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E04219: Law of King Ervig ordering that all the Jews living in the Visigothic kingdom should abstain from work on Sundays and on the major Christian festivities, among them the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Latin law issued in 680 in Spain and included in the codification known as Lex Visigothorum.

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posted on 26.10.2017, 00:00 by mszada
Lex Visigothorum, Book XII, Chapter 3, § 6


Ut omnis Iudeus diebus dominicis et in prenotatis festivitatibus ab opere cesset.

In nullo est dubium, illum manifeste fidei catholice adversari, qui reverentiam diebus dominicis non inpendit. Unde negatores vel disturbatores fidei nostre iustissime insequentes id religiosa sanctione iubemus, ut sive sit Iudeus sive Iudea quodlibet opus rurale diebus dominicis exercens vel laneficia faciens seu quascumque operationes in domibus, agris vel ceteris talibus agens, extra quam nobilium honesta christianorum consuetudo permittit, presumtor huius rei decalvatus verberibus centenis subiaceat. Quod si forsitan servi eorum vel ancille in his et talibus diebus repperiantur supradictis laboribus occupati, tunc et ipsi simili sunt sententia feriendi; domini tamen eorum, si servos suos permiserint talia agere, C solidos auri fisco conpellendi sunt reddere. Dies tamen ipsi, qui ab isdem Iudeis sollicita devotione sunt observandi, hii sunt: id est festum virginis sancte Marie, quo gloriosa conceptio eiusdem genitricis Domini celebratur, item natalis Christi vel circumcisionis sive apparitionis sue dies, Pasca quoque sanctum vel dies sacratissimi octavarum, inventionis quoque crucis dominice festum necnon et ascensionis dominice diem vel Pentecosten seu etiam concurrentes per totum annum dies dominicos, religiosa Christi fide venerabiles dies.

'VI. The glorious king Flavius Ervig.

Every Jew shall cease from labour on Sunday, and on all appointed holidays.

There is no doubt that one who does not treat Sunday with due reverence is an open enemy of the Catholic faith. Hence, while we are justly pursuing those who deny or disobey our faith, we therefore decree with divine sanction, that if a Jewish man or woman does any rural work on the Lord's day, or weaves wool or performs any work at home, on the land, etc. beyond that which the honourable custom of good Christians permits, such a transgressor shall have his head shaved, and shall receive a hundred lashes. If their slaves, of either sex, are found on those days occupied in such works, they also shall be liable to the aforementioned punishment. If their masters permit them to work in this manner, they shall be compelled to pay a hundred solidi in gold to the treasury. Those days which shall be devoutly observed by the Jews, are as follows: the feast of the Holy Virgin Mary, during which the glorious Conception of the Mother of God is celebrated, then the birth of Christ and his Circumcision and day of Epiphany and Circumcision (that is Epiphany), Easter and the days of the most holy octave, the feast of the Invention of the Cross, the Day of the Ascension, Pentecost, and Sundays throughout the entire year which are the days venerated by the divine faith of Christ.'

Text: Zeumer 1902, 435-436. Translation: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source




Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



The Lex Visigothorum (known also as the Liber iudiciorum, 'Book of judgements') is a codification of law first composed during the reign of King Leovigild (569-586) on the basis of the Code of King Euric, composed in the mid 5th century. However, all extant manuscripts, the earliest ones from the 9th century, represent either the revised version of the code from the reign of King Reccesvinth (649-672; redaction R in the edition of Zeumer), or its enlarged version from the reigns of Kings Ervig (680-687) and Ecgica (687-702; redaction E in the edition of Zeumer), or the so-called Vulgate redaction (V in the edition of Zeumer). The present law is one of 34 laws that are the original contribution of king Ervig to the codification revised during his reign. Of these, 28 concerned the Jews (Collins 2004, 236). See also E04220 and E04221.


The feast in question is certainly the one celebrated in the Visigothic Church on 18 December according to Canon 1 of the Tenth Council of Toledo in 656 (E04419). It commemorated the Conception of Jesus Christ by Mary (and not of Mary herself).


Edition: Zeumer, K., Leges Visigothorum (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Leges nationum Germanicarum I; Hannover: Hahn, 1902). Further reading: Collins, R., Visigothic Spain, 409-711 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004).

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