Between Civilitas and Tyranny: Cassius Dio’s Biographical Narrative of the Flavian Dynasty
In Cassius Dio’s account of imperial Rome, the Flavian Dynasty represents all the strengths and weaknesses of monarchical rule. The strength is represented with Vespasian, his display of modesty and understanding of the need to cooperate and share power with the senatorial elite. The weakness is described through the nepotism, betrayal, and uncontrolled ambition for glory and prestige that helped Domitian to power and forced the return of tyrannical rule upon the Romans. In this chapter, I shall discuss the way in which the Flavian narrative serves as a microcosm in the Roman History to demonstrate the reason for which dynastic succession was incapable of providing the stability needed for monarchical rule to reach its full constitutional and political potential.