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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 Cassiodorus

The Letter Collection of Cassiodorus

(p.433) Twenty-Six The Letter Collection of Cassiodorus
Late Antique Letter Collections

Shane Bjornlie

University of California Press

This chapter provides an examination of the Variae of Cassiodorus in three main parts. First, the chapter outlines the historical context of the letter collection, noting the social and political circumstances of Cassiodorus' public career that may have influenced the production of the collection, with particular attention to what Cassiodorus' prefatory statements reveal about the aims of the collection. The chapter then develops a profile of the collection's relationship to other related 'genres' of writing-particularly epistolography, legal writing and a tradition for encyclopedic writing. The third section explores in more detail the content of the letters, weighing the administrative functionality of the letters against their literary content. The conclusion suggests directions for further study, including the manuscript tradition and the codicological context of the various recensions of the Variae.

Keywords:   Shane Bjornlie, Cassiodorus, Variae, Ostrogothic Italy, Theoderic

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