Septimania

Septimania

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Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Gallia Transalpina , which was originally a designation for that part of Gaul lying across the Alps from Italia and it contained a western region known as Septimania...

 that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II
Theodoric II
Theodoric II was King of Visigoths from 453 to 466.Theoderic II, son of Theodoric I, obtained the throne by killing his elder brother Thorismund...

. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the 27 regions of France. It comprises five departments, and borders the other French regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne, Midi-Pyrénées on the one side, and Spain, Andorra and the Mediterranean sea on the other side.-Geography:The region is...

. It passed briefly to the Emirate of Córdoba in the eighth century before its conquest by the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, who by the end of the ninth century termed it Gothia or the Gothic March (Marca Gothica).

Septimania was a march
Marches
A march or mark refers to a border region similar to a frontier, such as the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales. During the Frankish Carolingian Dynasty, the word spread throughout Europe....

 of the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

 and then West Francia down to the thirteenth century, though it was culturally and politically separate from northern France and the central royal government. The region was under the influence of the Toulousain, Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

. It was part of the cultural and linguistic region named Occitania
Occitania
Occitania , also sometimes lo País d'Òc, "the Oc Country"), is the region in southern Europe where Occitan was historically the main language spoken, and where it is sometimes still used, for the most part as a second language...

 that was finally brought within the control of the French kings in the early 13th century as a result of the Albigensian Crusade
Albigensian Crusade
The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade was a 20-year military campaign initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc...

 after which it came under French governors. From the end of the thirteenth century it was known as Languedoc
Languedoc
Languedoc is a former province of France, now continued in the modern-day régions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées in the south of France, and whose capital city was Toulouse, now in Midi-Pyrénées. It had an area of approximately 42,700 km² .-Geographical Extent:The traditional...

 and its history is tied up with that of France.

The name "Septimania" may derive from part of the Roman name of the city of Béziers
Béziers
Béziers is a town in Languedoc in southern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the Hérault department. Béziers hosts the famous Feria de Béziers, centred around bullfighting, every August. A million visitors are attracted to the five-day event...

, Colonia Julia Septimanorum Beaterrae, which in turn alludes to the settlement of veterans of the Roman VII Legion
Legio VII Claudia
Legio septima Claudia Pia Fidelis was a Roman legion. Its emblem, like that of all Caesar's legions, was the bull, together with the lion....

 in the city. Another possible derivation of the name is in reference to the seven cities (civitates) of the territory: Béziers, Elne
Elne
Elne is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.It lies in the former province of Roussillon, of which it was the first capital, being later replaced by Perpignan...

, Agde
Agde
Agde is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France. It is the Mediterranean port of the Canal du Midi.-Location:Agde is located on the river Hérault, 4 km from the Mediterranean Sea, and 750 km from Paris...

, Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Lodève
Lodève
Lodève is a commune in the Hérault département in Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.-Geography:...

, Maguelonne, and Nîmes
Nîmes
Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

. Septimania extended to a line half-way between the Mediterranean and the Garonne River in the northwest; in the east the Rhône
Rhône
Rhone can refer to:* Rhone, one of the major rivers of Europe, running through Switzerland and France* Rhône Glacier, the source of the Rhone River and one of the primary contributors to Lake Geneva in the far eastern end of the canton of Valais in Switzerland...

 separated it from Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

; and to the south its boundary was formed by the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

.

Gothic acquisition of Septimania


Under Theodoric II, the Visigoths settled in Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 as foederati
Foederati
Foederatus is a Latin term whose definition and usage drifted in the time between the early Roman Republic and the end of the Western Roman Empire...

of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 (450s). Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris
Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

 refers to Septimania as "theirs" during the reign of Avitus
Avitus
Eparchius Avitus was Western Roman Emperor from July 8 or July 9, 455 to October 17, 456. A Gallic-Roman aristocrat, he was a senator and a high-ranking officer both in the civil and military administration, as well as Bishop of Piacenza.A representative of the Gallic-Roman aristocracy, he...

 (455–456), but Sidonius is probably considering Visigothic settlement of and around Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

. The Visigoths were then holding the Toulousain against the legal claims of the Empire, though they had more than once offered to exchange it for the Auvergne
Auvergne (province)
Auvergne was a historic province in south central France. It was originally the feudal domain of the Counts of Auvergne. It is now the geographical and cultural area that corresponds to the former province....

.

In 462 the Empire, controlled by Ricimer
Ricimer
Flavius Ricimer was a Germanic general who achieved effective control of the remaining parts of the Western Roman Empire, during the middle of the 5th century...

 in the name of Libius Severus
Libius Severus
Flavius Libius Severus Serpentius was Western Roman Emperor from November 19, 461 to his death.A Roman senator from Lucania Severus was one of the last Western Emperors, emptied of any effective power , and unable to solve the many problems affecting the Empire; the sources...

, granted the Visigoths the western half of the province of Gallia Narbonensis to settle. The Visigoths occupied Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

 (eastern Narbonensis) as well and only in 475 did the Visigothic king, Euric
Euric
Euric, also known as Evaric, Erwig, or Eurico in Spanish and Portuguese , Son of Theodoric I and the younger brother of Theodoric II and ruled as king of the Visigoths, with his capital at Toulouse, from 466 until his death in 484.He inherited a large portion of the Visigothic possessions in the...

, cede it to the Empire by a treaty whereby the emperor Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos was Western Roman Emperor de facto from 474 to 475 and de jure until 480. Some historians consider him to be the last Western Roman Emperor, while others consider the western line to have ended with Romulus Augustulus in 476...

 recognised the Visigoths' full independence.

Kingdom of Narbonne


The Visigoths, perhaps because they were Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, met with the opposition of the Catholic Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 in Gaul. The Franks allied with the Armorici
Armorica
Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic coast...

, whose land was under constant threat from the Goths south of the Loire
Loire
Loire is an administrative department in the east-central part of France occupying the River Loire's upper reaches.-History:Loire was created in 1793 when after just 3½ years the young Rhône-et-Loire department was split into two. This was a response to counter-Revolutionary activities in Lyon...

, and in 507 Clovis I
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

, the Frankish king, invaded the Visigothic kingdom, whose capital lay in Septimania at Toulouse, with the consent of the leading men of the tribe. Clovis defeated the Goths in the Battle of Vouillé
Battle of Vouillé
The Battle of Vouillé or Vouglé was fought in the northern marches of Visigothic territory, at Vouillé, Vienne near Poitiers , in the spring of 507 between the Franks commanded by Clovis and the Visigoths of Alaric II, the conqueror of Spain.Clovis and Anastasius I of the Byzantine Empire agreed...

 and the child-king Amalaric
Amalaric
Amalaric, or in Spanish and Portuguese, Amalarico, was king of the Visigoths from 526 until his assassination in 531. He was a son of king Alaric II and his first wife Theodegotho, daughter of Theodoric the Great....

 was carried for safety into Iberia while Gesalec
Gesalec
Gesalic was a king of the Visigoths from 507 to 511, and died in 513. Although the illegitimate son of Alaric II. He had been elected king by the Visigoths after Alaric had been killed in battle by the Franks...

 was elected to replace him and rule from Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

Clovis, his son Theuderic I
Theuderic I
Theuderic I was the Merovingian king of Metz, Rheims, or Austrasia—as it is variously called—from 511 to 533 or 534....

, and his Burgundian
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 allies proceeded to conquer most of Visigothic Gaul, including the Rouergue
Rouergue
Rouergue is a former province of France, bounded on the north by Auvergne, on the south and southwest by Languedoc, on the east by Gévaudan and on the west by Quercy...

 (507) and Toulouse (508). The attempt to take Carcassone, a fortified site guarding the Septimanian coast, was defeated by the Ostrogoths (508) and Septimania thereafter remained in Visigothic hands, though the Burgundians managed to hold Narbonne for a time and drive Gesalec into exile. Border warfare between Gallo-Roman magnates, including bishops, had existed with the Visigoths during the last phase of the Empire and it continued under the Franks.

The Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great was king of the Ostrogoths , ruler of Italy , regent of the Visigoths , and a viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 reconquered Narbonne from the Burgundians and retained it as the provincial capital. Theudis
Theudis
Theudis was king of the Visigoths in Hispania from 531 to 548. He was the sword-bearer of Theodoric the Great, who sent him to govern the Visigothic kingdom during the minority of Amalaric, the son of king Alaric II and Theodegotho, the daughter of king Theodoric.According to Procopius, during his...

 was appointed regent at Narbonne by Theodoric while Amalaric was still a minor in Iberia. When Theodoric died in 526, Amalaric was elected king in his own right and he immediately made his capital in Narbonne. He ceded Provence, which had at some point passed back into Visigothic control, to the Ostrogothic king Athalaric
Athalaric
Athalaric was the King of the Ostrogoths in Italy. He was a son of Eutharic and Amalasuntha. His maternal grandfather was Theodoric the Great. He succeeded his grandfather as king in 526....

. The Frankish king of Paris, Childebert I
Childebert I
Childebert I was the Frankish king of Paris, a Merovingian dynast, one of the four sons of Clovis I who shared the kingdom of the Franks upon their father's death in 511...

, invaded Septimania in 531 and chased Amalaric to Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 in response to pleas from his sister, Chrotilda, that her husband, Amalaric, had been mistreating her. The Franks did not try to hold the province, however. Under Amalaric's successor, however, the centre of gravity of the kingdom crossed the Pyrenees and Theudis made his capital in Barcelona.

Gothic province of Gallia


In the Visigothic kingdom, which became centred on Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

 by the end of the reign of Leovigild, the province of Gallia Narbonensis, usually shortened to just Gallia or Narbonensis and never called Septimania, was both an administrative province of the central royal government and an ecclesiastical province whose metropolitan was the Archbishop of Narbonne. Originally, the Goths may have maintained their hold on the Albigeois, but if so it was conquered by the time of Chilperic I
Chilperic I
Chilperic I was the king of Neustria from 561 to his death. He was one of the sons of the Frankish king Clotaire I and Queen Aregund....

. There is archaeological evidence that some enclaves of Visigothic population remained in Frankish Gaul, near the Septimanian border, after 507.

The province of Gallia held a unique place in the Visigothic kingdom, as it was the only province outside of Iberia, north of the Pyrenees, and bordering a strong foreign nation, in this case the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

. The kings after Alaric II favoured Narbonne as a capital, but twice (611 and 531) were defeated and forced back to Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 by the Franks before Theudis moved the capital there permanently. Under Theodoric Septimania had been safe from Frankish assault, but was raided by Childebert I
Childebert I
Childebert I was the Frankish king of Paris, a Merovingian dynast, one of the four sons of Clovis I who shared the kingdom of the Franks upon their father's death in 511...

 twice (531 and 541). When Liuva I
Liuva I
Liuva I was a Visigothic King of Hispania and Septimania.He was made king at Narbonne following the death of Athanagild in 568. Roger Collins notes this was the first time a Visigothic king is mentioned in the north-eastern region of the realm since 531, when Amalric was murdered...

 succeeded the throne in 568, Septimania was a dangerous frontier province and Iberia was wracked by revolts. Liuva granted Iberia to his son Leovigild and took Septimania to himself.

During the revolt of Hermenegild
Hermenegild
Saint Hermenegild or Ermengild , was the son of king Leovigild of Visigothic Spain. He fell out with his father in 579, then revolted the following year. During his rebellion, he converted from Arian Christianity to Roman Catholicism. Hermenegild was defeated in 584, and exiled...

 (583–585) against his father Leovigild, Septimania was invaded by Guntram
Guntram
Saint Guntram was the king of Burgundy from 561 to 592. He was a son of Chlothar I and Ingunda...

, King of Burgundy
King of Burgundy
The following is a list of the Kings of the two Kingdoms of Burgundy, and a number of related political entities devolving from Carolingian machinations over family relations.- Kings of the Burgundians :...

, possible in support of Hermenegild's revolt, since the latter was married to his niece Ingundis. The Frankish attack of 585 was repulsed by Hermenegild's brother Reccared
Reccared
Reccared I was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia. His reign marked a climactic shift in history, with the king's renunciation of traditional Arianism in favour of Catholic Christianity in 587.Reccared was the younger son of King Liuvigild by his first wife Theodosia...

, who was ruling Narbonensis as a sub-king. Hermenegild died at Tarragona
Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

 that year and it is possible that he had escaped confinement in Valencia and was seeking to join up with his Frankish allies. Alternatively, the invasion may have occurred in response to Hermenegild's death. Reccared meanwhile took Beaucaire (Ugernum) on the Rhône
Rhône River
The Rhone is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in Switzerland and running from there through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhone and the Little Rhone...

 near Tarascon
Tarascon
Tarascon , sometimes referred to as Tarascon-sur-Rhône, is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France.-Geography:...

 and Cabaret
Cabaret
Cabaret is a form, or place, of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue: a restaurant or nightclub with a stage for performances and the audience sitting at tables watching the performance, as introduced by a master of ceremonies or...

 (a fort called Ram's Head), both of which lay in Guntram's kingdom. Guntram ignored two pleas for a peace in 586 and Reccared undertook the only Visigothic invasion of Francia in response. However, Guntram was not motivated solely by religious alliance with the fellow Catholic Hermenegild, for he invaded Septimania again in 589 and was roundly defeated near Carcassonne by Claudius, Duke of Lusitania
Claudius, Duke of Lusitania
Claudius was a Hispano-Roman Catholic dux of Lusitania in the late sixth century. He was one of the most successful generals of Reccared I....

. It is clear that the Franks, throughout the sixth century, had coveted Septimania, but were unable to take it and the invasion of 589 was the last attempt.

In the seventh century Gallia often had its own governors or duces (dukes), who were typically Visigoths. Most public offices were also held by Goths, far out of proportion to their part of the population.

Culture of Gothic Septimania


The native population of Gallia was referred to by Visigothic and Iberian writers as the "Gauls" and there is a well-attested hatred between the Goths and the Gaul which was atypical for the kingdom as a whole. The Gauls commonly insulted the Goths by comparing the strength of their men to that of Gaulish women, though the Spaniards regarded themselves as the defenders and protectors of the Gauls. It is only in the time of Wamba and Julian of Toledo
Julian of Toledo
Julian of Toledo was born to Jewish parents in Toledo, Hispania, but raised Christian. 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...

, however, that a large Jewish population becomes evident in Septimania: Julian referred to it as a "brothel of blaspheming Jews."

Thanks to the preserved canons of the Council of Narbonne of 590, a good deal can be known about surviving pagan practices in Visigothic Septimania. The Council may have been responding in part to the orders of the Third Council of Toledo
Third Council of Toledo
The Third Council of Toledo marks the entry of Catholic Christianity into the rule of Visigothic Spain, and the introduction into Western Christianity of the filioque clause...

, which found "the sacrilege of idolatry [to be] firmly implanted throughout almost the whole of Iberia and Septimania." The Roman pagan practice of not working Thursdays in honour of Jupiter
JOVE
JOVE is an open-source, Emacs-like text editor, primarily intended for Unix-like operating systems. It also supports MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows. JOVE was inspired by Gosling Emacs but is much smaller and simpler, lacking Mocklisp...

 was still prevalent. The council set down penance to be done for not working on Thursday save for church festivals and commanded the practice of Martin of Braga
Martin of Braga
Saint Martin of Braga was an archbishop of Bracara Augusta in Hispania , a monastic founder, and an ecclesiastical author...

, rest from rural work on Sundays, to be adopted. Also punished by the council were fortunetellers, who were publicly lashed and sold into slavery.

Different theories exist concerning the nature of the frontier between Septimania and Frankish Gaul. On the one hand, cultural exchange is generally reputed to have been minimal, but the level of trading activity has been disputed. There have been few to no objects of Neustria
Neustria
The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities...

n, Austrasia
Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

n, or Burgundian
Kingdom of Burgundy
Burgundy is a historic region in Western Europe that has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities - the first around the 6th century, the second around the 11th century - have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy; a third was very...

 provenance discovered in Septimania. However, a series of sarcophagi of a unique regional style, variously laballed Visigothic, Aquitainian, or south-west Gallic, are prevalent on both sides of the Septimania border. These sarcophagi are made of locally quarried marble from Saint-Béat
Saint-Béat
Saint-Béat is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.The Pic du Gar is a striking limestone mountain in the area.-Population:-References:*...

 and are of varied design, but with generally flat relief which distinguishes them from Roman sarcophagi. Their production has been dated to either the 5th, 6th, or 7th century, with the second of these being considered the most likely today. However, if they were made in the 5th century, while both Aquitaine and Septimani were in Visigothic hands, their existence provides no evidence for a cultural osmosis across the Gothic-Frankish frontier. A unique style of orange pottery was common in the 4th and 5th centuries in southern Gaul, but the later (6th century) examples culled from Septimania are more orange than their cousins from Aquitaine and Provence and are not found commonly outside of Septimania, a strong indicator that there was little commerce over the frontier or at its ports. In fact, Septimania helped to isolate both Aquitaine and Iberia from the rest of the Mediterranean world.

Visigothic coinage did not circulate in Gaul outside of Septimania and Frankish coinage did not circulate in Iberia or Septimania. If there had been a significant amount of commerce over the frontier, the monies paid had to have been melted down immediately and re-minted for foreign coins have not been preserved across the frontier.

Moorish Septimania


The Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

, under Al-Samh ibn Malik
Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani
Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani was the Arab governor general of the Muslim occupied region of the Iberian Peninsula called Al-Andalus from between 718 and 721.He led a Muslim incursion into southern France in the early part of the 8th century...

 the governor-general of al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

, sweeping up the Iberian peninsula, by 719 overran Septimania; al-Samh set up his capital from 720 at Narbonne, which the Moors called Arbuna, offering the still largely Arian inhabitants generous terms and quickly pacifying the other cities. Following the conquest, al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 was divided into five administrative areas roughly corresponding to Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

, Galicia and Lusitania
Lusitania
Lusitania or Hispania Lusitania was an ancient Roman province including approximately all of modern Portugal south of the Douro river and part of modern Spain . It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people...

, Castile and Léon
Castile and León
Castile and León is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was so constituted in 1983 and it comprises the historical regions of León and Old Castile...

, Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, and Septimania. With Narbonne secure, and equally important, its port, for the Arab mariners were masters now of the Western Mediterranean, he swiftly subdued the largely unresisting cities, still controlled by their Visigoth counts: taking Alet and Béziers, Agde, Lodève, Maguelonne and Nîmes. By 721 he was reinforced and ready to lay siege to Toulouse, a possession that would open up bordering Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 to him on the same terms as Septimania. But his plans were overthrown in the disastrous Battle of Toulouse (721)
Battle of Toulouse (721)
The Battle of Toulouse was a victory of an Aquitanian army led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine over an Umayyad army besieging the city of Toulouse, and led by the governor of Al-Andalus, Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani...

, with immense losses, in which al-Samh was so seriously wounded that he soon died at Narbonne. Arab forces soundly based in Narbonne and easily resupplied by sea, struck in the 720s, conquering Carcassonne on the north-western fringes of Septimania and penetrating eastwards as far as Autun
Autun
Autun is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in Burgundy in eastern France. It was founded during the early Roman Empire as Augustodunum. Autun marks the easternmost extent of the Umayyad campaign in Europe.-Early history:...

 (725). But in 731, the Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 wali of Narbonne and the region of Cerdagne, Uthman ibn Naissa, called "Munuza" by the Franks, who was recently linked by marriage to duke Eudes of Aquitaine (also called Odo the Great), revolted against Córdoba, and was defeated and killed. In October of 732, an Arab force under Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi
Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi
Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi , also known as Abd er Rahman, Abdderrahman, Abderame, and Abd el-Rahman, led the Andalusian Muslims into battle against the forces of Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours on October 10, 732 AD. for which he is primarily remembered in the West...

 encountered Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 between Tours and Poitiers, and was defeated. This "Battle of Tours
Battle of Tours
The Battle of Tours , also called the Battle of Poitiers and in Battle of the Court of the Martyrs, was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, located in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about northeast of Poitiers...

" (also called the Battle of Poitiers) is celebrated in popular history and traditionally credited with stopping the Moorish advance in Europe.

After the territory round Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

 was taken by the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 in 732, Pippin III directed his attention to Narbonne, but the city held firm in 737, defended by its Goths, and Jews under the command of its governor Yusuf, 'Abd er-Rahman's heir. Around 747 the government of the Septimania region (and the Upper Mark, from Pyrénées to Ebro River) was given to Aumar ben Aumar
Aumar ben Aumar
Aumar ben Aumar was Governor of Septimania and Upper Mark, administrative divisions in the Muslim Cordobese emirate. Governed from 747 to C. 755 and lost Nîmes, Agde, Béziers and Melguelh in 752, but Narbonne, the capital, resisted for about seven years....

. In 752 Pippin turned his attention to Septimania. Gothic
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 counts of Nîmes
Nîmes
Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

, Melguelh, Agde
Agde
Agde is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France. It is the Mediterranean port of the Canal du Midi.-Location:Agde is located on the river Hérault, 4 km from the Mediterranean Sea, and 750 km from Paris...

 and Béziers
Béziers
Béziers is a town in Languedoc in southern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the Hérault department. Béziers hosts the famous Feria de Béziers, centred around bullfighting, every August. A million visitors are attracted to the five-day event...

 refused allegiance to the emir at Córdoba
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

 and declared their loyalty to the Frankish king—the count of Nîmes, Ansemund
Ansemund
Ansemund was the Gothic count of Nîmes, ruling from 752 until his death in 754.In 752, the Gothic counts of Nîmes, Melguelh, Agde, and Béziers refused allegiance to the Cordoban emir and declared their loyalty to the Frankish Kingdom. Ansemund seems to have had some authority over the other counts....

, having some authority over the remaining counts. The Gothic counts and the Franks then began to besiege Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

, where Miló
Miló of Narbonne
Miló of Narbonne was the Count of Narbonne, who was ruling in 752, successor probably of Gilbert. It seems that he was in favour of the Franks, but, as there was a Muslim garrison in Narbonne, he didn't follow Ansemund, Count of Nimes in his allegiance to the Frankish Kingdom. The Goth counts and...

 was probably the count (as successor of the count Gilbert
Gilbert of Narbonne
Gilbert of Narbonne was a Goth count of Narbonne who governed until about 750. His successor was Miló....

). However, the strongly Gothic Narbonne under Muslim rule resisted to the Carolingian thrust. Moreover, attacks on the rearguard by a Basque army under the Aquitanian duke Waifer didn't make things easy to Pippin.

In 754 an anti-Frank reaction, led by Ermeniard, killed Ansemund, but the uprising was without success and Radulf
Radulf of Narbonne
Radulf was a count of Narbonne of unknown origin, but he was count in 754 after the killing of Ansemund, probably by order of the Frankish king....

 was designated new count by the Frankish court. About 755 Abd al-Rahman ben Uqba
Abd al-Rahman ben Uqba
Abd al-Rahman ben Uqba was the Wali, or governor, of Septimania, an Upper Mark that substituted Aumar ben Aumar in 755. During his governing, Narbonne was lost by conquest to the Franks....

 replaced Aumar ben Aumar. Narbonne capitulated in 759 only after Pippin promised the defenders of the city to uphold the Gothic law, and the county was granted to Miló, the Gothic count in Muslim times, thus earning the loyalty of Septimania's Goths against Waifer.

Gothia in Carolingian times


The region of Roussillon
Roussillon
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

 was taken by the Franks in 760. In 767, after waging a war against Waifer of Aquitaine
Waifer of Aquitaine
Waifer was the duke of Aquitaine from 748 to 768, succeeding his newly-monastic father Hunold....

, Albi, Rouergue
Rouergue
Rouergue is a former province of France, bounded on the north by Auvergne, on the south and southwest by Languedoc, on the east by Gévaudan and on the west by Quercy...

, Gévaudan
Gévaudan
Gévaudan is a historical area of France, nowadays situated in Lozère département. It took its name from the Gabali, a Gallic tribe subordinate to the Arverni.- History :...

 and the city of Toulouse were conquered. In 777 the wali of Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, Sulayman al-Arabi
Sulayman al-Arabi
Sulayman ibn Yaqzan al-Arabi was Wali of Barcelona and Girona in the year 777.For the history of al-Arabi, we must rely on the Muslim historian Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad , also known as Ali ‘izz ad-Din ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, who wrote four centuries after the fact.According to...

, and the wali of Huesca
Huesca
Huesca is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the comarca of Hoya de Huesca....

 Abu Taur
Abu Taur of Huesca
Abu Taur was the Wali of Huesca in 777, who joined Sulayman al-Arabi in offer his submission to Charlemagne and collaborated with Frankish forces in the unsuccessful assault on Zaragoza in 778. It has been suggested that he may be identical to Abu Tawr ibn Qasi, son of the eponymous ancestor of...

, offered their submission to Charlemagne and also the submission of Husayn
Husayn of Zaragoza
Husayn of Zaragoza , Wali of Zaragoza, which is now the Spanish province of Aragón, from 774 to 781.-Events during the rule of Husayn:...

, wali of Zaragoza. When Charlemagne invaded the Upper Mark in 778, Husayn refused allegiance and he had to retire. In the Pyrenees, the Basques defeated his forces in Roncesvalles (August 15, 778).

The Frankish king found Septimania and the borderlands so devastated and depopulated by warfare, with the inhabitants hiding among the mountains, that he made grants of land that were some of the earliest identifiable fiefs to Visigothic and other refugees. Charlemagne also founded several monasteries in Septimania, around which the people gathered for protection. Beyond Septimania to the south Charlemagne established the Spanish Marches
Marches
A march or mark refers to a border region similar to a frontier, such as the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales. During the Frankish Carolingian Dynasty, the word spread throughout Europe....

 in the borderlands of his empire.

The territory passed to Louis, king in Aquitaine, but it was governed by Frankish margraves and then dukes (from 817) of Septimania.

The Frankish noble Bernat of Gothia
Bernat of Septimania
Bernard of Septimania , son of William of Gellone, was the Frankish Duke of Septimania and Count of Barcelona from 826 to 832 and again from 835 to his execution. He was also count of Carcassonne from 837. He was appointed to succeed his fellow Frank Rampon...

 (also, Bernat of Septimania) was the ruler of these lands from 826 to 832. His career (he was beheaded in 844) characterized the turbulent 9th century in Septimania. His appointment as Count of Barcelona in 826 occasioned a general uprising of the Catalan lords at this intrusion of Frankish power. For suppressing Berenguer of Toulouse and the Catalans, Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 rewarded Bernat with a series of counties, which roughly delimit 9th century Septimania: Narbonne, Béziers, Agde, Magalona, Nîmes and Uzés. Rising against Charles the Bald in 843, Bernard was apprehended at Toulouse and beheaded.

Septimania became known as Gothia after the reign of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

. It retained these two names while it was ruled by the counts of Toulouse during early part of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, but the southern part became more familiar as Roussillon
Roussillon
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

 and the west became known as Foix
Foix
Foix is a commune, the capital of the Ariège department in southwestern France. It is the least populous administrative centre of a department in all of France, although it is only very slightly smaller than Privas...

, and the name "Gothia" (along with the older name "Septimania") faded away during the 10th century, except as a traditional designation as the region fractured into smaller feudal entities, which sometimes retained Carolingian titles, but lost their Carolingian character, as the culture of Septimania evolved into the culture of Languedoc
Languedoc
Languedoc is a former province of France, now continued in the modern-day régions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées in the south of France, and whose capital city was Toulouse, now in Midi-Pyrénées. It had an area of approximately 42,700 km² .-Geographical Extent:The traditional...

.

The name was used because the area was populated by a higher concentration of Goths than in surrounding regions. The rulers of this area, when joined with several counties, were titled the Marquesses
Marquis
Marquis is a French and Scottish title of nobility. The English equivalent is Marquess, while in German, it is Markgraf.It may also refer to:Persons:...

 of Gothia (and, also, the Duke
Duke
A duke or duchess is a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank below the monarch, and historically controlling a duchy...

s of Septimania).

Sources

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    Bernard Bachrach
    Bernard S. Bachrach is an American historian and a professor of history at the University of Minnesota. He specialises in the Early Middle Ages, mainly on the topics of Medieval warfare, Medieval Jewry, and early Angevin history...

     Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971.
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    Edward James (historian)
    Edward James is Professor of Medieval History at University College, Dublin. He received a BA 1968; DPhil in 1975. He was a Lecturer, then College Lecturer, at the Department of Medieval History, University College Dublin from 1970-1978...

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  • Thompson, E. A. The Goths in Spain. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969.
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