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Medieval Sourcebook:
Cassiodorus: On Classical Learning

The text that was here has been removed at the request of Prof. O'Donnell. It was put here at the inception of the Sourcebook, with full reference to its origin on his web site. At that time it was not clear to me, at least, that it was a new translation of about six pages of the text of Cassiodorus's Institutiones.

Since that time, a number of other texts of interest to any teachers who had directed students here have been made available at the Sourcebook. They can be located in the End of the Classical World section.

If anyone would like to submit other, copy permitted, translations of Cassiodorus, in full or part, please contact me at

For those who feel a real lack of Cassiodorus, let me direct you to the

The Letters of Cassiodorus, being a condensed translation of the Variae Epistolae of Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator, with an Introduction, by Thomas Hodgkin, (London: H. Frowde, 1886).

If anyone wants to scan and add this text to the Sourcebook, it will be most welcome.


For the record, here is the old Introduction to the Cassiodorus text.


Presented here were excerpts from the first book of Cassiodorus' Institutes written about 562 AD. In this book, Cassiodorus explores the idea of Christian scriptural study undertaken by heirs of a tradition of such interpretation embodied in an ideal library. Accordingly he presents an analytical bibliography of works known to him, most of them actually present in his monastery library on the southernmost coast of Italy.

The excerpts included (1) the preface in which he outlines his vision; (2) the table of contents of the first book devoted to scripture study; (3) a representative bibliographical chapter, that dealing with the Psalter; and (4) his description of his monastery, its physical situation, and something of its spirit.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

Paul Halsall Mar 1996, text removed October 28 1998