Witteric

Witteric

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Witteric was Visigothic King
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

 of Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

, Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

 and Galicia
Kingdom of Galicia
The Kingdom of Galicia was a political entity located in southwestern Europe, which at its territorial zenith occupied the entire northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Founded by Suebic king Hermeric in the year 409, the Galician capital was established in Braga, being the first kingdom which...

 from 603 to 610.

The first mention of Witteric in history was as a conspirator with bishop Sunna de Mérida to reestablish Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 in 589. While Sunna was sent into exile, it is unknown what happened to Witteric. In the spring of 602, Witteric was given command of the army with the job of repulsing the Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. However, when it came time to expel the Byzantines, Witteric instead led his troops against king Liuva II
Liuva II
Liuva II, youthful son of Reccared, was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from 601 to 603. He succeeded Reccared at only eighteen years of age....

 (Spring 603), counting on the support of a faction of nobles in opposition to the dynasty of Leovigild. He invaded the royal palace and deposed the young king. Witteric cut off the king's right hand and later had him condemned and executed (Summer 603).

During his reign the Visigoths fought the Byzantines, although Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

 is dismissive of Witteric's accomplishments, writing that "although he frequently fought battles against the Roman soldiers, he did not win any adequate glory except for capturing some soldiers at Sagunto
Sagunto
Sagunto or Sagunt is an ancient city in Eastern Spain, in the modern fertile comarca of Camp de Morvedre in the province of Valencia. It is located in a hilly site, c. 30 km north of Valencia, close to the Costa del Azahar on the Mediterranean Sea...

 with the help of his generals." The campaign against Sagunto probably took place in 605. It was probably during his reign, as well, that Bigastrum (near Cartago Nova) was taken, for its bishop appears in a council of Toledo
Councils of Toledo
Councils of Toledo . From the 5th century to the 7th century, about thirty synods, variously counted, were held at Toledo in what would come to be part of Spain. The earliest, directed against Priscillianism, assembled in 400. The "third" synod of 589 marked the epoch-making conversion of King...

 in 610.

In the twelfth year of his reign, king Theodoric II sent bishop Aridius of Lyons and the constable Eborin to ask Witteric for his daughter's hand in marriage. Although the envoys gave their word that she would not be disowned by Theodoric, and she was received by Theodoric in Chalon-sur-Saône
Chalon-sur-Saône
Chalon-sur-Saône is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.It is a sub-prefecture of the department. It is the largest city in the department; however, the department capital is the smaller city of Mâcon....

, the regent (the queen-grandmother) Brunhilda and Theodoric's sister Teudila (or Teudilana) alienated him from her. Theodoric then disgraced her by sending her back without her dowry. Incensed, Witteric entered into a quadruple alliance with Theodobert II of Austrasia, Clotaire II of Neustria, and Agilulf
Agilulf
Agilulf called the Thuringian, was a duke of Turin and king of the Lombards from 591 until his death.-Biography:A relative of his predecessor Authari, he was selected king on the advice of the Christian queen and widow of Authari, Theodelinda, whom he then married...

 of the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 to effect his deposition and death. Despite their mutual fear of Theodoric, their alliance did not accomplish anything; according to Fredegar
Chronicle of Fredegar
The Chronicle of Fredegar is a chronicle that is a primary source of events in Frankish Gaul from 584 to around 641. Later authors continued the history to the coronation of Charlemagne and his brother Carloman on 9 October 768....

, "Theuderic got wind of it [the alliance] but treated it with utter contempt."

In April 610, a faction of Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 nobles assassinated him during a banquet, and had his body dragged ignominiously through the streets. The nobles then proclaimed Gundemar
Gundemar
Gundemar was a Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia .Gundemar continued a policy of amity with Clotaire II of Neustria and Theodobert II of Austrasia. To this end, he sent grand sums of money to support their cause against their relative Theuderic II of Burgundy...

, duke of Narbonne, king.