Alaric II°

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ALARIC II ° (485–507), Visigothic king. Alaric ii was a strong and prudent ruler of the Visigoths, who had established themselves in Spain and southern France on the breakdown of the western Roman Empire. The Visigoths had adopted Arian Christianity, a form which their orthodox Roman subjects hated as heretical. Probably because of this the rulers were inclined to favor their Jewish subjects, though the only known details are what can be culled from the Visigothic laws. In 506 Alaric issued a shortened compendium of the Roman Codex Theodosianus of the middle of the fifth century, known as the Breviarium Alariciense. In this the laws affecting Jews were reduced from over 50 to 10, omitting many which were contradictory. Those forbidding violence against Jews were also omitted, not from anti-Jewish feeling, but as unnecessary. Jews were still basically Roman citizens, but the exceptions to their equality with other citizens remained though no new restrictions were added. The only privilege allowed them was freedom from court action on their holy days. They were excluded from honors, but had to bear all the burdens of public life. They were refused any authority over Christians or the purchase of Christian slaves, and those they inherited they were not allowed to circumcise. They were punished if they molested a Jew who sought baptism, and their clergy enjoyed no immunities.


J. Parkes, Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (1934), 317 ff., 351 ff.

[James W. Parkes]