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Late Antique Letter CollectionsA Critical Introduction and Reference Guide$
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Cristiana Sogno, Bradley K. Storin, and Edward J. Watts

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281448

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281448.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Letter Collection of Ruricius of Limoges

The Letter Collection of Ruricius of Limoges

(p.337) Twenty The Letter Collection of Ruricius of Limoges
Late Antique Letter Collections

Ralph W. Mathisen

University of California Press

The letters of Ruricius survive only in the Codex Sangallensis 190, written in the late eighth or early ninth century. They cover the period from ca.470 until ca. 507, the crucial transitional phase between imperial and barbarian Gaul, and are divided into two books, the first with eighteen letters and the second with sixty-five. The collection also contains 13 letters written to Ruricius. The collection therefore provides a rare opportunity to see sequences of letters in an exchange. These letters present a picture of life in late Roman Gaul that significantly complements that provided by Ruricius’ better-known confrères, such as Sidonius, Avitus, and Ennodius. The Ruricius collection has a very local flavor and, in an intimate and domestic way, describes everyday life in Visigothic Aquitania. The first book of letters was carefully organized as a unit in its own right. The second book is more difficult to assess.  Even though there are no indications of divisions in the manuscript, there are suggestions of attempts to organize some of the letters into internally consistent "dossiers." The second book also seems rather to preserve, at the beginning, traces of plans to create two additional books, and, toward the end, elements of a rudimentary filing system.

Keywords:   Ralph Mathisen, Ruricius of Limoges, Aquitaine, Visigoths, Gaul

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