Isidore, Sr.

of Seville, was born at Carthagena, in Spain, the son of Severian, governor of that city, and was educated by his brother Leander, bishop of Seville, whom he succeeded in the year 601. St. Isidore was the oracle | of Spain during thirty-five years, and died April 4, 636, leaving the following works: Twenty books of “Origines,” or Etymologies, Paris, 1601, fol., or Cologn, 1617, fol.; a “Chronicle” ending at the year 626, useful for the history of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi “Commentaries” on the historical books of the Old Testament a treatise “on Ecclesiastical Writers” “a Rule for the Monastery of Honori;” a “Treatise on Ecclesiastical Offices,” containing many very important passages relating to Ecclesiastical Discipline, and in which he mentions seven prayers of the sacrifice. These prayers may still be found in the Mosarabic.mass, which is the ancient Spanish liturgy, and of which this saint is known to have been the principal author. The edition of the Missal, 1500, fol. and of the Breviary, 1502, fol. printed by cardinal Ximenes’ order, are very scarce; a Treatise on this Liturgy was printed at Rome, 1740, fol. The “Collection of Canons” attributed to St. Isidore, was not made by him. In the Rule above mentioned, he speaks of the monks as follows: “The monks shall every year at Pentecost make a declaration that they keep nothing as their own. A monk ought to work with his hands, according to the precept of St. Paul, and the example of the patriarchs. Every one ought to work, not only for his own maintenance, but for that of the poor. Those who are in health, and do not work, sin doubly, by idleness, and setting a bad example. Those who chuse to read without working, show that they receive no benefit from what they read, which commands them to work.” This Rule of St. Isidore prescribes about six hours work every day, and three hours reading. This Isidore is frequently ranked among musical writers. In his treatise on the divine offices, much curious information occurs concerning canto fermo, and music in general; but particularly its introduction into the church, the institution of the four tones by St. Ambrose, and the extension of that number to eight by St. Gregory. In treating of secular music, he has a short chapter on each of the following subjects of music, and its name of its invention its definition of its three constituent parts, harmonics, rhythm, and metre; of musical numbers; of the three-fold divisions of music; 1st, Of the harmonical division of music; 2dly, Of the organic or instrumental division; 3dly, Of the rhythmical division. These chapters are very short, and contain little more than compressed definitions of musical | terms. In enumerating the seven liberal arts, cap. II. he ranks them in the following manner: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy. 1


Cave. Dupin. —Moreri. Burney, in Rees’s Cyclopædia.