Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 612
The law issued by King Reccared (586-601) forbids virgins and widows consecrated by priests to marry, and orders judges and priests to punish any illicit couplings. The codification is known as the Lex Visigothorum (issued and revised several times between 569 and 702).
Item de coniugiis et adulteriis incestivis, seu virginibus sacris ac viduis et penitentibus laicali veste vel coitu sordidatis.
[...] Audetur denique a multis contra divine legis monita vel contra honestos vite communis mores devotas Deo virgines et continentiam viduitatis cum benedictionem sacerdotis iuxta morem canonum profitentes seu adfinitatis consanguinitate coniunctas feminas aut violenter aut per consensum sibi coniuges sumere et Deo dicatam castitatem vel referendam generis copulationem inconcesse libidinis inmunditia sordidare. [...] Hoc vero nefas si agere amodo provinciarum nostrarum cuiuslibet gentis homines sexus utriusque temtaverint, insistente sacerdote vel iudice, etiam si nullus accuset, omnismodis separati exilio perpetuo religentur nec aliqua in defensionem sui longitudine temporis excusentur. [...] Sacerdotes vero vel iudices, si talia cognoscentes ulcisci fortasse distulerint, quinas auri libras fisco cogantur exolvere. Quod si forte id redarguere voluerint, nec potuerint, regis hoc auditibus insinuare procurent; ut, quod eorum non potuit vindicare sententia, principalis damnet omnino censura.
(ed. K. Zeumer 1905: 159-161)
Concerning incestuous and adulterous marriages and debauchery, either with holy virgins, or with widows and other women while doing penance.
[...] Many persons, in defiance of the admonitions of the Divine Law, and in opposition to the honorable duties of life, are accustomed, either by violence, or with consent, to contract marriage with virgins who have been devoted to the service of God, and have taken the vow of chastity with the benediction of a priest, and according to the canons of the Church; or with other women closely related to themselves. In this way, they have polluted with vice that chastity which was dedicated to God, or which
should have been respected on account of the ties of consanguinity. [...] And if any other persons in our kingdom should attempt to commit a crime of this kind, they shall be separated, and condemned to perpetual exile, at the instance of the judge or priest, even if no one should accuse them; nor shall any time which may have elapsed, be pleaded in their defence. [...] Any judge, or priest, who is aware that such an offence has been committed, and neglects to punish it, shall be compelled to pay five pounds of gold to the royal treasury; and, in the case that he should not be able or willing to inflict such punishment, he shall bring the matter before the king, in order that he may impose the penalty which is not in the power of the magistrate or priest to inflict.
(trans. S.P. Scott 1910: 107-108)


Reccared was a Visgothic king from 586 to 601. Law 2 was included in the codification both in Reccesvinth's and Ervig's revision.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Gaul

About the source:

Title: Lex Visigothorum, Liber iudiciorum, Liber iudiciorum sive Lex Visigothorum
Origin: 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


Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
    Public law - Secular
      Administration of justice - Secular
        Ritual activity - Blessing virgins/widows
          Equal prerogatives of presbyters and bishops
            Administration of justice - Financial punishment
              Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER612,