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Ancient authors on the issue of the Varus Battle

Cassius Dio

Born around 150 AD, Cassius Dio Cocceianus held high offices in his home town Nicaea in Bythinia (Asia Minor), just like his father had done. He passed through the classic Roman career of a public servant and was governor of the provinces Africa, Dalmatia and Upper Pannonia. Due to his austerity against the soldiers, he antagonised the Praetorian Guards so that he had to assume his second consulate as a colleague of Emperor Severus Alexander outside of the city boundaries of Rome. Hereafter, he returned to Bythinia and probably died around 235 AD.

Only fragments remain of his work »Roman History« (»Romaïkè Historía«), consisting of eighty books and written in Greek. The work in the style of an annual was structured in centuries. He mentions the older authors used for his works by name, including Polybios and Livius. His detailed description of the time after Marcus Aurelius which he depicts – while in imperatorial service – as a contemporary witness is of particular value. Especially due to his contemporary perspective, Cassius Dio is one of the most important sources of Roman history.