Carmen Codoñer
University of Salamanca
Salamanca 2010

This text is the introduction to the print edition of
La Hispania visigótica y mozárabe: dos épocas en su literatura


Portada del libro impresoWe can consider as the first sample of the collective interest in Visigothic Hispania the volume entitled Miscellanea Isidoriana (Homenaje a S. Isidoro de Sevilla en el XIII Centenario de su muerte. 636 -4 de abril- 1936) which was published in Rome in 1936.

Since then, in a relatively isolated manner and guided by diverse interests, research was carried out known by its most prominent names: J. Madoz, G. Martínez Díez, A. Millares Garlo, J. Pérez de Urbel, L. Vázquez de Parga, A. C. Vega and others. They contributed with their work to bring us closer to an era that up to then was little known and studied. It was later on, with the conjunction of complementary research guided by current methods rooted in different fields: codicological, literary, textual and historical, represented in an outstanding way by Manuel C. Díaz y Díaz, Jacques Fontaine and Jocelyn Hillgarth, when the was a second Collective Encounter, which has marked a "before and after" in the history of Visigothic studies and was reflected in a publication published in Leon in 1961: Isidoriana. Estudios sobre san Isidoro de Sevilla en el XIV centenario de su nacimiento.

From that moment onwards, the period covered by the Visigothic domination in Hispania, with all the consequences it had on the following centuries, has had numerous followers inside and outside Spain. Thanks to this second impulse, we have working instruments among which the Index Scriptorum Latinorum Medii Aevi Hispanorum by M. C. Díaz y Díaz, published in Salamanca in 1958-59, continues to be fundamental. These works facilitate the work of the researchers both in their initial moments as well as afterwards.

The Larramendi Foundation, within the Programme for Spanish Polygraphs, thought at the time to dedicate a section to the group of writers from Visigothic and Mozarabic Hispania, excluding Isidore of Seville who deserved a separate section on his own within the collection. Its director, Xavier Agenjo, contacted me.

Initially, in accordance with the criteria adopted by the Foundation, the treatment of each author should be accompanied by the translation of their work. The translation was selected from the existing ones and if there was no translation, it was the author of the corresponding entry who translated it.

The type of edition that is contemplated on this occasion, given that the projection that the Publications Service of the University of Salamanca intends to give to the work is different, has advised to include the article corresponding to Isidore of Seville and to dispense with the translations. For this, the article written for the Spanish Biographical Dictionary by Carmen Codoñer has been reworked and adapted to the rules that govern the entire volume by Mª. Adelaida Andrés Sanz and José Carlos Martín.

The work, as far as its presentation is concerned, is created as an encyclopaedia. Its structure is as follows. Two sections that are distinguished by including sections of different types. In the first section the entries follow a chronological order, by centuries. There are five main sections, each dedicated to a century, from the 5th to the 9th inclusive. Within each of them, the entries for the authors are listed in alphabetical order. In the second, the five groupings it contains are thematic: a series of entries that include the councils, as well as various literary genres and liturgical compositions that include a good number of minor works, many of them anonymous.

The creation of the articles follows a fixed pattern: a brief biography of the author dealt with, a biography that always includes the data on which it is based. There follows a section dedicated to the works that are attributed to him with an obligatory indication of the best editions currently available in chronological order, from more to less modern. Finally, each article closes with an appreciation of the characteristics of the work: genre, precedents and, if applicable, reception. The bibliography, at the end of the article, without being exhaustive, includes all those works that have seemed necessary for the adequate access to each author and is updated until the moment in which the copy has been delivered to the printer.

The work, which was ambitious and perhaps excessive for a single person, made me think about the convenience of assembling a team of specialists to deal with different areas. Although, as I said, the presentation is made by centuries and, within them, the authors appear in alphabetical order, it will be immediately apparent that the distribution of the entries among their authors does not meet this criterion. Each of the collaborators has undertaken the articles that are most similar to them according to the facets they cultivate within this same speciality. Three of the collaborators are linked to the University of Salamanca: Mª Adelaida Andrés Sanz, José Carlos Martín Iglesias and David Paniagua Aguilar; the fourth, Salvador Iranzo Abellán, belongs to the University of Barcelona and has been linked to the Salamanca group for years. The scientific background of all of them guarantees the solidity of the volume as a whole.

As the coordinator of the work, I must say that the result achieved is due to them, since my work has consisted of planning and structuring the work by discussing my ideas with them. All of us would like to express our gratitude to the Larramendi Foundation for having initially sponsored the work, and to the Publications Service for having included our work in its programming; we hope that it will receive a warm welcome, the same as the period to which it is dedicated deserves.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude and affection for Manuel C. Díaz y Díaz, who initiated me in these distant worlds, which we intend to bring closer, and taught me to deal with the texts as if they were a living being.