Cassius Dio’s Ideal Government and the Imperial Senate
This chapter argues that Dio envisioned a surprisingly minimalist role for the Senate in his ideal government: magistrates and advisors were drawn from the senators, but the emperor should hold absolute power and the Senate should not constitute an important forum of genuine deliberation or advice. Instead, in Dio’s ideal government, the consilium was the key forum of debate informing imperial policy. Dio’s ideal government, and the place of the Senate therein, is distinctive as it broke with a long tradition of senatorial writing which idealised a system of government where the Senate played a central role. This nuances the widespread view of Dio as a ‘senatorial historian’.