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|King of the Visigoths|
|Issue||Ermenberga (born c. 590)|
|Religion||Arian; possibly Christian (Nicene) after 589|
The first mention of Witteric in history was as a conspirator with the Arian bishop of Mérida Sunna to reestablish Arianism in 589. While Sunna was sent into exile, it is unknown what happened to Witteric. In the spring of 602, Witteric was given command of the army with the job of repulsing the Byzantines. However, when it came time to expel the Byzantines, Witteric instead led his troops against King Liuva II (Spring 603), counting on the support of a faction of nobles in opposition to the dynasty of Leovigild. He invaded the royal palace and deposed the young king. Witteric cut off the king's right hand, and later had him condemned and executed (Summer 603).
During his reign, the Visigoths fought the Byzantines. However, Isidore of Seville is dismissive of Witteric's accomplishments, writing that "although he frequently fought battles against the Roman soldiers, he did not win any adequate glory except for capturing some soldiers at Sagunto with the help of his generals." The campaign against Sagunto probably took place in 605. It was probably during his reign, as well, that Bigastrum (near Cartago Nova) was taken, as its bishop appears in a council of Toledo in 610.
In the twelfth year of his reign, king Theodoric II sent for bishop Aridius of Lyons and the constable Eborin to ask Witteric for his daughter's hand in marriage. Although the envoys gave their word that she would not be disowned by Theodoric, and she was received by Theodoric in Chalon-sur-Saône (606), the regent (the queen-grandmother) Brunhilda and Theodoric's sister Teudila (or Teudilana) did not get a welcoming reception. Theodoric then disgraced her by sending her back without her dowry. Incensed, Witteric entered into a quadruple alliance with Theodobert II of Austrasia, Clotaire II of Neustria, and Agilulf of the Lombards to effect his deposition and death. Despite their mutual fear of Theodoric, their alliance did not accomplish anything; according to Fredegar, "Theuderic got wind of it [the alliance] but treated it with utter contempt.".
In April 610, a faction of Catholic nobles conspired against Witteric and assassinated him during a banquet. His body was dragged ignominiously through the streets and he was later buried without honors corresponding to his status. The nobles then proclaimed Gundemar, duke of Narbonne, king.
- Lives of the Fathers of Merida, 5.10; Peter Heather, The Goths (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), pp. 282f
- Isidore of Seville, Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum, chapter 57. Translation by Guido Donini and Gordon B. Ford, Isidore of Seville's History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi, second revised edition (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970), pp. 27
- Isidore, chapter 58; translated by Donini and Ford, p. 27
- J.M. Wallace-Hadrill, translator, The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with its Continuations (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1960), p. 21
- Rachel L. Stocking, Bishops, councils, and consensus in the Visigothic Kingdom, 589-633 (University of Michigan Press, 2000), p. 119.
- (Spanish) Coins of King Witteric
|King of the Visigoths