Leovigildo was the last Arian ruler that existed in Visigothic Spain , who did a great job to restore the extension and power of the Visigoth kingdom. He was the brother of King Atanagildo and had great success in the Visigothic kingdom that was located south of the Pyrenees, so much so that he became the only king . Throughout his reign he was constantly at war winning many of the territories that existed in the region.

Personal information

  • When he was born: 519 AD
  • When he died: 04/21/586
  • Where he died: Toledo, Spain

Who was Leovigildo?

Leovigildo was king of Visigothic Spain , brave and very skillful who is considered one of the best of his time because he managed to organize the Spain of the moment by setting up a throne among the assembly of nobles .

  • Biography of Leovigildo
  • Death
  • Family
  • Relations
  • Reign of Leovigildo
  • Wars
  • Leovigildo Code
  • Importance

Biography of Leovigildo

Leovigildo was a Visigothic king who reigned with his brother  Luiva I from the year 568 and alone from the year  573 . He established the capital of the kingdom in Toledo where he organized the court according to the Roman imperial pattern . He carried out a campaign against the Swabian kingdom of Galicia , which he managed to conquer, and against the Basques, from whom he seized territories. He was the founder of the city of Vitoria , strengthened the power organs of the kingdom and created his own currency , however, he always fought against internal division because of religion. He was a king who even faced his own son, who as governor gave his support to the Catholics causing an internal conflict that was decided by arms.


His death came after being imprisoned by his own son Hermenegildo who had converted to Catholicism. He was executed and died in Toledo .


He married twice, the first with Teodosia although some consider that it was with a woman named Rinchilde , daughter of Chilperico and Fredegunda. The second time he married Gosvinta who was his brother’s widow and with whom he had two sons, Hermenegildo and Recaredo .


Leovigildo married twice, his first wife’s name is not actually known, although historians consider that she was a female member of the Visigothic aristocracy , some believe that her name was Theodora or Theodosia , and that she was the daughter of Severiano or Severino, Duke of Cartagena. He had his sons Hermenegildo and Recaredo I with his second wife who was named Gosvinta , and who was the widow of Atanagildo.

Reign of Leovigildo

He converted the traditional elective monarchy into a hereditary monarchy made up of his own family and to achieve this he associated his sons Recaredo and Hermenegildo to the throne ; a later rebellion attempt by the latter was unceremoniously aborted, leaving Recaredo as the sole heir.

It was inspired by the model that the Byzantine Empire had, reinforcing the majesty and symbolic power that the monarch possessed , giving more power to the court ceremonial and minting gold coins. He made several administrative , judicial , fiscal and military reforms , in which the centralization of power and the submission of the nobility were sought first .

It is considered that the main failure of his reign was due to religious policy , since he failed to impose the Arian faith on the Hispano-Roman population . With the rebellion of Hermenegildo, who had converted to Catholicism, the seriousness of the latent religious conflict was shown. Leovigildo reinforced the persecution of Catholics ; but he was advised to change his attitude, thus perhaps favoring the later conversion of his son and successor, Recaredo, to the Catholic faith.


Leovigildo carried out different military campaigns throughout Hispania . The first of them was in the area between the Ebro and the Pyrenees and the main reason for this war coincides with the first year of the rebellion of his son Hermenegildo , the year in which significant looting took place. He persecuted the independence groups and opposition groups and also fought against the Byzantines, managing to conquer Malaga and Córdoba.

In 570, he managed to conquer the region of Malaga, which was one of the most important Byzantine ports on the southeast side. In 571 he occupied Medina-Sidonia , which became an important square and cradle of communications of the Byzantine province, which thus passed into Visigothic hands and in 572, organized an expedition to the southern part of Baetica , conquering Córdoba , a city that had been in rebellion against the Visigoth power for a long time.

The rebellion of her firstborn Hermenegild

Hermenegildo was the first-born son of Leovigildo. The only thought that Leovigildo had was to ensure the succession of the throne by his eldest son, which is why he married him to Ingunthis , who was the daughter of the kings Sigeberto and Bruniquilda , and who were Catholics while Leovigildo and his wife were fervent Arians . These religious disputes sent Hermenegildo to Seville appointed governor of southern Spain but while there he converted to Catholicism which put him at war with his father causing amilitary conflict , which would end with the capture and death of Leovigildo. 

Leovigildo Code

Also known by the name of Codex Revisus , the code is a legal body that was created by the Visigoth king Leovigildo , considered to be the founder of the true Spanish Visigothic kingdom based in Toledo. It is a revision of a code that already existed, which had been created by its predecessor Eurico . A number of modifications were made to the code , some new chapters were removed and added . Its content was unified , in which one of the main aspects was that the ability to contract marriage between Romans and Goths was eliminated , thelegal equality in the procedural field between the Visigoths and the Hispano-Romans and the jurisdictional unity and the Roman inheritance law were established .


Leovigildo was an important king because from him, the other Visigoth kings understood the importance of acting on their own and not through an imperial delegation . He gave full personality to his kingdom and faced without fear of the Roman Empire of the East . His renovating aptitude in the legislative aspect was born from the social , cultural and legal evolution of a new Visigothic kingdom.

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