Vivarium. I libri, il destino
108 p., + 45 ill., 180 x 245 mm, 1998
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In its understated way, this work establishes several theses each one of which, taken separately, could reasonably be considered sensational. First we have the discovery of the autograph of Cassiodorus. In shorthand, as one would expect from a busy man with a strong sense of time management, it testifies that Cassiodorus reviewed (Cassiodorus legi), or verified (perlegi Cassiodorus) a text. The signature occurs in codices that had already, through other considerations, been associated with Vivarium, and becomes in turn a strong criterion for the identification of works not previously associated with the Calabrian foundation. In some manuscripts a hand already known as 'manus prima', can now be identified with those of scribes active at Vivarium. These hands were not simply copying orthodox texts, but critically examining those written by authors of different persuasions: we know now that a codex well-known for its Arian scholia was studied and annotated at Vivarium. Cassiodorus and his team of writers/translators were squirreling away on texts by Church Fathers and heretics, analysing them, taking from them what could be suitable, reading everything. So, Vivarium was a militantly Chalcedonian monastery, but also one where the alternatives, dubbed by modern scholars 'Arian scholia' were duly studied and annotated.
These essays by Fabio Troncarelli are an example of 'integral palaeography' in the sense of the definition, by now a classic, of Leonard E. Boyle (Medieval Latin Palaeography, Author's Preface, p. xv). Through the highly specialised technique of demanding discipline, the author succeeds in reconstructing the intellectual climate and the historical setting of Vivarium.
"This monograph will be essential for anyone interested in the development of Christian studies in late antiquity and its future in medieval Europe." (J. W. Halporn, in: The Medieval Review, 00.02.25)