Montesquieu

Things went dif­fe­rently in Spain. The law of the Visigoths won out, and Roman law lost out. Chaindsuinthus1 and Recessuinthus2 ban­ned Roman laws, and did not even per­mit them to be cited in the tri­bu­nals. Recessuinthus was also the author of the law3 that sup­pres­sed the pro­hi­bi­tion of mar­ria­ges bet­ween Goths and Romans. It is clear that these two laws had the same spi­rit : this king wan­ted to do away with the prin­ci­pal cau­ses of sepa­ra­tion bet­ween the Goths and the Romans. Now it was thought that nothing sepa­ra­ted them more than the pro­hi­bi­tion against contrac­ting mar­ria­ges bet­ween them and the per­mis­sion to live under dif­fe­rent laws.

But though the kings of the Visigoths had ban­ned Roman law, it still sub­sis­ted in the domains they pos­ses­sed in sou­thern Gaul. These lands, dis­tant from the cen­ter of the monar­chy, lived in consi­de­ra­ble inde­pen­dence. We see from the his­tory of Vamba, who ascen­ded the throne in 672, that the nati­ves of the coun­try had assu­med the upper hand4 : thus Roman law had more autho­rity there, and Gothic law less. Spanish laws were sui­ted nei­ther to their man­ners nor to their cur­rent situa­tion ; per­haps the peo­ple even clung to Roman law because they atta­ched to it the idea of their liberty. Moreover, the laws of Chaindasuinthus and Recessuinthus contai­ned hor­ren­dous pro­vi­sions against the Jews ; but those Jews were power­ful in sou­thern Gaul. The author of the his­tory of king Vamba calls these pro­vin­ces the Jewish bro­thel. When the Saracens came into these pro­vin­ces, they had been cal­led : now who could have cal­led them but the Jews or the Romans ? The Goths were the first oppres­sed because they were the domi­nant nation. We see in Procopius that during their cala­mi­ties they with­drew from Narbonne Gaul into Spain.5 In this par­ti­cu­lar mis­for­tune, they doubt­less took refuge in the areas of Spain that still could be defen­ded ; and the num­ber of those who, in sou­thern Gaul, lived under the law of the Visigoths was much dimi­ni­shed as a result.

His reign began in 642.

We do not wish to be tormented by foreign nor by Roman laws : Law of the Visigoths, book II, tit. 1, §9–10.

Ut tam Gotho Romanam quam Romano-Gotham, matrimonio liceat sociari (Lex Visigothorum, book III, tit. 1, ch. i).

The revolt of these provinces was a general defection, as seen in the judgment which follows the history. Paulus and his adherents were Romans, they were even favored by the bishops. Vamba dared not put to death the seditious people he had defeated. The author of the history calls Narbonne Gaul the nurse of perfidy.

Gothi qui cladi superfuerant, ex Gallia cum uxoribus liberisque egressi, in Hispaniam ad Teudim jam palam tyrannum se receperunt (The Gothic Wars, book 1, ch. xiii).