Flavius Paulus

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Not to be confused with Paulus (consul 496).

Paul was a dux (military commander) of Wamba, king of the Visigoths in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula) and Septimania (the southern French coastal area from the Spanish border to Nimes).

In 672, when sent to crush the rebellion of Hilderic of Nîmes in Septimania, he went over to the rebels and had himself proclaimed king in Narbonne as Flavius Paulus.

Some weeks after ascending the throne in 672 Wamba had to face a revolt from Hilderic, governor of Nîmes, who had himself aspired to the kingship. Hilderic was supported by Gunhild, Bishop of Maguelonne. So Wamba sent Paul to put down the hostilities. But upon his arrival at Narbonne, Paul became a rebel himself, inducing his troops to renounce their loyalty to Wamba and elect him king. He was joined by Hilderic and his followers, as well as by duke Ranosindus of Tarraconensis and the palace official (gardingatus) Hildigisus; Paul further attempted to improve his chances by recruiting "multitudes" of Franks and Basques to join his forces.[1] With this, the Visigothic cities in Gaul and a large part of northeastern Hispania came over to Paul's side.[2]

When this happened, King Wamba was in Cantabria campaigning against the Basques.[3] In response, Wamba marched into the Tarraconensis region, and in a few days turned most of the cities back to his side. He then divided his forces into three groups, attacking over the Pyrenees by way of Llivia (then the capital of Cerdanya), Auch, and the coastal road, taking the fortresses of Collioure, Vulturaria, and Llivia, and finding "much" gold and silver there.[4]

When Wamba moved on Narbonne, Paul placed a general, Wittimer, over that city and retired himself to Nîmes. But Wamba's forces quickly subdued Narbonne and then, after some difficulty, secured the surrender of Nîmes on September 3, 673. This included the surrender of Paul and the other rebel leaders who, three days later, were brought to trial and, for their crimes, scalped and imprisoned for life.


  1. ^ Historia Wambae Regis auctore Juliano episcopo Toletano, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptorum rerum Merovingicarum tomus V, Passiones Vitaeque Sanctorum Aevi Merovingici, pp.504-507.
  2. ^ Bishop Julian of Toledo, in his History of King Wamba, accuses Paul of crowning himself with a votive crown King Reccared (the king who converted the Visigoths from Arianism to Catholicism) had dedicated to the body of St. Felix in Girona. Historia Wambae Regis in MGH, Scriptorum rerum Merovingicarum t. V, p. 522.
  3. ^ Ibid., p. 507. Roger Collins, The Basques (2nd ed., 1990, Blackwell: Cambridge Mass.), points out that "there exists a measure of looseness about the use of the name of Cantabria" both before and after Wamba's time, so it could include a wider area than at present. See Collins, pp. 92-93 & 138-139.
  4. ^ Historia Wambae Regis in MGH, Scriptorum rerum Merovingicarum t. V, pp. 509-511.