Dio Cassius was born in Bithynia of an old and important family. His Roman History is especially valuable to modern historians because Dio Cassius spent most of his life in public service, holding many high government offices during the reigns of Commodus, Pertinax, Septimius Severus, and Severus Alexander. He witnessed the decay of society under Elagabalus and Caracallas reign of terror. His insights into the workings of the Roman imperial government provide details that would not be considered important by a military man or writer of epic poetry. He was a senator from the early years of the Third Century, Consul under Elagabalus and Severus Alexander, and Governor of Pannonia under Severus Alexander. Dio Cassius wrote his history in eighty books, but only eighteen of these survive today. These eighteen cover the period from 68 B. C. to A. D. 46. Books 50 through 56, covering the death of the Republic and the reign of Augustus are available in a Penguin Classics edition translated into English.
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