Politics and Tradition Between Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople: A Study of Cassiodorus and the Variae, 527-554

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Cambridge University Press, 2013 - History - 370 pages
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The Variae of Cassiodorus have long been valued as an epistolary collection offering a window into political and cultural life in a so-called barbarian successor state in sixth-century Italy. However, this study is the first to treat them as more than an assemblage of individual case studies and to analyse the collection's wider historical context. M. Shane Bjornlie highlights the insights the Variae provide into early medieval political, ecclesiastical, fiscal and legal affairs and the influence of the political and military turbulence of Justinian's reconquest of Italy and of political and cultural exchanges between Italy and Constantinople. The book also explores how Cassiodorus revised, updated and assembled the Variae for publication and what this reveals about his motives for publishing an epistolary record and for his own political life at a crucial period of transformation for the Roman world.
 

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Contents

CASSIODORUS AND ITALY IN THE FIFTH
7
Cassiodorus and the circumstances cypolitical survival
37
THE REIGN OF JUSTINIAN
58
VOICES OF DISCONTENT IN CONSTANTINOPLE
82
THE ANICII BETWEEN ROME RAVENNA
124
THE MEMORY OF BOETHIUS IN THE VARIAE
163
Reading the Variae as political apologetic
185
ANTIQUITAS AND NOVITASI THE LANGUAGE OF GOOD
216
IO READING GOOD GOVERNANCE IN THE VARIAE
283
THE VARIAE AS APOLOGETIC NARRATIVE
306
CONCLUSIONZ INNOVATIVE TRADITIONALISM
329
Index
365
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About the author (2013)

M. Shane Bjornlie is Assistant Professor of Roman and Late Antique History at Claremont McKenna College. His research interests include ethnography, late-antique letter collections, ancient political culture and the 'decline and fall' of the Roman Empire.

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