitutes a sophisticated and consistent interpretation of the fall of the Republican governmental form, centred on competition. In Dio’s narrative, institutionally generated political competition is the central destructive factor of the Late Republic, which causes its deterioration and eventual collapse. This competition was inherent to the Republic according to Dio but underwent a destructive transformation in the Late Republic and Dio hereby presents an institutional explanation for the decline of the Republic. The discussion is divided into an introduction, two thematic chapters and two chapters containing case studies, all of which include a number of subchapters each. Chapter 1 (“Introduction”) presents the argument and the scholarly tradition on Dio’s Late Republic, and hereafter examines Dio’s fundamental ideas about and perspectives on competition. Chapter 2 (“Dio and the sources for the Late Republic”) compares Dio with the parallel sources for the events surrounding Lucullus and his command, the lex Gabinia and the Catilinarian Conspiracy. Through this, I will argue that Dio manipulated and selected his material carefully in order to present and strengthen an original interpretation in which competition is central. Chapter 3 (“Dio and the annalistic method”) examines Dio’s use of the annalistic tradition and, via a main focus on elections, omens and legislation, demonstrates that Dio was highly selective in his use of annalistic material as he only incorporated it when it furthered his interpretative aims. Chapter 4 (“A diachronic analysis of Book 36”) argues that Dio incorporated his main exploration of external competition in Book 36, and through skilful manipulation and structuring of the narrative, created a cumulative interrelation between individual parts of the book. This interrelation furthered the communication and strengthening of Dio’s overarching interpretative framework centred on institutional competition. Chapter 5 (“Book 39 and competition in practice”) asserts that Book 39 is Dio’s central investigation of internal competition and its intimate connection to the fall of the Republic. To support and communicate this, Dio again creates a sophisticated interrelation within the book, which presents violence, bribery and political manipulation as central tools used by dynasts to further their ambition. Thus Dio here further strengthens his explanation of the fall of the Republic, where institutionally generated competition is the central focal point.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Cassius Dio, Late Republic, Rome, historiography.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Steel, Professor Catherine and Burden-Strevens, Dr. Christopher
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Mr. Mads Ortving Lindholmer
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-7883
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 11:42
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 10:26
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7883

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