Witteric bigraphy, stories - King of the Visigoths

Witteric : biography

– 610

Witteric (in Spanish Witerico, in Portuguese and Galician Viterico) was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from 603 to 610.

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.Lives of the Fathers of Merida, 5.10; Peter Heather, The Goths (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), pp. 282f 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).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

During his reign the Visigoths fought the Byzantines, although 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.Isidore, chapter 58; translated by Donini and Ford, p. 27 It was probably during his reign, as well, that Bigastrum (near Cartago Nova) was taken, for its bishop appears in a council of Toledo in 610.

In the twelfth year of his reign, king Theodoric II sent 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) alienated him from her. 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."J.M. Wallace-Hadrill, translator, The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with its Continuations (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1960), p. 21

In April 610, a faction of Catholic nobles assassinated him during a banquet, and had his body dragged ignominiously through the streets (Witteric was buried without honor).Rachel L. Stocking, Bishops, councils, and consensus in the Visigothic Kingdom, 589-633 (University of Michigan Press, 2000), p. 119. The nobles then proclaimed Gundemar, duke of Narbonne, king.