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Leovigild

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This profile of Leovigild is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Leovigild was also known as:

Leuvichild, Liuvigild; in Spanish, Leovigildo

Leovigild was known for:

Expanding and consolidating the Visigothic kingdom in Spain.

Occupations:

Places of Residence and Influence:

Important Dates:

Succeeds to the throne with his brother: 568
Conquers Leon and Zamora: 569
Becomes sole king: 572
Takes Seville: 583
Died: April or May, 586

About Leovigild:

Leovigild was a highly successful military leader whose conquests would expand Visigothic territory in Spain considerably. Upon the death of his brother Athanagild in 567, Leovigild and his other brother, Liuva, succeeded to the throne and co-ruled for four years. Liuva ruled primarily in Septimania, but died in 572. Leovigild would then rule all of Visigothic Spain alone for another 14 years.

The dynamic ruler began expanding early in his reign. In 569 he conquered Leon and Zamora, which had been held by the Suebi in the northwest portion of the Iberian Peninsula. And from 571 to 572 he campaigned successfully to take Córdoba from the Byzantines.

Leovigild was an Arian Christian, so when his son Hermenegild married Ingund, the Catholic daughter of the Frankish king Sigebert, and then converted to Catholicism himself, trouble followed. Leovigild's Catholic enemies supported Hermenegild against his father, and so the king had to defend Spain on multiple fronts. Yet Leovigild would not be defeated. He eventually conquered all of the Suebi and annexed their territory to his own.

As for his son, according to the Dialogi of Pope Gregory the Great, Leovigild proved to be a harsh and unforgiving father. After tricking and capturing Hermenegild in Cordoba, he sent an Arian bishop to his son in prison on Easter Eve with the promise that all would be forgiven if he would simply take Holy Communion from the bishop. Hermenegild refused, for to do so would be to reject his Catholic faith; and so he was beheaded the next day, Easter Sunday, 585.

Leovigild died a year later, sometime in April or May. He was succeeded by his last remaining son, Reccared -- who, ironically enough, would convert to Catholicism, putting an end to Arianism in Visigothic Spain.

More Leovigild Resources:

Leovigild on the Web

Leovigild, Arian king of the Visigoths
Substantive bio at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Visigoths
Early Europe
Medieval Iberia
Spain



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