Son of Leovigild, Visigothic King of Spain; d. Tarragona, April 13, 585. He married (579) Ingund, daughter of sigebert i, King of Austrasia, and Brunhilde. Since Ingund resisted the efforts of Goisvintha, her grandmother and Leovigild's second wife, to convert her to arianism, Hermenegild was given a separate command centered at Seville. There, Ingund and Bishop leander converted him to Catholicism. Almost simultaneously Hermenegild rebelled against Leovigild, with the support of the Byzantines and some Catholic Hispano-Romans. Hermenegild's rebellion damaged the country but did not spread far, and the threat it raised of intervention by the Sueves, Franks, and Byzantines did not seriously materialize. Leovigild retaliated by holding a council to facilitate conversion to Arianism (580) and, more effectively, by buying off the Byzantines (583), who retained Ingund and Hermenegild's son and sent them to Constantinople. Hermenegild, defeated and captured (c. March 584), was beheaded because—according to gregory i the great—he refused Communion from an Arian bishop. Contemporary Catholic authors disapproved of Hermenegild's rebellion. Gregory was the exception, and Hermenegild entered the martyrologies from his Dialogues (3.31). At the urging of philip ii, sixtus v authorized the cult of Hermenegild in Spain (1585); urban viii extended it to the whole Church.
Feast: April 13.
Bibliography: l. vÁzqez de parga, San Hermenegildo ante las fuentes históricas (Madrid 1973). r. grosse, Las fuentes de la época visigoda y bizantinas (Fontes hispaniae antiquae 9; Barcelona 1947) 161–194. f. gÖrres, "Kritische Untersuchungen über den Aufstand und das Martyrium des westgothischen Königsohnes Hermenegild," Zeitschrift für die historische Theologie 43 (1873) 3–109. k. strohecker, "Leowigild: Aus einer Wendezeit westgothische Geschichte," Die Welt als Geschichte 5 (1939) 446–485. w. goffart, "Byzantine Policy in the West … (579–585)," Traditio 13 (1957) 73–118. e. a. thompson, "The Conversion of the Visigoths to Catholicism," Nottingham Medieval Studies 4 (1960) 4–35.
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