Politics and Tradition Between Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople: A Study of Cassiodorus and the Variae, 527-554 (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life an
By: M. Shane Bjornlie (author)Hardback
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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.
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.
Part I. The Variae as Windows onto Painted Curtains: Introduction; 1. Cassiodorus and Italy in the fifth and sixth centuries; Part II. Cassiodorus and the Circumstances of Political Survival: 2. The age of bureaucracy; 3. The reign of Justinian; 4. Voices of discontent in Constantinople; 5. The Anicii between Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople; 6. The memory of Boethius in the Variae; Part III. Reading the Variae as Political Apologetic: 7. Literary aspects of the Variae; 8. Antiquitas and Novitas: the language of good governance in the Variae; 9. Natura and Law in Justinian's Novellae and the Variae; 10. Reading good governance in the Variae and the De anima; 11. The Variae as apologetic narrative; 12. Conclusion: innovative traditionalism and its consequence; Bibliography.
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