King Sisebut and the Culture of Visigothic Spain, with Translations of the Lives of Saint Desiderius of Vienne and Saint Masona of Mérida: Vita Vel Passio Sancti Desiderii a Sisebuto Rege Composita and Vita Sancti Masonae Emeretensis

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This work skillfully elucidates a period often misunderstood by historians. The study also explores the use of imitation and the intersections of the political and the religious in medieval times.


“Martyn has performed a valuable service to the history of the post-Roman Germanic kingdoms through translating and commenting on this important body of primary sources, written closely in time to the events they describe, which significantly deepen and broaden our knowledge of the period.” – Prof. Carole M. Cusack

“John Martyn has done historians of early medieval Europe a great service with his readable edition of texts . . . [from] a region of Visigothic Spain too often passed over partly because of a lack of reliable translations.” – Prof. Diane Hall, University of Melbourne

“Martyn brings to public awareness the remarkable literacy of a Visigothic king, Sisebut, thus refuting a common assumption that these kings were lacking literacy and culture.” – Prof. Constant J. Mews, Monash University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Carole M. Cusack
Sisebut’s Life
Sisebut’s language and style
Life of Saint Desiderius
Gregory’s Letters to Desiderius
Selected Letters of Sisebut
Sisebut’s Poetry
Life of Saint Masona
Isidore’s Letter to Masona
Ildefonsus’ Poem (Leander and Masona)
Appendix (Prudentius’ poem on Eulalia)
Index of Names

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