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Julian of Toledo

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Title: Julian of Toledo  
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Subject: Wamba (king), 690, Sisebert, 642 births, Saint Julian
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Julian of Toledo

Saint Julian of Toledo
Born 642
Toledo, Spain
Died 690
Toledo, Spain
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Feast March 8

Julian of Toledo (642–690) was born to Jewish parents in Toledo, Hispania, but raised Christian.[1] He was well educated at the cathedral school, was a monk and later abbot at Agali, a spiritual student of Saint Eugene II, and archbishop of Toledo. He was the first bishop to have primacy over the entire Iberian Peninsula—a position he has been accused of securing by being complicit in 680 in the supposed poisoning of Wamba, king of the Visigoths[2]—and he helped centralize the Iberian Church in Toledo. His elevation to the position of primate of the Visigothic church was a source of great unhappiness among the kingdom's clergy. And his views regarding the doctrine of the Trinity proved distressing to the Vatican.

He presided over several councils and synods and revised the Mozarabic liturgy. A voluminous writer, his works include Prognostics, a volume on death; a history of King Wamba's war with dux Paul in Septimania; and a book on the future life (687). Though by disposition a kind and gentle man, he encouraged the Visigothic kings in Hispania to deal harshly with the Jews. For example, in presiding over the Twelfth Council of Toledo, he induced King Erwig (whom, again, he has been accused of helping in the deposing of Wamba) to pass severe anti-Jewish laws. At Erwig's request, in 686, he wrote De Comprobatione Aetatis Sextae Contra Judaeos, a work dealing with messianic prophesies of the Bible in a way intended to convert the Jews.

He died at Toledo in 690 of natural causes. Julian's memorial is held March 8.


  • Collins, Roger. "Julian of Toledo and the Education of Kings in Late Seventh-Century Spain." Law, Culture and Regionalism in Early Medieval Spain. Variorum, 1992. pp. 1–22. ISBN 0-86078-308-1. Revised versin of "Julian of Toledo and the Royal Succession in Late Seventh Century Spain," Early Medieval Kingship, edd. P. H. Sawyer and I. N. Wood. Leeds: School of History, University of Leeds, 1977.

Critical editions

  • J.N. Hillgarth, B. Bischoff, W. Levison (eds.), Iulianus Toletanus. Opera, I. Prognosticon futuri saeculi libri tres. Apologeticum de tribus capitulis. De comprobatione sextae aetatis. Historia Wambae regis. Epistula ad Modoenum. (= Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina, 115), Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 1976
  • J.C. Martín-Iglesias, V. Yarza Urquiola (eds.), Iulianus Toletanus, Felix Toletanus, Iulianus Toletanus (Ps.). Opera, II. Elogium Ildefonsi, Vita Iuliani (auctore Felice Toletano), Antikeimena, Fragmenta, Ordo annorum mund (= Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina, 115A-B), Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2014


  1. ^ Collins, "Julian," 8.
  2. ^ Roger Collins regards this as being "quite unnecessarily Machiavellian"; see his Early Medieval Spain; Unity in Diversity, 400-1000, 2nd ed., New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995, pp. 77-78.
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