Sigeric was a Visigoth king for seven days in 415 CE. His predecessor, Ataulf, had been mortally wounded in his stables at the palace of Barcelona by an assassin. The assassin was probably a loyal servant of Sarus, a Gothic noble and personal enemy whom Ataulf had earlier slain. At Ataulf's death, Sarus' faction, the Amali, violated the laws of succession by immediately making Sigeric, the brother of Sarus, king.
Edward Gibbon writes in the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that the first act of Sigeric's reign "was the inhuman murder" of Ataulf's six children from a former marriage "whom he tore, without pity, from the feeble arms of a venerable bishop." As for Ataulf's widow, Galla Placidia, daughter of Roman Emperor Theodosius, she was "treated with cruel and wanton insult" by being forced to walk more than twelve miles on foot among the crowd of captives driven ahead of the mounted Sigeric.
Seeing the noble widow's sufferings, however, became one of the factors that roused indignant opponents of the usurper, who quickly assassinated Sigeric and replaced him with Ataulf's relative, Wallia.
Because Sigeric was an Amali, a member of a rival clan-based subgroup among the Visigoths to the Balti (of which Ataulf and Wallia were part), then, in the succession of kings usually labeled the Balti dynasty, Sigeric is the only one who does not belong if the kingship is defined by Balthi dynastic connections. Due to this fact, to the nature of his reign as an usurpation, and to the shortness of his rule, Sigeric does not appear on some Visigothic king lists.
- Henry Bradley, The Goths: from the Earliest Times to the End of the Gothic Dominion in Spain. Second edition, 1883, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, chapter 11.
- Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chapter 31
King Sigeric of the VisigothsDied: 415
|King of the Visigoths