(Δίων). (1) An inhabitant of Syracuse, who became a disciple of Plato, invited to the court of Syracuse by the elder Dionysius. He was nearly connected with Dionysius by having married his daughter, and because his sister was one of his wives; and he was also much esteemed by him, so as to be employed on several embassies. At the accession of the younger Dionysius, Plato was again, at Dion's request, invited to Syracuse. (See Plato.) In order, however, to counteract his influence, the courtiers obtained the recall of Philistus, a man notorious for his adherence to arbitrary principles. This faction determined to supplant Dion, and availed themselves of a real or supposititious letter to fix on him the charge of treason. Dion, precluded from defence, was transported to Italy, and from thence proceeded to Greece, where he was received with great honour. Dionysius became jealous of his popularity in Greece, especially at Athens, stopped his remittances, confiscated his estates, and compelled his wife, who had been left at Syracuse as an hostage, to marry another person. Dion, incensed at this treatment, determined to expel the tyrant. Plato resisted his intentions; but, encouraged by other friends, he assembled a body of troops, and with a small force sailed to Sicily, took advantage of the absence of Dionysius in Italy, and freed the people from his control. Dionysius returned; but, after some conflicts, was compelled to escape to Italy. The austere and philosophic manners of Dion, however, soon lost him the favour of his countrymen, and he was supplanted by Heraclides, a Syracusan exile, and obliged to make his retreat to Leontini. He afterwards regained the ascendency and caused Heraclides to be assassinated, which robbed him ever after of his peace of mind. An Athenian, an intimate friend, formed a conspiracy against his life, and Dion was assassinated in the fifty-fifth year of his age, B.C. 354 ( Diod. Sic.xvi. 6 foll.; Dion.; Corn. Nep. Dion).
(2) Dio Cassius Cocceinus, son of Cassius Apronianus, a Roman senator, born A.D. 155, at Nicaea, in Bithynia. His true name was Cassius, but he assumed the other two names, as being descended on the mother's side from Dion Chrysostom. Thus, though he was on his mother's side of Greek descent, and though, in his writings, he adopted the prevailing languageGreekof his native province, he must be considered as a Roman. Dio Cassius passed the greater part of his life in public employments. He was a senator under Commodus and governor of Smyrna after the death of Septimius Severus; and afterwards consul, as also proconsul in Africa and Pannonia. Alexander Severus entertained the highest esteem for him, and made him consul for the second time, with himself, though the Praetorian Guards, irritated against him on account of his severity, had demanded his life. When advanced in years (about A.D. 229), he returned to his native country. Dio published a Roman history, in eighty books, the fruit of his researches and labours for the space of twenty-two years. It embraced a period of 983 years, extending from the arrival of Aeneas in Italy, and the subsequent founding of Rome, to A.D. 229. Down to the time of Iulius Caesar, he only gives a summary of events; after this, he enters somewhat more into details; and from the time of Commodus he is very circumstantial in relating what passed under his own eyes. We have fragments remaining of the first thirty-six books: but there is a considerable portion of the thirtyfifth book, on the war of Lucullus against Mithridates, and of the thirty-sixth, on the war with the pirates and the expedition of Pompey against the king of Pontus. The books that follow, to the fifty-fourth inclusive, are nearly all entire: they comprehend a period from B.C. 65 to B.C. 12, or from the eastern campaign of Pompey and the death of Mithridates to the death of Agrippa. The fifty-fifth book has a considerable gap in it. The fifty-sixth to the sixtieth, both included, which comprehend the period from A.D. 9 to A.D. 54, are complete, and contain the events from the defeat of Varus in Germany to the death of Claudius. Of the following twenty books we have only fragments and the meagre abridgment of Xiphilinus. The eightieth or last book comprehends the period from A.D. 222 to A.D. 229, in the reign of Alexander Severus. The abridgment of Xiphilinus, as now extant, commences with the thirty-fifth and continues to the end of the eightieth book. It is a very indifferent performance, and was made by order of the emperor Michael VII., Parapinaces. The abbreviator, Xiphilinus, was a monk of the eleventh century.
The fragments of the first thirty-six books, as now collected, are of four kinds: (a) Fragmenta Valesina, such as were dispersed throughout various writers, scholiasts, grammarians, lexicographers, etc., and were collected by Henri de Valois. (b) Fragmenta Peirescina, comprising large extracts, found in the section entitled Of Virtues and Vices, in the great collection or portative library compiled by order of Constantine VII., Porphyrogenitus. The manuscript of this belonged to Peiresc. (c) The fragments of the first thirty-four books, preserved in the second [p. 520]
section of the same work of Constantine's, entitled Of Embassies. These are known under the name of Fragmenta Ursinina, because the manuscript containing them was found in Sicily by Fulvio Orsini. (d) Excerpta Vaticna, by Mai, which contain fragments of books i.-xxxv. and lxi.-lxxx. To these are added the fragments of an unknown continuator of Dio , which go down to the time of Constantine. Other fragments from Dio belonging chiefly to the first thirtyfive books were found by Mai in two Vatican MSS., which contain a collection made by Maximus Planudes. The annals of Zonaras also contain numerous extracts from Dion.
Dio has taken Thucydides for his model; but the imitator is comparable with his original neither in arrangement and the distribution of materials nor in soundness of view and just and accurate reasoning. His style is generally clear, where there appears to be no corruption of the text, though full of Latinisms. His diligence is unquestionable, and, from his opportunities, he was well acquainted with the circumstances of the Empire during the period for which he is a contemporary authority; and, indeed, we may assign a high value to his history of the whole period from the time of Augustus to his own age. Nor is his work without value for the earlier periods of Roman history, in which, though he has fallen into errors, like all the Greek and Roman writers who have handled the same obscure subject, he still enables us to correct some erroneous statements of Livy and Dionysius. The best editions are those of Fabricius, completed by Reimar, 2 vols. (Hamb. 1751); of Sturz, 8 vols. (Leipzig, 1824-25); of Bekker (1849); and especially of L. Dindorf (revised by Melber, 1890 foll.). The small Tauchnitz edition, 4 vols. 16mo, contains all the fragments.
(3) Surnamed Chrysostmus, or the Goldenmouthed, on account of the beauty of his style, was a native of Prusa in Bithynia, born about A.D. 50. He was a sophist and Being in Egypt when Vespasian, who had been proclaimed emperor by his own army, came there, he was consulted by that prince on the proper course to be adopted under the circumstances. Dion had the candour to advise him to restore the Republic. Afterwards he resided for years at Rome, till, one of his friends having engaged in a conspiracy against Domitian, Dion, fearing for himself, fled to what is now Moldavia, where he remained till the tyrant's death, labouring for his subsistence with his own hands. Domitian having been assassinated, the legions quartered on the Danube were about to revolt, when Dion got upon an altar and harangued them so effectually that they submitted to the decision of the Senate. Dion was in high favour with Nerva and Trajan, and when the latter triumphed after his Dacian victories the orator sat in the emperor's car in the procession. He returned to Bithynia, where he spent the remainder of his life. Accusations of peculation and treason were brought against him, but rejected as frivolous. He died at an advanced age, but it is not known in what year. We have eighty orations attributed to him, which are very neatly written in pure Attic Greek, but are not of much intrinsic value. The best editions are those of Reiske, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1784); Emper (1844); and L. Dindorf (1857).