Sacchi, Property and royal authority in Visigothic Spain

Defending property and reshaping royal authority in Visigothic Spain: the Eighth Council of Toledo and the Lex Visigothorum

Samuele Sacchi (Bologna)

The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationships between the defense of property and the progressive weakening of Visigothic royal authority during the seventh century. The research focuses on the analysis of the Decretum in die secunda attached to the acts of the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653 during the first year of the reign of Recceswinth successor of the King Chindaswinth who violently confiscated lands owned by elements of the Visigothic aristocracy. My detailed analysis of this source will show how the attempt to limit royal power and to defend aristocratic rights and property may be connected to a broader offensive against a royal model based on the dynastic charisma, in favor of a new model of royalty based on the clear separation between “charge” and “person”. It is possible, in my opinion, to connect this idea to the work of Isidore of Seville earlier in the century and, maybe, to a particular element of the Lex Visigothorum, the code of Visigothic laws promulgated by Recceswinth an year after the Eighth Council.

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