Euric

Euric

Euric, d. c.484, king of the Visigoths (466-c.484), brother and successor of Theodoric II. He made Toulouse his capital and under him the Visigothic kingdom reached its greatest extent, including the Iberian peninsula and southern Gaul. In 475 he made his first codification of Visigothic law. He was succeeded by his son Alaric II.
Euric, also known as Evaric, Erwig, or Eurico in Spanish and Portuguese (c. 415–484), was the younger brother of Theodoric II and ruled as king of the Visigoths, with his capital at Toulouse, from 466 until his death in 484.

He inherited a large portion of the Visigothic possessions in the Aquitaine region of Gaul, an area that had been under Visigothic control since 415. Over the decades the Visigoths had gradually expanded their holdings at the expense of the weak Roman government, advancing well into Hispania in the process.

Upon becoming king, Euric defeated several other Visigothic kings and chieftains in a series of civil wars and soon became the first ruler of a truly unified Visigothic nation. Taking advantage of the Romans' problems, he extended Visigothic power in Hispania, driving the Suevi into the northwest of Iberia. By the time the Western Roman Empire ended in 476 he controlled nearly the entire Iberian peninsula.

In 470 Euric defeated an attempted invasion of Gaul by the Celtic magnate Riothamus and expanded his kingdom even further north, possibly as far as the Somme River, the March of Frankish territory.

Previous Visigothic kings had officially ruled only as legates of the Roman Emperor but Euric was the first to declare his complete independence from the puppet emperors. In 475 he forced the western emperor Julius Nepos to recognize his full independence in exchange for the return of the Provence region of Gaul. The Roman citizens of Hispania then pledged their allegiance to Euric, recognizing him as their king. In the same year Clermont(-Ferrand) surrendered to him after a long siege, and its bishop, Sidonius Apollinaris, sued for peace. He divided the Western Roman Empire with Odoacer.

Euric was one of the more learned of the great Visigothic kings and was the first German to formally codify his people's laws. The Code of Euric of 471 codified the traditional laws that had been entrusted to the memory of designated specialists who had learned each article by heart.

At Euric's death in 484 the Kingdom of the Visigoths encompassed all of Iberia except for the region of Galicia (ruled by the Suebi) and more than two-thirds of modern France. Edward Gibbon, in Chapter 38 of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, remarks:

The fortune of nations has often depended on accidents; and France may ascribe her greatness to the premature death of the Gothic king, at a time when his son Alaric was a helpless infant, and his adversary Clovis an ambitious and valiant youth.

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