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The Letters of Cassiodorus Being A Condensed Translation Of The Variae Epistolae Of Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator online

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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 Müller 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 Animâ' 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



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