Cassiodorus' "Chronica": Text, chronography and sources

Michael Klaassen, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

A new text of Cassiodorus' Chronica is followed by the first analysis in any language of Cassiodorus' chronographic methods and sources. To construct his consular list Cassiodorus used a now-lost consularia extracted from Livy and Aufidius Bassus from 509 BCE to 27 CE , the Cursus paschalis of Victorius of Aquitaine (from 28 to 457), and a now-lost extension of Victorius' work (from 458 to 519). An examination and comparison of the Livian and Aufidian consular names with the surviving witnesses to the same Livian consularia, the Liber prodigiorum of Julius Obsequens and Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 668 , demonstrates that the original consularia was a much larger document which included material drawn from sources other than Livy. A similar comparison of the consuls of Victorius of Aquitaine and Cassiodorus reveals a few adjustments and alterations of consular names, but it is unclear whether they were made by Cassiodorus or were present in his source. A comparison of Cassiodorus' list from 458 with the other consular lists from fifth and sixth century Italy, shows that Cassiodorus, whose list is almost perfect, worked hard to make sure that his list contained both the eastern and the western consuls for the year. ^ Cassiodorus drew historical notes from Jerome, Prosper of Aquitaine and Eutropius which he inserted into his consular list with limited success, content to place them relative to imperial reigns, but not to the consular list. He epitomized his sources and passed over ecclesiastical details, concentrating rather on secular history. A comparison of Cassiodorus' historical notes from 458 to 500 with other consularia from the same time-period shows that Cassiodorus used a recension of the consularia Italica as a source, closely related to a similar text used by Paul the Deacon in the ninth century. ^ Cassiodorus' work, often described as a panegyric of the ruling Ostrogothic family in Italy, is not successful as a panegyric, but should be seen rather, in the context of Cassiodorus' whole corpus, as the author's attempt to present the history of the world succinctly and accurately. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Classical|History, Ancient|History, Medieval

Recommended Citation

Klaassen, Michael, "Cassiodorus' "Chronica": Text, chronography and sources" (2010). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3414225.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3414225

Share

COinS