(c. 563 – 653) was Visigothic King
of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from
642 until his death.
, from whom he usurped the throne in a
coup; he was "officially" elected by the nobles and anointed by the
bishops the 30 April 642.
Despite his great age (he was already 79 years old), a veteran of
campaigns and the religious
rebellions after conversions from Arianism
were forced, his great energy and force of character made the
clergy and noblesse to submit. Somewhat famously, he cemented his
control by preempting a revolt: he executed at one time over 200
Goths of the most noble families and 500 more of the petty nobility
. This in accompaniment with
many banishments and confiscations of property. All of this
any rebellion and without any investigation or
trial or, for that matter, actual belief that a revolt was
The Seventh Council of
, held 16 October 646, consented to and backed his
actions, toughening the punishments applied to those who rose
against the sovereign and extending them even to members of the
clergy who supported them.
Smothering all opposition, he lent the realm a peace and order not
before known. To continue this, he had his son Recceswinth
, at the urging of Braulio of Zaragoza
, crowned co-king 20
January 648, and attempted to establish, as many before had, a
hereditary monarchy. His associate-son was from this date until his
death the true ruler of the Visigoths, in name of his father until
653, the date of the old man's passing.
Despite his implacable politics, Chindasuinth is recorded in
ecclesiastical annals as a great benefactor of the church, donating
many lands and bestowing privileges. He improved the public estates
with the confiscated goods of the dispossessed nobility and through
improved taxation methods. In the military arena, he undertook
campaigns against rebellious Basques
As a legislator, he promulgated many laws dealing with civil
matters. With the assistance of Braulio, bishop of
Zaragoza, he began
the elaboration of a territorial code of law to cover both the
Gothic population and the Hispano-Roman.
That work, the
, would be
promulgated, in a rough form, in his second year. It underwent
refinement throughout the rest of his reign and was finished by his
son in 654. In 643 or 644 it superseded both the Breviary of Alaric
used by the natives
and the Code of Leovigild
to Edward Gibbon, during his reign,
Muslim raiders began harrying Iberia: "As early
as the time of Othman (644–656),
their piratical squadrons had ravaged the coast of Andalusia".
Chindasuinth spent the last years of his
life, as so many mediaeval monarchs did, in acts of piety for the
sake of his immortal soul. He financed St.Frusctuosus to build the
monastery of San Román de la Hornija, by the
Douro,with the intention to make it his burial too and
where his remains rest next to those of his wife, Recciberga.
Nevertheless, to Eugene II
, bishop of Toledo
, he was nothing but
"impious, unjust, and immoral" as it can be seen today still by his
- Collins, Roger. Visigothic Spain, 409–711. Blackwell
- King, P. D. "King Chindasvind and the First Territorial
Law-code of the Visiogothic Kingdom." Visigothic Spain: New
Approaches. ed. Edward
James. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. pp 131–157.
- Thompson, E. A.. The Goths in Spain.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969.
- Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire Chapter 51
- Visigothic Law Code: text. The preface was written in
1908, and should be read with reservations. Look at Book VI:
Concerning Crimes and Tortures, under Title III:
Concerning Abortion, the seventh article, which is not
"ancient law", as so many others, but the words of FLAVIUS
- Museo Rey Chindasvinto: photograph (text in
Spanish). This is a picture of the Museo Rey Chindasvinto in San
Román de la Hornija.
- Also spelled Chindaswinth, Chindaswind, Chindasuinto,
Chindasvindo, or Khindaswinth; in Spanish, Galician
andPortuguese, Chindasvinto; and
- King, 157.
- Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury (New York: Fred de Fau and Co.,
1906), vol. IX, Chpt. LI, section V.