Isidore of Seville

  • c.560–636
  • Feast-day: 4 April
  • Isidorus Hispalensis
  • Seville
  • scholars
  • (agents)
Archbishop of Sevilla (Visigothic Spain), theologian, scholar and highly influential author, who is known especially for works such as his Etymologiae, Synonyma, De natura rerum, De ortu et obitu patrum, De officiis ecclesiasticis and a Chronica maiora.

See also: SevilleSeville
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Fear, Andrew, and Jamie Wood (eds), Isidore of Seville and his reception in the early Middle Ages: transmitting and transforming knowledge, Late Antique and Early Medieval Iberia, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016.  
Isidore of Seville (560—636) was a crucial figure in the preservation and sharing of classical and early Christian knowledge. His compilations of the works of earlier authorities formed an essential part of monastic education for centuries. Due to the vast amount of information he gathered and its wide dissemination in the Middle Ages, Pope John Paul II even named Isidore the patron saint of the Internet in 1997. This volume represents a cross section of the various approaches scholars have taken toward Isidore’s writings. The essays explore his sources, how he selected and arranged them for posterity, and how his legacy was reflected in later generations’ work across the early medieval West. Rich in archival detail, this collection provides a wealth of interdisciplinary expertise on one of history’s greatest intellectuals.
Lambert, Pierre-Yves, “Aspects de la réception d’Isidore de Séville dans les pays celtiques”, Britannia Monastica 15 (2011): 163–182.
Barney, Stephen A., W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof, The etymologies of Isidore of Seville, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.  
This work is the first complete English translation of the Latin Etymologies of Isidore, bishop of Seville (c. 560–636). Isidore compiled the work between c. 615 and the early 630s and it takes the form of an encyclopedia, arranged by subject matter. It contains much lore of the late classical world beginning with the Seven Liberal Arts, including Rhetoric, and touches on hundreds of topics ranging from the names of God, the terminology of the law, the technologies of fabrics, ships, and agriculture, to the names of cities and rivers, the theatrical arts, and cooking utensils. Isidore provides etymologies for most of the terms he explains, finding in the causes of words the underlying key to their meaning. This book offers a highly readable translation of the twenty books of the Etymologies, one of the most widely known texts for a thousand years from Isidore’s time.
(source: publisher)
Baumgarten, Rolf, “The geographical orientation of Ireland in Isidore and Orosius”, Peritia 3 (1984): 189–203.
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Dennis Groenewegen
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June 2021, last updated: July 2021