Code of Euric

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The Codex Euricianus or Code of Euric was a collection of laws governing the Visigoths compiled at the order of Euric, King of the Visigoths, sometime before 480, probably at Toulouse (possible at Arles); it is one of the earliest examples of early Germanic law. The compilation itself was the work of Leo, a Roman lawyer and principal counsellor of the king. The customs of the Visigothic nation were recognised and affirmed. The Code is largely confused and it appears that it was merely a recollection of Gothic custom altered by Roman law.

The code entrenches a clear stratification of Gothic and Gallo-Roman society. There is the class of lords, who are called either domini or patroni depending on whether they were lords of slaves or freemen. And there are two classes of freemen who have lords above them: the buccellarii and the saiones. The Code was in fact the first legal recognition of the buccellariatus, an office which the Roman Emperors were trying to ban. The buccellarii were a knightly class; they could change lords, but they had to return all the landed benefices they had received from their former lord.

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