Recceswinth rĕkˈəswĭnth [key], d. 672, Visigothic king of Spain (653–72). He was the son of Chindaswinth, who in 649 admitted him to joint rule. Recceswinth succeeded to the throne without election, thereby violating the Visigothic tradition enjoining election of the king by the nobility. Almost immediately he was faced by an insurrection. Although he conquered the rebellious nobles, he nevertheless compromised by rejecting the principle of hereditary succession at the Eighth Council of Toledo. Like his father, he advocated a policy of assimilation between his Visigothic and Spanish-Roman subjects. Considered one of the greatest Visigothic lawmakers, Recceswinth completed and promulgated (c.654) the law code begun by his father to replace the Breviary of Alaric of 506. Known as the Liber iudiciorum and later as the Liber or Forum iudicum, its 12 books fused Roman and Germanic law and were binding on both populations. The compilation was the basis of Spanish medieval law and served for centuries as a widely used legal handbook.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Spanish and Portuguese History: Biographies