content himself in the main with giving the published reports of events, although he proposes now and then to express his own opinion based on what he has heard and read. The third period is that of his own day; he now writes of events of which he had first-hand knowledge, and, as might be expected, introduces more of detail into this portion of his work. Incidentally he states that with the accession of Commodus his history makes a sheer descent from the golden to the iron age. There are traces of a division of the work into decads. Book XLI begins the Civil War, LI the monarchy (if we accept Dio's view, here stated, that the battle of Actium marked the beginning of the reign of Augustus), and LXXI, apparently, the reign of Marcus Aurelius; while it is very probable that Book XI began the First Punic War, XXI the Third Punic War, and perhaps XXXI the First Mithridatic War.
Dio followed the annalistic order of treatment, so popular among the Romans, according to which all the events of a given year, in whatever part of the world they occurred, were grouped together. The eponymous consuls of each year are regularly named at the appropiate points in the text, and in addition there is prefixed to each book, even for the imperial age, a table of the consuls for the period covered.
- It must be admitted, however, that the introductory words of Book LII read much more like the transition to a new period.