Cassiodorus’ Variae: Authority under Construction - virtual conference on April 21-22

Cassiodorus’ Variae: Authority under Construction

Dr. Anna-Lena Körfer (Institut für Alte Geschichte), Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz; Christian Stadermann (Institut für Alte Geschichte, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) Dr. Jörg Hörnschemeyer (DHI Rom / Istituto Storico Germanico di Roma) (Historisches Seminar: Alte Geschichte JGU Mainz in cooperation with DHI Rom / Istituto Storico Germanico di Roma)
Historisches Seminar: Alte Geschichte JGU Mainz in cooperation with DHI Rom / Istituto Storico Germanico di Roma
Gefördert durch
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Vom - Bis
21.04.2021 - 22.04.2021
Michael Becker, Alte Geschichte, Historisches Seminar, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Dear All, we would like to announce and advertise our upcoming virtual conference “Cassiodorus’ Variae: Authority under Construction” on April 21-22, 2021.
The conference is open to everyone, but registration is required. Please register for digital access via mail to Michael Becker ( A link and abstracts of the presentations will be sent after registration.
We are looking forward to seeing you. Best wishes

Cassiodorus’ Variae: Authority under Construction

The society of 6th-century Ostrogothic Italy heavily depended on authority (auctoritas) and its constant negotiation. The king presented himself as being in control of both the establishment and the maintenance of relationships based on authority. By administering the provinces and exercising jurisdiction, the king’s officials implemented his directives and thus functioned as his representatives. However, authority will only fulfil its potential if those lower in the hierarchy accept it as a binding principle: They need to negotiate its validity in political, social and intellectual terms. Due to their highly diverse subject matter, Cassiodorus’ Variae offer insights into the areas of Ostrogothic Italy in which the negotiation of authority takes places on various functional and intellectual levels. Taking Cassiodorus’ corpus of letters as a starting point, the conference addresses questions as to the mechanisms underlying the establishment and continuation of auctoritas. Besides traditional methodological scholarship on Cassiodorus and Ostrogothic Italy the conference focuses on digital pathways for examinating and reconsidering Cassiodorusʼ letters.

Conference Coordinators
Dr. Anna-Lena Körfer (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Dr. Christian Stadermann (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Dr. Jörg Hörnschemeyer (DHI Rom / Istituto Storico Germanico di Roma)

Conference Registration for digital access
Michael Becker:


Conference Programme

Wednesday 21st April 2021

Welcome & Introduction
10.00 am – 10.30 am
Marietta Horster, Anna-Lena Körfer, Christian Stadermann (Mainz), Martin Baumeister (Rome)

Panel I: Making Tradition
Chair: Verena Epp (Marburg)

10.35 am – 11.15 am
Tabea L. Meurer (Mainz): Portare principis imaginem. Negotiating office authority and principate ideology in formulae and letters of congratulations from Ostrogothic Italy.

11.20 am – 12.00 am
Christian Stadermann (Mainz): Remembering Theoderic the Great. Making Tradition and Construction of Authority at the Court of King Athalaric (526-534).

12.05 pm – 12.45 pm
Robert Kasperski (Warsaw): The dynastic tradition of the Amals. A deliberate construction?

12.45 pm – 2.00 pm
Lunch Break

Panel II: Communicating Authority
Chair: Ignazio Tantillo (Naples)

2.00 pm – 2.40 pm
Peter J. Heather (London): Render unto Caesar. Religious Authority in the Ostrogothic Kingdom.

2.45 pm – 3.25 pm
Valerié Fauvinet-Ranson (Paris): Impressionner et se distinguer. Quelques symboles utilisés par les souverains ostrogothiques.

3.25 pm – 3.40 pm
Coffee Break

3.40 pm – 4.20 pm
Marco Cristini (Pisa): Light’s Loans and Ostrogothic Helmets. Communicating Authority during the Reign of Theodahad.

Chair: Arnaldo Marcone (Rome)
4.25 pm – 5.15 pm
Andrea Giardina (Rome): In che mondo viveva Cassiodoro.

Thursday 22th April 2021

Panel III: Aestheticizing Letters
Chair: Danuta Shanzer (Vienna)

10.00 am – 10.40 am
Anna-Lena Körfer (Mainz): Variarum nomine praenotavi. Reading Variety and Variety of Reading in Cassiodorus’ Letters.

10.45 am – 11.25 am
Willum Westenholz (Vienna): Cassiodorus iocosus: Humour and the supposed lack thereof in the Variae.

11.25 am – 11.40 am
Coffee Break

11.40 am – 12.20 pm
Raphael Schwitter (Bonn): Cassiodorus’ Synaesthesia: Iconicity and Sensory Symbolism in the Variae.

12.25 pm – 1.05 pm
Konrad Löbcke (Mainz): Between Christian Condemnation and Cultural Prestige. The Representation of the spectacula in Cassidorus’ Variae.

1.05 pm – 2.30 pm
Lunch Break

Panel IV: Digital Humanities under Construction
Chair: Andrea Rapp (Darmstadt)

2.30 pm – 3.10 pm
Tim Geelhaar (Frankfurt/Main): Corpuslingiustic evidence and historical interpretation – Digital semantic approaches towards Cassiodorus’ Variae.

3.15 pm – 3.55 pm
Jörg Hörnschemeyer, Jörg Voigt (Rome): Strengths and limits of quantitative analyses of medieval regesta collections using the example of the Repertorium Germanicum.

3.55 pm – 4.10 pm
Coffee Break

Final Discussion & Farewell
Chair: Marietta Horster (Mainz)

4.10 pm – 4.40 pm
Final discussion
Farewell: Marietta Horster, Anna-Lena Körfer, Christian Stadermann (Mainz)


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Anna-Lena Körfer (kö
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