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Cassiodorus And Theoderic: A Vision Of Reviving Falling Cities

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the insecurity and downfall of the fifth and sixth century Italy, presenting a picture of a last, brief flourishing of the cities of central Italy, against the background of destruction and decline. The Ostrogoth period the author refers to- approximately forty years-was surrounded by deep shadows on both sides. Before came Theoderic's war of accession against Odoacer (489- 493), and after followed the Gothic wars of the Byzantine reconquest of Italy (535-562). This is one reason why the Ostrogothic interlude has been regarded as a "Golden Age," both by ancient writers and later historians. To the court in Ravenna were drawn many Roman supporters of the Goths, e.g. Cassiodorus, whose edited official letters Variae are at the center of attention here. The Ostrogoth period was the last strong stand for protection of past monuments.

Keywords: Byzantine; Cassiodorus; Gothic war; Ostrogoth period; Ravenna; sixth century Italy; Theoderic's war; Variae



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