|An Ardar featuring Hermenigild during his time as Consul.|
|14th Consul of the Gepid Republic|
|Time in Office||730-745|
|Time in Office||725-730|
|Wives|| Glismona Aric (709-721) |
Vadamerca Bessas (724-752)
|Issue|| With Glismona Aric|
With Vadamerca Bessas
|Born|| 693 |
Buteridava, Gepid Republic
|Died|| 752 (aged 59) |
Comidava, Gepid Republic
Along his many feats during the war, he was one of the main actors of the reconquest of Rome and Italy, along with King Peter I of the Frankish Empire and Emperor Leo III of the Byzantine Empire, both his allies in the war. However, his angry and sometimes proud attitude led the Senate to replace him at the head of the Republic for a more diplomatic and concilient leader at the end of the war.
Hermenigild was born from Recimer Valomer and his wife Madarica Gonild, the daughter of a senatorial family outside of the Five Founding Families, as the girls of House Umund and Aric were too young, the one of the Bessas already married, and House Hunigild and Valomer were in a feud.
During his young, he saw the older brothers of his father ether dying or being excluded from power, mainly due to the actions of House Hunigild. This resulted sometimes in open battle with member of the other houses during festivities. This is during this period that he developped his proud and angry personality. As a son of House Valomer, he was raised in a militaristic environment, especially since his father was general during most of Hermenigild youth, and stayed with his family in his garrison, which was in the city of Comidava, in the mountains.
When his father became Leader of the Assembly in 705, Hermenigild was finally able to see his first glimpse of the high power of the Republic, which made him realise the importance and power he could have as a member of the Five Founding Families.
In 709, Recimer arranged the marriage of his Hermenigild with Glismona Aric (sister of the future Consul Galindus Aric) in order to get the support of House Aric in the next election. The marriage, which was for political reason, was however quite an happy one at start. But the Consulate of his father ended up being mostly opposed by his wife's family, which caused many frictions between them.
The last mandate of his father's Consulate (720-725) was one of the hardest time for Hermenigild. First of all, his wife died in childbirth, leaving him with a son named Amaric (which would later lead to his harsh behavior with the boy). This impression added to the fact of his father's weak health, with who Hermenigild had a difficult relation, mainly because of his father's refusal to name him general during his entire Consulate (as Recimer didn't want to lose support by appearing to favor his family). But Hermenigild at the very least tried to keep the power of his father intact, hoping to keep the Consulate into the family. To this end, he remarried in 724 with Vadamerca Bessas, who was 23 years younger than him.
Even with is efforts, in the end it was Galindus Aric who succeeded to his father as Consul in 725. In order to keep his former stepbrother content, the new Consul named Hermenigild General, a grade he always dreamed of. He was affected to the garrison of Murideva, a town on the frontier with the Byzantine Empire. During his time there, he became known as an efficient commander, which made him a perfect choice to lead the Second Gepid Mercenary Force, as part of the Christian Meeting of Buteridava, However, the Senate became more and more in favor of the war, with House Bessas holding many power. During his few times in the capital, he also led House Valomer in the same direction, which led to his election as Consul in 730.
Hermenigild entered the office of Consul with a solid base of support, both from the Valomer's supporters and from House Bessas (its head Frigeridus, the uncle of his wife, being the Justicar at the time), who wanted to go to war in order to support the establishment of a Papal State. As the Consul, Hermenigild was the supreme commander of the Gepid armies, and thus had the responsibility to lead them into battle. By the end of the year 730, he left the Gepid Republic with his troops, leaving behind him a pregnant wife, five children, and a Senate controlled by his allies.
His way to Italy was a slow one. When he passed through the territories occupied by the Byzantine Empire (who, along with the Franks, was the Gepid ally in the war). Seeing the agitation of the locals and fearing a possible rebellion that could affect both the War and the Gepid Republic, the Consul decided to make sure the region would stay calm during the entire war. This led to numerous massacres of "rebels", Hermenigild being without any mercy for the locals. Many atrocities were committed by his troops, but in the end Hermenigild proved his point, as the locals searched in the Byzantines protectors against future massacres, becoming loyal members of the Empire.
By 733, Hermenigild was able to assemble with the main Frankish army. This led to the first meeting between the Consul and the Frankish King Peter I, who was seen as the leader of the anti-gothic alliance. He was also able to meet with the Second Gepid Mercenary Force, which served under Peter I and was led by Sigeric Bessas, his son-in-law. During the following years, Peter I and Hermenigild focuced their forces in getting to Rome as fast as possible, while Sigeric Bessas was ordered to weaken the Ostrogothic forces by attacking secondary regions. Those successes led to Hermenigild reelection as Consul for a second mandate.
The united Franks and Gepids were able to defeat most of the Ostrogothic armies of Chindaswintha III. The Ostrogothic King ended up being forced into retreat, and fortified Rome, waiting for the invaders. The siege of Rome was a long one, but by 739 the anti-Goths forces were finally able to enter the holy city. However, both Chindaswintha III and Peter I were killed while fighting each other during the final assault, leaving Hermenigild as the sole commander of Rome. Another news rapidly came to him: Pope John Francis II died.
Realizing how they could use this, the Senate ended up electing him for again for a third mandate. While he was preparing Peter I's corpse and making an elegy of the king, he received a letter from the Senate, telling him to elect a "Gepid Pope". Quickly understanding what the Senate wanted, he rapidly assembled the cardinal so they could elect John Francis II successor, and forced them through intimidation to elect the Archbishop of Buteridava, Witiric Hunigild, as the new Pope. The Gepid, who arrived shortly after, took the name of Felix V.
However, his popularity among the Senate started to crumble when peace was finally reached in 745, and Queen Sventhila Lousean of the Visigoth, as a sign of good will, invited the European leaders to the Conference of Toulouse. As they needed a man who could act with subtlety and diplomacy for this meeting, the Senate decided to sent instead the General Vithimiric Aric, son of the previous Consul Galindus Aric. In order to give him as much credibility as possible, he was elected Consul in 745 instead of Hermenigild, ending his Consulate.
Later Life and Death
Hermenigild took the election of Vithimiric as an betrayal from the Senate, seeing it as if they owned him a fourth mandate because of everything he did for them during the War for the Ashes of Rome, even going to the extend of electing the Pope of their choice. He felt angered, betrayed and insulted by his own, especially after the Conference of Toulouse proved out to be a total failure, which made the election of Vithimiric totally useless in his eyes.
Because he didn't want to pass through the Byzantine territories that he raided during the war, it took him more than a year to return to the Republic. When he arrived, he discovered that the influence of House Bessas, while still strong, was less present, and even less implied to support him, the new Bessas preferring to support one of their own. Many members of House Valomer, including his sons Amaric and Winguric (his first son Sisbert died while he was away), as well as the members of their faction, wanted Hermenigild to stay as head of House Valomer, hoping his popularity would help him regaining the office of Consul. But refusing to help them, he instead decided in 748 to retire completely from political, even going so far as leaving the capital.
He leaved only with a few loyal soldiers (his wife and family staying in Buteridava) and decided to return to the mountainous Comidava, the garrison were he lived his youth while his father was affected there. When he arrived, he was treated like a legend and a hero by the soldiers, and was given the best quarter, which the General occupying more simple quarters during his presence here. Hermenigild also discovered the happy surprise of his daughter Vadamerca, born after he went to the war, who was married with the General of the garrison. This allowed him to pass his last years in company of her, and to finally life an happy and simple life among soldiers. He was even able to see the birth of his daughter's son in 750, who was named after him.
After 4 years of happy life out of the capital, Hermenigild died in his sleep in 752 at the age of 59, following an happy feast with his daughter, son-in-law and the soldiers of the garrison of Camidava. Although he wanted to be buried in Camidava, his sons Amaric and Winguric declared that his body should be buried in the family cemetery of House Valomer in Buteridava. His daughter Vadamerca and her husband opposed this, which led to the later being demoted from his grade and forced to return to the capital. The corpse was finally transferred to the capital in 753, were he was buried among his family, including his father Recimer.
Hermenigild's Consulate was entirely lived in wartime and out of the Republic, which left little to no impact on the political structure of the Gepid State, as it was mostly led by House Bessas at the time (even if Hermenigild was the acting Consul).
His most lasting impact is in the War for the Ashes of Rome, where he appeared as a talented and competent general, although using brutal and sometimes extreme tactics to achieve victory and success. Historians sees him as on the the three main individual of the anti-Gothic alliance, along with King Peter I and Emperor Leo III, who also stayed in history as great commanders. During many years following the victory of the war, he was perceived as a national hero, and the man who brought stability to Italy and many Byzantine lands that were annexed during the war by Leo III.
However, so historians point out his angry and sometime violent persona, and the mass murders he ordered to achieve his objective by fear and intimidation. The Greek historian Theophilius, who lived during the 10th century, called him "The Barbarian of the Civilized World". Hermenigild is mostly despised out of the Gepid Republic as a brutal conqueror who destroyed more than he created.
Hermenigild was married twice and had a total of six children.
From his first wife, Glismona Aric (690-721):
- Gudeliva Valomer (F): 710-756. Married to Sigeric Bessas, who later became the 16th Consul.
- Sisbert Valomer (M): 712-734. Senator from his majority (16) to his death from disease.
- Glismona Valomer (F): 717-770. Named after her mother. Later became a nun in a convent.
- Amaric Valomer (M): 721-782 . His mother died of childbirth. Later became the 17th Consul of the Gepid Republic.
From his second wife, Vadamerca Bessas (706-759):
- Winguric Valomer (M): 726-768. Followed his family lifestyle and became general in 754. Died in 768 along the Consul Sigeric Bessas during the Gepid Expedition in Caucasus.
- Vadamerca Valomer (F): 728-781 . Named after her mother. Married an obscure general born outside of the Five Founding Families.