Introduction: conversations with the author
Cassius Dio, Severan dynasty, politicians, Rome
In the Rome of the Severan and Antonine eras, as at any time or place, literature was a social and even communal practice. The works we have were written not just by authors, but for, to, with, among, about, and against those authors' friends, neighbors, superiors, dependents, predecessors, and competitors. Books were produced and processed in a physical and human infrastructure of libraries, bookstores, reading circles, and literary staff personnel ranging from the elite to the enslaved. This is undoubtedly the world in which Cassius Dio lived, but one would hardly know it from his writings. He was a contemporary and, in some cases, likely an acquaintance of Philostratus, Galen, Aelian, and Athenaeus. But none of these men mentions him, nor he them. His contemporary books are full of self-portraiture: We see Dio as a senator, an administrator, and a privileged observer, but seldom in the role of author, and never as one author among others.
Kemezis, A.M., C. Bailey & B. Poletti, “Introduction: Conversations with the Author.” In Kemezis, A.M, C. Bailey & B. Poletti, eds., The Intellectual Climate of Cassius Dio: Greek and Roman Pasts: 1-29. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2022.
All Rights Reserved