Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

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

Source Details

Codoñer Merino, Carmen, ed., El "De Viris Illustribus" de Isidoro de Sevilla: Estudio y Edición Crítica (Salamanca: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto)

Text name(s): De Viris Illustribus; On Illustrious Men

Number of pages of primary source text: 20


Dates: 560 - 636

Archival Reference: 

Original Language(s): 

  • Latin


  • Original language included.

Translation Comments: 

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • Europe


Record Types: 

  • Biography

Subject Headings: 

  • Historiography
  • Clergy - Priests, Bishops, Canons
  • Clergy - Monks, Nuns, Friars
  • Classics / Humanism
  • Church Fathers
  • Papacy
  • Royalty / Monarchs
  • Women / Gender


  • Index
  • Bibliography
  • Introduction


Isidore, Archbishop of Seville and Doctor of the Church, was one of the most significant figures of Visigothic Spain, exerting a tremendous influence in his own time (through his vigorous participation in the various synods of the early seventh century) as well as on education throughout the Middle Ages (through his extensive writings). His vast learning and debt to the Latin classics has led him to be considered “the last scholar of the ancient world.” In the De Viris Illustribus, Isidore follows Jerome’s model, which in turn had its roots in ancient Rome, and produces a compilation of biographies of exemplary Christians. Isidore’s effort would come to stand in the corpus of three works of this kind (the other two being Jerome’s and that of Gennadius of Marseilles) which would inspire an entire genre of such biographical dictionaries that flourished in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The majority of the thirty-three figures presented by Isidore are bishops (including several popes), but also included are an emperor, monks, priests, and the wife of a proconsul. Looking to pre-Christian sources, the depictions in the De Viris Illustribus emphasize the classical virtues rather than qualities that would be more recognizably hagiographic. An index of Latin words is found at the rear of the text. This is the authoritative critical edition of this work.

Introduction Summary: 

This volume includes a full study (110 pp., in Spanish) of Isidore’s De Viris Illustribus in addition to a critical edition. The first part of this study discusses the history of the De Viris Illustribus genre, especially as found after Isidore’s contribution to that genre. The second part treats the sources and structure of the work and includes complete listings of references to both extant and lost sources. The last part is a treatment of the textual tradition of Isidore’s work.

Cataloger: WLL