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A New Contextualization of an Old Source – Cassiodorus’ Variae on Late Antique Istria
Evidence from the collection of various letters (Variae epistulae) of the Italo-Roman aristocrat, Ostrogothic official of highest order and scholar Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (fifth - sixth c.) that refer to conditions on the eastern Adriatic coast in the first half of the sixth century is already well-known in scholarship. From the first comprehensive economic-historical analysis in Croatian historiography of Cassiodorus’ information about Istria in an 1988 article by Robert Matijašić „Kasiodorova pisma kao izvor za poznavanje kasnoantičke povijesti Istre (Cass. Var. XII, 22, 23, 24)“ [Cassiodorus’ letters as a source for knowledge of the history of Istria in Late Antiquity (Cass. Var. XII, 22, 23, 24)], more than three decades have passed, so it is appropriate to reconsider them, particularly after they had also been discussed by Andrej Novak in his 2007 book L’Istria nella prima età bizantina and, more recently, by Rajko Bratož in his 2016 paper “La produzione e il consumo di alimenti nella provincia della Venetia et Histria al tempo de Goti orientali”. The aim is to recontextualize the information within the broader area of the eastern Adriatic and problematize the previous conclusions. Starting from the existing results, the intention is to produce a relevant research addendum that can contribute to better appreciation of the economic situation in Late Antique Istria and be a basis for understanding the medieval conditions.
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