Dio Chrysostom Analysis


(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Dio Cocceianus, trained in rhetoric, was given the name “Chrysostom” (DI-oh krihs-OHS-tuhm; golden-mouthed) and won fame throughout the Roman Empire because of his eloquence in speech and writings. As his fame grew, he began to travel, and he reached Rome during the reign of the emperor Vespasian (r. 69-70 c.e.). Dio arrived in Rome a Sophist opposed to many of the philosophers. However, he soon accepted the philosophies of the Stoics and Cynics. His writings began to reflect a Stoic and Cynic moralizing tone, most clearly seen in Euboicus (n.d.; Euboean Discourse, 1932) and Discourse on Kingship (translation 1932), in which he discusses the evils of self-indulgence. In style, he took the philosophers Antisthenes, Demosthenes, Plato, and Xenophon as his models.

Open criticisms of the emperor Domitian (r. 81-96) led to his banishment in 82 c.e. from Rome, Italy, and Bithynia. He eventually settled in Viminacium, a Roman camp on the Danube, and lived among the native Getae, whose history he later wrote.

Dio’s exile ended in 96 c.e. with the death of Domitian. He returned to his native Prusa in 103 c.e. and died there about 112 c.e.


(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Dio’s writings, along with those of the philosopher Plutarch, are part of a brief revival of Greek writings in the second century c.e.

Additional Resources

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Cohoon, J. W. “Dio Chrysostom” with an English Translation. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961-1964.

Mussies, G. Dio Chrysostom and the New Testament. Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1972.

Swain, Simon, ed. Dio Chrysostom: Politics, Letters, and Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.