Page:Dio's Roman History, tr. Cary - Volume 1.djvu/18

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or else blurred and confused. Thus names, numbers, and exact dates are often omitted; geographical details are scanty; and even the distinctive features of the various battles are passed over in great part in favour of rhetorical commonplaces, culled from Thucydides and other models, thus robbing the battles of all or much of their individuality.[1] A good illustration of the transformation the facts could be made to undergo in the interest of these two theories is to be seen in his account of the conquest of Gaul. It is now generally recognized that there is nothing in this account which need imply an ultimate source other than Caesar's Commentaries;[2] and yet, were it not for the familiar names, the reader might readily be excused for failing to recognize many of the events narrated, to such an extent has Dio shifted the emphasis on the facts and assigned new motives, while all the time striving to bring into bold relief the contrasts between the Gallic and the Roman character. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the speeches, which in Dio occupy a disproportionate amount of space (averaging one long speech or debate to the book), seem even farther removed from the realm of actual history than those of the ancient historians generally.

  1. The most important exception is afforded by his account of the battle of Actium.
  2. It is probable that his immediate source was Livy's version, to which he doubtless owed some of his variations from Caesar's account.