Egica

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Egica

Egica, Ergica, or Egicca (c. 610 – 701x703) was the Visigoth King of Hispania and Septimania from 687 until his death. He was the son of Ariberga, and the brother in law of Wamba.

He was married (c. 670) to Cixilo, Cixilona, Cioxillo or Cixila, the daughter of his royal predecessor Erwig and wife Liuvigoto, who, on his deathbed on 14 November 687, confirmed Egica as his heir and sent him with the royal court to Toledo to be crowned.[1] There he was anointed on 24 November. Upon Ergica's marriage to Cixilo, Erwig had made him swear an oath to protect Erwig's children. Before his death Erwig required a second oath, swearing not to deny justice to the people. Shortly after taking the throne, Ergica called the Fifteenth Council of Toledo on 11 May 688, at which he claimed the two oaths were contradictory (because to do justice to the people required "harming" Erwig's children) and asked the council of bishops to release him from one or the other. Egica, however, met the opposition of Julian of Toledo. When the council allowed Egica to abandon his wife but only partially rescinded the oath to protect Erwig's children, Ergica waited until Julian's death (690) to call a second provincial council of Tarraconensis, which resulted in Erwig's widow, Liuvigoto, being sent to a convent.

In 691, Ergica oversaw the beginning of the building of the Church of San Pedro de la Nave in Zamora.

In 693, the metropolitan of Toledo, Sisebert, led a rebellion against Ergica in favor of raising a man named Suniefred to the throne. The rebels controlled Toledo for a time, because they were able to mint coins in the potential usurper's name.[2] The plan to assassinate Ergica, the dowager queen Liuvigoto, and several main counsellors failed, and Sisebert was defrocked and excommunicated. Furthermore, his descendants were barred from holding any offices and any other rebel or descendant of a rebel who might rise up against Ergica was to be sold into slavery.

In 694, Ergica enacted the most severe anti-Jewish law by a Visigothic king yet. In response, so he claimed to the Seventeenth Council of Toledo, to the connivance of Jews at home with Jews abroad who were fomenting rebellions to overthrow Christian leaders, Ergica declared all Jewish-held land forfeit, all Jews to be enslaved to Christians, and all Jewish children over the age of seven to be taken from their homes and raised as Christians. Jewish-owned Christian slaves were to be invested with the Jews' property and to be responsible for paying the taxes on the Jews. In towns where Jews were deemed indispensable to the economy, however, this law wasn't applied. Indeed, as a result of the disintegrating Visigothic power, it was hardly enforced beyond the capital city itself.

Shortly before he died, Ergica amended a law which stated that anyone accused of theft of goods worth 300 solidi was to undergo a trial by boiling water. Under Ergica's changes, anyone accused of theft for whatever amount would have to undergo this ordeal. At the same time, Ergica published several laws which dealt harshly with the issue of fugitive slaves, while simultaneously rescinding laws which permitted slaveholders to mutilate their slaves as punishment. Ergica also remitted taxes, but this does not seem to have boosted his popularity. He got the bishops to order prayers to be said in his name and that of his family in every cathedral in Hispania.

As early as 694 he associated Wittiza, his son by Cixilo, with him even though he was a minor. As one of his very last acts he had Wittiza anointed in 700. He died in his bed, with his succession secured, sometime between 701 and 703.

His other two sons, who joined Musa bin Nusair and Tariq ibn Ziyad against Roderic, were Don Oppas, Archbishop or Bishop of Seville, maybe a bastard son, and Sisebuto, who later became the Comes of the Christians of Coimbra, as were his son Ataulfo, his grandson Atanarico and his great-grandson Teudo in 770, 801/802 and 805.

Sources[edit]

  • Collins, Roger. The Arab Conquest of Spain, 710–97. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Collins, Roger. Visigothic Spain, 409–711. Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
  • Thompson, E. A.. The Goths in Spain. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969.
  • Luíz Paulo Manuel de Menezes de Mello Vaz de São-Payo, A Herança Genética de Dom Afonso I Henriques (Portugal: Centro de Estudos de História da Família da Universidade Moderna do Porto, Porto, 2002)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Collins, Visigothic Spain, 105.
  2. ^ Collins, Visigothic Spain, 72.

External links[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Erwig
King of the Visigoths
687–702
Succeeded by
Wittiza