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The Letters of Cassiodorus - Being A Condensed Translation Of The Variae Epistolae Of - Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator
by Cassiodorus (AKA Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator)
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THE LETTERS OF CASSIODORUS

HODGKIN

Oxford

PRINTED BY HORACE HART, PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY



THE

LETTERS OF CASSIODORUS

BEING

A CONDENSED TRANSLATION OF THE VARIAE EPISTOLAE OF MAGNUS AURELIUS CASSIODORUS SENATOR

With an Introduction

BY

THOMAS HODGKIN

FELLOW OF UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON; HON. D.C.L. OF DURHAM UNIVERSITY AUTHOR OF 'ITALY AND HER INVADERS'

LONDON: HENRY FROWDE AMEN CORNER, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.

1886.

[All rights reserved]



PREFACE.

The abstract of the 'Variae' of Cassiodorus which I now offer to the notice of historical students, belongs to that class of work which Professor Max Mueller happily characterised when he entitled two of his volumes 'Chips from a German Workshop.' In the course of my preparatory reading, before beginning the composition of the third and fourth volumes of my book on 'Italy and Her Invaders,' I found it necessary to study very attentively the 'Various Letters' of Cassiodorus, our best and often our only source of information, for the character and the policy of the great Theodoric. The notes which in this process were accumulated upon my hands might, I hoped, be woven into one long chapter on the Ostrogothic government of Italy. When the materials were collected, however, they were so manifold, so perplexing, so full of curious and unexpected detail, that I quite despaired of ever succeeding in the attempt to group them into one harmonious and artistic picture. Frankly, therefore, renouncing a task which is beyond my powers, I offer my notes for the perusal of the few readers who may care to study the mutual reactions of the Roman and the Teutonic mind upon one another in the Sixth Century, and I ask these to accept the artist's assurance, 'The curtain is the picture.'

It will be seen that I only profess to give an abstract, not a full translation of the letters. There is so much repetition and such a lavish expenditure of words in the writings of Cassiodorus, that they lend themselves very readily to the work of the abbreviator. Of course the longer letters generally admit of greater relative reduction in quantity than the shorter ones, but I think it may be said that on an average the letters have lost at least half their bulk in my hands. On any important point the real student will of course refuse to accept my condensed rendering, and will go straight to the fountain-head. I hope, however, that even students may occasionally derive the same kind of assistance from my labours which an astronomer derives from the humble instrument called the 'finder' in a great observatory.

A few important letters have been translated, to the best of my ability, verbatim. In the not infrequent instances where I have been unable to extract any intelligible meaning, on grammatical principles, from the words of my author, I have put in the text the nearest approximation that I could discover to his meaning, and placed the unintelligible words in a note, hoping that my readers may be more fortunate in their interpretation than I have been.

With the usual ill-fortune of authors, just as my last sheet was passing through the press I received from Italy a number of the 'Atti e Memorie della R. Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Provincie di Romagna' (to which I am a subscriber), containing an elaborate and scholarlike article by S. Augusto Gaudenzi, entitled 'L'Opera di Cassiodorio a Ravenna.' It is a satisfaction to me to see that in several instances S. Gaudenzi and I have reached practically the same conclusions; but I cannot but regret that his paper reached me too late to prevent my benefiting from it more fully. A few of the more important points in which I think S. Gaudenzi throws useful light on our common subject are noticed in the 'Additions and Corrections,' to which I beg to draw my readers' attention.

I may perhaps be allowed to add that the Index, the preparation of which has cost me no small amount of labour, ought (if I have not altogether failed in my endeavour) to be of considerable assistance to the historical enquirer. For instance, if he will refer to the heading Sajo, and consult the passages there referred to, he will find, I believe, all that Cassiodorus has to tell us concerning these interesting personages, the Sajones, who were almost the only representatives of the intrusive Gothic element in the fabric of Roman administration.

From textual criticism and the discussion of the authority of different MSS. I have felt myself entirely relieved by the announcement of the forthcoming critical edition of the 'Variae,' under the superintendence of Professor Meyer. The task to which an eminent German scholar has devoted the labour of several years, it would be quite useless for me, without appliances and without special training, to approach as an amateur; and I therefore simply help myself to the best reading that I can get from the printed texts, leaving to Professor Meyer to say which reading possesses the highest diplomatic authority. Simply as a a matter of curiosity I have spent some days in examining the MSS. of Cassiodorus in the British Museum. If they are at all fair representatives (which probably they are not) of the MSS. which Professor Meyer has consulted, I should say that though the titles of the letters have often got into great confusion through careless and unintelligent copying, the main text is not likely to show any very important variations from the editions of Nivellius and Garet.

I now commend this volume with all its imperfections to the indulgent criticism of the small class of historical students who alone will care to peruse it. The man of affairs and the practical politician will of course not condescend to turn over its pages; yet the anxious and for a time successful efforts of Theodoric and his Minister to preserve to Italy the blessings of Civilitas might perhaps teach useful lessons even to a modern statesman.

THOS. HODGKIN.



NOTE.

The following Note as to the MSS. at the British Museum may save a future enquirer a little trouble.

(1) 10 B. XV. is a MS. about 11 inches by 8, written in a fine bold hand, and fills 157 folios, of which 134 belong to the 'Variae' and 23 to the 'Institutiones Divinarum Litterarum.' There are also two folios at the end which I have not deciphered. The MS. is assigned to the Thirteenth Century. The title of the First Book is interesting, because it contains the description of Cassiodorus' official rank, 'Ex Magistri Officii,' which Mommsen seems to have looked for in the MSS. in vain. The MS. contains the first Three Books complete, but only 39 letters of the Fourth. Letters 40-51 of the Fourth Book, and the whole of the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Books, are missing. It then goes on to the Eighth Book (which it calls the Fifth), but omits the first five letters. The remaining 28 appear to be copied satisfactorily. The Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Books, which the transcriber calls the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth, seem to be on the whole correctly copied.

There seems to be a certain degree of correspondence between the readings of this MS. and those of the Leyden MS. of the Twelfth Century (formerly at Fulda) which are described by Ludwig Tross in his 'Symbolae Criticae' (Hammone, 1853).

(2) 8 B. XIX. is a MS. also of the Thirteenth Century, in a smaller hand than the foregoing. The margins are very large, but the Codex measures only 6-3/4 inches by 4-1/4. The rubricated titles are of somewhat later date than the body of the text. The initial letters are elaborately illuminated. This MS. contains, in a mutilated state and in a peculiar order, the books from the Eighth to the Twelfth. The following is the order in which the books are placed:

IX. 8-25, folios 1-14. X. " 14-33. XI. " 33-63. XII. " 63-83. VIII. " 83-126. IX. 1-7, " 126-134.

The amanuensis, who has evidently been a thoroughly dishonest worker, constantly omits whole letters, from which however he sometimes extracts a sentence or two, which he tacks on to the end of some preceding letter without regard to the sense. This process makes it exceedingly difficult to collate the MS. with the printed text. Owing to the Eighth Book being inserted after the Twelfth, it is erroneously labelled on the back, 'Cassiodori Senatoris Epistolae, Lib. X-XIII.'

(3) 10 B. IV. (also of the Thirteenth Century, and measuring 11 inches by 8) contains, in a tolerably complete state, the first Three Books of the 'Variae,' Book IV. 5-39, Book VIII. 1-12, and Books X-XII. The order, however, is transposed, Books IV. and VIII. coming after Book XII. These excerpts from Cassiodorus, which occupy folios 66 to 134 of the MS., are preceded by some collections relative to the Civil and Canon Law. The letters which are copied seem to be carefully and conscientiously done.

These three MSS. are all in the King's Library.

Besides these MSS. I have also glanced at No. 1,919 in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Like those previously described it is, I believe, of the Thirteenth Century, and professes to contain the whole of the 'Variae;' but the letters are in an exceedingly mutilated form. On an average it seems to me that not more than one-third of each letter is copied. In this manner the 'Variae' are compressed into the otherwise impossible number of 33 folios (149-182).

All these MSS., even the best of them, give me the impression of being copied by very unintelligent scribes, who had but little idea of the meaning of the words which they were transcribing. In all, the superscription V.S. is expanded (wrongly, as I believe) into 'Viro Senatori;' for 'Praefecto Praetorio' we have the meaningless 'Praeposito;' and the Agapitus who is addressed in the 6th, 32nd, and 33rd letters of the First Book is turned, in defiance of chronology, into a Pope.



CONTENTS.

INTRODUCTION.

CHAPTER I.

LIFE OF CASSIODORUS.

PAGE Historical position of Cassiodorus 1 His ancestry 3-4 His name 5-6 His birthplace 6-9 Date of his birth 9-12 His education 12 Consiliarius to his father 12 Quaestor 14-16 Composition of the 'Variae' 16 Their style 17-19 Policy of Theodoric 20 Date of composition of the 'Variae' 23 Consulship 25 Patriciate 27 Composition of the 'Chronicon' 27 " " Gothic History 29-35 Relation of the work of Jordanes to this History 34 Master of the Offices 36 Praetorian Praefect 39 Sketch of history during his Praefecture 42-50 End of official career 50 Edits the 'Variae' 51 His treatise 'De Anima' 53 He retires to the cloister 54 His theological works 60-63 His literary works 64-66 His death 67 NOTE ON THE TOPOGRAPHY OF SQUILLACE 68-72

CHAPTER II.

THE 'ANECDOTON HOLDERI.'

Content of the MS. 74-75 To whom addressed 76 Information as to life of Symmachus 77 " " " Boethius 79 Religious position of Boethius 81 Information as to life of Cassiodorus 84

CHAPTER III.

THE GRADATIONS OF OFFICIAL RANK IN THE LOWER EMPIRE.

Nobilissimi 85 Illustres 86-90 Spectabiles 90-91 Clarissimi 91 Perfectissimi 92 Egregii 92

CHAPTER IV.

ON THE OFFICIUM OF THE PRAEFECTUS PRAETORIO.

Military character of the Roman Civil Service 93 Sources of information 95 Princeps 96 Cornicularius 97-102 Adjutor 103 Commentariensis 104 Ab Actis 106 Numerarii 108 Inferior Officers 109-114

CHAPTER V.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Editions of the 'Variae' 115-118 Literature concerning the 'Variae' 118-121

CHAPTER VI.

CHRONOLOGY.

Consular Fasti 122 Indictions 123 Chronological Tables 126-130

ABSTRACT OF THE 'VARIAE.'

PREFACE 133-140

BOOK I.

CONTAINING FORTY-SIX LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS IN THE NAME OF THEODORIC.

1. TO EMPEROR ANASTASIUS. Persuasives to peace 141 2. " THEON. Manufacture of purple dye 143 3. " CASSIODORUS, father of the author. His praises 144 4. " SENATE. Great deeds of ancestors of Cassiodorus 145 5. " FLORIANUS. End of litigation 147 6. " AGAPITUS. Mosaics for Ravenna 147 7. " FELIX. Inheritance of Plutianus 148 8. " AMABILIS. Prodigality of Neotherius 149 9. " BISHOP EUSTORGIUS. Offences of Ecclesiastics 149 10. " BOETIUS. Frauds of moneyers 150 11. " SERVATUS. Violence of Breones 151 12. " EUGENIUS. Appointment as Magister Officium 151 13. " SENATE. On the same 152 14. " FAUSTUS. Collection of 'Tertiae' 152 15. " FESTUS. Interests of the absent 153 16. " JULIANUS. Remission of taxes 153 17. " GOTHIC AND ROMAN INHABITANTS OF DERTONA. Fortification of Camp 153 18. " DOMITIANUS AND WILIAS. Statute of Limitations, &c. 154 19. " SATURNINUS AND VERBUSIUS. Rights of the Fiscus 155 20. " ALBINUS AND ALBIENUS. Circus quarrels 155 21. " MAXIMIAN AND ANDREAS. Embellishment of Rome 156 22. " MARCELLUS. His promotion to rank of Advocatus Fisci 156 23. " COELIANUS AND AGAPITUS. Litigation between Senators 157 24. " ALL THE GOTHS. Call to arms 157 25. " SABINIANUS. Repair of the walls of Rome 158 26. " FAUSTUS. Immunity of certain Church property 159 27. " SPECIOSUS. Circus quarrels 159 28. " GOTHS AND ROMANS. Building of walls of Rome 160 29. " THE LUCRISTANI ON RIVER SONTIUS. Postal Service 160 30. " SENATE. Injury to public peace from Circus rivalries 161 31. " THE ROMAN PEOPLE. Same subject 161 32. " AGAPITUS. Same subject 162 33. " " Arrangements for Pantomime 162 34. " FAUSTUS. Exportation of corn 163 35. " " Unreasonable delays in transmission of corn 163 36. " THERIOLUS. Guardianship of sons of Benedictus 164 37. " CRISPIANUS. Justifiable homicide 164 38. " BAION. Hilarius to have possession of his property 165 39. " FESTUS. Nephews of Filagrius to be detained in Rome 165 40. " ASSUIN (or ASSIUS). Inhabitants of Salona to be drilled 166 41. " AGAPITUS. Enquiries into character of younger Faustus 166 42. " ARTEMIDORUS. Appointment as Praefect of the City 167 43. " SENATE. Promotion of Artemidorus 167 44. " THE PEOPLE OF ROME. Same subject 168 45. " BOETIUS. Water-clock and sundial for Burgundian King 168 46. " GUNDIBAD. Same subject 170

BOOK II.

CONTAINING FORTY-ONE LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS IN THE NAME OF THEODORIC.

1. TO EMPEROR ANASTASIUS. Consulship of Felix 171 2. " FELIX. Same subject 172 3. " SENATE. Same subject 173 4. " ECDICIUS (or BENEDICTUS). Collection of Siliquaticum 173 5. " FAUSTUS. Soldiers' arrears 173 6. " AGAPITUS. Embassy to Constantinople 174 7. " SURA (or SUNA). Embellishment of City 174 8. " BISHOP SEVERUS. Compensation for damage by troops 175 9. " FAUSTUS. Allowance to retired charioteer 175 10. " SPECIOSUS. Abduction of Agapita 175 11. " PROVINUS (PROBINUS?). Gift unduly obtained from Agapita 176 12. " THE COUNT OF THE SILIQUATARII, AND THE HARBOUR MASTER (OF PORTUS?). Prohibition of export of lard 177 13. " FRUINARITH. Dishonest conduct of Venantius 177 14. " SYMMACHUS. Romulus the parricide 178 15. " VENANTIUS. Appointment as Comes Domesticorum 178 16. " SENATE. Same subject. Panegyric on Liberius, father of Venantius 179 17. " POSSESSORS, DEFENSORS, AND CURIALS OF TRIDENTUM (TRIENT). Immunity from Tertiae enjoyed by lands granted by the King 180 18. " BISHOP GUDILA. Ecclesiastics as Curiales 181 19. " GOTHS AND ROMANS, AND KEEPERS OF HARBOURS AND MOUNTAIN FORTRESSES. Domestic treachery and murder 181 20. " UNILIGIS (or WILIGIS). Order for provision ships 182 21. " JOANNES. Drainage-concession too timidly acted upon 182 22. " FESTUS. Ecdicius to be buried by his sons 183 23. " AMPELIUS, DESPOTIUS, AND THEODULUS. Protection for owners of potteries 183 24. " SENATE. Arrears of taxation due from Senators 183 25. " SENATE. AN EDICT. Evasion of taxes by the rich 184 26. " FAUSTUS. Regulations for corn-traffic 185 27. " JEWS LIVING IN GENOA. Rebuilding of Synagogue 185 28. " STEPHANUS. Honours bestowed on retirement 186 29. " ADILA. Protection to dependents of the Church 186 30. " FAUSTUS. Privileges granted to Church of Milan 187 31. " THE DROMONARII [ROWERS IN EXPRESS-BOATS]. State Galleys on the Po 187 32. " SENATE. Drainage of marshes of Decennonium 188 33. " DECIUS. Same subject 189 34. " ARTEMIDORUS. Embezzlement of City building funds 189 35. " TANCILA. Theft of statue at Como 190 36. EDICT. Same subject 190 37. TO FAUSTUS. Largesse to citizens of Spoleto 190 38. " " Immunity from taxation 191 39. " ALOISIUS. Hot springs of Aponum 191 40. " BOETIUS. Harper for King of the Franks 193 41. " LUDUIN [CLOVIS]. Victories over the Alamanni 194

BOOK III.

CONTAINING FIFTY-THREE LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS IN THE NAME OF THEODORIC.

1. TO ALARIC. Dissuades from war with the Franks 196 2. " GUNDIBAD. Dissuades from war 197 3. " THE KINGS OF THE HERULI, WARNI (GUARNI), AND THURINGIANS. Attempt to form a Teutonic coalition 198 4. " LUDUIN (LUDWIG, or CLOVIS). To desist from war on Alaric. 198 5. " IMPORTUNUS. Promotion to the Patriciate 199 6. " SENATE. Same subject 200 7. " JANUARIUS. Reproof for alleged extortion 201 8. " VENANTIUS. Remissness in collection of public revenue 201 9. " POSSESSORES, DEFENSORES, AND CURIALES OF AESTUNAE. Marbles for Ravenna 202 10. " FESTUS. Same subject 202 11. " ARGOLICUS. Appointment to Praefecture of the City 203 12. " SENATE. Same subject 203 13. " SUNHIVAD. Appointment as Governor of Samnium 204 14. " BISHOP AURIGENES. Accusations against servants of a Bishop 204 15. " THEODAHAD. Disposal of contumacious person 205 16. " GEMELLUS. Appointment as Governor of Gaulish Provinces 205 17. " GAULISH PROVINCIALS. Proclamation 206 18. " GEMELLUS. Re-patriation of Magnus 206 19. " DANIEL. Supply of marble sarcophagi 207 20. " GRIMODA AND FERROCINCTUS. Oppression of Castorius by Faustus 207 21. " FAUSTUS. Disgrace and temporary exile 208 22. " ARTEMIDORUS. Invitation to King's presence 209 23. " COLOSSAEUS. Appointment as Governor of Pannonia 209 24. " BARBARIANS AND ROMANS SETTLED IN PANNONIA. Same subject 210 25. " SIMEON. Tax-collecting and iron-mining in Dalmatia 210 26. " OSUN. Simeon's journey to Dalmatia 211 27. " JOANNES. Protection against Praetorian Praefect 211 28. " CASSIODORUS (SENIOR). Invitation to Court 211 29. " ARGOLICUS. Repair of granaries in Rome 212 30. " " Repair of Cloacae " " 212 31. " SENATE. Conservation of aqueducts and temples in Rome 213 32. " GEMELLUS. Remission of taxes to citizens of Arles 214 33. " ARGOLICUS. Promotion of Armentarius and Superbus 214 34. " INHABITANTS OF MASSILIA. Appointment of Governor 215 35. " ROMULUS. Gifts not to be revoked 215 36. " ARIGERN. Complaints against Venantius 216 37. " BISHOP PETER. Alleged injustice 216 38. " WANDIL [VUANDIL]. Gothic troops not to molest citizens 217 39. " FELIX. Largesse to charioteers of Milan 217 40. " PROVINCIALS SETTLED IN GAUL. Exemption from taxation 218 41. " GEMELLUS. Corn for garrisons on the Durance 218 42. " PROVINCIALS IN GAUL. Exemption from military contributions 219 43. " UNIGIS. Fugitive slaves to be restored to owners 219 44. " LANDOWNERS (POSSESSORES) OF ARLES. Repair of walls, &c. 220 45. " ARIGERN. Dispute between Roman Church and Samaritans 220 46. " ADEODATUS. Further charges against Venantius 220 47. " FAUSTUS. Banishment of Jovinus to Vulcanian Islands 222 48. " GOTHS AND ROMANS LIVING NEAR FORT VERRUCA. Fortification 222 49. " POSSESSORES, DEFENSORES, AND CURIALES OF CATANA. Repair of walls 224 50. " PROVINCIALS OF NORICUM. Alamanni and Noricans to exchange cattle 225 51. " FAUSTUS. Stipend of charioteer. Description of Circus 226 52. " CONSULARIS. Roman land surveying 231 53. " APRONIANUS. Water-finders 233

BOOK IV.

CONTAINING FIFTY-ONE LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS IN THE NAME OF THEODORIC.

1. TO KING OF THE THURINGIANS. Marriage with Theodoric's niece 235 2. " KING OF THE HERULI. Adoption as son 236 3. " SENARIUS. Appointment as Comes Patrimonii 237 4. " SENATE. Same subject 237 5. " AMABILIS. Supply of provisions to Gaulish Provinces 238 6. " SYMMACHUS. Sons of Valerian to be detained in Rome 238 7. " SENARIUS. Losses by shipwreck to be refunded 239 8. " POSSESSORES AND CURIALES OF FORUM LIVII (FORLI). Transport of timber to Alsuanum 240 9. " OSUIN. 'Tuitio regii nominis' 240 10. " JOANNES. Repression of lawless custom of Pignoratio 240 11. " SENARIUS. Dispute between Possessores and Curiales 241 12. " MARABAD AND GEMELLUS. Complaint of Archotamia 241 13. " SENARIUS. Supplies for Colossaeus and suite 242 14. " GESILA. Evasion of land-tax by Goths 242 15. " BENENATUS. New rowers, and their qualifications 243 16. " SENATE. Arigern entrusted with charge of City of Rome 243 17. " IDA. Church possessions to be restored 244 18. " ANNAS. Enquiry concerning a priestly Ghoul 244 19. " GEMELLUS. Corn, wine, and oil to be exempt from the Siliquaticum 245 20. " GEBERICH. Church land to be restored 245 21. " GEMELLUS. Promptness and integrity required 245 22. " ARGOLICUS. } 23. " ARIGERN. } Accusation of magic against Roman Senators 246 24. " ELPIDIUS. Architectural restoration at Spoleto 247 25. " ARGOLICUS. Petrus to become Senator 247 26. " CITIZENS OF MARSEILLES. Remission of taxes 248 27. " TEZUTZAT. } 28. " DUDA. } Petrus assaulted by his Defensor 248 29. " ARGOLICUS. Official tardiness rebuked 249 30. " ALBINUS. Erection of workshops near Roman Forum 249 31. " AEMILIANUS. Aqueduct to be promptly finished 250 32. " DUDA. Crown rights to be asserted with moderation 250 33. " JEWS OF GENOA. Their privileges confirmed 251 34. " DUDA. Reclamation of buried treasure 252 35. " REPRESENTATIVES (ACTORES) OF ALBINUS. Extravagant minor 252 36. " FAUSTUS. Remission of taxes for Provincials 253 37. " THEODAGUNDA. To do justice to Renatus 253 38. " FAUSTUS. Taxes to be reduced 254 39. " THEODAHAD. His encroachments 254 40. " REPRESENTATIVES (ACTORES) OF PROBINUS. The affair of Agapita 255 41. " JOANNES. Unjust judgment reversed 255 42. " ARGOLICUS. Property to be restored to sons of Volusian 256 43. " SENATE. Punishment of incendiaries of Jewish Synagogue 256 44. " ANTONIUS. To do justice to Stephanus 257 45. " COMITES, DEFENSORES, AND CURIALES OF TICINUM (PAVIA). Heruli to be forwarded on their way to Ravenna 258 46. " MARABAD. Case of Liberius' wife to be reheard 258 47. " GUDISAL. Abuses of the Cursus Publicus 259 48. " EUSEBIUS. His honourable retirement 260 49. " PROVINCIALS AND THE LONG-HAIRED MEN, THE DEFENSORES AND CURIALES RESIDING IN SUAVIA. Appointment of Governor, &c. 260 50. " FAUSTUS. Campanian taxes remitted. Eruption of Vesuvius 261 51. " SYMMACHUS. Restoration of Theatre of Pompey 263

BOOK V.

CONTAINING FORTY-FOUR LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS IN THE NAME OF THEODORIC.

1. TO KING OF THE VANDALS. Thanking for presents 264 2. " THE HAESTI. Their present of amber 265 3. " HONORATUS. } 4. " SENATE. } Promotion to Quaestorship, &c. 266 5. " MANNILA. Abuses of the Cursus Publicus 268 6. " STABULARIUS. } 7. " JOANNES. } Default in payments to Treasury 269 8. " ANASTASIUS. Transport of marbles to Ravenna 270 9. " POSSESSORES OF FELTRIA. New city to be built 270 10. " VERANUS. } 11. " THE GEPIDAE. } Payment on march to Gaul 271 12. " THEODAHAD. His avarice and injustice 272 13. " EUTROPIUS AND ACRETIUS. Commissariat 272 14. " SEVERI(A)NUS. Financial abuses in Suavia 273 15. " POSSESSORES IN SUAVIA. Same subject 274 16. " ABUNDANTIUS. Formation of navy 274 17. " " Same subject 275 18. " UVILIAS [WILLIAS?]. } 19. " GUDINAND. } Same subject 276 20. " AVILF. } 21. " CAPUANUS. } 22. " SENATE. } Appointment as Rector Decuriarum 277 23. " ABUNDANTIUS. Archery drill 279 24. " EPIPHANIUS. Property of intestate claimed for the State 279 25. " BACAUDA. Appointment as Tribunus Voluptatum 280 26. " GOTHS SETTLED IN PICENUM AND SAMNIUM. Summons to the royal presence 280 27. " GUDUIM. The same 280 28. " CARINUS. Invitation to Court 281 29. " NEUDES. Blind Gothic warrior enslaved 281 30. " GUDUI[M]. Servile tasks imposed on free Goths 281 31. " DECORATUS. Arrears of Siliquaticum to be enforced 282 32. " BRANDILA. Assault of his wife on Regina 282 33. " WILITANCH. Adulterous connection between Brandila and Regina 283 34. " ABUNDANTIUS. Frontosus compared to chameleon 284 35. " LUVIRIT AND AMPELIUS. Punishment of fraudulent shipowners 285 36. " STARCEDIUS. Honourable discharge 285 37. " JEWS OF MILAN. Rights of Synagogue not to be invaded 286 38. " ALL CULTIVATORS. Shrubs obstructing aqueduct of Ravenna 286 39. " AMPELIUS AND LIVERIA. Abuses in administration of Spanish government 287 40. " CYPRIAN. } 41. " SENATE. } Promotion to the Comitiva Sacrarum Largitionum 289 42. " MAXIMUS. Rewards to performers in Amphitheatre 291 43. " TRANSMUND [THRASAMUND]. Complains of protection given to Gesalic 292 44. " TRANSMUND [THRASAMUND]. Reconciliation 293

BOOK VI.

CONTAINING TWENTY-FIVE FORMULAE.

1. OF THE CONSULSHIP 294 2. " " PATRICIATE 296 3. " " PRAETORIAN PRAEFECTURE 296 4. " " PRAEFECTURE OF THE CITY 299 5. " " QUAESTORSHIP 300 6. " " MAGISTERIAL DIGNITY, AND ITS EXCELLENCY (MAGISTRATUS OFFICIORUM) 302 7. " " OFFICE OF COMES SACRARUM LARGITIONUM. 303 8. " " " " " PRIVATARUM, AND ITS EXCELLENCY 304 9. " " " " COUNT OF THE PATRIMONY, AND ITS EXCELLENCY 305 10. FOR PROMOTION AS PROCERES PER CODICILLOS VACANTES 306 11. CONFERRING THE RANK OF AN ILLUSTRIS AND TITLE OF COMES DOMESTICORUM, WITHOUT OFFICE 307 12. BESTOWAL OF COUNTSHIP OF FIRST ORDER, WITHOUT OFFICE 307 13. BESTOWING THE HONORARY RANK OF MASTER OF THE BUREAU AND COUNT OF THE FIRST ORDER ON AN OFFICER OF THE COURTS IN ACTIVE SERVICE 308 14. BESTOWING RANK AS A SENATOR 309 15. OF THE VICARIUS OF THE CITY OF ROME 310 16. " " NOTARIES 311 17. " " REFERENDARII 311 18. " " PRAEFECTUS ANNONAE, AND HIS EXCELLENCY 312 19. " " COUNT OF THE CHIEF PHYSICIANS 313 20. " " OFFICE OF A CONSULAR, AND ITS EXCELLENCY 314 21. " " GOVERNOR (RECTOR) OF A PROVINCE 315 22. " " COUNT OF THE CITY OF SYRACUSE 316 23. " " COUNT OF NAPLES 316 24. TO THE GENTLEMEN-FARMERS AND COMMON COUNCILMEN OF THE CITY OF NAPLES 317 25. 'DE COMITIVA PRINCIPIS MILITUM'(?) 317

BOOK VII.

CONTAINING FORTY-SEVEN FORMULAE.

1. OF THE COUNT OF A PROVINCE 319 2. OF A PRAESES 319 3. OF COUNT OF THE GOTHS IN THE SEVERAL PROVINCES 320 4. OF THE DUKE OF RAETIA 322 5. " " PALACE ARCHITECT 323 6. " " COUNT OF THE AQUEDUCTS 324 7. " " PRAEFECT OF THE WATCH OF CITY OF ROME 326 8. " " " " " " RAVENNA 327 9. " " COUNT OF PORTUS 327 10. " " TRIBUNUS VOLUPTATUM 327 11. " " DEFENSOR OF ANY CITY 328 12. " " CURATOR OF A CITY 329 13. " " COUNT OF ROME 329 14. " " " RAVENNA 330 15. ADDRESSED TO THE PRAEFECT OF THE CITY ON APPOINTMENT OF AN ARCHITECT 331 16. OF THE COUNT OF THE ISLANDS OF CURRITANA AND CELSINA 331 17. CONCERNING THE PRESIDENT OF THE LIME-KILNS 332 18. CONCERNING ARMOURERS 332 19. TO THE PRAETORIAN PRAEFECT CONCERNING ARMOURERS 333 20. } 21. } RELATING TO COLLECTION OF BINA AND TERNA 333 22. EXHORTATION ADDRESSED TO TWO SCRINIARII 333 23. OF THE VICARIUS OF PORTUS 334 24. " " PRINCEPS OF DALMATIA 334 25. RECOMMENDING THE PRINCIPES TO THE COMES 335 26. OF THE COUNTSHIP OF SECOND RANK IN DIVERS CITIES 336 27. ADDRESSED TO THE DIGNIFIED CULTIVATORS AND CURIALES 336 28. ANNOUNCING APPOINTMENT OF A COMES TO THE CHIEF OF HIS STAFF 336 29. CONCERNING THE GUARD AT THE GATES OF A CITY 337 30. OF THE TRIBUNATE IN THE PROVINCES 337 31. " " PRINCEPS OF THE CITY OF ROME 338 32. " " MASTER OF THE MINT 338 33. RESPECTING THE AMBASSADORS OF VARIOUS NATIONS 339 34. OF SUMMONS TO THE KING'S COURT (UNSOLICITED) 339 35. OF SUMMONS TO THE COURT (SOLICITED) 339 36. GRANTING TEMPORARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE 339 37. CONFERRING THE RANK OF A SPECTABILIS 340 38. " " CLARISSIMUS 340 39. BESTOWING 'POLICE PROTECTION' 340 40. FOR THE CONFIRMATION OF MARRIAGE AND THE LEGITIMATION OF OFFSPRING 341 41. CONFERRING THE RIGHTS OF FULL AGE 342 42. EDICT TO QUAESTOR, ORDERING PERSON WHO ASKS FOR PROTECTION OF SAJO TO GIVE BAIL 342 43. APPROVING THE APPOINTMENT OF A CLERK IN RECORD-OFFICE 343 44. GRANT OF PUBLIC PROPERTY ON CONDITION OF IMPROVEMENT 343 45. REMISSION OF TAXES WHERE TAXPAYER HAS ONLY ONE HOUSE, TOO HEAVILY ASSESSED 344 46. LEGITIMATING MARRIAGE WITH A FIRST COUSIN 345 47. TO PRAETORIAN PRAEFECT, DIRECTING SALE OF THE PROPERTY OF A CURIALIS 345

BOOK VIII.

CONTAINING THIRTY-THREE LETTERS, ALL WRITTEN IN THE NAME OF ATHALARIC THE KING, EXCEPT THE ELEVENTH, WHICH IS WRITTEN IN THE NAME OF TULUM.

1. TO THE EMPEROR JUSTIN. Announcement of Athalaric's accession 347 2. " " SENATE. Same subject 348 3. " " ROMAN PEOPLE. Same subject 349 4. " " ROMANS SETTLED IN ITALY AND THE DALMATIAS. Same subject 350 5. " " GOTHS SETTLED IN ITALY. Same subject 350 6. " LIBERIUS, GOVERNOR OF GAUL. " " 351 7. " THE PROVINCIALS SETTLED IN GAUL. Same subject 351 8. " BISHOP VICTORINUS. Same subject 352 9. " TULUM. Raised to the Patriciate. His praises 352 10. " SENATE. Same subject 354 11. TULUM'S ADDRESS TO SENATE. Elevation to the Patriciate 356 12. TO ARATOR. Promotion to Count of the Domestics 357 13. " AMBROSIUS. Appointment to Quaestorship 358 14. " SENATE. Same subject 359 15. " " Election of Pope Felix III (or IV) 360 16. " OPILIO. Appointment as Count of the Sacred Largesses 361 17. " SENATE. Same subject 363 18. " FELIX. Promotion to Quaestorship 365 19. " SENATE. Same subject 366 20. " ALBIENUS. Appointment as Praetorian Praefect 367 21. " CYPRIAN. } 22. " SENATE. } Elevation to the Patriciate 368 23. " BERGANTINUS. Gifts to Theodahad 370 24. " CLERGY OF THE ROMAN CHURCH. Ecclesiastical immunities 371 25. " JOANNES. Confirmation of Tulum's gift of property 373 26. " INHABITANTS OF REATE AND NURSIA. To obey their Prior 374 27. " DUMERIT AND FLORENTINUS. To suppress robbery at Faventia 375 28. " CUNIGAST. Enforced slavery of Possessores (or Coloni?) 376 29. " THE DIGNIFIED CULTIVATORS AND CURIALS OF PARMA. Necessity for sanitary measures 377 30. " GENESIUS. Same subject 377 31. " SEVERUS. Dissuasions from a country life, and praises of Bruttii 378 32. " " Fountain of Arethusa 380 33. " " Feast of St. Cyprian 381

BOOK IX.

CONTAINING TWENTY-FIVE LETTERS, WRITTEN IN THE NAME OF ATHALARIC THE KING.

1. TO HILDERIC. Murder of Amalafrida 384 2. EDICT. Oppression of the Curiales 385 3. TO BERGANTINUS. Gold-mining in Italy 387 4. " ABUNDANTIUS. Curiales to become Possessores 388 5. " CERTAIN BISHOPS AND FUNCTIONARIES. Forestalling and regrating prohibited 389 6. " A CERTAIN PRIMISCRINIUS. Leave to visit Baiae 389 7. " REPARATUS. Appointment to Praefecture of City 390 8. " OSUIN (or OSUM). Promotion to Governorship of Dalmatia and Savia 391 9. " GOTHS AND ROMANS IN DALMATIA AND SAVIA. Same subject 392 10. " PROVINCIALS OF SYRACUSE. Remission of Augmentum 393 11. " GILDIAS. {Oppression by King's} 12. " VICTOR AND WITIGISCLUS (or WIGISICLA). { officers rebuked } 394 13. " WILLIAS. Increase of emoluments of Domestici 394 14. " GILDIAS. Charge of oppression 395 15. " POPE JOHN II. Against Simony at Papal elections 398 16. " SALVANTIUS. Same subject 400 17. " " Release of two Roman citizens 400 18. EDICT. Offences against Civilitas 401 19. TO SENATE. Promulgation of Edict 405 20. " JUDGES OF PROVINCES. Same subject 405 21. " SENATE. Increase of Grammarians' salaries 406 22. " PAULINUS. Appointment as Consul 407 23. " SENATE. Same subject 408 24. " SENATOR [CASSIODORUS HIMSELF]. Appointment as Praetorian Praefect, &c. 408 25. " SENATE. Eulogy of Cassiodorus on his appointment. His Gothic History. His official career. His military services. His religious character 412-413

BOOK X.

CONTAINING THIRTY-FIVE LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS:

FOUR IN THE NAME OF QUEEN AMALASUENTHA; TWENTY-TWO IN THAT OF KING THEODAHAD; FOUR IN THAT OF HIS WIFE GUDELINA; FIVE IN THAT OF KING WITIGIS.

1. QUEEN AMALASUENTHA TO EMPEROR JUSTINIAN. Association of Theodahad in the Sovereignty 415 2. KING THEODAHAD TO EMPEROR JUSTINIAN. Same subject 416 3. AMALASUENTHA TO SENATE. Same. Praises of Theodahad 416 4. THEODAHAD TO SENATE. Same. Praises of Amalasuentha 418 5. " " HIS MAN THEODOSIUS. Followers of new King to live justly 421 6. " " PATRICIUS. Appointment to Quaestorship 422 7. " " SENATE. Same subject 422 8. AMALASUENTHA TO JUSTINIAN. Acknowledging present of marbles 423 9. THEODAHAD TO JUSTINIAN. Same subject 423 10. AMALASUENTHA TO THEODORA. Salutation 424 11. THEODAHAD TO MAXIMUS. Appointment to office of Primicerius 424 12. " " SENATE. Same subject 425 13. " " " Summons to Ravenna. Suspicions of Senators 426 14. " " THE ROMAN PEOPLE. Dissensions between citizens of Rome and Gothic troops 427 15. " " EMPEROR JUSTINIAN. Letter of introduction for Ecclesiastic 428 16. " " SENATE. Assurances of good-will 428 17. " " THE ROMAN PEOPLE. Same subject 429 18. " " SENATE. Gothic garrison for Rome 430 19. " " JUSTINIAN. Embassy of Peter 431 20. QUEEN GUDELINA TO THEODORA, AUGUSTA. Embassy of Rusticus 432 21. " " " " " Soliciting friendship 433 22. THEODAHAD TO JUSTINIAN. Entreaties for peace 434 23. GUDELINA TO THEODORA. Same subject 435 24. " " JUSTINIAN. Same subject 436 25. THEODAHAD TO JUSTINIAN. Same subject 436 26. " " " Monastery too heavily taxed 437 27. " " SENATOR. Corn distributions in Liguria and Venetia 438 28. " " " Grant of monopolies 438 29. " " WINUSIAD. Old soldier gets leave to visit baths of Bormio 440 30. " " HONORIUS. Brazen elephants in the Via Sacra. Natural history of elephant 442 31. KING WITIGIS TO ALL THE GOTHS. On his elevation 444 32. " " " JUSTINIAN. Overtures for peace 445 33. " " " THE MASTER OF THE OFFICES (at Constantinople). Sending of embassy 447 34. " " " HIS BISHOPS. Same subject 448 35. " " " THE PRAEFECT OF THESSALONICA. Same subject 448

BOOK XI.

CONTAINING THIRTY-NINE LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS IN HIS OWN NAME AS PRAEFECTUS PRAETORIO, AND ONE ON BEHALF OF THE ROMAN SENATE.

PREFACE 449

1. TO SENATE. On his promotion to the Praefecture. Praises of Amalasuentha. Comparison to Placidia. Relations with the East. Expedition against Franks. League with Burgundians. Virtues of Amal Kings 452-457 2. " POPE JOHN. Salutations 458 3. " DIVERS BISHOPS. The same 459 4. " AMBROSIUS (HIS DEPUTY). Functions of Praefect's Deputy 460 5. " THE SAME. Grain distributions for Rome 461 6. " JOANNES. Functions of the Cancellarius 462 7. " JUDGES OF THE PROVINCES. Duties of tax-collectors 464 8. EDICT PUBLISHED THROUGH THE PROVINCES. Announcement of Cassiodorus' principles of administration 465 9. TO JUDGES OF THE PROVINCES. Exhortation to govern in conformity with Edict 467 10. " BEATUS. Davus invalided to Mons Lactarius. The milk-cure for consumption 468-469 11. EDICT. Concerning prices to be maintained at Ravenna 469 12. " Concerning prices along the Flaminian Way 470 13. THE SENATE TO EMPEROR JUSTINIAN. Supplications of the Senate 471 14. TO GAUDIOSUS. Praises of Como. Relief of its inhabitants 474 15. " THE LIGURIANS. Relief of their necessities 475 16. " THE SAME. Oppressions practised on them to be remedied 476 17. " THE PRINCEPS(?). Promotions in Official Staff of Praetorian Praefect 477 18-35. VARIOUSLY ADDRESSED. [Documents, for the most part very short ones, relating to these promotions.] 477-480 36. TO ANAT(H)OLIUS. Retirement of a Cornicularius on superannuation allowance justified on astronomical grounds 480 37. " LUCINUS. Payment of retiring Primiscrinius 482 38. " JOANNES. Praises of paper 483 39. " VITALIAN. Payment of commuted cattle-tax 484 40. INDULGENCE [TO PRISONERS ON SOME GREAT FESTIVAL OF THE CHURCH, PROBABLY EASTER]. General Amnesty 485

BOOK XII.

CONTAINING TWENTY-EIGHT LETTERS WRITTEN BY CASSIODORUS IN HIS OWN NAME AS PRAETORIAN PRAEFECT.

1. TO THE VARIOUS CANCELLARII OF THE PROVINCES. General instructions 487 2. " ALL JUDGES OF THE PROVINCES. General instructions to Provincial Governors 488 3. " SAJONES ASSIGNED TO THE CANCELLARII. General instructions 489 4. " THE CANONICARIUS OF THE VENETIAE. Praise of Acinaticium 490 5. " VALERIAN. Measures for relief of Lucania and Bruttii 492 6. " ALL SUBORDINATE GOVERNORS OF THE PRAEFECTURE. General instructions 494 7. " THE TAX-COLLECTOR OF THE VENETIAN PROVINCE. Remission of taxes on account of invasion by Suevi 495 8. " THE CONSULARIS OF THE PROVINCE OF LIGURIA. Permission to pay taxes direct to Royal Treasury 495 9. " PASCHASIUS. Claim of an African to succeed to estate of intestate countryman 496 10. " DIVERS CANCELLARII. Taxes to be punctually enforced 497 11. " PETER, DISTRIBUTOR OF RELISHES. Their due distribution 498 12. " ANASTASIUS. Praise of the cheese and wine of Bruttii 499 13. EDICT. Frauds committed by revenue-officers on Churches 500 14. TO ANASTASIUS. Plea for gentle treatment of citizens of Rhegium 501 15. " MAXIMUS. Praises of author's birthplace, Scyllacium 503 16. " A REVENUE OFFICER. Payment of Trina Illatio 506 17. " JOHN, SILIQUATARIUS OF RAVENNA. Defence of city 507 18. " CONSTANTIAN. Repair of Flaminian Way 507 19. " MAXIMUS. Bridge of boats across the Tiber 509 20. " THOMAS AND PETER. Sacred vessels mortgaged by Pope Agapetus to be restored to Papal See 510 21. " DEUSDEDIT. Duties of a Scribe 511 22. " PROVINCIALS OF ISTRIA. Requisition from Province of Istria 513 23. " LAURENTIUS. Same subject 515 24. " TRIBUNES OF THE MARITIME POPULATION. First historical notice of Venice 515 25. " AMBROSIUS, HIS DEPUTY. Famine in Italy 518 26. " PAULUS. Remission of taxes in consequence of famine 520 27. " DATIUS. Relief of famine-stricken citizens of Ticinum, &c. 521 28. EDICT [ADDRESSED TO LIGURIANS]. Relief of inhabitants 523



ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS.

P. 6, l. 30, for 'Scylletium' read 'Scylletion.'

P. 24, n. 1, for 'Uterwerfung' read 'Unterwerfung.'

In the 'Note on the Topography of Squillace' (pp. 68-72), and the map illustrating it, for 'Scylacium' read 'Scyllacium.' (The line of Virgil, however, quoted on p. 6, shows that the name was sometimes spelt with only one 'l.')

Pp. 94 and 96, head line, dele 'the.'

P. 128 (Chronological Table, under heading 'Popes') for 'John III.' read 'John II.'

P. 146 (last line of text). S. Gaudenzi remarks that the addresses of the laws in the Code of Justinian forbid us to suppose that Heliodorus was Praetorian Praefect for eighteen years. He thinks that most likely the meaning of the words 'in illa republica nobis videntibus praefecturam bis novenis annis gessit eximie' is that twice in the space of nine years Heliodorus filled the office of Praefect.

P. 159, Letter 27 of Book I. The date of this letter is probably 509, as Importunus, who is therein mentioned as Consul, was Consul in that year.

P. 160, Letter 29 of Book I. S. Gaudenzi points out that a letter has probably dropped out here, as the title does not fit the contents of the letter, which seems to have been addressed to a Sajo.

In the titles of I. 14, 26, 34, 35, and II. 5 and 9, for 'Praepositus' read 'Praetorian Praefect.' The contraction used by the early amanuenses for Praefecto Praetorio has been misunderstood by their successors, and consequently many MSS. read 'Praeposito,' and this reading has been followed by Nivellius. There can be no doubt, however, that Garet is right in restoring 'Praefecto Praetorio.'

On the other hand, I have been misled by Garet's edition into quoting the following letters as addressed Viro Senatori; I. 38; II. 23, 28, 29, 35; III. 8, 13, 15, 16, 27, 32, 41; IV. 10, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 28; V. 21, 24. Here, too, the only MSS. that I have examined read 'Viro Senatori;' but Nivellius preserves what is no doubt the earlier reading, 'V.S.,' which assuredly stands for 'Viro Spectabili.' Practically there is no great difference between the two readings, and the remarks made by me on II. 29, 35, &c., as to Senators with Gothic names may still stand; for as every Senator was (at least) a Clarissimus, it is not likely that any person who reached the higher dignity of a Spectabilis was not also a Senator. (See pp. 90 and 91.)

P. 181, Letter 19 of Book II. Here again, on account of the want of correspondence between the title and contents of the letter, S. Gaudenzi suggests that a letter has dropped out.

P. 182, title of Letter 20, for 'Unigilis' read 'Uniligis.'

P. 205, l. 6 from bottom, for 'Praefectum' read 'Praefectorum.'

P. 206, l. 1, for 'Provinces' read 'Provincials.'

P. 224 (marginal note), for 'amphitheatre' read 'walls.' Last line (text), for 'its' read 'their.'

P. 244, title of Letter 17, for 'Idae' some MSS. read 'Ibbae,' which is probably the right reading, Ibbas having commanded the Ostrogothic army in Gaul in 510.

P. 247, dele the last two lines. (The Peter who was Consul in 516 was an official of the Eastern Empire, the same who came on an embassy to Theodahad in 535.)

P. 253. l. 9, for '408' read '508.'

P. 255, ll. 9, 14, and in margin, for 'Agapeta' read 'Agapita.'

P. 256, ll. 16, 26, and in margin, for 'Velusian' read 'Volusian.'

P. 256, title of Letter 43. S. Gaudenzi thinks this letter was really addressed to Argolicus, Praefectus Urbis.

P. 269, l. 20, dele 'possibly Stabularius.'

P. 282, Letter 31 of Book V. (to Decoratus). As Decoratus is described in V. 3 and 4 as already dead, it is clear that the letters are not arranged in chronological order.

P. 282, l. 27, for 'upon' read 'before.'

P. 288, l. 25, for 'extortions' read 'extra horses.'

P. 291, l. 6, for 'Anomymus' read 'Anonymus.'

P. 308, l. 7. This is an important passage, as illustrating the nature of the office which Cassiodorus held as Consiliarius to his father.

P. 333, second marginal note, for 'aguntur' read 'agantur' (twice).

P. 398, title of Letter 15, for '532' read '533-535.'

P. 400, title of Letter 17, for 'between 532 and 534' read 'between 533 and 535.'

P. 450, l. 8. Probably, as suggested by S. Gaudenzi, Felix was Consiliarius to Cassiodorus.



INTRODUCTION.

CHAPTER I.

LIFE OF CASSIODORUS.

The interest of the life of Cassiodorus is derived from his position rather than from his character. He was a statesman of considerable sagacity and of unblemished honour, a well-read scholar, and a devout Christian; but he was apt to crouch before the possessors of power however unworthy, and in the whole of his long and eventful life we never find him playing a part which can be called heroic.

[Sidenote: Position of Cassiodorus on the confines of the Ancient and the Modern.]

His position, however, which was in more senses than one that of a borderer between two worlds, gives to the study of his writings an exceptional value. Born a few years after the overthrow of the Western Empire, a Roman noble by his ancestry, a rhetorician-philosopher by his training, he became what we should call the Prime Minister of the Ostrogothic King Theodoric; he toiled with his master at the construction of the new state, which was to unite the vigour of Germany and the culture of Rome; for a generation he saw this edifice stand, and when it fell beneath the blows of Belisarius he retired, perhaps well-nigh broken-hearted, from the political arena. The writings of such a man could hardly fail, at any rate they do not fail, to give us many interesting glimpses into the political life both of the Romans and the Barbarians. It is true that they throw more light backwards than forwards, that they teach us far more about the constitution of the Roman Empire than they do about the Teutonic customs from whence in due time Feudalism was to be born. Still, they do often illustrate these Teutonic usages; and when we remember that the writer to whom after Tacitus we are most deeply indebted for our knowledge of Teutonic antiquity, Jordanes, professedly compiled his ill-written pamphlet from the Twelve Books of the Gothic History of Cassiodorus, we see that indirectly his contribution to the history of the German factor in European civilisation is a most important one.

Thus then, as has been already said, Cassiodorus stood on the confines of two worlds, the Ancient and the Modern; indeed it is a noteworthy fact that the very word modernus occurs for the first time with any frequency in his writings. Or, if the ever-shifting boundary between Ancient and Modern be drawn elsewhere than in the fifth and sixth centuries, at any rate it is safe to say, that he stood on the boundary of two worlds, the Roman and the Teutonic.

[Sidenote: Also on the confines of Politics and Religion.]

But the statesman who, after spending thirty years at the Court of Theodoric and his daughter, spent thirty-three years more in the monastery which he had himself erected at Squillace, was a borderer in another sense than that already mentioned—a borderer between the two worlds of Politics and Religion; and in this capacity also, as the contemporary, perhaps the friend, certainly the imitator, of St. Benedict, and in some respects the improver upon his method, Cassiodorus largely helped to mould the destinies of mediaeval and therefore of modern Europe.

I shall now proceed to indicate the chief points in the life and career of Cassiodorus. Where, as is generally the case, our information comes from his own correspondence, I shall, to avoid repetition, not do much more than refer the reader to the passage in the following collection, where he will find the information given as nearly as may be in the words of the great Minister himself.

[Sidenote: His ancestors.]

The ancestors of Cassiodorus for three generations, and their public employments, are enumerated for us in the letters (Var. i. 3-4) which in the name of Theodoric he wrote on his father's elevation to the Patriciate. From these letters we learn that—

[Sidenote: Great grandfather.]

(1) Cassiodorus, the writer's great grandfather, who held the rank of an Illustris, defended the shores of Sicily and Bruttii from the incursions of the Vandals. This was probably between 430 and 440, and, as we may suppose, towards the end of the life of this statesman, to whom we may conjecturally assign a date from 390 to 460.

[Sidenote: Grandfather.]

(2) His son and namesake, the grandfather of our Cassiodorus, was a Tribune (a military rank nearly corresponding to our 'Colonel') and Notarius under Valentinian III. He enjoyed the friendship of the great Aetius, and was sent with Carpilio the son of that statesman on an embassy to Attila, probably between the years 440 and 450. In this embassy, according to his grandson, he exerted an extraordinary influence over the mind of the Hunnish King. Soon after this he retired to his native Province of Bruttii, where he passed the remainder of his days. We may probably fix the limits of his life from about 420 to 490.

[Sidenote: Father.]

(3) His son, the third Cassiodorus, our author's father, served under Odovacar (therefore between 476 and 492), as Comes Privatarum Rerum and Comes Sacrarum Largitionum. These two offices, one of which nominally involved the care of the domains of the Sovereign and the other the regulation of his private charities, were in fact the two great financial offices of the Empire and of the barbarian royalties which modelled their system upon it. Upon the fall of the throne of Odovacar, Cassiodorus transferred his services to Theodoric, at the beginning of whose reign he acted as Governor (Consularis[1]) of Sicily. In this capacity he showed much tact and skill, and thereby succeeded in reconciling the somewhat suspicious and intractable Sicilians to the rule of their Ostrogothic master. He next administered (as Corrector[2]) his own native Province of 'Bruttii et Lucania[3].' Either in the year 500 or soon after, he received from Theodoric the highest mark of his confidence that the Sovereign could bestow, being raised to the great place of Praetorian Praefect, which still conferred a semi-regal splendour upon its holder, and which possibly under a Barbarian King may have involved yet more participation in the actual work of reigning than it had done under a Roman Emperor.

[Footnote 1: We get these titles from the Notitia Occidentis I.]

[Footnote 2: [See previous footnote.]]

[Footnote 3: On the authority of a letter of Pope Gelasius, 'Philippo et Cassiodoro,' Usener fixes this governorship of Bruttii between the years 493 and 496 (p. 76).]

The Praefecture of this Cassiodorus probably lasted three or four years, and at its close he received the high honour of the Patriciate. We are not able to name the exact date of his retirement from office; but the important point for us is, that while he still held this splendid position his son was first introduced to public life. To that son's history we may now proceed, for we have no further information of importance as to the father's old age or death beyond the intimation (contained in Var. iii. 28) that Theodoric invited him, apparently in vain, to leave his beloved Bruttii and return to the Court of Ravenna.

MAGNUS AURELIUS CASSIODORUS SENATOR was born at Scyllacium (Squillace) about the year 480. His name, his birthplace, and his year of birth will each require a short notice.

[Sidenote: Name.]

[Sidenote: Cassiodorus, or Cassiodorius.]

(1) Name. Magnus (not Marcus, as it has been sometimes incorrectly printed) is the author's praenomen. Aurelius, the gentile name, connects him with a large gens, of which Q. Aurelius Memmius Symmachus was one of the most distinguished ornaments. As to the form of the cognomen there is a good deal of diversity of opinion, the majority of German scholars preferring Cassiodorius to Cassiodorus. The argument in favour of the former spelling is derived from the fact that some of the MSS. of his works (not apparently the majority) write the name with the termination rius, and that while it is easy to understand how from the genitive form ri a nominative rus might be wrongly inferred instead of the real nominative rius, it is not easy to see why the opposite mistake should be made, and rius substituted for the genuine rus.

The question will probably be decided one way or the other by the critical edition of the 'Variae' which is to be published among the 'Monumenta Germaniae Historica;' but in the meantime it may be remarked that the correct Greek form of the name as shown by inscriptions appears to be Cassiodorus, and that in a poem of Alcuin's[4] occurs the line

'Cassiodorus item Chrysostomus atque Johannes,'

showing that the termination rus was generally accepted as early as the eighth century. It is therefore to be hoped that this is the form which may finally prevail.

[Footnote 4: De Pontificibus et Sanctis Ecclesiae Eboracensis, p. 843 of Migne's Second Volume of Alcuin's Works. I owe this quotation to Adolph Franz.]

[Sidenote: Senator.]

Senator, it is clear, was part of the original name of Cassiodorus, and not a title acquired by sitting in the Roman Senate. It seems a curious custom to give a title of this kind to an infant as part of his name, but the well-known instance of Patricius (St. Patrick) shows that this was sometimes done, and there are other instances (collected by Thorbecke, p. 34) of this very title Senator being used as a proper name.

It is clear from Jordanes (who calls the Gothic History of Cassiodorus 'duodecem Senatoris volumina de origine actibusque Getarum[5]'), from Pope Vigilius (who speaks of 'religiosum virum filium nostrum Senatorem[6]'), from the titles of the letters written by Cassiodorus[7], and from his punning allusions to his own name and the love to the Senate which it had prophetically expressed, that Senator was a real name and not a title of honour.

[Footnote 5: Preface to Getica (Mommsen's Edition, p. 53).]

[Footnote 6: Epist. XIV. ad Rusticum et Sebastianum (Migne, p. 49).]

[Footnote 7: Nearly all the letters in the XIth and XIIth Books of the Variae are headed 'Senator Praefectus Praetorio.']

[Sidenote: Birthplace, Scyllacium.]

(2) Scyllacium, the modern Squillace, was, according to Cassiodorus, the first, either in age or in importance, of the cities of Bruttii, a Province which corresponds pretty closely with the modern Calabria. It is situated at the head of the gulf to which it gives its name, on the eastern side of Italy, and at the point where the peninsula is pinched in by the Tyrrhene and Ionian Seas to a width of only fifteen miles, the narrowest dimensions to which it is anywhere reduced. The Apennine chain comes here within a distance of about five miles of the sea, and upon one of its lower dependencies Scyllacium was placed. The slight promontory in front of the town earned for it from the author of the Aeneid the ominous name of 'Navifragum Scylaceum[8].' In the description which Cassiodorus himself gives of his birthplace (Var. xii. 15) we hear nothing of the danger to mariners which had attracted the attention of Virgil, possibly a somewhat timid sailor. The name, however, given to the place by the Greek colonists who founded it, Scylletium, is thought by some to contain an allusion to dangers of the coast similar to those which were typified by the barking dogs of the not far distant Scylla.

[Footnote 8:

'Adtollit se diva Lacinia contra, Caulonisque arces, et navifragum Scylaceum.'

(iii. 552-3.)]

[Sidenote: The Greek city.]

According to Cassiodorus, this Greek city was founded by Ulysses after the destruction of Troy. Strabo[9] attributes the foundation of it to the almost equally widespread energy of Menestheus. The form of the name makes it probable that the colonists were in any case of Ionian descent; but in historic times we find Scylletion subject to the domineering Achaian city of Crotona, from whose grasp it was wrested (B.C. 389) by the elder Dionysius. It no doubt shared in the general decay of the towns of this part of Magna Graecia consequent on the wars of Dionysius and Agathocles, and may very probably, like Crotona, have been taken and laid waste by the Bruttian banditti in the Second Punic War. During the latter part of this war Hannibal seems to have occupied a position near to, but not in, the already ruined city, and its port was known long after as Castra Hannibalis[10].

[Footnote 9: p. 375: ed. Oxon. 1807.]

[Footnote 10: Pliny (Hist. Nat. iii. 10) says: 'Dein sinus Scylacius et Scyllacium, Scylletium Atheniensibus, cum conderent, dictum: quem locum occurrens Terinaeus sinus peninsulam efficit: et in ea portus qui vocatur Castra Annibalis, nusquam angustiore Italia XX millia passuum latitudo est.']

[Sidenote: The Roman colony.]

[11]'A century before the end of the Republic, a city much more considerable than that which had existed in the past was again established near the point where the Greek Scylletion had existed. Among the colonies of Roman citizens founded B.C. 123 on the rogation of Caius Gracchus, was one sent to this part of Bruttii, under the name of Colonia Minervia Scolacium, a name parallel to those of Colonia Neptunia Tarentum and Colonia Junonia Karthago, decided on at the same time. Scolacium is the form that we meet with in Velleius Paterculus, and that is found in an extant Latin inscription of the time of Antoninus Pius. This is the old Latin form of the name of the town. Scylacium, which first appears as used by the writers of the first century of our era, is a purely literary form springing from the desire to get nearer to the Greek type Scylletion.

[Footnote 11: I take the two following paragraphs from Lenormant's La Grande Grece, pp. 342-3.]

'Scolacium, or Scylacium, a town purely Roman by reason of the origin of its first colonists, was from its earliest days an important city, and remained such till the end of the Empire. Pomponius Mela, Strabo, Pliny, and Ptolemy speak of it as one of the principal cities of Bruttii. It had for its port Castra Hannibalis. Under Nero its population was strengthened by a new settlement of veterans as colonists. The city then took the names of Colonia Minervia Nervia Augusta Scolacium. We read these names in an inscription discovered in 1762 at 1,800 metres from the modern Squillace, between that city and the sea—an inscription which mentions the construction of an aqueduct bringing water to Scolacium, executed 143 A.D. at the cost of the Emperor Antoninus.'

[Sidenote: Appearance of the city at the time of Cassiodorus.]

For the appearance of this Roman colony in the seventh century of its existence the reader is referred to the letter of Cassiodorus before quoted (Var. xii. 15). The picture of the city, 'hanging like a cluster of grapes upon the hills, basking in the brightness of the sun all day long, yet cooled by the breezes from the sea, and looking at her leisure on the labours of the husbandman in the corn-fields, the vineyards, and the olive-groves around her,' is an attractive one, and shows that kind of appreciation of the gentler beauties of Nature which befits a countryman of Virgil.

This picture, however, is not distinctive enough to enable us from it alone to fix the exact site of the Roman city. Lenormant (pp. 360-370), while carefully distinguishing between the sites of the Greek Scylletion and the Latin Scolacium, and assigning the former with much apparent probability to the neighbourhood of the promontory and the Grotte di Stalletti, has been probably too hasty in his assertion that the modern city of Squillace incontestably covers the ground of the Latin Scolacium. Mr. Arthur J. Evans, after making a much more careful survey of the place and its neighbourhood than the French archaeologist had leisure for, has come to the conclusion that in this identification M. Lenormant is entirely wrong, and that the Roman city was not at Squillace, where there are no remains of earlier than mediaeval times, but at Roccella del Vescovo, five or six miles from Squillace in a north-easterly direction, where there are such remains as can only have belonged to a Roman provincial city of the first rank. For a further discussion of the question the reader is referred to the Note (and accompanying Map) at the end of this chapter.

We pass on from considering the place of Cassiodorus' birth to investigate the date of that event.

[Sidenote: Date of birth.]

(3) The only positive statement that we possess as to the birth-year of Cassiodorus comes from a very late and somewhat unsatisfactory source. John Trittheim (or Trithemius), Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery of Spanheim, who died in 1516, was one of the ecclesiastical scholars of the Renaissance period, and composed, besides a multitude of other books, a treatise 'De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis,' in which is found this notice of Cassiodorus[12]:—

'Claruit temporibus Justini senioris usque ad imperii Justini junioris paene finem, annos habens aetatis plus quam 95, Anno Domini 575.'

[Footnote 12: The reference is given by Koepke (Die Anfaenge des Koenigthums, p. 88) as 'De scr. ecc. 212 Bibliotheca Ecclesiastica, ed. Fabricius, p. 58;' by Thorbecke (p. 8) as 'Catalogus seu liber scriptorum ecclesiasticorum, Coloniae 1546, p. 94.' Franz (p. 4) quotes from the same edition as Koepke, 'De script. eccl. c. 212 in Fabricii biblioth. eccl., Hamburgi 1728, iii. p. 58.']

This notice is certainly not one to which we should attach much importance if it contradicted earlier and trustworthy authorities, or if there were any internal evidence against it. But if this cannot be asserted, it is not desirable entirely to discard the assertion of a scholar who, in the age of the Renaissance and before the havoc wrought among the monasteries of Germany by the Thirty Years' War, may easily have had access to some sources which are now no longer available.

When we examine the information which is thus given us, we find it certainly somewhat vague. 'Cassiodorus was illustrious' (no doubt as a writer, since it is 'ecclesiastici scriptores' of whom Trittheim is speaking) 'in the time of Justin the Elder [518-527] down nearly to the end of the reign of Justin the Younger [565-578], attaining to more than 95 years of age in the year of our Lord 575.' But on reflection we see that the meaning must be that Cassiodorus died in 575 (which agrees well with the words 'paene finem imperii Justini junioris'), and that when he died he was some way on in his 96th year, or as we say colloquially 'ninety-five off.' The marvel of his attaining such an age is no doubt the reason for inserting the 'plus quam,' to show that he did not die immediately after his 95th birthday. If this notice be trustworthy, therefore, we may place the birth of Cassiodorus in 479 or 480.

Now upon examining all the facts in our possession as to his career as a statesman and an author, and especially our latest acquired information[13], we find that they do in a remarkable manner agree with Trittheim's date, while we have no positive statement by any author early or late which really conflicts with it.

[Footnote 13: The Anecdoton Holderi.]

The only shadow of an argument that has been advanced for a different and earlier date is so thin that it is difficult to state without confuting it. In some editions of the works of Cassiodorus there appears a very short anonymous tract on the method of determining Easter, called 'Computus Paschalis,' and composed in 562. In the 'Orthographia,' which was undoubtedly written by Cassiodorus at the age of 93, and which contains a list of his previously published works, no mention is made of this 'Computus.' It must therefore, say the supporters of the theory, have been written after he was 93. He must have been at least 94 in 562, and the year of his birth must be put back at least to 468. In this argument there are two absolutely worthless links. There is no evidence to show that the 'Computus Paschalis' came from the pen of Cassiodorus at all, but much reason to think that Pithoeus, the editor who first published it under his name, was mistaken in doing so. And if it were his, a little memorandum like this—only two pages long, and with no literary pretension whatever—we may almost say with certainty would not be included by the veteran author in the enumeration of his theological works prefixed to his 'Orthographia.'

The reason why a theory founded on such an absurdly weak basis has held its ground at all, has probably been that it buttressed up another obvious fallacy. A whole school of biographers of Cassiodorus and commentators on his works has persisted, in spite of the plainest evidence of his letters, in identifying him with his father, who bore office under Odovacar (476-493). To do this it was necessary to get rid of the date 480 for the birth of Cassiodorus Senator, and to throw back that event as far as possible. And yet, not even by pushing it back to 468, do they make it reasonably probable that a person, who was only a child of eight years old at Odovacar's accession, could in the course of his short reign (the last four years of which were filled by his struggle with Theodoric) have held the various high offices which were really held during that reign by the father of Senator.

We assume therefore with some confidence the year 480 as the approximate date of the birth of our author; and while we observe that this date fits well with those which the course of history induces us to assign to his ancestors in the three preceding generations[14], we also note with interest that it was, as nearly as we can ascertain, the year of the birth of two of the most distinguished contemporaries of Cassiodorus—Boethius and Benedict.

[Footnote 14: Cassiodorus the First, born about 390; the Second, about 420; the Third, about 450.]

[Sidenote: Education of Cassiodorus.]

Of the training and education of the young Senator we can only speak from their evident results as displayed in the 'Variae,' to which the reader is accordingly referred. It may be remarked, however, that though he evidently received the usual instruction in philosophy and rhetoric which was given to a young Roman noble aspiring to employment in the Civil Service, there are some indications that the bent of his own genius was towards Natural History, strange and often laughable as are the facts or fictions which this taste of his has caused him to accumulate.

[Sidenote: Consiliarius to his father.]

In the year 500[15], when Senator had just attained the age of twenty, his father, as we have already seen, received from Theodoric the high office of Praetorian Praefect. As a General might make an Aide-de-camp of his son, so the Praefect conferred upon the young Senator the post of Consiliarius, or Assessor in his Court[16]. The Consiliarius[17] had been in the time of the Republic an experienced jurist who sat beside the Praetor or the Consul (who might be a man quite unversed in the law) and advised him as to his judgments. From the time of Severus onwards he became a paid functionary of the Court, receiving a salary which varied from 12 to 72 solidi (L7 to L43). At the time which we are now describing it was customary for the Judge to choose his Consiliarius from among the ranks of young jurists who had just completed their studies. The great legal school of Berytus especially furnished a large number of Consiliarii to the Roman Governors. In order to prevent an officer in this position from obtaining an undue influence over the mind of his principal, the latter was forbidden by law to keep a Consiliarius, who was a native of the Province in which he was administering justice, more than four months in his employ[18]. This provision, of course, would not apply when the young Assessor, as in the case of Cassiodorus, came with his father from a distant Province: and in such a case, if the Magistrate died during his year of office, by a special enactment the fairly-earned pay of the Assessor was protected from unjust demands on the part of the Exchequer[19]. The functions thus exercised by Senator in his father's court at Rome, and the title which he bore, were somewhat similar to those which Procopius held in the camp of Belisarius, but doubtless required a more thorough legal training. In our own system, if we could imagine the Judge's Marshal invested with the responsibilities of a Registrar of the Court, we should perhaps get a pretty fair idea of the position and duties of a Roman Consiliarius[20].

[Footnote 15: Or possibly 501.]

[Footnote 16: This fact, and also the cause of Senator's promotion to the Quaestorship, we learn from the Anecdoton Holderi described in a following chapter.]

[Footnote 17: The terms Adsessor, Consiliarius, [Greek: Paredros], [Greek: Symboulos], seem all to indicate the same office.]

[Footnote 18: Cod. Theod. i. 12. 1.]

[Footnote 19: This seems to be the meaning of Cod. Theod. i. 12. 2. The gains of the 'filii familias Assessores' were to be protected as if they were 'castrense peculium.']

[Footnote 20: Some points in this description are taken from Bethmann Hollweg, Gerichtsverfassung der sinkenden Roemischen Reichs, pp. 153-158.]

[Sidenote: Panegyric on Theodoric.]

[Sidenote: Appointed Quaestor.]

It was while Cassiodorus was holding this agreeable but not important position, that the opportunity came to him, by his dexterous use of which he sprang at one bound into the foremost ranks of the official hierarchy. On some public occasion it fell to his lot to deliver an oration in praise of Theodoric[21], and he did this with such admirable eloquence—admirable according to the depraved taste of the time—that Theodoric at once bestowed upon the orator, still in the first dawn of manhood[22], the 'Illustrious' office of Quaestor, giving him thereby what we should call Cabinet-rank, and placing him among the ten or eleven ministers of the highest class[23], by whom, under the King, the fortunes of the Gothic-Roman State were absolutely controlled.

[Footnote 21: 'Cassiodorus Senator ... juvenis adeo, dum patris Cassiodori patricii et praefecti praetorii consiliarius fieret et laudes Theodorichi regis Gothorum facundissime recitasset, ab eo quaestor est factus' (Anecdoton Holderi, ap. Usener, p. 4).]

[Footnote 22: He himself says, or rather makes Theodoric's grandson say to him, 'Quem primaevum recipiens ad quaestoris officium, mox reperit [Theodoricus] conscientia praeditum, et legum eruditione maturum' (Var. ix. 24).]

[Footnote 23: At this time the Illustres actually in office would probably be the Praefectus Praetorio Italiae (Cassiodorus the father), the Praefectus Urbis Romae, the two Magistri Militum in Praesenti, the Praepositus Sacri Cubiculi, the Magister Officiorum, the Quaestor, the Comes Sacrarum Largitionum, the Comes Rerum Privatarum, and the two Comites Domesticorum Equitum et Peditum.]

[Sidenote: Nature of the Quaestor's office.]

The Quaestor's duty required him to be beyond all other Ministers the mouthpiece of the Sovereign. In the 'Notitia[24]' the matters under his control are concisely stated to be 'Laws which are to be dictated, and Petitions.'

[Footnote 24: 'Sub dispositione viri illustris Quaestoris

Leges dictandae Preces.

Officium non habet sed adjutores de scriniis quos voluerit.']

To him therefore was assigned the duty (which the British Parliament in its folly assigns to no one) of giving a final revision to the laws which received the Sovereign's signature, and seeing that they were consistent with one another and with previous enactments, and were clothed in fitting language. He replied in the Sovereign's name to the petitions which were presented to him. He also, as we learn from Cassiodorus, had audience with the ambassadors of foreign powers, to whom he addressed suitable and stately harangues, or through whom he forwarded written replies to the letters which they had brought, but always of course speaking or writing in the name of his master. In the performance of these duties he had chiefly to rely on his own intellectual resources as a trained jurist and rhetorician. The large official staff which waited upon the nod of the other great Ministers of State was absent from his apartments[25]; but for the mere manual work of copying, filing correspondence, and the like, he could summon the needful number of clerks from the four great bureaux (scrinia) which were under the control of the Master of the Offices.

[Footnote 25: Officium non habet.]

We have an interesting summary of the Quaestor's duties and privileges from the pen of Cassiodorus himself in the 'Variae' (vi. 5), under the title 'Formula Quaesturae,' and to this document I refer the reader who wishes to complete the picture of the occupations in which the busiest years of the life of Cassiodorus were passed.

[Sidenote: Special utility of a Quaestor to Theodoric.]

To a ruler in Theodoric's position the acquisition of such a Quaestor as Cassiodorus was a most fortunate event. He himself was doubtless unable to speak or to write Latin with fluency. According to the common story, which passes current on the authority of the 'Anonymus Valesii,' he never could learn to write, and had to 'stencil' his signature. I look upon this story with some suspicion, especially because it is also told of his contemporary, the Emperor Justin; but I have no doubt that such literary education as Theodoric ever received was Greek rather than Latin, being imparted during the ten years of his residence as a hostage at Constantinople. Years of marches and countermarches, of battle and foray, at the head of his Ostrogothic warriors, may well have effaced much of the knowledge thus acquired. At any rate, when he descended the Julian Alps, close upon forty years of age, and appeared for the first time in Italy to commence his long and terrible duel with Odovacar, it was too late to learn the language of her sons in such fashion that the first sentence spoken by him in the Hall of Audience should not betray him to his new subjects as an alien and a barbarian.

Yet Theodoric was by no means indifferent to the power of well-spoken words, by no means unconcerned as to the opinion which his Latin-speaking subjects held concerning him. He was no Cambyses or Timour, ruling by the sword alone. His proud title was 'Gothorum Romanorumque Rex,' and the ideal of his hopes, successfully realised during the greater part of his long and tranquil reign, was to be equally the King of either people. He had been fortunate thus far in his Praetorian Praefects. Liberius, a man of whom history knows too little, had amid general applause steered the vessel of the State for the first seven years of the new reign. The elder Cassiodorus, who had succeeded him, seemed likely to follow the same course. But possibly Theodoric had begun to feel the necessity laid upon all rulers of men, not only to be, but also to seem, anxious for the welfare of their subjects. Possibly some dull, unsympathetic Quaestor had failed to present the generous thoughts of the King in a sufficiently attractive shape to the minds of the people. This much at all events we know, that when the young Consiliarius, high-born, fluent, and learned, poured forth his stream of panegyric on 'Our Lord Theodoric'—a panegyric which, to an extent unusual with these orations, reflected the real feelings of the speaker, and all the finest passages of which were the genuine outcome of his own enthusiasm—the great Ostrogoth recognised at once the man whom he was in want of to be the exponent of his thoughts to the people, and by one stroke of wise audacity turned the boyish and comparatively obscure Assessor into the Illustrious Quaestor, one of the great personages of his realm.

[Sidenote: Composition of the VARIAE.]

[Sidenote: Their style.]

The monument of the official life of Cassiodorus is the correspondence styled the 'Variae,' of which an abstract is now submitted to the reader. There is no need to say much here, either as to the style or the thoughts of these letters; a perusal of a few pages of the abstract will give a better idea of both than an elaborate description. The style is undoubtedly a bad one, whether it be compared with the great works of Greek and Latin literature or with our own estimate of excellence in speech. Scarcely ever do we find a thought clothed in clear, precise, closely-fitting words, or a metaphor which really corresponds to the abstract idea that is represented by it. We take up sentence after sentence of verbose and flaccid Latin, analyse them with difficulty, and when at last we come to the central thought enshrouded in them, we too often find that it is the merest and most obvious commonplace, a piece of tinsel wrapped in endless folds of tissue paper. Perhaps from one point of view the study of the style of Cassiodorus might prove useful to a writer of English, as indicating the faults which he has in this age most carefully to avoid. Over and over again, when reading newspaper articles full of pompous words borrowed from Latin through French, when wearied with 'velleities' and 'solidarities' and 'altruisms' and 'homologators,' or when vainly endeavouring to discover the real meaning which lies hidden in a jungle of Parliamentary verbiage, I have said to myself, remembering my similar labour upon the 'Variae,' 'How like this is to Cassiodorus.'

[Sidenote: Lack of humour.]

[Sidenote: The letter about the sucking-fish.]

Intellectually one of the chief deficiencies of our author—a deficiency in which perhaps his age and nation participated—was a lack of humour. It is difficult to think that anyone who possessed a keen sense of humour could have written letters so drolly unsuited to the character of Theodoric, their supposed author, as are some which we find in the 'Variae.' For instance, the King had reason to complain that Faustus, the Praetorian Praefect, was dawdling over the execution of an order which he had received for the shipment of corn from the regions of Calabria and Apulia to Rome. We find the literary Quaestor putting such words as these into the mouth of Theodoric, when reprimanding the lazy official[26]: 'Why is there such great delay in sending your swift ships to traverse the tranquil seas? Though the south wind blows and the rowers are bending to their oars, has the sucking-fish[27] fixed its teeth into the hulls through the liquid waves; or have the shells of the Indian Sea, whose quiet touch is said to hold so firmly that the angry billows cannot loosen it, with like power fixed their lips into your keels? Idle stands the bark though winged by swelling sails; the wind favours her but she makes no way; she is fixed without an anchor, she is bound without a cable; and these tiny animals hinder more than all such prospering circumstances can help. Thus, though the loyal wave may be hastening its course, we are informed that the ship stands fixed on the surface of the sea, and by a strange paradox the swimmer [the ship] is made to remain immovable while the wave is hurried along by movements numberless. Or, to describe the nature of another kind of fish, perchance the sailors in the aforesaid ships have grown dull and torpid by the touch of the torpedo, by which such a deadly chill is struck into the right hand of him who attacks it, that even through the spear by which it is itself wounded, it gives a shock which causes the hand of the striker to remain, though still a living substance, senseless and immovable. I think some such misfortunes as these must have happened to men who are unable to move their own bodies. But I know that in their case the echeneis is corruption trading on delays; the bite of the Indian shell-fish is insatiable cupidity; the torpedo is fraudulent pretence. With perverted ingenuity they manufacture delays that they may seem to have met with a run of ill-luck. Wherefore let your Greatness, whom it specially concerns to look after such men as these, by a speedy rebuke bring them to a better mind. Else the famine which we fear, will be imputed not to the barrenness of the times but to official negligence, whose true child it will manifestly appear.'

[Footnote 26: Var. i. 35.]

[Footnote 27: Echeneis.]

It is not likely that Theodoric ever read a letter like this before affixing to it his (perhaps stencilled) signature. If he did, he must surely have smiled to see his few angry Teutonic words transmuted into this wonderful rhapsody about sucking-fishes and torpedoes and shell-fish in the Indian Sea.

[Sidenote: Character of Cassiodorus.]

The French proverb 'Le style c'est l'homme,' is not altogether true as to the character of Cassiodorus. From his inflated and tawdry style we might have expected to find him an untrustworthy friend and an inefficient administrator. This, however, was not the case. As was before said, his character was not heroic; he was, perhaps, inclined to humble himself unduly before mere power and rank, and he had the fault, common to most rhetoricians, of over-estimating the power of words and thinking that a few fluent platitudes would heal inveterate discords and hide disastrous blunders. But when we have said this we have said the worst. He was, as far as we have any means of judging, a loyal subject, a faithful friend, a strenuous and successful administrator, and an exceptionally far-sighted statesman. His right to this last designation rests upon the part which he bore in the establishment of the Italian Kingdom 'of the Goths and Romans,' founded by the great Theodoric.

[Sidenote: His work in seconding the policy of Theodoric.]

Theodoric, it must always be remembered, had entered Italy not ostensibly as an invader but as a deliverer. He came in pursuance of a compact with the legitimate Emperor of the New Rome, to deliver the Elder Rome and the land of Italy from the dominion of 'the upstart King of Rugians and Turcilingians[28],' Odovacar. The compact, it is true, was loose and indefinite, and contained within itself the germs of that misunderstanding which, forty-seven years later, was developed into a terrible war. Still, for the present, Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, was also in some undefined way legitimate representative of the Old Roman Empire within the borders of Italy. This double aspect of his rule was illustrated by that which (rather than the doubtful Rex Italiae) seems to have been his favourite title, 'Gothorum Romanorumque Rex.'

[Footnote 28: Jordanes, De Rebus Geticis, lvii.]

[Sidenote: Theodoric's love of Civilitas.]

The great need of Italy was peace. After a century of wars and rumours of wars; after Alaric, Attila, and Gaiseric had wasted her fields or sacked her capital; after she had been exhausting her strength in hopeless efforts to preserve the dominion of Gaul, Spain, and Africa; after she had groaned under the exactions of the insolent foederati, Roman soldiers only in name, who followed the standards of Ricimer or Odovacar, she needed peace and to be governed with a strong hand, in order to recover some small part of her old material prosperity. These two blessings, peace and a strong government, Theodoric's rule ensured to her. The theory of his government was this, that the two nations should dwell side by side, not fused into one, not subject either to the other, but the Romans labouring at the arts of peace, the Goths wielding for their defence the sword of war. Over all was to be the strong hand of the King of Goths and Romans, repressing the violence of the one nation, correcting the chicanery of the other, and from one and all exacting the strict observance of that which was the object of his daily and nightly cares, CIVILITAS. Of this civilitas—which we may sometimes translate 'good order,' sometimes 'civilisation,' sometimes 'the character of a law-abiding citizen,' but which no English word or phrase fully expresses—the reader of the following letters will hear, even to weariness. But though we may be tired of the phrase, we ought none the less to remember that the thing was that which Italy stood most in need of, that it was secured for her during forty years by the labours of Theodoric and Cassiodorus, and that happiness, such as she knew not again for many centuries, was the result.

[Sidenote: Foresight of Cassiodorus in aiding this policy.]

But the theory of a warrior caste of Goths and a trading and labouring caste of Romans was not flattering to the national vanity of a people who, though they had lost all relish for fighting, could not forget the great deeds of their forefathers. This was no doubt the weak point of the new State-system, though one cannot say that it is a weakness which need have been fatal if time enough had been given for the working out of the great experiment, and for Roman and Goth to become in Italy, as they did become in Spain, one people. The grounds upon which the praise of far-seeing statesmanship may be claimed for Cassiodorus are, that notwithstanding the bitter taste which it must have had in his mouth, as in the mouth of every educated Roman, he perceived that here was the best medicine for the ills of Italy. All attempts to conjure with the great name of the Roman Empire could only end in subjection to the really alien rule of Byzantium. All attempts to rouse the religious passions of the Catholic against the heretical intruders were likely to benefit the Catholic but savage Frank. The cruel sufferings of the Italians at the hands of the Heruli of Belisarius and from the ravages of the Alamannic Brethren are sufficient justification of the soundness of Cassiodorus' view that Theodoric's State-system was the one point of hope for Italy.

[Sidenote: His religious tolerance.]

Allusion has been made in the last paragraph to the religious differences which divided the Goths from the Italians. It is well known that Theodoric was an Arian, but an Arian of the most tolerant type, quite unlike the bitter persecutors who reigned at Toulouse and at Carthage. During the last few years of his reign, indeed, when his mind was perhaps in some degree failing, he was tempted by the persecuting policy of the Emperor Justin into retaliatory measures of persecution towards his Catholic subjects, but as a rule his policy was eminently fair and even-handed towards the professors of the two hostile creeds, and even towards the generally proscribed nation of the Jews. So conspicuous to all the world was his desire to hold the balance perfectly even between the two communions, that it was said of him that he beheaded an orthodox deacon who was singularly dear to him, because he had professed the Arian faith in order to win his favour. But this story, though told by a nearly contemporary writer[29], is, it may be hoped, mere Saga.

[Footnote 29: Theodorus Lector (circa 550), Eccl. Hist. ii. 18. Both he and some later writers who borrow from him call the King [Greek: Theoderichos ho Aphros]; why, it is impossible to say.]

[Sidenote: This did not proceed from indifference.]

The point which we may note is, that this policy of toleration or rather of absolute fairness between warring creeds, though not initiated by Cassiodorus, seems to have thoroughly commended itself to his reason and conscience. It is from his pen that we get those golden words which may well atone for many platitudes and some ill-judged display of learning: Religionem imperare non possumus, quia nemo cogitur ut credat invitus[30]. And this tolerant temper of mind is the more to be commended, because it did not proceed from any indifference on his part to the subjects of religious controversy. Cassiodorus was evidently a devout and loyal Catholic. Much the larger part of his writings is of a theological character, and the thirty-five years of his life which he passed in a monastery were evidently

'Bound each to each in natural piety'

with the earlier years passed at Court and in the Council-chamber.

[Footnote 30: Var. ii. 27.]

[Sidenote: Date of the commencement of the Variae.]

We cannot trace as we should like to do the precise limits of time by which the official career of Cassiodorus was bounded. The 'Various Letters' are evidently not arranged in strict chronological order, and to but few of them is it possible to affix an exact date. There are two or three, however, which require especial notice, because some authors have assigned them to a date previous to that at which, as I believe, the author entered the service of the Emperor.

[Sidenote: Letter to Anastasius.]

The first letter of the whole series is addressed to the Emperor Anastasius. It has been sometimes connected with the embassy of Faustus in 493, or with that of Festus in 497, to the Court of Constantinople, the latter of which embassies resulted in the transmission to Theodoric of 'the ornaments of the palace' (that is probably the regal insignia) which Odovacar had surrendered to Zeno. But the language of the letter in question, which speaks of 'causas iracundiae,' does not harmonise well with either of these dates, since there was then, as far as we know, no quarrel between Ravenna and Constantinople. On the other hand, it would fit perfectly with the state of feeling between the two Courts in 505, after Sabinian the general of Anastasius had been defeated by the troops of Theodoric under Pitzias at the battle of Horrea Margi; or in 508, when the Byzantine ships had made a raid on Apulia and plundered Tarentum. To one of these dates it should probably be referred, its place at the beginning of the collection being due to the exalted rank of the receiver of the letter, not to considerations of chronology.

[Sidenote: Letters to Clovis.]

The fortieth and forty-first letters of the Second Book relate to the sending of a harper to Clovis, or, as Cassiodorus calls him, Luduin, King of the Franks. In the earlier letter Boethius is directed to procure such a harper (citharoedus), and to see that he is a first-rate performer. In the later, Theodoric congratulates his royal brother-in-law on his victory over the Alamanni, adjures him not to pursue the panic-stricken fugitives who have taken refuge within the Ostrogothic territory, and sends ambassadors to introduce the harper whom Boethius has provided. It used to be thought that these letters must be referred to 496, the year of the celebrated victory of Clovis over the Alamanni, commonly, but incorrectly, called the battle of Tulbiacum. But this was a most improbable theory, for it was difficult to understand how a boy of sixteen (and that was the age of Boethius in 496) should have attained such eminence as a musical connoisseur as to be entrusted with the task of selecting the citharoedus. And in a very recent monograph[31] Herr von Schubert has shown, I think convincingly, that the last victory of Clovis over the Alamanni, and their migration to Raetia within the borders of Theodoric's territory, occurred not in 496 but a few years later, probably about 503 or 504. It is true that Gregory of Tours (to whom the earlier battle is all-important, as being the event which brought about the conversion of Clovis) says nothing about this later campaign; but to those who know the fragmentary and incomplete character of this part of his history, such an omission will not appear an important argument.

[Footnote 31: Die Uterwerfung der Alamannen: Strassburg, 1884.]

[Sidenote: Letters to Gaulish princes.]

The letters written in Theodoric's name to Clovis, to Alaric II, to Gundobad of Burgundy, and to other princes, in order to prevent the outbreak of a war between the Visigoths and the Franks, have been by some authors[32] assigned to a date some years before the war actually broke out; but though this cannot, perhaps, be disproved, it seems to me much more probable that they were written in the early part of 507 on the eve of the war between Clovis and Alaric, which they were powerless to avert.

[Footnote 32: Especially Binding, Geschichte des Burgundisch-Romanischen Koenigreichs, p. 181.]

[Sidenote: Duration of Cassiodorus' office.]

More difficult than the question of the beginning of the Quaestorship of Cassiodorus is that of its duration and its close. It was an office which was in its nature an annual one. At the commencement of each fresh year 'of the Indiction,' that is on the first of September of the calendar year, a Quaestor was appointed; but there does not seem to have been anything to prevent the previous holder of the office from being re-appointed. In the case of Cassiodorus, the Quaestor after Theodoric's own heart, his intimate friend and counsellor, this may have been done for several years running, or he may have apparently retired from office for a year and then resumed it. It is clear, that whether in or out of office he had always, as the King's friend, a large share in the direction of State affairs. He himself says, in a letter supposed to be addressed to himself after the death of Theodoric[33]: 'Non enim proprios fines sub te ulla dignitas custodivit;' and that this was the fact we cannot doubt. Whatever his nominal dignity might be, or if for the moment he possessed no ostensible office at all, he was still virtually what we should call the Prime Minister of the Ostrogothic King[34].

[Footnote 33: ix. 24.]

[Footnote 34: Thorbecke has pointed out (pp. 40-41) that we possess letters written by Cassiodorus to four Quaestors before the year 510, and that therefore the fact of others holding the nominal office of Quaestor did not circumscribe his activity as Secretary to Theodoric.]

[Sidenote: Consulship of Cassiodorus, 514.]

In the year 514 he received an honour which, notwithstanding that it was utterly divorced from all real authority, was still one of the highest objects of the ambition of every Roman noble: he was hailed as Consul Ordinarius, and gave his name to the year. For some reason which is not stated, possibly because the City of Constantinople was in that year menaced by the insurrection of Vitalian, no colleague in the East was nominated to share his dignity; and the entry in the Consular Calendars is therefore 'Senatore solo Consule.'

In his own Chronicle, Cassiodorus adds the words,'Me etiam Consule in vestrorum laude temporum, adunato clero vel [= et] populo, Romanae Ecclesiae rediit optata concordia.' This sentence no doubt relates to the dissensions which had agitated the Roman Church ever since the contested Papal election of Symmachus and Laurentius in the year 498. Victory had been assured to Symmachus by the Synod of 501, but evidently the feelings of hatred then aroused had still smouldered on, especially perhaps among the Senators and high nobles of Rome, who had for the most part adopted the candidature of Laurentius. Now, on the death of Symmachus (July 18, 514) the last embers of the controversy were extinguished, and the genial influence of Cassiodorus, Senator by name and Consul by office, was successfully exerted to induce nobles, clergy, and people to unite in electing a new Pope. After eight days Hormisdas the Campanian sat in the Chair of St. Peter, an undoubted Pontiff.

[Sidenote: Deference to the Roman Senate.]

Not only in maintaining the dignity of the Consulship, but also in treating the Roman Senate with every outward show of deference and respect, did the Ostrogothic King follow and even improve upon the example of the Roman Emperors. The student of the following letters will observe the tone of deep respect which is almost always adopted towards the Senate; how every nomination of importance to an official post is communicated to them, almost as if their suffrages were solicited for the new candidate; what a show is made of consulting them in reference to peace and war; and what a reality there seems to be in the appeals made to their loyalty to the new King after the death of Theodoric. In all this, as in the whole relation of the Empire to the Senate during the five centuries of their joint existence, it is difficult to say where well-acted courtesy ended, and where the desire to secure such legal power as yet remained to a venerable assembly began. Perhaps when we remember that for many glorious centuries the Senate had been the real ruler of the Roman State, we may assert that the attitude and the language of the successors of Augustus towards the Conscript Fathers were similar to those used by a modern House of Commons towards the Crown, only that in the one case the individual supplanted the assembly, in the other the assembly supplanted the individual. But whatever the exact relations between King and Senate may have been, and though occasionally the former found it necessary to rebuke the latter pretty sharply for conduct unbecoming their high position, there can be no doubt that the general intention of Theodoric was to soothe the wounded pride and flatter the vanity of the Roman Senators by every means in his power: and for this purpose no one could be so well fitted as Cassiodorus, Senator by name and by office, descendant of many generations of Roman nobles, and master of such exuberant rhetoric that it was difficult then, as it is often impossible now, to extract any definite meaning from his sonorous periods.

[Sidenote: Cassiodorus Patrician.]

It was possibly upon his laying down the Consulship, that Cassiodorus received the dignity of Patrician—a dignity only, for in itself it seems to have conferred neither wealth nor power. Yet a title which had been borne by Ricimer, Odovacar, and Theodoric himself might well excite the ambition of Theodoric's subject. If our conjecture be correct that it was conferred upon Cassiodorus in the year 515, he received it at an earlier age than his father, to whom only about ten or eleven years before he had written the letter announcing his elevation to this high dignity.

[Sidenote: The Chronicon.]

Five years after his Consulate, Cassiodorus undertook a little piece of literary labour which he does not appear to have held in high account himself (since he does not include it in the list of his works), and which has certainly added but little to his fame. This was his 'Chronicon,' containing an abstract of the history of the world from the deluge down to A.D. 519, the year of the Consulship of the Emperor Justin, and of Theodoric's son-in-law Eutharic. This Chronicle is for the most part founded upon, or rather copied from, the well-known works of Eusebius and Prosper, the copying being unfortunately not correctly done. More than this, Cassiodorus has attempted with little judgment to combine the mode of reckoning by Consular years and by years of Emperors. As he is generally two or three years out in his reckoning of the former, this proceeding has the curious result of persistently throwing some Consulships of the reigning Emperor into the reign of his predecessor.[35] Thus Probus is Consul for two years under Aurelian, and for one year under Tacitus; both the two Consulships of Carus and the first of Diocletian are under Probus, while Diocletian's second Consulship is under Carinus and Numerianus; and so forth. It is wonderful that so intelligent a person as Cassiodorus did not see that combinations of this kind were false upon the face of them.

[Footnote 35: It need hardly be explained that, as a matter of compliment to the reigning Emperor, the first Consulship that fell vacant after his accession to the throne was (I believe invariably) filled by him, and that though he might sometimes have held the office of Consul before his assumption of the diadem, this was not often the case. Certainly, in the instances given above, Probus, Carus, and Diocletian held no Consulships till after they had been saluted as Emperors.]

When the Chronicle gets nearer to the compiler's own times it becomes slightly more interesting, but also slightly less fair. Throughout the fourth century a few little remarks are interspersed in the dry list of names and dates, the general tendency of which is to praise up the Gothic nation or to extenuate their faults and reverses. The battle of Pollentia (402[36]) is unhesitatingly claimed as a Gothic victory; the clemency of Alaric at the capture of Rome (410) is magnified; the valour of the Goths is made the cause of the defeat of Attila in the Catalaunian plains (451); the name of Gothic Eutharic is put before that of Byzantine Justin in the consular list; and so forth. Upon the whole, as has been already said, the work cannot be considered as adding to the reputation of its author; nor can it be defended from the terrible attack which has been made upon it by that scholar of our own day whose opinion upon such a subject stands the highest, Theodor Mommsen[37]. Only, when he makes this unfortunate Chronicle reflect suspicion on the other works of Cassiodorus, and especially on the Gothic History[38], the German scholar seems to me to chastise the busy Minister more harshly than he deserves.

[Footnote 36: Clinton's date for this battle, 403, differs from that assigned by Cassiodorus, and is, in my judgment, erroneous.]

[Footnote 37: Abhandlungen der philologisch-historischen Klasse der Koeniglich Saechsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, iii. 547-696.]

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