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Saint Isidore of Seville

Posted in Bible, Historical articles, History, Religion, Saints on Friday, 29 April 2011

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Saint Isidore of Seville

Saint Isidore of Seville (c.560 – 636) was one of the towering intellectual figures of that last moment of illumination in the first millennium, before the vestigial world of classical antiquity fragmented and lay forgotten during the violence and ignorance of the coming Dark Ages. He was Archbishop of Seville for three decades, during which time he played a significant part in the conversion of the ruling dynasty to Catholicism. He had first helped his brother, Leander of Seville, in this demanding cause, and after his death Isidore continued apace in his efforts to convert the Visigothic Arians. His scholarly bearing and immense learning gave him considerable authority, and at the Councils of Toledo and Seville, he helped to frame the legislative framework for the early Visigothic kingdom, which in essence lay the foundations for representative government in the region. His reputation was so great that he was called “the last scholar of the ancient world”, and all subsequent historical writings of mediaeval Hispania have drawn heavily on his work. He wrote one of the first major attempts at an encyclopedia of human knowledge, the Etymologiae, which undoubtedly inspired later, more successful summae, written in the High Middle Ages.

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