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E01652: Isidore of Seville (southern Spain) describes the punishment by the saints of Agila, king of the Goths, who profaned the shrine of the local martyr Acisclus (S00487) in Cordoba (southern Spain) in 549. History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi, written in Latin in Seville, shortly after 625.

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posted on 2016-06-22, 00:00 authored by robert
Isidore of Seville, History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi 45

Chapter 45 (Spanish Era 587 = AD 549)
Iste [Agila rex] adversus Cordubensem urbem proelium movens dum in contemptu catholicae religionis beatissimi martyris Aciscli iniuriam inferret hostiumque ac iumentorum horrore sacrum sepulchri eius locum ut profanator pollueret, inito adversus Cordubenses cives certamine poenas dignas sanctis inferentibus meruit. nam belli praesentis ultione percussus et filium ibi cum copia exercitus interfectum amisit et thesaurum omnem cum insignibus opibus perdidit.

'He [King Agila] waged war against the city of Cordoba, and since in contempt of the Catholic religion he did harm to the most blessed martyr Acisclus and profaned and defiled the sacred place of his sepulcher with the blood of the enemy and of their peck-animals, after fighting a battle against the citizens of Cordova, he earned a fitting punishment through the agency of the saints. For he was smitten by vengeance for the present war and lost there his son, who was killed together with a large part of the army, and also lost the whole treasure with its renowned riches.'

There follows the story of Agila's further misfortunes which ultimately lead to his abdication.

Text: Mommsen 1894, 285. Translation: Donini and Ford 1970, 21-22.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Acisclus, martyr of Córdoba (Spain), ob. 303/312 : S00487

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Seville Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Major author/Major anonymous work

Isidore of Seville

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Miraculous interventions in war

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Foreigners (including Barbarians) Soldiers


Isidore, bishop of Seville, wrote two versions of the History of the Goths – first a shorter one which he later expanded. The shorter redaction ends with the death of Sisebut in 621. Isidore revised it after 625 during the reign of King Swinthila, and in the new version he assigned praises originally intended for Sisebut to the new king. Swinthila, however, was forced to abdicate in 631 and King Sisenand assumed the throne. In some manuscripts the History of the Goths is preceded by the dedication to King Sisenand which may be a sign that Isidore possibly planned to revise his work once again, this time in a light favourable for Sisenand. To the History of the Goths, Isidore appended also the History of the Vandals and the History of the Suevi. As his sources Isidore used the chronicles of Eusebius, Hydatius, Prosper of Aquitaine, and John of Biclar (see Wolf 1999, 10-21). Some scholars have doubted the authorship of Isidore, and claimed that the short redaction was a work of a historian writing in the 610s (Collins 1994). There is, however, no decisive proof against Isidore's authorship, see Wood 2012, 72-73. For the list of manuscripts see Mommsen 1894, 242. Mommsen in his edition used one manuscript of the shorter version of the History from the 12th century, and thirteen manuscripts with the longer version, the earliest one from the 8th century.


Editions: Mommsen, Th., Isidori Iunioris episcopi Hispalensis Historia Gothorum, Wandalorum, Sveborum ad a. DCXXIV (624), in: Chronica minora saec. IV. V. VI. VII. (II) (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Auctores Antiquissimi 11; Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1894), 267–390. Cristóbal, R.A., Las Historias de los godos, vándalos y suevos de Isidoro de Sevilla: estudio, edición crítica y traducción (León: Centro de Estudios e Investigación "San Isidro", 1975). Edition and Spanish translation. Translations: Donini, G., and Ford, G.B., Isidore of Seville’s History of the Kings of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi (Leiden: Brill, 1966). Wolf, K.B., 'Isidore of Seville, History of the Kings of the Goths' in: K.B. Wolf, Conquerors and Chroniclers of Early Medieval Spain, 2nd ed. (Translated Texts for Historians 9; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 19990, 67-91 (without the history of the Vandals and Suevi). Further reading: Collins, R., "Isidore, Maximus and the Historia Gothorum," in: A. Scharer and G. Scheibelreiter (eds.), Historiographie im frühen Mittelalter (Vienna: Oldenbourg, 1994), 345–358. Martín, J.C., "Réflexions sur la tradition mauscrite de trois oeuvres d'Isidore de Séville: le De natura rerum, la Regula monachorum et le De origine Getarum, Vandalorum, Sueborum," Filologia Mediolatina 11 (2004), 205–263. Wood, J., The Politics of Identity in Visigothic Spain: Religion and Power in the Histories of Isidore of Seville (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2012).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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