Reccared was also known as:
Recared; it is sometimes mispelled as Reccarred or Recarred
Reccared was known for:
Converting from Arian Christianity to Catholicism, and thereby uniting the disparate peoples of Visigothic Spain under one official religion.
Places of Residence and Influence:
Reccared's father, Leovigild, had conducted successful campaigns to expand the Visigothic kingdom in the Iberian peninsula. As a young man, Reccared proved himself to be a skilled warrior in some of these campaigns, most notably those against the Franks. The result of Leovigild's conquest was a heterogenous Spain, inhabited by Visigoths, Suebi and other Germanic peoples, and the Hispano-Romans: those whose families had lived in Spain from the time it had been part of the western empire.
Leovigild was an extreme Arian Christian, and when Reccared's brother Hermenegild converted to Catholicism, the strain between father and son resulted in Hermenegild's tragic martyrdom. Reccared managed to avoid becoming embroiled in the dispute, and upon his father's death in 586, he succeeded to the throne without opposition.
The new king recognized that a large portion of the mixed population of Visigothic Spain was Catholic. With this in mind, he attended the Third Council of Toledo in 589. There he read a profession of faith, repudiating Arianism and accepting Catholicism instead. Evidently, Reccared was personally devoted to his new faith, having been influenced by the same man who had been involved with his brother's conversion, St. Leander of Seville.
But Reccared's conversion was also politically advantageous. With their king professing Catholicism, many Visigoths converted from the Arian form of Christianity to the Catholic. There was some opposition, of course, and Reccared found it necessary to suppress some Arian revolts; but, ultimately, Visigothic Spain became a strongly unified state with Catholicism as its official religion. Hispano-Romans, who as Catholics had previously looked to the Eastern Roman Empire to stand against the Arian Visigoths, now developed a strong loyalty to Reccared and his successors.
Although he was evidently a fine military leader, Reccared did not pursue his father's policy of expansion. He did repulse Frankish invasions, and for a time he became involved in a war with the Basques; but, for the most part, Reccared sought peace. He put a stop to the conflict with the Byzantine Empire (at least, during his reign), and he built Byzantine-style churches and followed court traditions similar to those of Eastern Rome.
Some scholars believe that Reccared made more changes to Visigothic law than his father or even Euric, who had been renowned for modifying the Visigothic code. Unfortunately, no direct documentary evidence supports this assertion, and the conclusion can only be inferred at this time.
Reccared died in 601 C.E., and was succeeded by his son, Liuva II.
More Reccared Resources:
Reccared in Print
Visigothic Spain 409 - 711
(A History of Spain)
by Roger Collins
Law and Society in the Visigothic Kingdom
(Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Third Series)
by P. D. King
Reccared on the Web
Concise bio at Infoplease.
Entry from the Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies, at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
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