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CALL. 30.08.2016: Cassius Dio the Historian: Methods and Approaches - Odense (Denmark)



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Southern Denmark (Odense, Denmark)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Adam Kemezis, George Hinge, Carsten H. Lange, Jesper M. Madsen, Josiah Osgood



The conference will take place in Odense, University of Southern Denmark, on the 7-9 December 2016. This inaugural event launches the Network: Cassius Dio: Between History and Politics. The Cassius Dio Network (2016-2018) is a joint venture between the University of Southern Denmark, Aarhus University and Aalborg University, in cooperation with the University of Alberta and Georgetown University. The aim of the conference is to focus on Cassius Dio as a historian – the only historian who allows us to follow the developments of Rome’s political institutions during a more than thousand year period, from the foundation of the city to Dio’s retirement from public life in 229 CE. We propose to explore Dio’s methodology and agendas, all of which influenced his approaches to Rome’s history. The aim is a reassessment that will rest on a deeper study of his narrative technique, his relationship with traditions of universal and more Rome-based historiography, and his structural approach to Roman history. One question that will be raised is as follows: can we find common principles for how to use Dio as a source for different periods, events and individuals? What are our main approaches? Most frequently Cassius Dio is used as a handy resource, with scholars looking at isolated sections of his annalistic structure. This piecemeal use of The Roman History makes us forget to reflect on his work in its textual and contextual entirety. Contrary to this approach, we will put emphasis on Cassius Dio and his Roman History in its historiographical setting, thus allowing us to link and understand the different parts of his work. We thus propose to accept that Cassius Dio was a figure in his own right and with his own agendas for writing The Roman History, at the same time not forgetting the historian, with his ambition to tell the history of Rome. Part of this ground has already been covered, particularly the reign of Augustus and the contemporary world of Dio. But how for example can we best use Dio as evidence for Republican history? Dio is often disregarded for this period, considered to be either too late or too uninformed in comparison with other surviving historians. In essence: how do we as scholars use Dio as evidence? What were his historical methods and why was he at times seemingly careless, at times very precise? Did he follow a specific political agenda? We believe that the entire Roman History is centred on his vision of an idealised form of Roman monarchical government. We invite papers focusing on the following – and similar – questions: • What we can say about the working methods of Dio as a historian • What sources Dio used and how this fit his overall narrative and agenda(s) • What these agendas were: methodologically, politically, socially and culturally • How we as modern historians use Dio, specifically when focusing on different historical periods; and again, how this fits with our views of his overall agendas and narrative • What we are to make of the episodes where Dio describes circumstances in ways different from the parallel evidence • Which sources of inspiration Dio drew from in his writing—in addition to the clear influence of Thucydides—and how this materialises in his narrative. Unfortunately we cannot subsidise transportation costs to and from Denmark. However, we will offer to pay for speakers’ accommodation, meals, and conference dinner. Abstracts should be sent to Jesper M. Madsen by 30 August (200-300 words). The Network is funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF), Humanities (FKK), Georgetown University, and the University of Alberta. This conference is funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF) & Humanities (FKK). Proposals should be sent to: Jesper M. Madsen Department of History/ University of Southern Denmark, Odense Email:

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