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HISPANISMS IN THE LANGUAGE OF ISIDORE OF SEVILLE

HISPANISMS IN THE LANGUAGE OF ISIDORE OF SEVILLE

Maltby, Robert

Hispania terris omnibus felicior: Premesse ed esiti di un processo di integrazione, Pisa (2001)

Abstract

For the student of late Latin in Spain Isidore of Seville (560-636 AD) is a very important figure, as he is writing at a time when the Latin of the Iberian Peninsula is beginning to distinguish itself from that of other areas of the Empire. As bishop of Seville and later Toledo, Isidore had the task of making himself understood not only to fellow scholars but also to wider sec- tions of the public. He was a leading figure in the revival of Latin culture in Spain which had fallen into abeyance in the early fifth and mid sixth centuries. This cultural renaissance involved careful study of the work of earlier grammarians, particularly of the North African tradition, and led to the reestablishment of a high level of Latinity in Visigothic Spain in the late sixth and seventh centuries. Nevertheless new editions of Isidore, such as those of the Etymologiae in the Belles Lettres series and of the Sententiae for Corpus Christianorum1 are showing that earlier editors, such as Lindsay, may have overestimated Isidore’s Latinity and corrected out a number of vulgar and late Latin features to be found in his work.

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