Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 3
Presbyter Amelius, probably an envoy of the Visigothic king Sisebut, brings a message from the emperor Heraclius to Sisebut (ca AD 615). An account of the letter of Caesarius, Byzantine governor of Spain, to Sisebut, from the collection of Epistulae Wisigothicae.
Letter 5
Uenerantissimos apices  a domnissimo hac paterna amplectione tenendo imperatore libenter oblatos grata nimis deuotione percepimus, quorum nobilissima series amplissimum decus emicando nobilitata promeruit, cum stilo exarata oportunis in locis inclite potestatis manu ob potissimam fidem se ipsam inspexit. Talibus denique donis nos ipsi refecti beniuolentiam uestram participem fore maluimus, quem satis, ut opinor, inclite potestatis imperia effectui mancipare libentius. Gloriosum denique et amicissimum ueritati Theodoricum iuxta magis clementissimi et ultra omnes homines in cunctis eximii preceptionem imperatoris ad uestram certum est gloriam destinasse, conexo ei Amelium presbyterem [u]enerandum. Equum esse pensabimus, quos eundi felix fecit iter unitos, remeandi nequaqam qualibet occasio faciat esse diuisos. Isti denique queunt uobis omnia fidelibus verbis hac eloquiis pandere uiuidis, quorum fides habetur hidonea, sinceritas copiosa, industria nimis cauta.
(ed. Gil 1992: 13-14 = letter 6 ed. Gundlach 1892: 667-668)
Letter 5
We received with grateful devotion the most venerable letters willingly sent by the most lordly emperor. This most noble series of letters shines with the greatest splendour and deserves to be famous, because the hand of the illustrious authority, having written the letter, examined it itself in convenient places by the reason of the greater faithfulness. Therefore, refreshed by those gifts, we would like Your Excellency to be the participant most willingly, I think, executing the commands of the illustrious authority. It has been decided to send the glorious Theodericus, the friend of the truth, together with the reverend presbyter Amelius to Your Glory according to the emperor's order, who is more merciful and excellent in everything than any other people: we thought it was right that those, who had been united in the fortunate journey, were not divided in their return for any reason. They can relate everything to you in trustworthy words and in vivid speeches because their faith is as it should be, their sincerity abounding, and their diligence exceedingly cautious.
(transl. M. Szada)


Gundlach dates the letter to ca AD 615.
It is not clear whether Amelius represents the Visigothic or Byzantine government. In the Letter 5 he is presented as an envoy acting on behalf of King Sisebut with the emperor Heraclius in Constantinople, but some scholars (Claude 1996) argue that he was actually a participant of a Byzantine embassy. His fellow envoy, Theodoricus, is mentioned in letter 4 as an envoy of Caesarius to the emperor [30].

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula

About the source:

Title: Epistulae Wisigothicae
Origin: Iberian Peninsula
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The letter is a part of the collection of the 18 letters called Epistulae Wisigothicae. The letters were written between the last quarter of the 6th c. and the first quarter of the 7th c. The senders and addressees represent different groups - there are King Sisebut, bishops, monks, Byzantine patricians, and Visigothic nobles. The Latin of these letters is sometimes excruciatingly difficult (for the linguistic study see Martin-Iglesias 2014).
Epistulae Wisigothicae, [in:] J. Gil ed., Miscellanea Wisigothica, Annales de la Universidad de Sevilla. Serie Filosofia y Letras 15, Sevilla 1992, 3-49.
W. Gundlach ed., Epistolae Wisigothicae, Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Epistolae 3, Berlin 1892, 658-690.
D. Claude, "Die diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen dem Westgotenreich und Ostrom (475-615)", Mitteilungen des Instituts für oesterreichische Geschichtsforschung 104 (1996), 13-25.
J.C. Martín-Iglesias, "El latín de las „Epistulae Wisigothicae", Cuadernos de Filología Clásica. Estudios Latinos 34 (2014), 37-60.
J. Wood, "Defending Byzantine Spain: frontiers and diplomacy", Early Medieval Europe 18 (2010), 292-319.


Non-Latin Origin - Greek
Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Titles of respect
Public functions and offices after ordination - Envoy
Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER3,