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Gundemar, a man of considerable A. D.
note among the Visigoths, and one of 610.
the leaders of the late rebellion, was next elected to fill the vacant throne.
He studied, from the very commencement of his reign, to maintain an amicable correspondence with the Franks; and it has been asserted, that he purchased their friendship by an annual pension: yet it is certain that he possessed much personal bravery, and his successful expeditions against the Gascons and Imperialists, have entitled him to a considerable share of military reputation. He died in his own dominions, after a short reign of less than two years, and was universally regretted on account of his piety, courage, and unfeigned patriotism. A. D.
The regal dignity was now conferred 612.
upon a person of the name of Sisebut,
who to many natural virtues added the accomplishments and advantages of sound erudition. The beginning of his reign was disturbed by two insurrections, one of the Ruçons, and the other of the Asturians; but the rebels were soon reduced to obedience, and their sub. jugation gave great celebrity to the arms of the new monarch.
Shortly after this occurrence, Sisebut conceived the intention of reducing all that part of the country which still remained in the hands of the Imperialists; and his successes on this occasion were so brilliant, that the patrician Cesarius found it expedient to request a cessation of arms, and Heraclius, the Greek emperor, was easily persuaded to ratify a treatỹ, by which he relinquished all his Spanish posses
sions, except Algarve, on the coast of the Mediterranean. Elated with his triumph over the Imperialists, Sisebut resolved to chastise the inhabitants of the opposite coast of Africa, who had committed various piracies in his territories, and accordingly made a powerful descent on Mauritania, part of which he reduced, and left under the care of his own troops. This was the last great action performed by this prince, for he was soon after summoned by the angel of death, in the tenth year, of his reign.
Anxious to demonstrate their grati. A. D. tude for the beneficial effects which had resulted from Sisebut's administration,
621. the nobility determined to set his son upon the vacant throne, and accordingly caused him to be proclaimed by the name of Recared the Second. This prince appears to have been the exact counterpart of his excellent father, and, though a minor, he gave such convincing proofs of his prudence and amiable disposition, that the whole nation exulted in the anticipation of those pleasures which they should, in all probability, enjoy beneath his protection; but he had scarcely borne the regal title four months before he was attacked with an indisposition which proved fatal, and involved the kingdom of the Visigoths in general regret and mourning. When the first emotions of sorrow
A. D. had subsided, and the nobility began to
621. reflect on the impolicy of leaving their nation without a master, Suintila, an illegitimate son of Recared I. was placed on the throne; and the commencement of his reign was equally calculated to render his subjects happy, and himself respectable. He also acVOL. XV.
quired much celebrity by the zeal and ability with which he repulsed an invasion of the Gas cons; and by his subsequent expulsion of the Imperialists he became sole monarch of Spain, an honour which several of his predecessors had thirsted for, but none of them had ever at tained.
Suintila had no sooner gained the affections of his people, and prevailed on the nobility to admit the association of his son, Ricimer, in the government, than he laid aside all his virtues, and assumed the behaviour of a haughty, voluptuous, and sanguinary tyrant. The nobles, who had raised him to the throne, were treated with contempt; the lower orders were rendered completely wretched by numerous and exorbitant taxes; and the most unwarrantable cruel. ties were exercised upon all who presumed to remonstrate against these arbitrary proceedings.
In this posture of affairs, Sisenand, governor of the Gothic territories in Gaul, formed the design of subverting his master's government, and presenting himself as a candidate for the
Accordingly, having procured some forces from Dagobert, king of France, he made an irruption into Spain, and took possession of Saragossa. Upon the first intelligence of this revolt, Suintila put himself at the head of his army, and made the necessary dispositions for a decisive engagement: but he had the mortification to hear his competitor saluted king by his own troops, and he was consequently reduced to the sad necessity of consulting his personal safety by an ignominious flight, whilst Sisenand marched in triumph to Toledo, and took pos
session of the throne to the general satisfaction of the whole nation. The commencement of this reign was
A.D. disturbed by some disputes respecting
632. the remuneration which had been promised to Dagobert, and by some vile artifices of Geilan, Suintila's brother; but the former were happily terminated, and the latter, instead of effecting their design, fell upon the head of the faithless projector, who, being stripped of his honours and estates, passed the remainder of his life in unpitied wretchedness.
In the third year of his reign, Sisenand summoned a council at Toledo; in which, among various other matters, it was enacted, that Suintila and his children should be incapable of any public office, and that all their goods and estates should be confiscated, excepting such as his majesty should, in his private capacity, bestow upon them for their subsistence. The future acts of Sisenand are passed over in silence : but it appears that he died a natural death, after holding the reins of government for rather more than five years. Chintila was next invested with the
A. D. sovereignty; and a council was held at
696. Toledo for regulating the political and ecclesiastical affairs of the kingdom. A royal edict was also promulgated, by which all the Jews resident in Spain were required to embrace the Christian faith, or immediately to quit the country. This edict rendered the king extremely popular among his catholic subjects, and in the sixth council of Toledo, he received the compliments of the assembly upon that subject. He appears to have swayed the sceptre with N 2
great moderation, and the generality of the people were so perfectly satisfied with his conduct, that prayers were incessantly offered, and vows were frequently made for his health and prosperity; but he died in less than four years after his elevation to the throne,
Chintila had no sooner submitted to A. D.
the mortal condition, than his son Tul640
ga succeeded to his dignities, with the unanimous consent of the nation. This prince appears to have inherited all the virtues of his father ; but, on account of his youth, he was incapable of correcting the abuses which had begun to overspread his dominions, and, after some deliberation, the principal nobility judged it expedient to depose him, and to bestow the diadem upon a person of mature age and abilities. Accordingly, the young king was secluded in a monastery, and Chindasuintho, a venerable statesman, was appointed to terminate those disorders which seemed to threaten the extinction of the Gothic monarchy.
This revolution was not effected withA.D.
out much commotion, and some effu642.
sion of blood; but Chindasuintho resolved to maintain his new title by force, and eventually compelled all the inhabitants of Spain to acknowledge him as their lawful sovereign. In the sixth year of this reign a council was held at Toledo, in which some canons were made for the security of the king's person and government, and the terrors of perpetual excommunication were levelled against all persons who should either revolt from their allegiance, or apply for foreign aid against the existing administration. About the same time, a young