Dr Evina Steinova

Insular manuscripts and Isidore’s Etymologiae

Since the publication of J.N. Hillgarth’s influential articles on the relationship between seventh-century Ireland and seventh-century Spain, it is widely acknowledged that the insular world, and Ireland in particular, played a significant role in the early transmission and reception history of Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae. Yet, we know preciously little about how the Etymologiae was received and appropriated in the insular world and how the insular text-versions and formats of Isidore’s major work may have influenced the Continent. The task is complicated by the lack of surviving manuscripts – the oldest fully preserved insular copy of the Etymologiae dates from the second half of the tenth century, even though we know the Etymologiae was available in Ireland from the second half of the seventh century. While we possess no pre-900 full insular copies of the Etymologiae, at least twelve insular fragments of this work survive. In my presentation, I provided their overview and showed that most of them are remnants of full codices of Isidore’s encyclopaedia. I paid particular attention to a set of Irish fragments from Regensburg (Regensburg, Staatliche Bibliothek, 999 IM /Fragm.1, which preserve the greater part of the first book (grammar) and a significant part of the eleventh book (human body and monsters) of the Etymologiae and therefore may be the key to the insular text-version of Isidore’s text and its early history in Ireland.

Dr Evina Steinova, June 2019
Huygens ING, Amsterdam


St Gallen, SB, Cod Sang. 1394, p. 123r

St Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1394, p. 123r, Isidorus, Etymologiae (Lib. I xxxvii. 5-10)
Copyright: CC-BY-NC

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