Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 607
The law issued by king Reccesvinth (ca 649-672), redacted in the new codification of king Ervig (680-687) allows bishops to judge a case that had been wrongfully judged by a secular judge, in the presence of other priests. The codification known as Lex Visigothorum (issued and revised several times between 569 and 702).
XXVIII. De data episcopis potestate admonendi iudices nequiter iudicantes.
[...] Quod si hii , qui iudiciaria potestate funguntur, aut iniuste iudicaverint causam, aut perversam voluerint in quolibet ferre sententiam, tunc episcopus, in cuius hoc territorio agitur, convocato iudice ipso, qui iniustus asseritur, atque sacerdotibus vel idoneis aliis viris, negotium ipsud una cum iudice communi sententia iustissime terminabit. [...]
(ed. Zeumer 1902: 77)
XXVIII. Concerning the power, conferred upon bishops, to restrain judges who decide wrongfully.
[...] If any magistrate, invested with judicial functions, has either decided unjustly, or has imposed a wrongful sentence upon anyone, then the bishop in whose diocese this has been done shall summon the judge who is alleged to have acted unjustly, and shall render a just decision, sitting along with him, in the presence of priests, or other persons of respectability. [...]
(trans. S.P. Scott 1910: 35; slightly altered)


The text of the law issued by Recceswinth has been completely reformulated in the redaction of the Lex Visigothorum of King Ervig. Zeumer prints two texts in two columns. The quotation about priests convoked by the bishop comes from the later redaction.
The discrepancy in numeration of the law is caused by differences in manuscript tradition.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula

About the source:

Title: Lex Visigothorum, Liber iudiciorum, Liber iudiciorum sive Lex Visigothorum
Origin: Toledo (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Lex Visigothorum is a codification of law first composed during the reign of King Leovigild (569-586) on the basis of the Code of Euric, but the origin of all extant manuscripts is its revised version from the reign of King Recceswinth (649-672). The codification was also enlarged in the times of King Ervig (680-687) and Ecgica (687-702).
K. Zeumer ed., Liber iudiciorum sive lex Visigothorum, Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Leges nationum Germanicarum 1, Hannover, Leipzig 1902, 33-456.
The Visigothic Code (Forum Judicum), trans. S.P. Scott, Boston 1910
R. Collins, Visigothic Spain, 409-711, Oxford, OX, UK; Malden, MA, USA 2004.
K. Schäferdiek, Die Kirche in den Reichen der Westgoten und Suewen bis zur Errichtung der westgotischen katholischen Staatskirche, Berlin 1967.


Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
    Public law - Ecclesiastical
      Public law - Secular
        Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
          Administration of justice - Ecclesiastical
            Administration of justice - Secular
              Equal prerogatives of presbyters and bishops
                Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER607,