Rita Lizzi Testa

The Collectio Avellana: Its Compiler and Its Audience from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages

Are you already subscribed?
Login to check whether this content is already included on your personal or institutional subscription.


This "Introduction" offers a brief presentation of the essays contained in the volume and some hypotheses concerning the chronology of the "Collectio Avellana" (CA) and the personality of its compiler. The CA can be considered an 'asystematic' Late Antique collection because, in neglecting chronological order, it collects integral texts, in this case not only Acts of councils and papal letters (as canonical collections generally do), but also re-scripts and imperial letters. Examination of two sections of the CA, which can be considered chronologically the first (CA 1-40) and the last (CA 82-93) in the collection, seems to confirm that their texts were sought in different archives - in Rome, Constantinople, the papal chancery and imperial and private archives - and that they were transcribed in the CA in order to be used for composing future documents, such as edicts, doctrinal treatises and laws. In this sense, the compiler of the CA does not seem to have been a cleric, but rather an official, perhaps Cassiodorus himself, who added different materials at different times during his political activity: between 526 and 533, in order to intervene normatively in the contested elections of bishops (in Rome and elsewhere in the Empire); after 550, probably in "Vivarium", in an attempt to reconcile the Italian churches that wanted to detach themselves from Rome, thus defending the image and the work of Pope Vigilius.


  • Collectio Avellana
  • Canonical Collections
  • Damasus
  • Ursinus
  • Justinian
  • Cassiodorus


Article first page

Trova nel catalogo di Worldcat