Trial witnesses, social hierarchies, and state building in the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo
Author ORCID Identifier
Damián Fernández: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8853-2495
Early Medieval Europe
Visigothic laws on who was allowed to testify in judicial trials followed Roman models, including restrictions based on birth and social reputation, and the loss of the right to testify as a result of infamia. This article argues that, far from simply reproducing Roman court practice, Visigothic legislation on the right to bear witness served two purposes. First, the microeconomy of witness selection and the forfeiture of the right to testify in court gave the monarchy a powerful tool to sanction otherwise elusive parameters of social standing. This in turn facilitated the administration of justice in a society that had abandoned late Roman rank–based hierarchies.
Fernández, Damián, "Trial witnesses, social hierarchies, and state building in the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 137.
Department of History