History of Rome and Defense of Monarchy

Cassius Dio, Lucius. Dione delle guerre de Romani. Tradotto da M. Nicolo Leoniceno et nuovamente stampato.

In Vinegia [Venice]: per Pietro di Nicolini da Sabio. Nell’ anno di nostra salute. mdxlviii. [1548] In Italian. 161 x 116 mm (6½  x 4½ in). Octavo. 493 [i.e. 495], [1] ll. Printer’s device on title page (a snake wrapped around the stem of a cabbage, beneath is the word Brasica”). With the final blank leaf.

Bound in full vellum over boards. Red leather title label on spine, gilt lettering. Bookplate on front pastedown: Ex Libris Charles F. Roth.” A handwritten note on back endpaper states: Purchased at B.H. Blackwell, Ltd. Oxford, England. Nov. 3, 1947. $5.28.” 

Very good with small chip to spine label; top edge soiled. 

Third edition of Niccolo Leoniceno’s Italian translation of Cassius Dio’s (aka Dio Cassius) history of Rome, an important source for the history of the Roman empire. The physician, editor, translator, and book collector Niccolo Leoniceno was the first to translate Cassius Dio from the Greek. Though the translation was completed in the late 15th century, the first edition did not appear until 1533, seven years after the translator’s death. Cassius Dio, a 3rd century Roman senator and historian born in Greece, produced a sweeping history of Rome in 80 books, from the mythical landing of Aeneas in Italy to the founding of Rome up to 229, Cassius Dio’s own time. Only some of these have survived to the present in a more or less complete state. The remainder have been reconstructed from other sources. Leoniceno translated books 37–58, the most complete and the only to be preserved by direct manuscript tradition. This book is a survey of Roman wars. The account begins with the general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus campaigns against Mithiridates and ends with the rise and fall of Caligula around 41 CE. Cassius Dio’s work has been read as a defense of monarchy and has parallels with Renaissance and early modern political theorists like Machiavelli and Hobbes (Majbom Madsen). Cassius Dio considered monarchy the most practical form of government and the only true democracy”, whereas mob-rule” results in only short-lived forms of government. 

American chemist’s copy. This copy belonged to American chemist Dr. Charles F. Roth and bears his bookplate. Roth was the chief chemist for Standard Oil and founder and manager of the Chemical Industries Exposition—an industry tradeshow still in existence and known today as ChemShow. It is likely that Roth purchased this book at B.H. Blackwell, Ltd. In Oxford in 1947 and then brought the book back with him to the United States. 

Nine holdings in u.s. libraries reported by oclc WorldCat (960100163, 38666860, and 33297537).


Majbom Madsen, Jesper. Cassius Dio. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

Mallan, C.T. Sir Richard Morison: An Early Reader of Cassius Dio in Tudor England?” International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 2022.

EDIT16 17207


In stock

Stock Code: 1131B16 Collection: Catalogue:


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