The Visigothic Code (Latin, Forum Iudicum or Liber Iudiciorum; Spanish, Libro de los Juicios) comprises a set of laws promulgated by the Visigothic king of Hispania, Chindasuinth in his second year (642/643). They were enlarged by the novel legislation of Recceswinth (for which reason it is sometimes called the Code of Recceswinth), Wamba, Erwig, Egica, and perhaps Wittiza. In 654 Recceswinth promulgated the code anew after a project of editing by Braulio of Zaragoza, since Chindasuinth's original code had been quickly commissioned and enacted in rough.
They are often called the Lex Visigothorum, law of the Visigoths. However, this code abolished the old tradition of having different laws for Romans and for Visigoths; all the subjects of the kingdom would stop being romani and gothi to become hispani. In this way, all the subjects of the kingdom were gathered under the same jurisdiction, eliminating social apart from juridical differences, and allowing greater assimilation of the populations.
The laws were far-reaching and long in effect: in 10th century Galicia, monastic charters make reference to the Code. The laws govern and sanction family life and by extension political life—the marrying and the giving in marriage, the transmission of property to heirs, the safeguarding of the rights of widows and orphans. Particularly with the Visigoth Law Codes, women could inherit land and title and manage it independently from their husbands or male relations, dispose of their property in legal wills if they had no heirs, and women could represent themselves and bear witness in court by age 14 and arrange for their own marriages by age 20 .
The code is known to have been preserved by the Moors, as Christians were permitted the use of their own laws, where they did not conflict with those of the conquerors, upon the regular payment of tribute; thus it may be presumed that it was the recognized legal authority of Christian magistrates while the Iberian Peninsula remained under Muslim control. When Ferdinand III of Castile took Córdoba in the thirteenth century, he ordered the code to be adopted and observed by its citizens, and caused it to be rendered, albeit inaccurately, into Castilian, as the Fuero Juzgo. The Catalan translation of this document is the oldest literary text found in that language (c. 1150).
The following list has the book and titles from the Visigothic Code.
- Book I: Concerning Legal Agencies
- Title I: The Lawmaker
- Title II: The Law
- Book II: Concerning the Conduct of Causes
- Title I: Concerning Judges, and Matters to be Decided in Court
- Title II: Concerning Causes
- Title III: Concerning Constituents and Commissions
- Title IV: Concerning Witnesses and Evidence
- Title V: Concerning Valid and Invalid Documents and How Wills Should be Drawn Up
- Book III: Concerning Marriage
- Book IV: Concerning Natural Lineage
- Book V: Concerning Business Transactions
- Title I: Ecclesiastical Affairs
- Title II: Concerning Donations in General
- Title III: Concerning the Gifts of Patrons
- Title IV: Concerning Exchanges and Sales
- Title V: Concerning Property Committed to the Charge of, or Loaned to, Another
- Title VI: Concerning Pledges and Debts
- Title VII: Concerning the Liberation of Slaves, and Freedmen
- Book VI: Concerning Crimes and Tortures
- Title I: Concerning the Accusers of Criminals
- Title II: Concerning Malefactors and their Advisors, and Poisoners
- Title III: Concerning Abortion
- Title IV: Concerning Injuries, Wounds, and Mutilations, Inflicted upon Men
- Title V: Concerning Homicide
- Book VII: Concerning Theft and Fraud
- Title I: Concerning Informers of Theft
- Title II: Concerning Thieves and Stolen Property
- Title III: Concerning Appropriators and Kidnappers of Slaves
- Title IV: Concerning Forgers of Documents
- Title V: Concerning Forgers of Documents
- Title VI: Concerning Counterfeiters of Metals
- Book VIII: Concerning Acts of Violence and Injuries
- Title I: Concerning Attacks, and Plunder of Property
- Title II: Concerning Arson and Incendiaries
- Title III: Concerning injuries to Trees, Gardens, or Growing Crops of any Description
- Title IV: Concerning Injury to Animals, and Other Property
- Title V: Concerning the Pasturage of Hogs and Concerning Strays
- Title VI: Concerning Bees, and the Damage They Cause
- Book IX: Concerning Fugitives and Refugees
- Title I: Concerning Fugitives, and Those who Conceal, and Assist Them in Their Flight
- Title II: Concerning Those who Refuse to go to War, and Deserters
- Title III: Concerning Those who Seek Sanctuary in a Church
- Book X: Concerning Partition, Limitation, and Boundaries
- Title I: Concerning Partition, and Lands Conveyed by Contract
- Title II: Concerning the Limitations of Fifty and Thirty Years
- Title III: Concerning Boundaries and Landmarks
- Book XI: Concerning the Sick and the Dead and Merchants who Come from Beyond
- Title I: Concerning Physicians and Sick Persons
- Title II: Concerning Those who Disturb Sepulchres
- Title III: Concerning Merchants who Come from Beyond Seas
- Book XII: Concerning the Prevention of Official Oppression, and the Thorough Extinction of Heretical Sects
- Title I: Concerning the Exercise of Moderation in Judicial Decisions, and the Avoiding of Oppression by Those Invested with Authority
- Title II: Concerning the Eradication of the Errors of all Heretics and Jews
- Title III: Concerning New Laws against the Jews, in which Old Ones are Confirmed, and New Ones are Added
- King, 148–149.
- O'Callaghan, Joseph (1975). A History of Medieval Spain. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. p. 49. ISBN 9780801492648.
- Fletcher 1984, ch. 1, note 56
- Klapisch-Zuber, Christine; A History of Women: Book II Silences of the Middle Ages, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England. 1992, 2000 (5th printing). Chapter 6, "Women in he Fifth to the Tenth Century" by Suzanne Fonay Wemple, pg 74. According to Wemple, Visigothic women of the Iberian Peninsula and the Aquitaine could inherit land and title and manage it independently of their husbands, and dispose of it as they saw fit if they had no heirs, and represent themselves in court, appear as witnesses (by the age of 14), and arrange their own marriages by the age of twenty
- King, P. D. "King Chindasvind and the First Territorial Law-code of the Visiogothic Kingdom." Visigothic Spain: New Approaches. ed. Edward James. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. pp 131–157.
- Lex Visigothorum - Latin text
- Visigothic Code - Forum Iudicum. 1908 English Translation of Full Text by Samuel Parsons Scott
- R. A. Fletcher, 1984. Saint James's Catapult: The Life and Times of Diego Gelmírez of Santiago de Compostela (Oxford University Press) (on-line text)
- Information on the Visigothic Code as part of the leges Visigothorum and its manuscript tradition on the Bibliotheca legum regni Francorum manuscripta website, A database on Carolingian secular law texts (Karl Ubl, Cologne University, Germany, 2012).