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A generic strictly semistable bundle of degree zero over a curve X has a reducible theta divisor, given by the sum of the theta divisors of the stable summands of the associated graded bundle. The converse is not true: Beauville and Raynaud have each constructed stable bundles with reducible theta divisors. For X of genus g ≥ 5, we construct stable vector bundles over X of rank r for all r ≥ 5 with reducible and nonreduced theta divisors. We also adapt the construction to symplectic bundles. In the “Appendix”, Raynaud’s original example of a stable rank 2 vector bundle with reducible theta divisor over a bi-elliptic curve of genus 3 is generalized to bi-elliptic curves of genus g ≥ 3.
Postprint version of published article. Original is available at www.springerlink.com
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