PhD defence Kay Boers: Citizenship in seventh-century Hispania

Omslag boek Civis, promotie van Kay Boers
Cover of Boers’s book CIVIS.

On Monday 3 June, Kay Boers will defend his PhD dissertation ‘CIVIS: Retoriciteit, burgers en burgerschap in zevende-eeuws Hispania’ (‘CIVIS: Rhetoric, Citizens and Citizenship in Seventh-century Hispania’), an in-depth study of the rhetorical and heuristic use of the Latin term civis (transl. ‘citizen’) in texts produced in seventh-century Hispania.

Hispania in the seventh century

Seventh-century Hispania provides a fertile context for studying Latin terms such as civis. This was a world in which both the social and political order and the language through which this order was expressed were still anchored in a Roman past. Thinking about the meaning and function of language was a fundamental part of the intellectual culture.

Choosing the right words

This emphasis on language is perhaps best illustrated by the corpus of bishop Isidorus of Seville, which consists of several texts specifically focused on establishing the origin, meaning and function of language. Examples include De Differentiis Verborum and Isidorus' best-known work, the Etymologiae.

The importance of language is also illustrated by the series of church councils organised during this period, which form a returning thread throughout this study. During these moments, bishops and kings sought to codify their vision of reality, and the language by which it was expressed.

The texts produced by the participants in these councils are fragmentary remnants of attempts to navigate certain religious and political crises that, in the eyes of contemporaries, had seriously undermined ecclesiastical and political unity in the Iberian Peninsula.

The role of civis

Kay Boers seeks to establish what role civis played in interpreting these crises and in articulating the supposed remedies by which those crises could be navigated.

Start date and time
End date and time
Hybrid: online (click here) and at the Utrecht University Hall
PhD candidate
K. Boers
CIVIS: CIVIS: Retoriciteit, burgers en burgerschap in zevende-eeuws Hispania
PhD supervisor(s)
Professor P.C.H. Schrijver
Professor L.V. Rutgers
Dr J.E. Raaijmakers