Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pagan Survivals in Visigothic Spain

In the course of the chapters on Priscillianism and on the efforts of Martin of Braga to uproot pagan survivals in Galicia mention was made in passing of the Visigoths, who entered Spain in the early part of the fifth century. Eventually they became the masters of the Peninsula and remained in control until their kingdom was destroyed by the Arabs in 712. The attitude of the Goths towards the survivals of paganism in Spain changed considerably after their conversion to Catholicism in 589. Hence in the present chapter there will be two main divisions, the period from the Visigothic invasion of Spain up to the year 589, and the Catholic period up to the year 712.

The Visigoths, (1) as was mentioned in the previous chapter, had inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Alans in 416. They might easily have conquered the entire Peninsula, if the emperor Honorius had not secured their withdrawal by giving them Aquitania Secunda. The Goths established their capital at Toulouse. In 454 at the request of the emperor Avitus, they again invaded Spain and inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Bagaudae and two years later (456) upon the Sueves near Astorga. Under Euric (466-483), the ablest of the Visigothic leaders in the fifth century, the whole of Spain, with the exception of Galicia, came under Gothic control. In 507 the Franks under Clovis defeated the Visigothic forces at the battle of Vouglé, and the youthful ruler, Alaric II, was slain on the field of battle. The Visigoths were thus driven into Spain and of their former possessions in France only Septimania remained.


During the fifth century the Catholics of western and southern Spain lived under the rule of men, alien to them in race and religion. The history of this period, as told in the Chronicle of Idacius, which [109] ends in 468, is filled with the description of the raids made by the barbarian Vandals, Sueves and Visigoths. (2) Strongly fortified cities, such as Cartagena, Merida, Seville, Astorga and Palencia were attacked and pillaged by the Germanic invaders. The churches in these places were often destroyed, the people put to death, or reduced to slavery. With the Catholic Church in Spain struggling to maintain its very existence it was impossible for any serious efforts to be made against paganism by the ecclesiastical authorities. Nor did the Visigoths after their defeat of the Sueves in 456 and their gradual conquest of southern and eastern Spain take any active measures against paganism. Their attitude is not difficult to explain.

The Visigoths who entered Spain professed the Arian heresy. This had been spread among them through the noted Cappadocian Ulfilas (311-383) who had been ordained bishop by the Arian leaders at Constantinople about the year 341. But the Visigoths did not become definitely allied with Arianism until the year 376, when Frithigern and a large number of his followers entered the Roman empire and embraced the Arian form of Christianity, which the reigning emperor of the East, Valens, then professed. While Dahn, Uhlhorn and Böhmer (3) exaggerate the part played by political motives in the conversion of Frithigern to Arianism, it is doubtless true that the Goths were not much concerned with dogmatic beliefs (4) and probably the rank and file of the Goths remained largely pagans. They did not feel the same antagonism towards paganism that the Catholics did. Thus soon after their conversion to Arianism, the Visigoths did not object to the coming among them of Athanarich, a pagan leader who had persecuted the Arians in Cappadocia. During their raids in southeastern Europe and in Italy the Visigoths were [110] joined by groups of Huns and Alans, (5) some of whom were probably pagans. The destruction of churches in Spain during the fifth century (6) can only be accounted for by the fact that many in their ranks were actually pagans or had but a thin veneer of Christianity. It is not surprising then that the Arian Visigoths made no serious efforts during the fifth century to uproot paganism in Spain.

The attitude of the Arian rulers of Toulouse towards their Catholic subjects is little known. From the letters of Sidonius Apollinaris (431-489), (7) bishop of Clermont, and an eyewitness of what he records, it would seem that during the reigns of Theodoric I (420-451) and Theodoric II (453-467) the Catholics were not molested in the practice of their religious beliefs. (8) Sidonius was more offended at the lack of culture among the Goths than at their profession of Arianism. (9) But the toleration which the two Theodorics had shown towards Catholicism was not continued by Euric, who mounted the throne in 468. This ruler, according to a letter of Sidonius, written about 472, sent many of the Catholic bishops of his kingdom into exile so that in many places the churches were without the services of a priest and soon became dilapidated. In this same letter Sidonius thus refers to Euric: "I dread him less as the assailant of our walls than as the subverter of our Christian laws. They say that the mere mention of the name of Catholic so embitters his face and heart that one might take him for the chief priest of the Arian sect rather than as the monarch of his nation." (10) Alaric II, who became ruler in 484, reversed the harsh religious policy of his father and thereby won the loyalty of many of his Catholic subjects. (11) He permitted the exiled [111] bishops to return to their sees and made no objections to the holding of an ecclesiastical council at Agde in the year 506. But the most signal proof of the young ruler's good will was the promulgation of a new code of laws for his "Roman" subjects. The principal purpose of this law code, known as the Lex Romana Visigothorum or the Breviarium Alarici, was to modernize the laws of the Theodosian Code and the Novellae, which were no longer applicable to conditions in the kingdom of Toulouse. (12) The new code placed the Catholic Church in a very favorable position and also contained a number of important laws in regard to paganism.


The Visigothic ruler permitted the Catholic Church to retain many of the privileges it had obtained under the emperors. The ecclesiastical courts were not suppressed; (13) in all matters pertaining to religion the opinion of the bishops had first to be obtained; in the code there was embodied the law of Honorius and Arcadius, which declared that the Catholic religion was the "one and true faith." (14) While the laws against heretics, such as the Priscillianists, the Montanists, and especially the Manicheans, continued in force, (15) naturally those that had been issued by the Catholic emperors against the Arians were omitted.

In regard to paganism, the new law code eliminated the numerous enactments of the Christian emperors against pagan temples and sacrifices. Perez Pujol cites this omission as a proof that the Visigoths [112] were tolerant of paganism. (16) But the more probable reason is that these laws were no longer considered necessary. (17) The building and maintenance of temples and their elaborate sacrifices naturally ceased as soon as state support was withdrawn from paganism. Moreover the Lex Romana Visigothorum did prohibit paganism by incorporating a law of Theodosius II against "the abominable and deadly sacrifices and superstitious rites which were practiced in hidden solitudes." (18) Those people who were found guilty of offering sacrifices were threatened with the confiscation of their property and the loss of their lives.

While the public practice of paganism had disappeared by the year 506, magic and divination, which were part of the private religion, were still held tenaciously by the "Romans" as well as the Germanic invaders, and against these two types of paganism the code was very severe. In the Lex Romana Visigothorum there were not only the laws of Constantine and Constantius against magicians, but also the stern passages from Paulus, according to which magicians were to be cast to the beasts, crucified, or burnt alive. (19) The law forbade not only the use, but even the possession of magical books. Nobles in whose homes such books were found, were to be at once deported, while people of the lower classes were to be beheaded. These laws against magic and divination were territorial and had to be observed by the Arian Visigoths as well as by the Catholics. (20)

The council which with the permission of Alaric II was held at Agde in southeastern France in the year 506, proves that the practice of magic and divination was not confined to the laity, but had even penetrated to the ranks of the clergy. The bishops under the direction of St. Caesarius of Arles threatened clerics guilty of magic with immediate and perpetual expulsion from the Church, and ordered all books on magic to be at once burned. (21) They especially inveighed [113] against the use of the sortes sanctorum, which were so called because the books of Sacred Scripture were used as a means of divining the future. (22) As far as can be ascertained, the practice consisted in taking a book of the Old or New Testament, opening it at a certain page, and drawing a good or evil omen from the opening words. (23) The people who practiced this form of divination were known, according to Isidore, as the sortilegi. (24) It is evident from these canons of Agde that the decrees of the Lex Romana Visigothorum on magic and divination were directed against abuses that actually existed. It is not at all improbable that the same superstitious practices were in vogue in various parts of Spain.

By the new code of Alaric II the practice of paganism became an offense punishable by law throughout the Visigothic kingdom of Spain. But, in order to act effectively against the people who practiced magic, divination, or other forms of paganism, there was need of an active and close co-operation between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities "that those who will not practice virtue by the admonition of the priest, may be kept from doing evil by the power of the king." (25) Various factors, however, made such co-operation impossible during the period from 506 to 589.

There was, first of all, the political instability of the Visigothic monarchy during the sixth century. The Gothic nobles were constantly wrangling among themselves for the supreme power, and they did not scruple at the means used. Thus in 554 Athanagild summoned to his aid the Byzantine troops of the Emperor Justinian in his struggle against the reigning monarch of Spain, Agila. (26) During this period so many of the rulers of the Peninsula were assassinated that Gregory of Tours remarked: "The Goths had adopted this hateful method of getting rid of the kings who displeased them." (27)

[114] Secondly, while there is no record of an actual persecution of the Spanish Catholics by the Arian rulers except for the brief period from 583 to 585 during the reign of Leovigild, there was constant friction between the Catholics and the Arians. Thus Amalaric (507-531) treated his queen, Clotilda, so cruelly because of her Catholic religion that he provoked a war with her brother, the Frankish ruler, Childibert I. Agila (549-5 54) antagonized his Catholic subjects by desecrating the tomb of St. Asisclus at Cordova. (28) The Council of Lerida (524) refused to accept any offerings from a Catholic who allowed his children to be baptized by Arians. The same council forbade Catholics to dine with those people who had been rebaptized. (29) These facts point to at least some proselytism by the Arian clergy. With such open hostility prevailing between the Arians and the Catholics of Spain it was impossible for them to unite in a struggle against the survivals of paganism.

Finally by the time of Leovigild (568-585) the Arian ardor of the Visigoths had declined so that they had become generally indifferent in regard to other religions. Their attitude at this date is well expressed in a discussion which Gregory of Tours had with Aiglan, a Visigothic legate to the Frankish court, on the subject of Catholicism and Arianism. In the course of the debate Gregory said that the disgraceful death of Arius proved the falsity of the religion named after him. To this objection Aiglan retorted: "Speak not evil of law which thou thyself observest not; as for us, though we believe not the things which ye believe, yet we do not speak evil of them, for the holding of this or that belief may not be imputed as a crime. And indeed we have a common saying that no harm is done when one passing between the altars of the Gentiles and the Church of God payeth respect to both." Gregory replied indignantly: "Thou art a defender of the Gentiles, and a champion of heretics, for thou dost defile the dogmas of the Church and dost proclaim the worship of pagan abominations." (30) Animated by such principles the Arian [115] Visigoths in the sixth century could hardly be expected to take any active part in the uprooting of pagan survivals.

During this period (506-589) there was no noteworthy activity by the Spanish clergy against paganism, as far as the extant source-material permits us to judge. It is recorded of Masona, (31) who governed the diocese of Merida about the years 570 to 605, that he succeeded by means of his charitable deeds in converting many pagans to Catholicism. (32) Another Spanish bishop, Montanus of Toledo, in a letter written probably in the year 530, praises a religious named Thuribius as the promoter of divine worship in his province because he had driven out the error of idolatry. (33) These are the only two instances known to us of any success against paganism during the years 506 to 589. In fact this period seems to have witnessed a noticeable decline in the membership of the Catholic Church in Spain. Gregory of Tours, meeting two legates from Spain about the year 583, asked them about the condition of the "few" Catholics who remained there. (34) Five provincial councils were held in some of the important cities of Tarraconensis, and further west at Toledo, during the years 517 to 546, but for more than forty years afterwards the presence of the heretics in Spain rendered [116] any meeting of the Catholic hierarchy impossible. At the third council of Toledo (589), held soon after the conversion of king Recared and a number of the Arian bishops and nobles, the Catholic bishops lamented the breakdown of ecclesiastical discipline. (35) They attributed this laxity to the Arian heretics, who not only permitted the laws of the Church to be violated, but even protected the offenders. (36) The bishops at this council also declared quite emphatically that "throughout almost the whole of Spain and Gaul the sacrilege of idolatry has become deeply rooted." (37) But with the conversion of the Visigothic ruler and nobles to Catholicism in 587, the principal cause of friction between the Visigoths and the natives of Spain disappeared. A new era in the struggle against paganism now began.


In the year 589 King Recared of Spain, a number of Visigothic bishops and nobles and about sixty Catholic bishops assembled at the Visigothic capital of Toledo. At this third council of Toledo the ruler and his followers abjured Arianism and proclaimed their allegiance to the Catholic religion. The council then proceeded to enact laws against the abuses which had crept into the liturgy of the Church during the period of the Arian domination in Spain. One of these abuses was the practice among the people of singing immodest songs, and of taking part in unbecoming dances on the occasion of church festivals. (38) These abuses, especially that of dancing, were regarded as survivals of paganism. (39) The council deputed the bishop [117] and the secular judge in the separate localities to remove this evil, but did not inflict any penalties upon the guilty parties.

A far more serious abuse in Spain at this time was the prevalence of idolatry. The council took stern measures to remedy the evil. In each locality the bishop and judge were authorized to destroy the places desecrated by pagan worship, and to punish those guilty of idolatry in whatever way they could, short of the death penalty. Bishops and judges who were found negligent in combating paganism, and masters who tolerated superstitious practices among the members of their household or on their estates were threatened with the penalty of excommunication. (40)

To merit conciliar action idolatry must have been rather widespread in Spain at this time. But the canon gives no indication of the superstitious practices that survived, nor of the class of people among whom this abuse was specially prevalent. The clause about slaves was doubtless added to prevent any loophole in the general provisions of the canon. It is to be noted that both civil as well as ecclesiastical penalties were inflicted upon those guilty of idolatrous worship, and that the bishop and the secular judge were to cooperate in combating this evil. Such close union between the Church and State was not unusual, and was, in fact, very similar to the harmony that existed between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in the Roman empire during the fourth century. (41)

A provincial council held at Narbonne in the year 590 gives us an insight into the types of paganism which were being practiced in Septimania, and probably also in parts of Spain. The bishops there censured the practice in vogue among some people of not working on [118] Thursday in honor of Jupiter. (42) Henceforth the council ordered that those who refused to work on this day, except on the occasion of a church festival, were to be excommunicated and to do penance for one year. Slaves were to receive one hundred lashes and their masters were to see to it that they did not repeat this crime. The council recommended the practice, mentioned by Martin of Braga, of abstaining from all rural work on Sunday. It may be noted that the Council of Narbonne ordered a different penalty upon a free-born person and a slave for the same crime. This distinction between the two classes, characteristic of Roman Law, (43) will also be seen in the penalties inflicted by later Spanish councils and by the Visigothic Code of civil law.

[119] The same council of Narbonne also took action against soothsayers and those who harbored them in their homes and consulted them. (44) The soothsayers were to be publicly flogged, even though they were free-born, and afterwards sold into slavery, and the money distributed to the poor. Those who gave them shelter and consulted them whether "Goths, Romans, Syrians, Greeks or Jews" were not only to be excommunicated, but also to pay a fine of six ounces in gold to the comes civitatis. (45)

During the half century that followed these two councils of Toledo and Narbonne nothing is known with certainty about paganism in Spain. But from a canon of the fourth council of Toledo (633), which was attended by seventy-three members of the Spanish hierarchy, and presided over by St. Isidore, bishop of Seville, it is evident that paganism had not entirely disappeared. The canon declared that a bishop, priest, deacon or any cleric who consulted a magician or augur was to be deposed and sent to a monastery to do penance there for the remainder of his life. (46) The council regarded this consulting of magicians and augurs as a sacrilege, and the severity of the penalty is evident.

This same council of Toledo ordered that in reparation for the sins committed by the pagans on the Kalends of January a special day at the beginning of the year was to be spent in fasting and abstinence. (47) From the De ecclesiasticis officiis of Isidore it is evident that this practice of fasting at the beginning of the year was not peculiar to Spain, but was the general practice throughout the Church. (48)

The fast was usually observed on the second of January. In the office of the Visigothic breviary said on this day, there are many passages from the Sacred Scriptures directed against the worship of idols. One of the capitula of this office reminds the people that the idols of the pagans are demons, and warns them against the practice of superstitious rites; the people are urged to admonish [120] and recall to the "path of salvation" those members of the Church who may be guilty of idolatrous worship. (49)

At the fifth council of Toledo (636) the bishops were concerned mainly with preserving the government of the reigning monarch Chintila. Hence they censured all acts of disloyalty. In one of the canons they condemned as "opposed to religion and clearly superstitious" all inquiries into the life of the ruler, and threatened those guilty of this crime with the penalty of excommunication from the Church. (50) The ruler and bishops doubtless felt, as did the emperors of the fourth century, that a person might use the information obtained from a magician or augur to foster rebellion throughout the kingdom. (51)

It may be well to mention here in passing a visit to Spain made by St. Ouen in 641. The first biographer of the saint, who wrote soon after his death in 684, declared that on the occasion of this visit Ouen had performed a striking miracle which won him fame throughout the Visigothic kingdom. A later biographer of the saint, who probably wrote in the ninth century, magnified Ouen's visit to Spain and wrote that on this occasion the saint had succeeded in persuading the pagans of the Peninsula to desert their temples and idols. (52) This second account of what Ouen is reported to have done in Spain is purely legendary. (53)


Mention was made above of the fact that once the Visigoths had been converted to Catholicism the principal cause of friction between [121] them and the natives of Spain disappeared. Yet for a period of more than sixty years the Goths and the Spaniards were governed by separate laws. King Chindaswinth (642-653) realized the anomaly of this situation and began a codification of Roman and Germanic law that would satisfy the two races in the kingdom. Chindaswinth did not live to see the realization of his plan. It remained for his son, Receswinth, to promulgate in 654 the new law-code that was binding upon all in Spain, irrespective of their race. The Forum Iudicum, (54) as the new code was called, is important in our present study, for it enables us to grasp the forms of paganism that existed in Spain in the middle of the seventh century, and the attitude towards them of the civil authorities.

Attention has already been called to the fact that in the Theodosian Code and the Lex Romana Visigothorum most of the laws on paganism were concerned with the practice of divination and magic. These two forms of paganism were also condemned by the fourth council of Toledo in 633 and the fifth council in 636. Hence it is not surprising that the legislation on paganism in the Visigothic Code was directed solely against those who practiced augury and magic and those who consulted such persons on these matters.

Two laws against augury were incorporated in the Forum Iudicum. The soothsayer and all those who consulted him, if freeborn, were flogged, their property confiscated, and they were reduced to the status of slaves. (55) The same penalties befell their children if they participated in their parents' crime. Slaves who practiced augury were to be tortured and sold into slavery overseas. (56) Another law against augury lectured the people on the impossibility of finding out the truth from soothsayers, for the devil "a liar from the beginning [122] spoke through them." (57) The law went on to state that a judge who consulted soothsayers with the intention of proving something was subject to the same penalties as those who consulted them about the life or death of an individual. It concluded by stating that since augurs were hateful in the sight of God they were to receive as punishment fifty lashes. Though the Visigothic Code was indeed very severe against those who practiced augury, it did not inflict upon them the death penalty, as did the Theodosian Code. (58)

Besides condemning the practice of augury, the Forum Iudicum also contained some stern laws against magic, especially that intended to injure the person or property of another. Under this heading of "harmful" magic, poisoning was included. The idea, prevalent among the Romans (59) and Germans, (60) that poisoning was in some way connected with magic still persisted among the legislators of Spain in the middle of the seventh century. The same section of the code which treats of magicians also treats of poisoners. They believed, for example, that certain women who committed the crime of adultery could by some magical potion so change and derange the minds of their husbands that the latter were unable to accuse them of adultery in the public courts, or even to depart from them. (61) In such a case the law provided that the children of the couple, if of legal age, could give testimony in court against the adulteress; if, however, they were not old enough, the relatives of the husband were to conduct the accusation. Another law stated that a person who gave a potion to a pregnant woman for the purpose of causing an abortion was to suffer the penalty of death. A slave who tried to secure this potion in order to commit an abortion was to receive two hundred lashes, while a free-born person, guilty of this [123] same crime, was to lose the dignity of her rank, and to be sent as a slave to whosoever should be named by the king. (62) Finally, the law stated that anyone, whether slave or free, who caused the death of another by poisoning, should himself be put to death. If, however, his attempts at poisoning proved unsuccessful, the poisoner was to become the slave of his intended victim. (63)

Besides the civil penalties which the Forum Iudicum inflicted for these offences there doubtless were canonical prohibitions. Thus in the council of Lerida (524) it was decreed that a person who gave poison to another for the sake of committing an abortion was to be excluded from Communion for life. (64) Perhaps the same ecclesiastical penalty was attached to this crime in the Catholic period of Visigothic Spain.

The Forum Iudicum sternly punished the use of magic to injure the person or property of another. One of these laws was directed against enchanters and invokers of tempests, who by incantations were said to bring down storms upon the vineyards and crops of others, and who invoked the devil and thereby disturbed men's minds. (65) These words were taken almost verbatim from an interpretation of a law in the Lex Romana Visigothorum, issued by the emperor Constantine in 318. (66) While Roman law left the penalty indeterminate, the Visigothic Code ordered that these magicians should receive two hundred lashes and the punishment of decalvatio. The [124] guilty one was to be led about the ten neighboring estates in order that the sight of this punishment might deter others from committing this crime. (67) This regulation was similar to, but not as harsh as a law found in the Capitulary of Chur (800/820). (68) This same Visigothic law ordered that a person found guilty of magic was either to be cast into prison or brought before the king, who could do with him as he pleased. Those who consulted a magician were to receive as punishment two hundred lashes.

Another law of this code stated that a magician who placed ligatures or other charms upon persons or upon their beasts with the intention of killing or harming them, or who sought by magical charms to injure the property of another, was to be punished in the same way as he had intended to injure the person or property of his victim. (69)

An interesting law on magic was concerned with robbing a coffin for some magical purpose. (70) This is the only mention of such magic among the Visigoths; the only other law concerned with robbing a grave was directed against those who committed this crime for the [125] sake of enriching themselves. (71) Those who robbed a coffin for a magical purpose were fined twelve solidi, which were to be given to the heirs of the deceased. There is here very probably a reference to necromancy, which Isidore defines as uttering incantations over a corpse in the belief that the dead person would arise, and utter words of prophecy or give answer to questions put to it. (72) Isidore goes on to add that since the demons [always associated with idolatry and magic] love blood, the necromancer in performing his magical rites always used blood mixed with water. (73) Among the Greeks and Romans the evocation of the dead took place in caverns and near rivers and lakes where communication with the abodes of the dead was thought to be easier. (74)

The strict punishment meted out to those guilty of magic shows quite clearly the horror that the law-makers of Spain felt towards this crime. Still they did not wish to see injustice done. This is evident from a decision of the council of Merida (666) which was held shortly after the promulgation of the Forum Iudicum. The complaint was made to the bishops at this council that certain priests in time of sickness believed that their illness had been caused by some magical rites which the members of their household had practiced, and ordered the suspected persons to be tortured. The council in answer to this complaint declared that in future a priest who should suspect anyone of doing injury to him by the practice of magic was to bring the matter before the bishop of the diocese. The latter was to delegate certain worthy laymen as judges. If the accused person was found guilty of the charge of magic the judges were to inform the bishop, who was to inflict a penalty upon the criminal severe enough to deter others from committing this crime. A priest who did not [126] follow this procedure when he suspected some one of magic was threatened with the penalty of deposition and excommunication. (75)


The laws against augury and magic were the only pagan survivals with which the Forum Iudicum was concerned. There is no indication in the law code that any other superstitious practices were in vogue among the people in the middle of the seventh century. But suddenly in the closing years of the Visigothic kingdom other forms of paganism - worshiping fountains, trees and stones - became serious enough to deserve special legislation at the national councils of Toledo in 681 and in 693. During the century that elapsed between the third council of Toledo in 589 and the twelfth in 681 it is difficult to believe that, if these pagan practices were regarded as a menace, zealous and influential bishops such as Isidore, Ildefonse, Braulio and Fructuosus would not have taken counsel on this evil and suggested means to remove it. Besides, if the superstitious rites at the fountains, trees and stones were very prevalent they would doubtless have been severely censured and forbidden in the law code issued by Receswinth in 654. It is quite evident from the canons of the last councils of Toledo that the long reign of Receswinth (653-672) witnessed a marked deterioration in the ecclesiastical organization and this decline brought about indirectly the revival of paganism.

The reign of Receswinth had begun very auspiciously. Immediately upon the death of his father, Chindaswinth, in 653, he had convoked a council at Toledo and requested the bishops to dispense him from the oath which he and his father had taken to punish all political [127] offenders. One of the favorite counselors in the early part of his reign was St. Fructuosus, the metropolitan of Braga, and the founder of numerous monasteries in Galicia. But Receswinth, although well-intentioned, was very dissolute. (76) During the remaining sixteen years of his reign no councils were held at Toledo, a fact which the bishops deplored at the eleventh council held after his death in 675. The opening words of the eleventh council declared that the long period of years during which the light of the councils had been withdrawn, had led to an increase of vice and ignorance "the mother of all errors." (77) Later on they attributed the lack of discipline in the Church to the fact that no one could correct the erring, since the word of God was sent into exile. (78) St. Ildefonse, who governed the see of Toledo during the greater part of Receswinth's reign, referred in a veiled manner to the fact that the Church in Spain had fallen upon evil days. In a letter to Bishop Quiricus of Barcelona he wrote: "I should say more, if the pressure of woes permitted." (79) In another letter to the same bishop he added: "The necessity of the times so wears down the spirit that there is no joy in life because of the evils that threaten." (80)

The sad condition of the Church in Spain in 675 is reflected in the canons of the eleventh council of Toledo. The bishops at this council were concerned not so much with the vices of the laity as with those that had crept in among the clergy. They censured the members of the hierarchy who did not insist upon the priests of their dioceses preaching the word of God and instructing the people. (81) They threatened with the penalty of excommunication the members [128] of the clergy who scandalized the faithful by living at discord with one another. (82) The council declared that any bishop who disgraced his calling by his immoral conduct or who caused others to be murdered or injured was to be deposed and imprisoned for life. The same penalties befell a bishop who in his capacity as judge passed sentence of death, or ordered a person on trial to be subjected to physical punishment. (83) The council forbade the practice of simony, which was prevalent among the clergy, (84) and even deemed it necessary to require of all candidates for sacred orders a special promise that they would conscientiously fulfill the duties of their sacred calling. (85) The council praised Wamba (672-680), who had succeeded Receswinth upon the throne, as "the restorer of ecclesiastical discipline in our time." Though the eleventh council concerned itself in the main with the vices of the clergy it is not difficult to believe that the moral condition of the laity was far worse, and that in such a soil pagan practices which had probably never died out among some of the people would again spring into life. This is exactly the condition of affairs that confronted the twelfth council of Toledo in 681.

Erwig (680-693) who had become ruler of Spain in 680 under circumstances that have left a stain upon his memory, at once proceeded to call a meeting of the Spanish hierarchy at Toledo. It was attended by thirty-five prelates from all parts of Spain. The ruler urged the assembled bishops to take immediate action against the abuses that had arisen in the kingdom in order that "by your zealous government the earth may be purged of the contagion of wickedness." (86) One of the principal evils that engaged the attention of the bishops was that of idolatry.

The eleventh canon of this council begins with the words of Exodus against the worship of idols: "Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, etc.," (87) and quoted the stern penalty of [129] Deuteronomy against idolaters: "Thou shalt bring forth the man or woman who have committed that most wicked thing [idolatry] and they shall be stoned." (88) The council warned all who practiced superstitious worship that they were offering sacrifices to the devil. It ordered that all the places desecrated by pagan worship should be destroyed. Slaves guilty of idolatrous practices were to be lashed and brought in chains before their masters, who had to promise under oath not to allow them to practice such idolatry in future. If the master was unwilling to keep the erring slaves the judge was to bring them before the king, who might dispose of the slaves as he willed. A master who did not punish this crime of idolatry not only incurred the penalty of excommunication but also lost all legal claims to the services of the slaves. Free-born persons, guilty of idolatrous worship, were to be excommunicated and kept in close confinement. (89)

It is evident from this canon that the cult of the fountains, stones and trees, which was practiced by the natives of Spain before the coming of Christianity, and which St. Martin of Braga censured in the De correctione rusticorum, was still in vogue in the year 681. The fact that the greater part of this canon is concerned with slaves indicates that idolatry was especially prevalent among the lower classes of Spanish society. The same policy which the third council of [130] Toledo in 589 had recommended (90) was still being followed by the twelfth council in 681. The bishop and the secular judge were charged with the destruction of the "sacred" fountains, stones, and trees, and the prosecution of idolaters. Two penalties were inflicted by the twelfth council of Toledo upon those who practiced or connived at idolatry, which were not mentioned at the third council of Toledo: First, a free-born person, guilty of idolatrous worship, was to be kept in close confinement; secondly, a master who did not punish the members of his household for taking part in pagan practices was threatened with the loss of their services. Since at this twelfth council of Toledo there were present bishops from all parts of Spain it is impossible to judge from the wording of the canon where idolatry was especially practiced. But the writings of a contemporary, St. Valerius, indicate with certainty one of these localities.

Valerius (c. 630-695) before his appointment as abbot of the monastery of San Pedro de Montes, founded by St. Fructuosus, had lived for many years as a hermit in the solitary regions of Galicia. An account of his experiences during these years, written by himself, has come down to us. In this autobiography Valerius describes the sad condition of the monastic life in Galicia, where people from the lowest classes of society were admitted to the cloister and some were even forced to become monks in order that the monasteries might not remain empty. Instead of practicing virtue these monks associated with people who had committed robbery, murder, and who practiced magic and other unspeakable crimes. (91) In this autobiography Valerius tells us how he chanced upon a nocturnal meeting in the forest and gives a vivid picture of the unbecoming songs and dances in which a priest, forgetful of his sacred calling, played the principal part. (92) Valerius also describes a meeting he had with some peasants [131] who were practising idolatrous worship on the top of a mountain. (93) As Valerius says that he was then in the mountains not far from Astorga, (94) perhaps the cult he saw was a survival of the worship of Jupiter Candamius, who was honored on a mountain of this region, known today as Candanedo. (95) At the sight of these abominable practices Valerius was filled with anger. He at once summoned a number of faithful Christians and proceeded to rout these worshipers and destroy their sanctuaries. Whether the people who practiced these pagan sacrifices were actually Christians or not is difficult to determine. The fact that Valerius summoned "faithful Christians" would seem to imply that these peasants, like those in the time of Martin of Braga, were indeed Christians who had fallen into gross errors.

The thirteenth council of Toledo (683) says nothing about paganism among the people. One canon of this council proves, however, that some of the priests were guilty of superstitious practices. These unworthy clerics who nourished a grievance against others were wont to put on garments of mourning, to close the doors of the church, to strip the altar of its ornaments, and to suspend divine services. (96) Gratian quoted this canon and placed this abuse under the title of magic. (97)Perhaps these priests felt that they could force God, as it [132] were, to punish their enemies by their refusal to hold services in His honor, The council ordered that priests guilty of these abuses were to be deposed and sentenced to perpetual disgrace.

There is no mention of paganism at the fourteenth and fifteenth councils of Toledo, but at the sixteenth council (693) the question of pagan practices was again discussed. In the tomus (98) which Egica (688-702) addressed to the assembled prelates he declared that the many misfortunes from which the land suffered were a punishment from God for the sins of the people. (99) One of these evils was the prevalence of pagan practices. The ruler suggested that the things offered to idols by peasants or others should be taken to the nearest church and exposed there in the sight of the superstitious people who had made these offerings. (100) He also urged that a bishop or judge who was found negligent in combating superstition and idolatry should be deposed from office for a year and that a more zealous ecclesiastic or official should be chosen. The bishops proceeded to enact the laws which Egica had thought advisable. They merely added that a person of noble rank who hindered a bishop or judge in the prosecution of idolatry was to be fined three pounds of gold; a person of lower rank guilty of this same crime was to receive one hundred lashes, to suffer the penalty of decalvatio, and to have half of his property confiscated by the state. (101)

The regulation of this council indicates that the places defiled by pagan practices were not yet destroyed and that many people were [133] still practicing idolatry. The persistence of these pagan practices was due perhaps to the indifference of the bishops and judges in the performance of their duties, and hence the new enactment of this council that more zealous bishops and judges should be chosen. The council also added new penalties when it declared that people who hindered the prosecution of idolatry, if of noble birth, were to be fined, if not of noble birth, were to be subjected to bodily punishment and threatened with the loss of half of their property.

But the most striking departure from previous conciliar legislation on paganism in Spain was the order of Egica that things offered to idols were to be placed in the churches. The objects meant were probably the ex-votos and vases which the superstitious people placed at their sacred fountains, stones and trees. The idea for this regulation may have come from the letter of St. Augustine to Publicola, wherein he stated: "When temples, idols, etc., are placed at the service of God, the same thing happens to them as when impious and sinful men are converted to the true faith." (102) The Spanish king and bishops had probably heard of the policy that Pope Gregory the Great had recommended to the abbot Mellitus in the conversion of the pagan Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. According to Gregory the temples of the pagans were to be sprinkled with holy water; altars and relics were to be placed in them, and thus the worship paid to demons would be transferred to the one true God. (103) In the blessing of vases in the Mozarabic rite the priest asked God to purify them from all uncleanness. (104) Perhaps, as Dom Férotin suggests, this was because these vases had formerly been used in the worship of pagan idols. (105)

At the seventeenth council of Toledo (694) no special legislation was enacted in regard to pagan survivals. The bishops, however, censured the conduct of certain priests who celebrated a Requiem Mass for a living person with the intention of procuring the death of [134] this individual. This canon is a sad reflection upon the state of the Spanish Church at this period when some of its anointed ministers used the most sacred rite of their religion as a form of magic to wreak vengeance upon their enemies. The council ordered that such priests were to be deposed; both they and the individuals who requested them to celebrate this Requiem Mass were to be sent into perpetual exile, and only in their last moments were they permitted to receive Holy Communion. (106)

Under this same ruler Egica or perhaps his son Witiza (701-711) the ordeal by hot water was legalized. (107) This is the only instance of the ordeal in Visigothic Spain, and strangely enough was probably the last law issued by a Visigothic ruler. Mention of the ordeal is included in the present study because, according to the more commonly accepted opinion today, the ordeal was a survival of Germanic paganism. (108) The reason for the ordeal is stated in the law itself. Many free-born persons had complained of the fact that they had been subjected to torture in law suits involving a sum of money of less than three hundred solidi, in which cases the law forbade freeborn persons to be tortured. The king, therefore, decided that in cases where the sum of money in question was less than three hundred solidi, the accused person was to be subjected to the ordeal by hot water. If this ordeal proved him guilty, then torture was to be [135] used; if; however, the ordeal proved the innocence of the accused person he was not to be subjected to torture. The same procedure (ordeal and torture) was to be followed in the case of a person whose testimony was regarded with suspicion. There is no mention of a religious ceremony on the occasion of this ordeal.

F. Dahn claims that the ordeal was introduced into Visigothic law because of the Franks, who had settled in Spain. (109) This opinion has been rejected by most writers. J. Ficker asserts with greater probability that the ordeals bad never died out among the lower classes of the population, who had been little affected by the law code of Receswinth, and that their practices came to the surface and were legalized in the closing years of the Visigothic monarchy. (110) The writer believes that the process mentioned by Ficker was hastened by the fact that King Wamba had deprived many people in Spain of the right of giving testimony in court, because they had riot assisted him in crushing the rebellion of Paul, a Visigothic noble, in 673. (111) Unable to settle their disputes legally these people might easily revert to the old Germanic custom of the ordeal. Moreover the last quarter of the seventh century witnessed not only a marked decline in ecclesiastical discipline but also the menacing growth of perjury. The bishops at the sixteenth council of Toledo lamented the fact that "the sin of perjury has become deeply rooted." (112) The following council declared that one of the intentions for which the litanies should be said was to make reparation for the sins of perjury. (113) As the Frankish rulers at a later date legalized the use of the ordeal to prevent the sin of perjury, (114)so perhaps Egica or Witiza hoped by means of the ordeal to deter people from giving perjured testimony in court.


Besides the action taken by the Church councils and the civil authorities of Visigothic Spain to counteract the survivals of paganism among the people attention must also be drawn to the indirect means used in this struggle.

As St. Martin of Braga had pointed out in his sermon De correctione rusticorum, the worship of the pagan gods and the survivals of paganism were due principally to the ignorance of the people. To offset the harmful effects of ignorance there was during the seventh century in Spain an insistence upon the education of the clergy, the leaders of the people. In fostering clerical education in Visigothic Spain the name of St. Isidore of Seville (560-636) is outstanding. Isidore, the counselor of kings, and the leading ecclesiastic of his time, seemed to realize more clearly than any of his countrymen the need of education, if the people of Spain were to become Christians in fact as well as in name. The primary motive of his literary activity was, according to his friend, St. Braulio: "to restore the monuments of the ancients lest our crudeness become altogether inveterate." (115) Among the ancients Isidore included the early Christian as well as the pagan writers. He did not approve, however, of the pagan classics simply because of the esthetic benefit that was to be derived from perusing them. In his rule for monks, he forbade the members of the monastery to read the works of the pagan authors "for it is better to be ignorant of their pernicious teachings than by reading them to fall into the snare of error." (116) In the chapter of the Sententiae devoted to a discussion of the pagan writings, he begins with a condemnation of the pagan poets: "Sacrifice is offered to the demons not only by placing incense before them but also by listening with pleasure to the words of the pagan poets." (117) He [137] then goes on to praise the simple style of the Sacred Scriptures in contrast to the florid and ornate language of the pagan writers. He counsels his readers to avoid the pagan writings out of love for the Sacred Scriptures. But he concludes this discussion by stating: "it is better to be grammarians than heretics . . . for the art of the grammarians can lead to [eternal] life, when it is elevated to better uses." (118) In many of his other writings, such as the Etymologiae, De natura rerum, and the Differentiae he borrows citations from the pagan writers.

It is evident from what has just been said that Isidore was not consistent in his attitude toward the writings of the pagans. (119) On the one hand he saw the dangers which the pagan classics had for the Christians. His harshness towards the pagan poets is easily accounted for when it is remembered that he regards them as the "theologians" of paganism. (120) On the other hand Isidore realized that the clerics would have difficulty in obtaining any education at all, if the reading of the pagan books were entirely forbidden, and hence ignorance would be the result. In his opinion ignorance was far more dangerous to the faith and morals of the Christians than an acquaintance with the pagan writings. "Ignorance," he said, "is the mother of all errors, and the nurse of vices." And again "the ignorant man is easily deceived." (121) Consequently Isidore permitted the reading of the pagan writers merely to avoid the greater evil of ignorance. He never felt the same enthusiasm for the pagan classics as did Cassiodorus. Perhaps he deemed the brief extracts from the pagan authors which are found in his writings sufficient, so that people might not have to delve too deeply into the original works and thus endanger the salvation of their souls. (122)

[138] The education which Isidore had in view was principally that of the clergy. His writings on the scriptures, dogmatic and moral theology probably served the same purpose as the textbooks on these subjects that are used in Catholic seminaries today. But aside from these sacred sciences Isidore was also interested in purely secular subjects. In the preface to the De natura rerum, which is concerned with the natural sciences, he wrote: "To know the nature of these things is not superstitious knowledge if studied in the light of sane and sober doctrine." (123) It is not difficult to realize the efficacy of a work such as this in counteracting the survivals of paganism. He explained, for example, the cause of rain in a natural and scientific manner. (124) This information showed the absurdity of the belief that "storm-makers" (tempestarii) could by some magical process produce rain. (125) Isidore dedicated this book, De natura rerum, to King Sisebut of Spain (612-620). The ruler replied with a poem to Isidore in which he described the manner in which an eclipse of the moon took place. But before describing this phenomenon Sisebut first rejected the superstitious explanation which the people gave for the eclipse. They thought, he said, that as the caves grew dark, the moon was being drawn beneath the shades of the lower world by the wailing of the "dreadful woman" and when "its high-wandering mirror was veiled" it passed like a mortal into the waters of the river Styx. Hence on such occasions they were wont to make a loud noise with some instruments in the belief that this clamor would save the moon from destruction. (126) Sisebut then [139] proceeded to give in verse the same scientific explanation of the lunar eclipse that Isidore had given in his De natura rerum. (127) Doubtless the writings of the bishop and ruler aided indirectly in curbing the foolish practices which the people performed when an eclipse took place.

Isidore's best-known work, the Etymologiae, was of great value in the education of the people. It was one of a series of works on Latin educational tradition beginning with Cato, the purpose of which was to summarize information primarily in the field of the liberal arts, but on other subjects as well. Hence it served as a convenient manual of information on various topics, for in Spain at this time the works of earlier writers were hardly accessible to most of the clergy. However, Isidore reflects in many places the decline in scientific thought which began after the Hellenistic age. Thus he regards comets as harbingers of coming calamities, (128) a common belief in the Middle Ages, which arose probably from the fact that a comet had appeared in the sky before the destruction of Jerusalem. (129) In speaking of medicine Isidore quotes the opinion of a certain physician that the physician should devote himself to the study of astronomy, because the human body changes with the mutations of the stars and seasons. (130) In this same section Isidore discusses the various remedies in use among physicians, and though he is uncritical in his selection of material, yet, as O. Probst points out, [140] he is free from all superstitious beliefs in the value of plants. (131) Here again his scientific attitude is a clear condemnation of the idea that certain plants or potions had magical qualities. (132) In speaking of the stars Isidore points out clearly the difference between "natural" and superstitious astrology. Natural astrology is concerned with the movement of the stars, and is practically synonymous with the modern term astronomy. Superstitious astrology teaches that man's birth and moral actions are dependent upon the motions of the stars. (133) As Isidore devotes a small section of this work to magic, (134) it may be well to summarize his discussion on this point.

He begins his treatment on this subject by asserting that it was introduced by the Persians and Assyrians. The spread and prevalence of magic throughout the world for so many centuries was due to the influence which the fallen angels exerted upon men. (135) Isidore then proceeds to define various kinds of magic, such as necromancy, hydromancy, geomancy, aeromancy, and pyromancy. Under the heading of magic he also groups the practice of divination, by means of the flight of birds, the entrails of animals, and the movement of the stars. It is not at all improbable that Isidore in his discussion had in mind actual magical practices among the people of Spain, for, as has already been mentioned, magic and divination had been repeatedly condemned by the Church councils and also by the Forum Iudicum (136). In closing his treatment of magic, Isidore again stresses the connection between magic and demonology and condemns absolutely the practice of magic in any form. (137) In view of [141] the fact that this section on magic was copied by later mediaeval writers, (138) it is quite probable that Isidore's condemnation of magic had a great influence upon the Visigothic clergy, and made them realize the necessity of combating all magical practices among the people.

In the Etymologiae Isidore emphasized, as Augustine before him, the allegorical interpretation of numbers: "We must not despise the science of numbers, for the deep significance which they have is evident from many passages of Holy Scripture." (139) But nowhere in his writing does Isidore show any belief in the pagan superstition that certain numbers were either lucky or unlucky. Thorndike is rather severe in his judgment of Isidore's fondness for such allegorical interpretation of numbers: "With such mental magic and 'pious arithmetic,' as his friend Braulio called it, might the Christian sate the inherited thirst in him for the operative magic and pagan divination in which his conscience and his Church no longer allowed him to indulge." (140)

Isidore's efforts to elevate the educational standards of the clergy were not limited to the composition of books. Many of the principles on education advocated in his writings were translated into legislation at the fourth Council of Toledo (633), over which he presided. The council declared that henceforth one "ignorant of letters" was not to be appointed bishop. (141) In another canon the bishops stated that the "sacerdotes" should have a knowledge of [142] Sacred Scripture and the canons (of the Church). (142) The term "sacerdotes" here presumably includes priests as well as bishops. It is hardly probable that the council would insist only upon the bishops possessing this knowledge of the Scriptures and canons, since ordinarily the members of the hierarchy were selected from the ranks of the priests. Lest the priest should be ignorant of the ceremonies of the Church, the council ordered that each priest was to receive a manual containing the rubrics and prayers for the liturgical functions. (143) This presentation of the manual formed a part of the ordination ceremony in the Mozarabic rite. (144) With an eye to the future it was provided at this meeting that boys aspiring to the priesthood were henceforth to live together under the supervision of a learned and holy priest. (145) While Spain may not have been the first nation in western Europe to inaugurate these schools, the forerunners of the modern seminaries, there was no other region of Europe that insisted upon them so strongly in the seventh century. The effect of these salutary measures may be judged from the fact that the Isidorean tradition of scholarship was continued by men like Braulio, Ildefonse, Taio, Eugene and Julian, who were far superior in learning to the other contemporary ecclesiastics of western Europe. (146)

A second indirect means that aided the struggle against paganism in Spain were the exorcisms and blessings in the Mozarabic rite. The purpose of the exorcisms was to free the people from the dread of the evil spirits, and to make them vividly conscious of the unity and power of God. (147) The blessings served the purpose of supplanting pagan practices in vogue among some of the people of Spain. Hence in the following paragraphs attention will be drawn to some of the [143] exorcisms and blessings of the Mozarabic rite that helped to counteract pagan beliefs and practices.

There was a special exorcism of the oil which was used as a remedy in time of sickness. In this exorcism the priest prayed that the oil might be a safeguard against the attacks of the devils, the arts of the Chaldeans, and the incantations of the augurs and diviners. (148) A similar formula is found in an English liturgical book of the eleventh century, (149) and may have been copied from the Visigothic liturgy. In the exorcism of the salt used in the blessing of a new home the priest besought God through the merits of Jesus to drive out the devil from whatever places the salt might touch. (150) This formula is found in an eleventh century manuscript of the liturgy of Lyons. (151) Doubtless this exorcism of the salt which was to be used in blessing the home helped to supplant the pagan "purification" ceremonies which Martin of Braga censured in his Capitula.(152)

There are many blessings in the Mozarabic rite which concern farming, such as the blessing for new land which is to be broken, the planting of the seed, and the gathering of the first fruits and the harvests. These blessings, as Férotin remarks, are found in other liturgies besides the Mozarabic, but the formulas used in them are often peculiar to the Visigothic church. (153) A prayer was said over the instrument used in pruning the vines and fruit trees, a blessing which is found only in the Mozarabic rite. (154) In the blessing of a [144] new well, the priest besought God to drive away from it every attack of the devil. (155) A similar blessing is also found in the Sacramentary of Bobbio. This Christian blessing (156) helped to counteract the pagan customs at the wells which Martin of Braga had censured in his sermon. (157) On the occasion of a burial the priest recited a formula, found also in the Gelasian sacramentary, (158) asking God to free this last resting-place from the attacks of the devil. (159) Over the graves in Spain, as Férotin points out, a cross was placed. (160) This blessing of the grave and the sight of the cross above it doubtless encouraged the people to be reconciled to the death of their loved ones, and to abandon all pagan practices at the tombs, which Martin of Braga had condemned. (161) An unusual blessing which, as far as is known, is found nowhere else was that of the fisherman's net. In this prayer God was asked to preserve these nets from harm by diabolical enchantment and intervention. (162) Férotin has remarked that the Spanish liturgy is very rich in prayers and blessings for those about to start on a journey. (163) These prayers and blessings helped to drive out from the minds of the people the belief that certain days were unlucky and that no traveling should be done on them. (164)

A very effective means of combating paganism, which continued for a long time in the country districts, was the establishment of rural parishes and monasteries. It is very probable that Christianity had penetrated into the country districts even before the Council of Elvira at the beginning of the fourth century. But during the long period of the Germanic invasions, when even fortified cities fell before [145] the attacks of the barbarians, the majority of these simple and perishable country churches were doubtless either destroyed or left in ruins. After the conversion of the Sueves and Goths to Catholicism, however, there is mention in the Church councils of the churches built by the wealthy people of Spain. (165) These churches, which were often erected on the large estates, ministered to the spiritual needs of the donor of the church and to the people of the surrounding country. By the year 633, when the fourth council of Toledo convened, these country churches had reached a high state of development. (166) This is evident from the disputes which arose at the time between bishops who claimed jurisdiction over the same parish, or between the bishop and the person who had endowed the church.

The monastic form of life which had begun in Spain as early as the fourth century received a powerful impetus after the conversion of the Goths in 589. As there are only sparse records of the Visigothic period there were doubtless more than the twenty-seven monasteries, which are known to have existed. (167) Some of the most distinguished churchmen of Visigothic Spain, such as Leander, John of Biclar, Julian, Ildefonse, Helladius, and John, the brother of Braulio, had formerly been monks. At the ninth council of Toledo in 655 there were present thirteen abbots. The Church councils not only gave their approval to the monastic life, but even allowed the bishops to aid financially in the erection of monasteries. (168) As is evident from the rules of St. Isidore, and St. Fructuosus, the two most noted monastic legislators of Visigothic Spain, the monasteries were situated in the country sections. Usually churches were attached [146] to the monasteries, (169) and were frequented by the people of the neighborhood. (170) As the hermit Valerius had destroyed the shrines of the idolatrous peasants, (171) so the presence of the monks in the solitary regions doubtless did away with much idolatry. Mention has already been made of the fact that Bishop Masona had succeeded in converting many pagans by means of his charitable deeds; (172) similarly the monasteries of Visigothic Spain, which were obliged to assist the poor, must have attracted to the Church many of the peasants who were still involved in the superstitious beliefs of pagan times.

The decline in the ecclesiastical discipline that was evident in the closing years of the seventh century in Spain must have hindered the development of the rural parishes and monasteries, and indirectly prevented the evangelization of the people of the country districts. It is significant that Egica in his address opening the sixteenth council of Toledo (693), which took action against the evil of idolatry, lamented the fact that many churches were without the services of priests and were in a dilapidated condition. (173) Similarly the breakdown in the monastic discipline of Galicia is reflected in the writings of Valerius, who found the monks consorting with magicians and taking part in nocturnal meetings and dances in the forests. But the destruction of the Visigothic kingdom by the Arabs in 712, and the scarcity of source material for the history of Spain in the eighth and ninth centuries make it impossible to judge how general was this decline in the country parishes and monasteries of Spain.


1. For the early history of the Visigoths, cf. M. Schönfeld, "Goti," Pauly-Wissowa, Supplementband, III. 797-802; L. Schmidt, Geschichte der deutschen Stämme bis zum Ausgang der Völkerwanderung, I, 256-324; A Vasiliev, The Goths in the Crimea, pp. 3-23.

2.Hydatii, Continuatio chronicorum hieronymianorum, passim; cf. H. Leclercq, L'Espagne chrétienne, pp. 213-274.

3.F. Dahn, Die Könige der Germanen, VI, 2 ed., 324; D. Uhlhorn, "Goten," Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche, VI, 772-779; H. Böhmer, "Wulfila," ibid., XXI, 548-558.

4.Cf. H. von Schubert, Staat und Kirche in den arianischen Königreichen und im Reiche Chlodwigs, pp. 48-56; G. Schnürer, Die Grundlagen der europäischen Volkergemeinschaft, p.60; X. Le Bachelet, "Arianisme," Dict. de théol. cath., I, ii, 1858.

5.L. Schmidt, Geschichte der deutschen Stämme bis zum Ausgang der Völkerwanderung, I, 174.

6.Idacius, op. cit., n. 174.

7.Sidonii Apollinaris epistulae et carmina. Ed. C. Loetjohann, MGH, Auct. ant., tomus VIII.

8.Cf. S. Dill, Roman Society in the Last Century of the Roman Empire, Book IV, Chapters 1 and 2.

9.Sid. Ap., epistulae, IV, 7; VII, 14.

10.Epistolae, VII, 6. The translation is that of O. M. Dalton, The Letters of Sidonius, II, 107, 108.

11.F. Görres, "Kirche und Staat un Westgotenreich von Eurich bis auf Leovigild," Theologische Studien und Kritiken, LXVI (1893), pp. 708-734, emphasizes the disloyalty of the Catholics in the kingdom of Toulouse. He bases this charge on the assertion of Gregory of Tours, Historia Francorum, II, 36, that the Catholics were eager to dethrone the reigning ruler, Alaric II. He overlooks the fact that Apollinaris, the son of Bishop Sidonius, fought with a number of other Catholics on the side of Alaric II in the battle of Vouglé. Cf. Gregory of Tours, ibid., II, 27.

12.'The standard edition of this code is by G. Haenel, Lex Romana Visigothorum; M. Conrat, Breviarium Alaricianum: Römisches Recht im frankischen Reich in systematischer Darstellung, groups the laws scattered throughout the code under logical headings with a convenient summary in German.

13.XVI, 5, 1.

14.XVI, 5, 2.

15.Novellae Theodosii, II, 3.

16.Historia de las instituciones de Ia España goda, III, 390.

17.Haenel, op. cit., p. XV.

18.Novellae Theodosii, II, 3, 8.

19.Pauli, Sententiae, I, 5, 6; 7; 8.

20."So hatten die Vorschriften der Lex Romana Visigothorum über die Verfolgung des Heidentums . . . naturgemäss territoriale Geltung für das ganze Reichsgebiet." -- K. Voigt, Kirche und Staat, p. 126.

21.Canon 21.

22.T. Ortolan, "Divination," Diet. de théol. cath., IV, ii, 1449.

23.F. Rocquain, "Les sorts des saints ou des apôtres," Bzbliothèque de l'école des chartes, XLI (1880), 457.

24."Sortilegi sunt, qui sub nomine fictae religionis per quasdam, quae sanctorum sortes vocant, divinationis scientiam profitentur, aut quarumcunque scripturarum inspectione futura promittunt." -- Etymologiae, VIII, 9, 28.

25.Isidore, Sententiae, I, 16.

26.Historia Francorum, III, 30.

27.Ibid., III, 10.

28.Isidore, Historia Gothorum, n. 45, p. 285.

29.Canons 11 and 12. Mansi, VIII, 614.

30."Legem quam non colis, blasphemare noli; nos vero quae creditis, et non credimus, non tamen blasphemamus; quia non deputatur crimine, si et illa et illa colantur. Sic enim vulgato sermone dicimus: Non esse noxium si inter gentilium aras et Dei eclesiam quis transiens utraque veneretur." Gregory: "Ut video, et gentilium defensorem, et hereticorum assertorem te esse manifestas, cum et eclesiastica dogmata maculas, et paganorum spurcitias praedicas adorani."-- Historia Francorum, V, 43. Translated by O. Dalton, History of the Franks, II, 216. Apropos of these words of Aiglan, we may quote G. Schnürer's criticism of the indifference of the Arian Germans, Die Grundlagen der europäischen Volkergemeinschaft, p. 62; "Bei den arianischen Germanen sehen wir keine Männer, die zu sitthcher Erneuerung anrufen und andere um sich sammeln, denen sie die Höhen sittlicher Vollkommenheit weisen."

31.A biography of Masona is given in the De vitis et miraculis patrum Emeritensium, Acta Sanctorum, tomus I, Chapters 9-20.

32.Ibid., p.342.

33."Jure etenim te [Thuribium] auctorem divini cultus in hac provincia nominabo. Putasne quanto tibi apud Deum maneat merces, cujus solertia vel instantia et idolatriae error abscessit . . . ?" -- Epistola Montani, Migne. P. L., LXV, 55.

34."Quibus visis [i. e., legates from Spain] ego soilctus eram, qualiter in ipsis Christianis, qui pauci in eo loco remanserant fides Christi ferveret?" -- Historia Francorum, VI, 18.

35."Diuturna indisciplinatio et licentiae inoilta praesumptio usque adeo illicitis ausibus aditum patefecit . . ." -- Canon 13 of the third council of Toledo. Mansi, IX, 998.

36.". . .dum et licentia abundaret transgrediendi et discipilnae optio negaretur dumque omnis excessus haeresis foveretur patrocinio." -- Canon 1 of the third council of Toledo. Mansi, IX, 996.

37."Quoniam pene per omniam Hispaniam sive Galliam idolatriae sacrilegium inolevit." -- Canon 16 of the third council of Toledo. Mansi, IX, 998.

38.Canon 23. Mansi, IX, 1000.

39.". . . quia ista consuetudo balandi de paganorum observatione remansit." -- Sermon 13 of Caesarius of Arles, Morin, p. 65. On the condemnation of dancing in church, cf. L. Gougaud, "La danse dans les égilses," Rev. d'hist. ecclés., XV (1914), 229-245; idem, "Danse," DACL, IV, i, 251-253.

40.". . . synodus ordinavit, ut omnis sacerdos in loco suo una cum judice territorii sacrilegium memoratum studiose perquirat, et exterminari inventa non differat; homines, vero, qui ad talem errorem concurrunt, salvo discrimine animae, qua potuerint animadversione coerceant; quod si neglexerint, sciant se utrique excommunicationis periculum esse subituros. Si qui vero domini extirpare hoc malum a possessione sua neglexerint vel familae suae prohibere noluerint, ab episcopo et ipsi a communione pellantur." -- Canon 16. Mansi, IX, 996, 997.

41.Cf. J. Palanque, "La conversion des paiens de l'empire," Filche et Martin, Histoire de l'église, III, 500-503; W. Boyd, The Ecclesiastical Edicts of the Theodosian Code, pp. 87-106.

42.Canon 15. Mansi IX, 1018. On refraining from work on Thursday in honor of Jupiter, see above, p. 94.

43.Cf. T. Mommsen, Römisches Strafrecht, pp. 78-81.

44."Hoc itaque propter ampliandam fidei catholicae disciplinam elegimus finiendum vel tenendum, ut si qui viri ac mulieres divinatores, quos dicunt esse caragios atque sorticularios, in cujuscunque domo Gothi, Romani, Syri, Graeci vel Judaei, fuerint inventi, aut qui ausus fuerit amodo in eorum vana carmina interrogare et non publice hoc voluerit annuntiare, pro hoc quod praesumpsit non solum ab Ecclesia suspendatur, sed etiam sex auri uncias comiti civitati inferat. Illi vero qui tali iniquitate repleti sunt et sortes et divinationes faciunt et populum praevaricando seducunt, ubi inventi vel inventae fuerint, seu liberi, seu servi, vel ancillae sint, gravissime publice fustigentur et venundentur et pretia ipsorum pauperibus erogentur." -- Canon 14. The name Syrian meant at this time any person from the East. Cf. H. Leclercq, "Les colonies des orientaux en Occident," DACL, IV, ii, 2266-2277.

45.On the fines in the later Roman empire, cf. J. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire from the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian I, 47-50. Among the Visigoths the comes civitatis was the military leader of the district and had judicial power in certain cases. V. Brunner-Schwerin, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, II, 220, 221.

46."Si episcopus quis, aut presbyter, sive diaconus, vel quilibet ex ordine clericorum, magos aut aruspices aut ariolos aut certe augures vel sortilegos vel eos qui profitentur artem aliquam, aut aliquos eorum similia exercentes, consulere fuerit deprehensus, ab honore dignitatis suae depositus, monasterii poenam excipiat, ibique perpetuae poenitentiae deditus scelus admissum sacrilegii luat." -- Canon 29. Mansi, X, 627.

47.Canon 11. On the pagan practices at the beginning of the year, see above, pp. 47, 95-98.

48."Jejunium Kalendarum Januariarum propter errorem gentilitatis instituit Ecclesia. . . . Sancti Patres considerantes maximam partem generis humani eodem die hujusmodi sacrilegiis ac luxuriis inservire, statuerunt in universo mundo per omnes Ecclesias publicum jejunium, per quod agnoscerent homines in tantum se prave agere, ut pro eorum peccatis necesse esset omnibus Ecclesiis jejunare." -- Chapter 41, Migne, P. L., LXXXIII, 774, 775.

49."Dilectissimi fratres, qui omnia idola gentium cum Psalmista daemonia esse creditis; illorum, quaeso, ut ritus et monstruos actus omnimodo respuamus; et si aliquem ex Ecclesiae filiis talia aut agere aut delectari prospicitis, vestra admonitione corripite, et ad viam salutis ab erronibus revocate, ut verba Dominicae orationis quae ipso Domino docente didicistis, et simul mecum et cum illis proclamare liberi possitis e terris dicentes, Pater noster, etc." -- Breviarium Gothicum, Migne, P. L., LXXXVI, 152, 153.

50.Canon 4. Mansi, X, 655.

51.See above, p. 40.

52.According to E. Vacandard, Vie de saint Ouen, pp. X-XV, the authors of these two lives are unknown.

53.Ibid., p. 82, n. 2.

54.The standard edition is by K. Zeumer, Leges Visigothorum, MGH, Legum, sect. I. For a study of Visigothic law, cf. H. Brunner, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, I, 481-496; Zeumer, "Geschichte der westgothischen Gesetzgebung," Neues Archiv, XXIII, ii (1898), 419-516; ibid., XXIV, i (1899), 39-122; XXIV, ii (1899), 571-630; ibid., XXVI, i (1901), 91-149; A. Ziegler, Church and State in Visigothic Spain, pp. 55-88.

55.Leg. Vis., VI, 2, 1.

56."Servi vero diverso genere tormentorum adflicti in transmarinis partibus transferendi vendantur . . ." - Loc cit. Just what place was meant by "in transmarinis partibus" cannot be determined.

57.Leg. Vis., VI, 2, 2.

58.See above, p. 41.

59.Cf. C. Lécrivain, "Veneficium," Darembeng-Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines, V, 713-715.

60.Brunner-Schwerin, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, II, 873-875.

61."Ideoque, quia quorundam interdum uxores, viros suos abominantes seseque adulterio polluentes, ita potionibus quibusdam vel maleficiorum factionibus eorundem virorum mentes alienant adque precipitant, ut nec agnitum uxoris adulterium accusare publice vel defendere valeant, nec ab eiusdem adultere coniugis consortio vel dilectione discedant . . ." -- Leg. Vis., III, 4, 13.

62."Si quis mulieri pregnanti potionem ad avorsum aut pro necando infante dederit, occidatur; et mulier, que potionem ad aborsum facere quesibit, si ancilla est, CC flagella suscipiat; si ingenua est, careat dignitate persone et cui iusserimus servitura tradatur." -- Leg. Vis., VI, 3, 1.

63."Hac primum ingenuos sive servos veneficos, id est, qui venena conficiunt, ista protinus vindicta sequatur, ut, si venenatam potionem alicui dederint, et qui biberit mortuus exinde fuerit, illi etiam continuo subpliciis subditi morte sunt turpissima puniendi. Si certe poculo veneni potatus evaserit, in eius potestate tradendus est ille, qui dedit, ut de eo facere quod voluerit..." -- Leg. Vis., VI, 2, 3.

64.Canon 2. Mansi, VIII, 613. There is, as far as is known, no other council in Spain or elsewhere which speaks of this ecclesiastical penalty.

65."Malefici vel inmissores tempestatum, qui quibusdam incantationibus grandines in vineis messibusque inmittere, peribentur, vel hii, qui per invocationem demonum mentes hominum perturbant . . ." -- Leg. Vis., VI, 2, 4.

66.IX, 13, 1.

67."Maleficii . . . ducentenis flagellis publice verberentur et decalvati deformiter decem convicinas possessiones circuire cogantur inviti, ut eorum alii corrigantur exemplis" -- Loc. cit.

68."Ut si maleficus vel sacrilegus in populo inventus fuenit, primum scalvetur, mittatur pice capiti eius, ponatur super asinum et batendo ducatur circiter per vicos . . ." -- MGH, Legum, sect. 5, p. 182.

69."Presentis legis superiori sententia damnari iubemus, seu ingenuus sit, sive servus utriusque sexus, qui in hominibus vel brutis animalibus omnique genere, quod mobile esse potest, seu in agris vel vineis diversisque arboribus maleficium aut diversa ligamenta, aut etiam scriptis in contrarietatem alterius excogitaverint facere aut expleverint, per quod alium ledere vel mortificare aut obmutescere vellint, ut damnum tam in corporibus quam etiam in universis rebus fecisse repperiuntur." -- Leg. Vis., VI, 2, 5. Isidore in the Etymologiae, VIII, 9, 30, condemns this form of magic: "Ad haec omnia pertinent et ligaturae execrabilium remediorum, quae ars medicorum condemnat, sive in praecantationibus, sive in characteribus, vel in quibuscumque rebus suspendendis atque ligandis." This form of magic was also condemned by Martin of Braga; see above, p. 103.

70."Si quis mortui sarcofacum abstulerit, dum sibi vult remedium habere, XII solidus iudice insistente heredibus mortui cogatur exsolvere." -- Leg. Vis., XI, 2, 2.

71.Leg. Vis., XI, 2, 1. Stealing things from a grave was always a serious crime in both the Roman and Germanic laws. V. Mommsen, Römisches Strafrecht, 812-822; Brunner-Schwerin, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, II, 878-880.

72."Necromantii sunt, quorum praecantationibus videntur resuscitati mortui divinare, et ad interrogata respondere." -- Ety., VIII, 9, 11.

73."Nam amare daemones sanguinem dicitur. Ideoque quotiens necroinantia fit, cruor aqua miscitur . . ." -- Loc. cit.

74.On the rites performed in necromancy, cf. T. Hopner, "Nekromantie," Pauly-Wissowa, XVI, 2219-2221; Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire de la divination, II, 334-340.

75.". . .comperimus aliquos presbyteros, aegritudine accedente, familiae Ecclesiae suae crimen imponere, dicentes ex ea homines aliquos maleficium sibi fecisse eosque sua potestate torquere et per multam impietatem detrimentare, et hoc emendari placuit per rectitudinem hujus sententiae. Instituentes igitur decernimus, ut si presbyter talia pati se dixerit, ad aures hoc sui perducat episcopi: ipse autem datis bonis hominibus ex latere suo judicem hoc jubeat quaerere, et si sceleris hujus causa fuerit inventa, ad cognitionem episcopi hoc reducant, et processa ex ore ejus sententia ita malum exstirpatum maneat, ne hoc quisquam alius facere praesumat. Si quis sententiae hujus ordinem non observaverit, excommunicationis sententia feriendus erit et a clero abjiciendus." -- Canon 15. Mansi, XI, 83, 84.

76.Continuatio isidoriana hispana, n. .34, ed. T. Mommsen, MGH, Auct. ant., XI, says: "Chindas Recesuintum licet flagitiosum tamen boni motum filium suum regni Gothorum proponit."

77.". . . quia annosa series temporum subtracta luce conciliorum non tam vitia auxerat quam matrem omnium errorum ignorantiam otiosis mentibus ingerebat." - Mansi. XI, 131.

78.". . . quia ecclesiastici conventus non aderat disciplina nec erat qui errantium corrigeret partes cum sermo divinus haberetur extorris . ." -- Loc. cit.

79."Dicere plura vellem si miseriarum pressura sineret." -- Epistola Ildefonsi, Migne, P. L., XCVI, 194.

80."Sed ita necessitas temporum vires atterit animorum, ut nec delectet vita propter imminentia mala." -- Ibid., col. 196.

81.Canon 2. Mansi, XI, 137, 138.

82.Canon 4.

83.Canon 6.

84.Canon 8.

85.Canon 10.

86."Ob hoc venerabilem paternitatis vestrae coetum cum lacrymarum effusione convenio, ut zelo vestri regiminis purgetur terra a contagio pravitatis." -- Leges Visigothorum, supplementa, p. 475.

87.Exodus, xx, 4.

88.Deut., xvii, 2-5.

89.". . .cultores idololorum, veneratores lapidum, accensores facularum et excolentes sacra fontium vel arborum, admomemus, ut agnoscant quod ipsi se spontaneae morti subjiciunt qui diabolo sacrificare videntur. Mortis enim nomen diabolus appelatur . . . ac proinde omne sacrilegium idolatriae vel quidquid illud est contra sanctam fidem in quo insipientes homines captivitati diabolicis culturis inserviant, sacerdotis vel judicis instantia, inventa haec sacrilegia eradantur et exterminata truncentur; eos vero qui ad talem horrorem concurrunt et verberibus coerceant et onustos ferro suis dominis tradant, si tamen domini eorum per jurisjurandi attestationem promittant se eos tam sollicite custodire, ut ultra illis non liceat tale nefas committere. Quod si domini eorum nolint hujusmodi reos in fide sua suscipere, tunc ab eis a quibus coerciti sunt, regiis conspectibus praesententur, ut principalis auctoritas liberam de talibus donandi potestatem obtineat: domini tamen eorum, qui nuntiatos sibi talium servorum errores ulcisci distulerint, et excommunicationis sententiam perferant, et jura servi illius quem coercere nolunt se amissise cognoscant. Quod si ingenuorum personae his erroribus fuerint implicatae, et perpetua excommunicationis sententia ferientur et arctiori exsilio ulciscentur." -- Canon 11.

90.See above, p. 117.

91.". . .Et quos [rnonachi] noverint esse latrones, homicidas, maleficos, adulteros, atque caetera diabolicae infanda crudelitatis opera exercentes, eos summi amoris affectione ex totoque corde charitatis connexione amplectuntur." -- Migne, P. L., LXXXVII, 438. A study of the autobiography of Valerius has been promised by Manuel Tomes, "Una olvidada autobiographia visigotica del siglo VII," Spanische Forschungen der Görresgesellschaft, erste Reihe, III, 439-449.

92."Sacerdos . . .vulgali ritu in obscena theatricae luxuriae vertigine rotabatur; dum circumductis huc illucque brachiis, alio in loco lascivos conglobans pedes, vestigiis ludibricantibus circuens tripudio compositis et tremuils gressibus subsiliens, nefaria cantilena mortiferae ballimatiae dira carmina canens, diabolicae pestis exercebat luxuriam." -- Migne, P. L., LXXXVII, 444. A. Capamany, "El baile y la danza," Folklore y costumbres de España, II, 170, cites this example to show the horror which the Visigoths felt towards profane dances.

93."Cumque in excelsi montis cacumine, stulta populi sacrilega caecitatis dementia profana daemonum delubra impie atque insipienter paganorum rita excoleret, fidelium Christianorum ope tandem probrosa obscenitas destruitur." -- Ibid., col. 447.

94.Ibid., col. 439.

95.See above, p. 7.

96."Quicumque ergo sacerdotum vel ministrorum deinceps causa cujuslibet doloris vel amaritudinis permotus aut altare divinum vestibus sacratis exuere praesumpserit, aut qualibet alia lugubri veste accinxerit, seu etiam si consueta luminariorum sacrorum obsequia de templo Dei subtraxenit vel exstingui praeceperit aut quodcunque lugubritatis in templo Dei induxerit atque, quod pejus est, occasionem nutrierit unde de templis Domini aut officia consueta desint . . . loci sui dignitate se noverit et honore privani." -- Canon 7. Mansi, XI, 1069, 1070.

97.C. 13, C. XXVI, q. 5. Ed. A. Fniedberg.

98.The document which the Visigothic ruler addressed to the assembly was known as the tomus. It was read to the council and the ruler ordinarily withdrew, as his presence at the rest of the proceedings was no longer necessary. V. Ziegler, op. cit., p. 42.

99."Quantis denique malis indignante Deo terra quotidie vapulet, quantisque plagis vel perfidorum sceleribus contabescat, paternitati vestrae non reor esse incognita." - Leg.Vis., Supplementa, p. 481. Continuatio isidoriana hispana, n. 46, speaks of a famine which took place during the reign of Erwig.

100."Interea id praecipue a vobis procurandum est, ut ubicumque idolatriam vel diversos diabolicae superstitionis errores repereritis aut qualibet relatione cognoveritis, ad destruendum tale facinus ut veri Christi cultores cum iudicibus quantocius insurgatis, et quaequae ad eadem idola a rusticis vel quibusque personis deferri inveneritis, tota vicinis conferenda inibi ecclesiis conferatis." -- Ibid., p. 482.

101.Canon 2. Mansi, XII, 72, 73.

102.Letter 47, CSEL, XXXIV, ii, 132; Migne, P. L., XXXVI, 876.

103.Registrum epistolarum, IX, 5, ed. L. Hartmann, and P. Ewald, MGH, Epistolarum, tomus III.

104."Dominus Deus omnipotens, qui omnia munda elegit, hoc uas ab omni pollutione emundet." -- Le liber ordinum, col. 171.

105.Ibid., col. 171, n. 2.

106. "Nam missam pro requie defunctorum promulgatam fallaci voto pro vivis student celebrare hominibus, non ob aliud, nisi ut is pro quo idipsum offertur sacrificium ipsius sacrosancti libaminis interventu mortis ac perditionis incurrat periculum, et quod cunctis datum est in salutis remedium illi hoc perverso instinctu quibusdam esse expetunt in interitum. Obinde nostrae elegit unanimitatis conventus, ut si quis sacerdotum deinceps talia perpetrasse fuerit detectus, a proprii deponatur ordinis gradu, et tam ipse sacerdos quam etiam ille qui eum ad talia peragenda incitasse perpenditur, exsilii perpetui ergastulo religati, excepto in supremo vitae curriculo, cunctis vitae suae diebus sacrae communionis eis denegetur perceptio, quam Domino se crediderunt fraudulento delibasse studio." -- Canon 5. This abuse is somewhat similar to the so-called Mass of St. Secaire, which, according to J. Frazer, The Golden Bough, I, 232, 233, was said at night by a priest desirous of having revenge upon his enemies.

107.Leg. Vis., VI, 1, 3. The manner in which this ordeal took place is described in the Leg. Vis. Additamentum, p. 463.

108.Cf. E. Vacandard, "L'église et les ordalies," Études de critique et d'histoire religieuse, II, 191; A. Michel, "Ordalies," Dict. de théol. cath., XI, 1141.

109.Westgothische Studien, pp. 285, 286.

110.Uber nähere Verwandtschaft zwischen gotisch-spanischem und norwegischisländischem Recht, p. 455 ff.

111.Leg. Vis., Supplements, pp. 476, 477.

112."Quia et jurisjurandi transgressio granditer inolevit." -- Canon 10.

113.Canon 6.

114.Cf. Vacandard, op. cit., p. 195; Brunner-Schwerin, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, II, 540.

115.". . . ad restauranda antiquorum monumenta ne usquequaque rusticitate veterasceremus." -- Vita Isidori, Migne, P. L., LXXXI, 16, 17.

116."Gentilium libros . . . monachus legere caveat, melius est enim eorum perniciosa dogmata ignorare quam per experientiam in aliquem laqueum erroris incunrere." -- Migne, P. L., LXXXIII, 877.

117."Non enim solum thura offerendo daemonibus immolatur, sed etiam eorum [poetarum] dicta libentius capiendo." -- Chapter 13, Migne, P. L., LXXXIII, 686.

118."Meliores esse grammaticos quam haereticos . . . grammaticonum autem doctnina potest etiam proficere ad vitam, dum fuenit in meliores usus assumpta." -- Ibid., col. 688.

119.For a brief discussion of Isidone's attitude towards pagan letters, cf. M. Roger, L'enseignement des lettres classiques d'Ausone à Alcuin, pp. 195-201.

120."Quidam autem poetae Theologici dicti sunt, quoniam de dils carmina faciebant." -- Ety., VIII, 7, 9.

121."Ignorantia mater omnium errorum et ignorantia vitioruin nutrix. . .Indoctus facile decipitur."-- Liber synonymarum, II, 65, Migne, P. L., LXXXIII, 860.

122.Cf. Roger, op. cit., p. 200.

123. "Neque enim earum rerum naturam noscere superstitiosa scientia est, si tantum sana sobriaque doctnina considenentur." -- Migne, P. L., LXXXIII, 964. The critical edition of this work is by G. Becker. (Berlin, 1837).

124.Chapter 23.

125.See Above, p. 123.

126."Non illam, ut populi credunt, nigrantibus antris,
Inferas ululans mulier praedira sub umbras
Detrahit, altiuago speculo nec carmina uicta
Uelato Stygias mortalis transit in undas
Uincibilem petit clangorem . . ."
--Poetae latini minores, ed. E. Baehrens, V, 358.
The custom of making a noise at the time of an eclipse is found among primitive people. V. F. Boll, "Finsternisse," Pauly-Wissowa, VI, 11, 2332. Boese, Superstitiones a Caesario collectae, pp. 18, 28, 52, 73, 74, cites the various preachers of late antiquity, such as Maximus of Turin, Caesarius of Arles, etc., who censure the pagan practices at the time of an eclipse.

127.Chapter 21. Isidore's explanation of the eclipse is taken from Hyginus, Astronomica, IV, 14, ed. T Muncker, Mythographi latini.

128."Cometes stella est dicta eo quo comas luminis ex se fundat. Quod genus sideris quando apparuerit, aut pestilentiam, aut famem, aut bella significat." -- Ety., III, 71, 16.

129.Cf. H. Lesêtne, "Comète," Dict. de la bible, II, 876, 877.

130."Postremo et [medicus] astronomiam notam habebit per quam contempletur rationem astrorum et mutationem temporum: nam, sicut ait quidam medicorum, cum ipsorum qualitatibus et nostra corpora mutantur." -- Ety., IV, 13, 4. The physician here referred to is probably Erasistratus. V. O. Probst, "Isidors Schrift de Medicina," Archiv für Geschichte der Medicin, VIII (1914), 38. This work was known to Isidore through the Quaestiones medicinales, translated by Caelius Aurulius, ed. A. Rose, Anecdota Graeca, II,115-167.

131.Op. cit., p. 38.

132.See above, p. 122.

133.Ety., III, 27. Isidore elsewhere defines the meaning of the term astrologer: "Astrologi dicti, eo quod in astris auguriantur. . . . Geneses enim hominum per duodecim caeli signa descnibunt, siderumque cursu nascentium mores, actus, eventa praedicare conantur, id est, quis quale signo fuenit natus, aut quem effectum habeat vitae qui nascitur." -- Ety., VIII, 9, 22-24.

134.Ety., VIII, 9.

135."Itaque haec vanitas magicarum artium ex traditione angelorum malorum in toto terrarum orbe plurimis saeculis valuit." -- Ety., VIII, 9, 3.

136.See above, p. 121.

137."In quibus omnibus ars daemonum est ex quadam pestifera societate hominum et angelorum malorum exorta. Unde cuncta vitanda sunt a Christiano, et omni penitus execratione repudianda atque damnanda." -- Ety., VIII, 9, 31.

138.Cf. L. Thorndike, The History of Magic and Experimental Science, I, 626-632.

139."Ratio numeri contemnenda non est. In multis enim sanctarum scripturarum locis quantum mysterium habent elucet." -- Ety., III, 4, 1. On the use of allegory in regard to numbers, cf. H. Lesêtre, "Symbolisme des nombres," Dict. de la bible, IV, 1692-1694.

140.Thorndike, op. cit., I, 629.

141."Non promoventur ad sacerdotium . . . qui inscii litterarum sunt." -- Canon 19. The word sacerdotium evidently refers to the episcopate, since a few sentences later in this same canon there is mention of the consecration of a bishop.

142."Sciant igitur sacerdotes Scripturas sanctas et canones." -- Canon 25. Isidore, Ety., VII, 11, 21, thus explains the meaning of sacerdotes: "Ideo autem et presbyteri sacerdotes vocantur, quia sacrum dant, sicut episcopi. . . ."

143.Canon 26.

144.Férotin, Liber ordinum, col. 55.

145.Canon 24.

146.Cf. A. Dufourcq, Histoire de l'église, II, 99.

147.Cf. P. Forget, "Exorcisme," Dict. de théol. cath., V, 1770-1775. On the blessings and exorcisms of the Visigothic church, cf. F. Cabrol, "Mozarabe liturgie," DACL, XII, 479-483.

148."Impetum uero demonum uel incursiones spirituum inmundorum atque legiones et umbras, et impugnationes demonum uel inmissiones, artes quoque maleficiorum Caldeorum aut auguriorum, et diuinorum incantationes uenena promiscua et que per spiritum inmundum et uirtutem nefandam uel exercitu diabolico efficiuntur, iubeas, Domine, per hanc inuocationem tuam ab imis uisceribus eorum omnia expelli uenena . . ." -- Liber ordinum, col. 11.

149.Ibid., col. 8, n. 2.

150."Per ipsum Dominum nostrum Ihesum te adiuro ut efficiaris exorcizatus sal in salutem credentium, et ubicumque fueris asparsus, omnes uersutias diaboli ab eo loco expellas. Si in domibus, si in parietibus, si in fundamentis domorum, uel ubicumque tetigeris, aut quicumque te gustauerit, mox ab eodem loco diabolus confusus discedat . . ." - Ibid., col. 16.

151.Ibid., col. 12, n. 1.

152. See above, p. 101.

153. Liber ordinum, col. 166, n. 2.

154. Ibid., col 167, n. 1.

155. "Deprecamur Domine clementiam pietatis tuae . . . ex eo [puteo] fugare digneris omnem diabolice temtationis incursum." - Ibid., col. 172.

156. Ibid., col. 171, n. 3.

157. See above, p. 103.

158.Liber ordinum, col. 110, n. 2.

159.". . .nulla uis diaboli uisitatione obsideat, nulla malignorum spirituum fictione conmaculare uel obripere audeat." -- Ibid., col. 118.

160.Ibid., col. 117, n. 1.

161.See above, p. 105.

162."Non eum [id, scil. rete] sinas aduersantium arte aliqua inligare, nec uerbis incantantium pessimis inretiri." -- Liber ordinum, col. 174.

163.Ibid., col. 93, n. 1.

164.See above, p. 99.

165.Cf. II Braga (571), c. 6; III Toledo (589), c. 15; IV Toledo (633), canons 33 and 35; IX Toledo (655), canons 1 and 2.

166.Canons 33-37 of the fourth council of Toledo. On the legislation of this council regarding rural parishes, cf. P. Séjourné, Saint Isidore de Seville: son rôle dans l'histoire du droit canonique, pp. 233-237.

167.Villada, Historia eclesiástica de España, II, i, 163, bases this number of monasteries in Visigothic Spain on the writings of Isidore, Ildefonse, the life of St. Fructuosus, written by a contemporary, and the number of abbots who were present at the councils of Toledo.

168.The third council of Toledo (589), c. 4, permitted the bishop to establish a monastery.

169.The Council of Lerida (524), c. 3, speaks of a church attached to a monastery; the seventh council of Toledo (646), c. 4, declares that monastic churches were exempt from the bishop in temporal matters.

170.R. Bidagor, La 'iglesia pro pria' en España, Analecta Gregoriana, IV (1933), 62, 63.

171.See above, p. 131.

172.See above, p. 115.

173."Deinde, quia comperimus, quod multae Dei basilicae in dispersis locis parochiarum vestrarum constitutae, dum ad unius respiciunt ordinationem presbyteri, nec assidua in eis Domino sacrificia delibantur, et destitutae remanent atque sine tectis vel semirutae fore noscuntur." - Tomus Egicae, Leg. Vis., Supplementa, p. 482.

By Stephen McKenna, from "Paganism and Pagan Survivals in Spain up to the Fall of the Visigothic Kingdom".


1 comment:

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