His Bruttian family had a tradition of provincial leadership and official service. He assisted his father, praetorian prefect of Italy, 503–7, under the Ostrogothic king *Theoderic (1). Writing Theoderic's diplomatic letters in 506, he was *quaestorsacri palatii (rhetorical draftsman and legal adviser), 507–12. Consul in 514, in 523 he replaced his disgraced kinsman *Boethius as *magister officiorum (but also with draftsman's duties); he served into 527, aiding the new reign of *Athalaric and Amalasuintha. Prefect of Italy from 533, he was again both administrator and royal draftsman. With Pope Agapitus (535–6), he planned an abortive school of Christian higher education at Rome. Remaining prefect under kings Theodahad and Witigis, and made patrician, he retired in 537/8 during the Gothic wars. Moving to Constantinople, he assisted Pope Vigilius in the Three Chapters controversy (550). Soon after, he withdrew permanently to his monastery of Vivarium on his ancestral estate at Scylacium. There he organized translations and manuscript copying, partly to support the Three Chapters against official condemnation, partly to promote Christian education. Vivarian texts soon circulated widely, but the monastery quickly shared in the decay of Italian civilization.Less
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