King of the Visigoths (466-484)
Euric, also known as Eurico or Erwig (born about 415, died 484) was
one of the most powerful German kings in the last years of the western
Roman Empire. He reigned as King of the Visigoths from 466 until his
The eighth king in line from Alaric, Euric was the son of Theodoric II, who ruled a large portion of the Visigothic possessions in the Aquitaine region of Gaul. The area had been under Visigoth control since 415, and they had gradually expanded their holdings at the expense of the weak Roman government over the decades, advancing well into Spain in the process.
Upon becoming king, Euric defeated several other Visigothic kings and war chiefs in a series of civil wars, and soon became the first ruler of a truly unified Visigoth nation in many years. Taking advantage of the Romans' problems, he extended Visigoth power in Spain, and by the time the western empire ended in 476, 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.
Previous Visigoth kings had officially ruled only as officers of the Roman Emperor, but Euric was the first to declare his complete independence from the Romans. 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 Spain then turned their allegiance to Euric, recognizing him as their king.
Euric was one of the more learned of the great Germanic kings, and was the first German to formally codify his people's laws.
At Euric's death in 484, the Visigothic kingdom encompassed all of Spain except for the region of Galicia, still ruled by the Suebi, and more than two-thirds of modern France.
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