Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 620
The law issued by King Chindasvinth (ca 642-653) says that the king shall refuse his mercy to a person who commited a crime against the nation or country, but he can do that if he has the approval of priests and court dignitaries. The codification is known as the Lex Visigothorum (issued and revised several times between 569 and 702).
De servanda principibus pietate parcendi.
Quotienscumque nobis pro his, qui in causis nostris aliquo crimine inplicati sunt, subplicatur, et suggerendi tribuimus aditum et pia miseratione delinquentibus culpas omittere nostre potestati servamus. Pro causa autem gentis et patrie huiusmodi licentiam denegamus. Quod si divina miseratio tam sceleratis personis cor principis misereri conpulerit, cum adsensu sacerdotum maiorumque palatii licentiam miserandi libenter habebit.
(ed. K. Zeumer 1905: 256)
How kings should practise acts of mercy.
Whenever a supplication is made to us on behalf of those who have been implicated in any crime against our majesty, we willingly give attention to such appeals, and exercise the prerogative of mercy when it is consistent with our power. We must, however, refuse to interfere when a crime of this kind has been committed against the nation and our country. Yet, if a prince should desire to be merciful to persons of such wicked character, he shall have the right to do so, with the approval of the priests and the principal officers of the court.
(trans. S.P. Scott 1910: 201; slightly altered)


Chindasvinth was a Visgothic king from 642 to 653. The law was included in the codification both in Reccesvinth's and in Ervig's revisions.
The discrepancy in numeration of the law is caused by differences in manuscript tradition.

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 Reccesvinth (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
Leges Visigothorum in: Bibliotheca legum regni Francorum manuscripta, Karl Ubl (Ed.) assisted by Dominik Trump and Daniela Schulz, Cologne 2012. URL:


Functions within the Church - Presbyter at court
    Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
      Public law - Secular
        Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
          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, ER620,