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of Austrasia and Brunhildis. At the age of thirteen she was wedded to Hermenegild. This marriage was destined to have the most unhappy results. The daughter of Brunhildis was fated to be as much the cause of woe to Spain as her mother had been to Gaul. She had been reared in Austrasia as a Catholic, and, in spite of her tender age, refused to conform to the Arian creed of the Visigoths. If the Frankish chronicles are to be believed, she was subjected to the most violent treatment by her grandmother Godiswintha, to force her to abandon the orthodox faith. But though beaten, starved, and flung into a fish-pond, she still refused to renounce the faith of her childhood. At last Leovigild, tired of the perpetual disputes between his wife and his daughter-in-law, which made his palace unbearable, sent off Hermenegild to Seville to govern part of Andalusia. This step proved most unfortunate. The young prince fell entirely under the influence of his wife and of his mother's brother, Leander bishop of Seville. Won over by their pleadings, he sessmen of declared himself a Catholic, and was rebaptized, Hermenegild, and received into the orthodox church. He 580. knew that his conversion would bring on him his father's wrath, and the loss of his prospect of succeeding to the Visigothic crown, But he was unwilling to suffer degradation meekly, and promptly proclaimed himself king, allied himself with the Suevi and the East-Romans, and called the orthodox to arms all over Spain. Leovigild had never had to face a more dangerous crisis. The rebellion of his son had called out against him all the elements of disorder in the peninsula. The Suevi swarmed down the Douro; the Imperialists reoccupied Cordova; Merida, Seville, and Evora hailed Hermenegild as king; and the discontented provincials, headed by their bishops, began to stir all over the country. It is the greatest testimonial to Leovigild's abilities that he knew how to deal with all these dangers. First, he turned against the incipient rebellion in the north, and put it down by banishing or
imprisoning some dozen bishops, and by defeating in battle
Leovigild then turned against the Suevi, overran their whole country, and captured their last king, Andica, whom he interned in a monastery. Thus the rebellion of Hermenegild had not only failed to ruin the Gothic state, but had actually led to the subjection of the troublesome neighbour-kingdom in the north-west, which had hitherto escaped the Visigothic sword.
Hermenegild's fate was destined to be a sad one. His father promised to restore him to his former place if he would abandon the orthodox faith, but he steadfastly refused, and was presently cast into prison. But chains had no more effect on his constancy than prayers and promises. His father grew angry, and bade him expect the worst if he persisted in his obstinacy. On Easter Day 585, he sent an Arian bishop to administer the sacrament to the prisoner. Hermenegild drove the heretical prelate from his cell with cries and
imprecations. The news was brought to his father, who, in moment of ungovernable rage, like that which induced our Execution of 9" Henry II. to order the death of Becket, bade Hermenegild, his guards seize and behead his inflexible son.
585. So perished Hermenegild, whom after-genera
tions, forgetting his undutiful rebellion, and remembering only his constancy in the orthodox faith, saluted as a saint. His wife and infant son were sent to Constantinople by the Roman governor of Malaga. Ingunthis died on the voyage, but the boy, Athanagild, lived and died obscurely at the court of the emperor Maurice. Leovigild had now to face the wrath of the Franks. Guntram, the uncle, and Theudebert, the brother of Ingunthis, took arms to avenge her husband's execution. They sent a fleet to land a force in Galicia, and raise the newly-conquered Suevi, while a Burgundian army entered Septimania, and attacked Nismes and Carcassonne. But Leovigild's military skill and constant good fortune in war did not fail him. While he himself cut to pieces the army which had landed in Galicia, his son, Reccared, drove the Burgundians out of Septimania, with the loss of their general and half their army. Father and son met in triumph at Toledo, but the hardships of a winter campaign had been too much for Leovigild, who died soon after his return to his capital, on the 13th of April 586, a year to the very day from the date of his eldest son's execution, a coincidence which the orthodox did not fail to point out as marking the wrath of heaven. Leovigild, some time before his death, had induced the Visigoths to elect his second son, Reccared, as his colleague, and to salute him as king. There was, therefore, no tumultuous election or civil war when the old king died, and his heir quietly took his place. Reccared was destined to set his mark on the history of the Visigothic kingdom no less firmly than his father had done. If Leovigild saved the state from anarchy by his strong arm, Reccared set it on a new and altered course of existence, and introduced a new element
into its political and religious life by the great change which is connected with his name—the conversion of the Visigoths to the Orthodox faith. Reccared was the son Reccared, of a Roman mother, but, unlike his brother 586-601. Hermenegild, he never showed any discontent with Arianism in his father's lifetime. No sooner, however, was the old man dead than his successor began to take steps which threw the Arians into a state of excitement and apprehension. He summoned Catholic and Arian bishops before him, and many times bade them dispute in his presence on the mysteries of the Trinity. This he did more to prepare the people for the coming change than because he was himself in any doubt as to his future conduct. Reccared thoroughly grasped the fact that the Visigothic state would never be established on a really firm basis as long as the governing caste were separated from the bulk of their subjects by the fatal barrier of religion. The Goths were too few to amalgamate the provincials with themselves, and had shown no signs of wishing to do so. But if no such amalgamation took place, the Gothic monarchy was doomed to disappear some day in a political convulsion, when the moment should come that found no strong and capable ruler on the throne. Leovigild had only staved off such a crisis by prodigies of activity and courage. Now Reccared had made up his mind that the Arianism of the Goths was more a matter of conservative adherence to ancestral prejudices and of race-pride, than of real conviction or fanatical faith. He thought that if the king led the way, and if mild and cautious changes were made, without any sudden blow or attempt at enforced conformity, his countrymen might insensibly be led within the pale of the Catholic church. The course of events proved that he was entirely right; and the conversion of the nation was managed all the more surely because it was carried out by a cautious and unemotional statesman, and not by an enthusiastic saint. The completion of Reccared's scheme occupied the years 586-88. When he declared himself a Catholic, and accepted the solemn blessing of his uncle, the Metropolitan of Seville, the greater part of his comitatus followed his example. In quick succession many Gothic counts, and a large portion of The gear the Arian episcopate conformed to orthodoxy. turn Catholic, The Church on its side made the change easy, 587. by not insisting on any new baptism of the converts. It was enough if they attended a Catholic place of worship, and received the blessing of an orthodox priest. It was not to be expected, however, that so momentous a change would pass over the country without provoking trouble. There were many Goths, both clergy and laymen, who viewed Arianism as the sacred religion of their ancestors, and the badge of their conquering race. Three rebellions broke out in quick succession, in regions as far apart as Septimania and Lusitania, while the king's step-mother Godiswintha and bishop Athaloc, the chief of the Arian clergy, placed, themselves at the head of the rising. But the greater part of the Visigoths looked on in apathy, and allowed a small body of fanatics to fight out the question of religion with the king. The Arians were put down, and gave no further trouble. The whole sect seems to have melted away in a few years, and ere long the Visigoths were as proud of their Catholicism as they had once been of their heterodoxy. While Reccared was busy with the suppression of the Arian rebels, the Frankish king Guntram of Burgundy thought that a good opportunity had arisen for conquering Septimania. He sent a great army down the Rhone, but near Narbonne it was completely defeated by Reccared's general, duke Claudius, the first man of Roman blood who had ever been promoted to high rank by a Visigothic king. This was the last time that a Frankish conquest of Septimania was ever seriously attempted (589). Reccared reigned for twelve years more, with great good fortune both at home and abroad. He subdued the Basques, kept the Imperialists penned in to their line of harbours along