The Letter Collection of Ruricius of Limoges

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The letters of Ruricius survive only in the Codex Sangallensis 190, written in the late eighth or early ninth century. They cover the period from ca.470 until ca. 507, the crucial transitional phase between imperial and barbarian Gaul, and are divided into two books, the first with eighteen letters and the second with sixty-five. The collection also contains 13 letters written to Ruricius. The collection therefore provides a rare opportunity to see sequences of letters in an exchange. These letters present a picture of life in late Roman Gaul that significantly complements that provided by Ruricius’ better-known confrères, such as Sidonius, Avitus, and Ennodius. The Ruricius collection has a very local flavor and, in an intimate and domestic way, describes everyday life in Visigothic Aquitania. The first book of letters was carefully organized as a unit in its own right. The second book is more difficult to assess. Even though there are no indications of divisions in the manuscript, there are suggestions of attempts to organize some of the letters into internally consistent "dossiers." The second book also seems rather to preserve, at the beginning, traces of plans to create two additional books, and, toward the end, elements of a rudimentary filing system.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLate Antique Letter Collections
EditorsCristiana Sogno, Bradley K Storin, Edward J Watts
PublisherUniversity of California Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780520966192
ISBN (Print)9780520281448
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Ruricius of Limoges
  • Aquitaine
  • Visigoths
  • Gaul


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