Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Author Details

Isidore of Seville

lived 560 - 636

Isidore of Seville (c. 560-636), also known as Isidorus Hispalensis was Archbishop of Seville and an important early medieval historiographer. He is also known for his role, alongside his brother Leander of Seville (who was later canonized, along with their siblings Fulgentius of Cartagena, Bishop of Astigi, and Florentia, a nun), in the Visigoths’ conversion from Arianism to Catholicism, which he achieved partially via his influence with the Visigothic king Sisebut. Born to a wealthy family, he received his education at the cathedral school in Seville, where he learned Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He succeeded his brother Leander as Archbishop of Seville and held the position from 600 or 601 until his death. His Etymoogiae, an encyclopedia of universal knowledge, is among his most famous works and transmitted pieces of classical information to the medieval world. He is also known for his De fide catholica contra Iudaeos, a tract explaining the role of Jews in Christian society; he also called for the forced removal of Jewish children from their families and the forced education of Jewish children in Christian schools, and he forbade Jews from holding public office. As a historiographer, he is most important for his Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum and his Chronica Majora. He also produced theological, astronomical, mystical, and exegetical treatises. Isidore was widely respected by his contemporaries and later hailed by the Mozarabs as a representative of a golden age in Spain. The Church canonized him in 1598 and declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1722.

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