contributor.author: Michael Kulikowski

title.none: Ferreiro, Visigoths (Michael Kulikowski)

identifier.other: baj9928.0706.010 07.06.10

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Michael Kulikowski, University of Tennesee-Knoxville, mkulikow@utk.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2007

identifier.citation: Ferreiro, Alberto. The Visigoths in Gaul and Aiberia: A Supplemental Bibliography, 1984-2003. The Medieval and Early Modern Iberian World, vol. 28. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. Pp. liii, 889. $305.00 (hb) ISBN-13: 978-90-04-14594-8, ISBN-10: 90-04-14594-X. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 07.06.10

Ferreiro, Alberto. The Visigoths in Gaul and Aiberia: A Supplemental Bibliography, 1984-2003. The Medieval and Early Modern Iberian World, vol. 28. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. Pp. liii, 889. $305.00 (hb) ISBN-13: 978-90-04-14594-8, ISBN-10: 90-04-14594-X. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Michael Kulikowski
University of Tennesee-Knoxville
mkulikow@utk.edu

The present volume updates the author's monumental 1987 bibliography of Visigothic studies, which was comprehensive through roughly 1982/1983. Users of the first volume will know how important it was in bringing an enormous, and only intermittently accessible, body of Spanish (and to a lesser extent Portuguese) scholarship to an Anglophone audience. Those same users will, perhaps with a slight twinge of regret, acknowledge how much of that scholarship did not repay the effort of tracking it down. In 1983, Iberian scholarship was still largely cloistered in the bizarre seclusion of the Franco and Salazar eras, trapped in historiographical thickets all but impenetrable to the outsider, and obsessed with introverted arguments about hispanidad and the role of blood and orthodoxy in it. The world around that scholarship had already changed, as nearly a decade had passed since the fascist regimes had collapsed, and, in Spain in particular, ongoing devolution to new regional autonomi/as had provided the impetus for approaches that implicitly rejected the centralizing statism of the old regimes. All the localism and variation of the Visigothic period still lay there, waiting to be explored, in place of the traditional focus on Toledo, with its centralizing councils and orthodox, church-y monarchy.

The twenty years of scholarship covered by Ferreiro's supplementary bibliography witnessed not just that predictable explosion of interest, but far more importantly, a rise in the quality of Spanish history and archaeology to the general standards of western scholarship. Old historiographical debates died in silence, archaeologists began to do more than merely look for evidence to confirm the written record, and everyone began publishing their work in staggering quantities. For that reason, Ferreiro's new supplement is just as long as his original volume, though it covers less than a fifth of its time span, a quite amazing expansion of a scholarly field.

For this supplement, Ferreiro has extended his horizons back by a hundred years to include works on the fourth century, a sensible acknowledgement of the reception of late antiquity as a concept in Iberian scholarship, so that scholars are no longer so willing to take 409 or 589 as the starting points of their research. The bibliography as a whole is structured much as was its predecessor: general studies and reference works stand at the start; military and socio-economic history follow in two sections; law and literary culture come next, along with a separate section on palaeography; the ecclesiastical history section follows, subdivided into sections on canon law, church councils, heresy, monasticism and church organization; liturgy receives its own, large, section; patristics occupies a hundred pages, subdivided alphabetically by author; Isidore has more than a hundred pages to himself; archaeology is then treated, inevitably the most lacunose of the bibliographies; and finally short sections on the Sueves, Toulouse and other peoples (Alans, Basques, Jews etc.) precede sections on collected essays and symposia volumes. Comprehensive subject and author indices ensure that one will not miss something that has been listed idiosyncratically, or in one of the three or four places it might appropriately be found.

There is no way to review a book of this sort comprehensively and, as with any austerely presented work of reference, only time and use can test its true soundness. That said, I have made excursions into my own boxes of photocopies and a good Iberian reference collection and found no meaningful omissions or errors. One can quibble with some classifications--particularly the number of what are effectively archaeological overviews that are filed in the history or general surveys subsections. The index corrects for that sort of thing, however, and Ferreiro's original mammoth undertaking along these lines has certainly stood the test of time and utility. It is hard to imagine wanting to compile a work of this nature, even harder to fathom the amount of organizational skill it required to do so. But all those working on Spanish and south Gallic late antiquity have reason to thank the author for his Herculean labor.