Born c. 490, Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus held many posts in the
Roman government before turning his family mansion into a monastery c.
540. Under Theodoric, he handled much official correspondence and wrote a
history of the world from Adam to 519 that also demonstrated Theodoric's
Roman ancestry. Vivarium, Cassiodorus' monastery, was modelled on the
library of Alexandria, and Vivarium became the model for Western
monasteries in the Middle Ages. Cassiodorus collected as many manuscripts
as he could; he had monks transcribe and translate texts; and he
contributed to the preservation and continuation of learning through his
own works. Institutiones divinarum et secularum litteratum, a
proto-encyclopedia, is the most important of his writings.
official writings as models, and the
Institutiones musicæ is an
exposition of music theory.
Expositio psalmorum is a commentary on the
writings of Augustine as well as a commentary on the Psalms. Although the
two monastic houses at Vivarium did not survive the death of Cassiodorus
c. 585, the work of his copyists and translators lived on in the standard
they set for libraries and scholarships throughout the Middle Ages.
Karen Rae Keck
A compendium of both sacred and secular learning
for the use of monks, including Goths unfamiliar
with the classical heritage. --- JOD
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