Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 637
The law issued by King Ervig (AD 680-687) imposes punishments on masters of Jewish servants who do not let them go to a bishop or a priest when they are summoned. The codification is known as the Lex Visigothorum (issued and re-edited several times between 569 and 702).
Ut quicumque Iudeum secum obsequentem habuerit, expetente sacerdote eum apud se retinere non audeat.
Si quis laicorum quoscumque ex Iudeis, virum scilicet vel feminam, secum obsequentes habuerit vel in patrocinio retinuerit, et sublato ex eis pontificum vel sacerdotum privilegio, privata eos sibi potestate defenderit neque eos ad episcopum vel sacerdotem debitis diebus instruendos vel iudicandos remiserit, excommunicationis ab eodem episcopo, cui id fecit, sententia feriatur, et amissis illis, quos vindicare nititur, trium librarum auri multatione pro unoquoque damnabitur, que partibus principis profuture manebunt.
(ed. Zeumer 1902: 451)
That anyone who has a Jew in his service, and a priest demands him, shall not have a right to retain said Jew.
If anyone of the laity has a Jewish man or woman in his service, or under his protection, and by the exertion of his authority deprives them of the privilege of resorting at any time to the bishop or the priest, or prevents them from going, for the sake of instruction, to the bishop or the priest, on the days appointed for that purpose, he shall be excommunicated by the bishop, and be deprived of said slave whom he attempted to restrain illegally, and for every slave so restrained he shall pay three pounds of gold to the king.
(trans. P.S.Scott 1910: 404-405, slightly changed)


This is one of thirty four laws that are the original contribution of King Ervig to the codification revised during his reign. Twenty eight of this laws concerned Jews (Collins 2004: 236).

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 2004.
J. Juster, "The Legal Condition of the Jews Under the Visigothic Kings Part I", Israel Law Review 11 (1976), 259-287.
J. Juster, "The Legal Condition of the Jews Under the Visigothic Kings Part II", Israel Law Review 11 (1976), 391-414.
J. Juster, "The Legal Condition of the Jews Under the Visigothic Kings Part III", Israel Law Review 11 (1976), 563-590.
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 - Secular
      Relation with - Jew
        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, ER637,