Unity from disunity: Law, rhetoric and power in the Visigothic kingdom

Sam Koon, Jamie Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the relationship between the 'Church' and the 'State' in the Visigothic kingdom of sixth- and seventh-century Spain. The authors examine the copious legal material from this period - both church council records and royal legislation - to see what it reveals about the significant degree of interpenetration of the two spheres. For example, the royal laws gave bishops an important role in the supervision of judges, while a church council could not be called without the permission of the king, who often attended along with his officials and set the agenda for the meetings. There has been significant debate on this issue over the past two centuries, and the authors' analysis will be situated accordingly. The extent to which the Visigothic evidence emerges out of late Roman practices and precedents or is independent of it will also be addressed. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-808
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Review of HIstory
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Church councils
  • Early medieval Spain
  • Late antiquity
  • Law
  • Spain
  • Visigoths


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