J. C. Martín, Isidori Hispalensis Chronica, Turnhout, Brepols, 2003 (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 112).
Isidore’s Chronicle (CPL 1205) had a remarkable success throughout Europe right from the VII century onwards. As early as 625, the text was already known outside Spain, in Pavia, northern Italy, where it was used by the Continuatio Hauniensis Prosperi (CPL 2262). In Gaul, it was also used in the region of Metz, by the Ps.-Fredegar, ca. 660 (CPL 1314).
J. C. Martín reassessed Mommsen’s edition, and came to distinguish two different versions of the text: one ends in 615/616, by the time of Visigothic king Sisebut; the other in 626, during king Suinthila’s reign. That first version of the Chronicle had a much wider impact than the second one. Among the best manuscripts which have transmitted it, and only up to the 9th century, are Paris, BnF, lat. 10910 (y. 715, Eastern France), ff. 170r-184r; Albi, Bibliothèque Municipale 29 (VIII2/2, Spain-Septimania), ff. 25va-32rb; Lucca, Biblioteca Capitolare Feliniana 490 (ca. 800, Lucca), ff. 32r-35r; Le Puy, Chapitre de la Cathédrale 1 (VIIIex-IXin, Orleans), ff. 319ra-321va; Modena, Archivio Capitolare O.I.11 (y. 801, Northern Italy), ff. 1v-21v; Paris, BnF, lat. 12236 (IX1/4, Lyon), ff. 110v-125rb; Cesena, Biblioteca Comunale Malatestiana S.XXI.5 (IX1/3, Northern Italy), ff. 66r-72r; Bruxelles, Bibliothèque royale Albert Ier, 5413-5422 (IX1/2, Bretagne), ff. 63r-73v; Città del Vaticano, BAV, Pal. lat. 239 (IX1/2, Mainz), ff. 6v-21v; Paris, BnF, lat. 9380 (IXmed, Orleans), ff. 319vb-321vb; Città del Vaticano, BAV, Vat. lat. 645 (IXmed, Northern France [Reims?]), ff. 93r-103v; Città del Vaticano, BAV, Vat. lat. 6018 (IX3/4-4/4, Central Italy), ff. 80v-89r; Leiden, Bibliothek der Rijksuniversiteit, Voss. lat. Q.20 (IXmed, Tours), ff. 141r-144v; Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Phillipps 1686 (IX2/3, France), ff. 143ra-152vb; Città del Vaticano, BAV, Reg. lat. 215 (IX4/4), ff. 131v-142v; Paris, BnF, lat. 4841 (IX2/4, Corbie), ff. 57v-69v; Paris, BnF, lat. 12237 (IXex-Xin, France), ff. 94v-111v; Paris, BnF, lat. 1862 (IXex-Xin, Micy), ff. 18v-24r; and Paris, BnF, lat. 4860 (IXex-Xin., Reichenau), ff. 73v-77ra.
There are fewer and much less older manuscripts which have transmitted the version of 626: until the end of the IX century one has Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek 133 (VIIIex-IXin), St. Gallen, pp. 523-590; Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Helmstedt 532, (ca. 820, Salzbourg), ff. 84r-85v; Sankt-Peterburg, Rossijskaja Nacionalnaja Biblioteka, lat. Q.v.I.20 + Paris, BnF, lat. 14144, (IXin, Paris/Saint-Germain-des-Prés), ff. 64v-69r; and Bern, Burgerbibliothek 83, (y. 882-900, Saint-Remi of Reims), ff. 90v-99v.
The version of 626 is longer than the one of 615/616; it transmits many different events, changes the contents or the sequence of some paragraphs. Its wording and syntax present many differences too. However, both these versions still share the same main global features. Contrary to what has been the practice among V-VI century chroniclers, Isidore did not continue the Chronicle of Eusebius-Jerome. In fact, he undertook a more ambitious plan: he replaced that older Chronicle with a new text, assembling what he considered, now in VII century Spain, the main worth-to-preserve events of world’s history. In fact, Isidore’s Chronicle is a much more concise text than Eusebius-Jerome’s. Isidore selected biblical, profane and Christian-ecclesiastical events, to write a more easy-to-read and easy-to-search diachronical history of the world. He still retrieved information from Eusebius-Jerome’s text; but he also used other texts, such as Prosper of Aquitaine’s, Victor of Tunnuna’s and John of Biclar’s Chronicles, or Cassiodorus’ Historia Ecclesiastica and Augustine’s City of God. Isidore also modified the chronological structure of the text: by rejecting Eusebius’ application of the succession of empire’s theory, he presented world’s history as divided in six ages, corresponding to the six days of the creation. Hence, he began his Chronicle with Adam (Eusebius had begun with Abraham) and rejected Eusebius’ complex structure of the text in synchronic columns, preferring to arrange in a single column a continuous list of events from different spaces, still trying to convey a clear universal understanding of the past. However, in both versions, Isidore’s perspective over history shrunk more and more, especially after the Goths enter in scene in the last quarter of the IV century with king Athanagild, and the Roman Empire falls in the West. At the end of the text, Byzantine emperors and the Visigothic kings of Spain are the two main characters of the Chronicle: in the shorter version the last events recorded are about Sisebut; in the longer about Sisebut and Suinthila.
Besides these two versions of Isidore’s Chronicle, Martín also remarked the existence of several manuscripts conveying a mixed text with information taken from the shorter and from the longer version of the Chronicle. The most important manuscripts transmitting this mixed version are Köln, Erzbischöfliche Siözesan-und Dombibliothek 83II (y. 798, Cologne), ff. 5r-12v; Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek 89 (IX1/2, Salzbourg), ff. 7rb-9rb; Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana Pl.XX.54 (XI, Italy), ff. 30ra-34ra; Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal 982 (XIV, South of France-North of Italy), ff. 42vb-45rb. For Mommsen, these manuscripts depended on a contaminated model. For Martín, they transmit a kind of still in-process version of the Chronicle made by Isidore himself. Martín argues that those first two manuscripts transmit an intermediate version, written by Isidore himself, still close to the text of 615; the last two transmit a second intermediate version, closer to the text of 626. According to Martín, while he was preparing the second version of the Chronicle, Isidore was making some drafts of the new text. This was the origin of what Martín calls the 'intermediate versions' of Isidore’s Chronicle. [R. Furtado]