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  • Author or Editor: Riccardo Bertolazzi x
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Among the ancient authors who narrated the reign of Augustus and Tiberius, Cassius Dio is surely the one who dedicated the most space to the influence that Livia Drusilla exercised over both her husband and her son. In this regard, the foremost example is found in a large section where Dio narrates how Livia persuaded Augustus to forgive Cornelius Cinna for having plotted against his regime. Also, according to Dio, after the death of Augustus, Livia considerably increased her authority over the imperial government, trying not only to co-rule with her son, but also to become the sole effective ruler by controlling all his political activities. Some scholars have suggested that Dio probably exaggerated the role played by Livia because of the similar extraordinary power enjoyed by his contemporaries Julia Domna and the other Syrian women who lived during the Severan age. A close examination of Dio’s passages dedicated to Livia reveals no traces of situations that could refer to his contemporary political situation. The statements of the Bithynian historian and senator concerning Livia are normally well detailed because he made use of good sources. Indubitably, Livia’s strong influence was fundamental in shaping the reign of both Augustus and Tiberius. Even two centuries later, while Severus was trying to depict his regime as a new golden era on the model of Augustus, Julia Domna followed the example of Livia on many occasions. Nevertheless, Dio does not seem to be aware of these analogies and his work appears to be characterized by a mere record of facts rather than an investigation of their real power within the imperial court.

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