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The Variae of Cassiodorus have long been valued as an epistolary collection offering a window into political and cultural life in a so-called barbarian successor state in sixth-century Italy. However, this study is the first to treat them as more than an assemblage of individual case studies and to analyse the collection's wider historical context. M. Shane Bjornlie highlights the insights the Variae provide into early medieval political, ecclesiastical, fiscal and legal affairs and the influence of the political and military turbulence of Justinian's reconquest of Italy and of political and cultural exchanges between Italy and Constantinople. The book also explores how Cassiodorus revised, updated and assembled the Variae for publication and what this reveals about his motives for publishing an epistolary record and for his own political life at a crucial period of transformation for the Roman world.