A pagan, he married the Christian Bertha, daughter of the Frankish king Charibert of Paris. In 597 he welcomed Augustine and his companions, sent to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons, allowing them to live at Canterbury, his capital. It seems that he soon converted to Christianity, and in June 601 Gregory the Great addressed letters to him Ep. XI,37 and to Bertha Ep. XI,35. The code of laws attributed to Ethelbert, composed iuxta exempla Romanorum Bede, Hist. II,5 but in the Anglo-Saxon language, is closer to the Lex Salica whose first redaction goes back to the early 6th c. than to Roman models; according to Germanic customary law, the code aims at the protection of personal goods, including those of clergy. He was succeeded by his son Eadbald. CPL 1827; F. Liebermann ed., Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen, I, Halle 1903, 3-8; PLRE IIIA, 20; DHGE XV, 1156-1158; A.W.B. Simpson, The Laws of Ethelbert, in S.A. Morris – T.A. Green et al. eds., On the Laws and Customs of England, Chapel Hill 1981, 3-17.

ETHELBERT Photo Gallery

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