Letter from Theodoric to Agapitus, Praefectus Urbis

Name of text:

Letter from Theodoric to Agapitus, Praefectus Urbis

Author of text: Cassiodorus, Variae Epistolae
Date of text: Fifth/sixth century
Date of person in text: Theodoric 454-526; Cassiodorus ca. 480-575
Name of structure in text: Basilica of Herakles
Type of structure in text: church
Date of structure in text fifth-sixth century
Century of structure 1: 5 AD
Century of structure 2: 6 AD
Country in text: Italy
Region in text:
City in text: Ravenna
Specific place of mosaic in text:

I am going to build a great basilica of Herakles at Ravenna, for I wish my age to match preceding ones in the beauty of its buildings, as it does in the happiness of the lives of my subjects.  Send me therefore skilful workers in mosaic.  Send us from your city [Rome] some of your most skilful marble workers who may join together those pieces which have been carefully divided, and, connecting together their different veins of colours, may admirably represent their natural appearance.  From art proceeds this gift which conquers nature.  And thus the discoloured surface of the marble is woven into the loveliest variety of pictures, the value of the work now as always being increased by the minute labour which has to be expended on the production of the beautiful.

Description of mosaic in text:
Mosaic date in text:
Tesserae silver mentioned in text?
Tesserae gold mentioned in text?
Colour descriptions in text:

Cassiodorus, Variae, I.6, in The Letters of Cassiodorus, being a condensed translation of the Variae epistolae, ed. and trans. by Thomas Hodkin (London: Henry Frownd, 1886), pp. 147-48, quoted in Caecilia Davis-Weyer, Early Medieval Art: 300-1150 (Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1986), p. 50.


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