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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a Book of
Roman History

Cassius Dio

published in Vol. IX
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1927

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Cassius Dio
Roman History

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Epitome of Book LXX

11 It should be noted that the account of Antoninus Pius is not found in the copies of Dio, probably because the books have met with some accident, so that the history of his reign is almost wholly unknown; save that when Lucius Commodus, whom Hadrian had adopted, died before Hadrian, Antoninus was both adopted by him and became emperor, 2 and that when the senate demurred to giving divine honours to Hadrian after his death on account of certain murders of eminent men, Antoninus addressed many words to them with tears and lamentations, and finally said: "Well, then, I will not govern you either, if he has become in your eyes base and hostile and a public foe. 3 For in that case you will, of course, soon annul all his acts, of which my adoption was one." On hearing this the senate, both through respect for the man and through a certain fear of the soldiers, bestowed the honours upon Hadrian.

2 Only this in regard to Antoninus is preserved in Dio; and also the fact that the senate gave him the titles both of Augustus and of Pius for some such reason as the following. When, in the beginning of his reign, accusation was brought against many men, some of whom were demanded by name for punishment, he nevertheless punished no one saying: "I must not begin my career as your leader with such deeds."


 p471  15 3 When Pharasmenes the Iberian came to Rome with his wife, Antoninus increased his domain, allowed him to offer sacrifice on the Capitol, set up an equestrian statue in the temple of Bellona, and viewed and exercise in arms in which this chieftain, his son, and the other prominent Iberians took part.

2 Neither do we find preserved the first part of the account of Marcus Verus, who ruled after Antoninus — I mean his acts in relation to Lucius, the son of Commodus, whom Marcus had made his son-in‑law, and the achievements of Lucius in the war against Vologaesus, to which he had been sent by his father-in‑law. I shall touch briefly upon these matters, therefore, gathering my material from other books, and then I shall go back to the continuation of Dio's narrative.

3 Antoninus is admitted by all to have been noble and good, neither oppressive to the Christians nor severe to any of his other subjects; instead, he showed the Christians great respect and added to the honour in which Hadrian had been wont to hold them. 2 For Eusebius Pamphili cites in his Ecclesiastical History a letter of Hadrian in which the emperor is seen to threaten terrible vengeance upon those who harm in any way or accuse the Christians and swears in the name of Hercules that punishment shall be meted out to them. 3 Antoninus is said to have been of an enquiring turn of mind and not to have held aloof from careful investigation of even small and commonplace matters; for this the scoffers called him Cummin-splitter. Quadratus states that he died at an advanced  p473 age, and that his death, when it came, was most peaceful, like the gentlest slumber.

4 In the days of Antoninus it is said, also, that a most frightful earthquake occurred in the region of Bithynia and the Hellespont. Various cities were severely damaged or fell in utter ruin, and in particular Cyzicus; and the temple there that was the greatest and most beauti­ful of all temples was thrown down. 2 Its columns were four cubits in thickness and fifty cubits in height, each consisting of a single block of marble; and in general the details of the edifice were more to be wondered at than to be praised. And in the interior of the country, they say, a mountain peak burst asunder and a flood of sea-water poured forth, and the spray from it, whipped by the wind, was driven to a great distance over the land — a spray of pure, transparent sea-water.


1 11So much of the account of Antoninus is now extant. He reigned twenty-four years.

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Page updated: 16 Apr 11