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Demian Rusakov
Demian Rusakov

Bimillennium [TOP]

Julius Caesar stands somewhere between these two extremes: both his achievements and his nobility have taken on an ambivalent quality with time. The bimillennium of his death, celebrated a few years ago, did not exactly produce a full or over-enthusiastic memorial press. Things would have been very different if he had died a hundred years earlier. What a paean of praise would have rung out from the Germany of the Hohenzollerns, and from the British empire on which the sun, so far, had never set!


This fine collection of essays is a worthy celebration of the bimillennium of Horace's death in 8 BC, and of the career of the distinguished Horatian scholar Niall Rudd, to whom the book is dedicated. Handsomely printed, produced, and illustrated, it comes from the same editorial stable as Virgil and his Influence (1984) and Ovid Renewed (1988), but is more limited in scope than its predecessors. Even so, five hundred years of Horace's presence in British life and letters is almost too wide a span to be comfortably encompassed in a single volume.

Jordanes limits his praises of Theoderic in the Getica, though he certainly was the object of Cassiodorus's laudes in the Gothic History. The authors abstain from speculating about how Cassiodorus may have originally portrayed this king, but in my opinion some references in Jordanes require a consideration of this question. While the authors are very attentive in highlighting Jordanes's internal references to dates when framing the chronology of the two works (cf. 9-13), they do not dedicate enough attention to the statement in Get. 313 that the Gothic nation ended after almost 2,030 years of power (in the year 540). A discussion of the hypothesis of Heather on the bimillennium of the Goths, a very important date for the history of the Gothic kingdom, should have been included. Heather explained this number, which connects the Gothic past with the times of Moses, as part of the lost Cassiodoran propaganda which claimed that the two-thousandth anniversary of Gothic history happened in the year 511, when Theoderic began to rule over the Visigoths in Spain. [9] This can be argued also from Get. 245 on the end of the family of the Balths, a passage whose importance and Cassiodoran nature the authors notice (63, 334-335 n. 764). Considering that the story of the unifications and divisions of the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths plays an important part in the architecture of the Getica (cf. 34-36, 57-60), the question of the reunification in the years after 511 should have been here addressed. By abstaining from the question, the authors eventually fall in a sort of contradiction. At p. 43 n. 196 and at p. 357 n. 890 they support the assimilation of Theoderic with Moses. At p. 69 they do not dismiss possible connections in the Gothic history with Moses and the Exodus (which could support Heather's hypothesis on the bimillennium). At the same time, at p. 368 with n. 967 they do not exclude the suggestion by Buonuomo that the number in Get. 313 should be amended to 1,300. [10] This suggestion would connect the Gothic history to the history of Rome, which was also a part of the Cassiodoran propaganda. No matter what manuscript tradition the authors prefer for Get. 313, the number of the years of the Gothic power hides the lost Cassiodoran propaganda, which the authors seem to acknowledge (p. 63-64) but eventually prefer not to confront (cp. 99 n. 494).

And for this very reason I am pleased to announce officially that we shall be dedicating a special Jubilee Year to the Apostle Paul from 28 June 2008 to 29 June 2009, on the occasion of the bimillennium of his birth, which historians have placed between the years 7 and 10 A.D. 041b061a72


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