The Book that Changed the World: Lex Visigothorum (Law of the Visigoths)

How a book changed everything, based on a writing prompt from An Author’s Tale

Lex Visigothorum (Law of the Visigoths)


Once upon a time there were very few books. This is largely as a result of the Visigoth’s and other invading hoards that destroyed all the books and learnings that had been cultivated from the Roman Empire and culminated most likely in the burning of the famous library of Alexandria.

For a long time after this everyone forgot how to read or write. Paper and vellum are not easy to make and the survivors of the invading hoards were squatting in squalor and trying to figure out how to break down the great inventions of the Roman Empire like the aqueducts and the Colleseum into pieces so that they could build small huts for themselves.

The books were gone, their wisdom was gone and so was their amusement. For a long time people largely amused themselves by hitting each other over the head with different heavy things while the christian church slowly but inexorably filled the void that had been left behind by the fall of the Roman Empire.

No matter how one feels about the Romans and their invasions and the losses that resulted from cultures being supressed, it is hard to argue that the Romans did enforce order in a world full of chaos. The same is true of the Roman Catholic Church. The Visigoth’s and other barbarians that looted and pillaged what remained of the Roman Empire was quickly filled by the influence of the Church.

This was quickly followed by waves of bubonic plague which was blamed on witches and then, of course, the Spanish Inquisition followed in the wake of the plague.

The one book the unified all of these times was not the Bible or books preserved and hidden by people who valued the works of Plato and Aristotle but was rather a book written by the Visigoth’s themselves.

Lex Visigothorum (Law of the Visigoths) or Liber Iudiciorum (Book of the Judges), was a book that artfully wove together a bridge between the culture of the past and made room for the church to replace the void that was left.

Without this book we would have lost many of the lessons in order that the Romans taught and law and order was to some degree preserved. The Visigoth’s responsible for both Lex Visigothorum as well as for preserving many of the ancient Roman and Greek manuscripts and scrolls are sometimes referred to as the Invisigoths. A nearly invisible network that preserved as much culture as they could.

However one feels about the Romans or the Church, it cannot be argued that having some sense of law is much preferred to waking up with your thatch on fire and being raped or killed by a hoard of invaders again and again. During this time famine was a problem as well since the livestock and crops were eaten or killed by the hoards.

visigoths 3

Lex Visigothorum was a place holder. Laying dormant for years it would be a keystone for creating a new way of living and a new civilization and it is one of the little known books that changed the world forever.


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