Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Visigothic Kingdom

Visigothic Kingdom

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Visigothic Kingdom'
Start a new discussion about 'Visigothic Kingdom'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 successor states to 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....

, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia
Wallia
Wallia was king of the Visigoths from 415 to 419, earning a reputation as a great warrior and prudent ruler. He was elected to the throne after Athaulf and then Sigeric were assassinated in 415....

 in the province of 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...

 in south-west France by the Roman government and then extended by conquest over all of the Iberian peninsula. The Kingdom maintained independence from the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, the attempts of which to re-establish Roman authority in Iberia were only partially successful and short-lived. By the early 6th century, the Kingdom's territory in Gaul had been lost to 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...

, save the narrow coastal strip of Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

, but the Visigoth control of Iberia was secured by the end of that century with the submission of the Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

 and the Basques. The ethnic distinction between the indigenous Hispano-Roman population and the Visigoths had largely disappeared by this time (the Gothic language
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

 lost its last and probably already declining function as a church language when the Visigoths converted to Catholicism in 589). Liber Iudiciorum (completed in 654) abolished the old tradition of having different laws for Romans and for Visigoths. Most of the Visigothic Kingdom was conquered by Islamic troops
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

 from Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 in 716 AD, only the northern reaches of Spain remaining in Christian hands. These gave birth to the medieval Kingdom of Asturias
Kingdom of Asturias
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom after Islamic conquest of Hispania...

 when a local landlord called Pelayo, most likely of Gothic origin, was elected Princeps by the Astures.

The Visigoths and their early kings were Arian Christians
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...

 and came into conflict with the Catholic Church, but after they converted to Nicene Christianity, the Church exerted an enormous influence on secular affairs through the Councils of Toledo
Councils of Toledo
Councils of Toledo . From the 5th century to the 7th century, about thirty synods, variously counted, were held at Toledo in what would come to be part of Spain. The earliest, directed against Priscillianism, assembled in 400. The "third" synod of 589 marked the epoch-making conversion of King...

. The Visigoths also developed the most extensive secular legislation in Western Europe, the Liber Iudiciorum, which formed the basis for Spanish law throughout the Middle Ages.

Federate Kingdom



From 407 to 409, the Germanic Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, with the allied Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 and Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

, crossed the frozen Rhine and swept into the Iberian peninsula. For their part, the Visigoths under Alaric
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

 famously sacked Rome in 410
Sack of Rome (410)
The Sack of Rome occurred on August 24, 410. The city was attacked by the Visigoths, led by Alaric I. At that time, Rome was no longer the capital of the Western Roman Empire, replaced in this position initially by Mediolanum and then later Ravenna. Nevertheless, the city of Rome retained a...

, capturing Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Aelia Galla Placidia , daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, was the Regent for Emperor Valentinian III from 423 until his majority in 437, and a major force in Roman politics for most of her life...

, the sister of Western Roman emperor Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

.

Alaric's successor, Ataulf
Ataulf
Ataulf was king of the Visigoths from 410 to 415...

, spent the next few years operating in the Gallic and Spanish countrysides, diplomatically playing competing factions of German and Roman commanders against one another to skillful effect, and taking over cities such as 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...

 and 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...

 (in 413). Having married Placidia, he was enlisted by Honorius to bring Visigothic assistance in regaining nominal Roman control of Spain from the Vandals, Alans and Suevi.

In 418, Honorius rewarded his Visigothic federates
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...

 under King Wallia by giving them land in the Garonne
Garonne
The Garonne is a river in southwest France and northern Spain, with a length of .-Source:The Garonne's headwaters are to be found in the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, though three different locations have been proposed as the true source: the Uelh deth Garona at Plan de Beret , the Ratera-Saboredo...

 valley of Gallia Aquitania
Gallia Aquitania
Gallia Aquitania was a province of the Roman Empire, bordered by the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Narbonensis, and Hispania Tarraconensis...

 on which to settle. This was probably done under hospitalitas, the rules for billeting army soldiers. It seems more likely that at first the Visigoths were not given a large amount of land estates in the region like it was previously believed, but that they acquired the taxes of the region, with the local Gallic aristocrats now paying their taxes to the Visigoths instead of the Roman government.
The Visigoths with their capital at 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...

, remained de facto independent, and soon began expanding into Roman territory at the expense of the feeble Western empire. Under Theodoric I
Theodoric I
Theodoric I sometimes called Theodorid and in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Teodorico, was the King of the Visigoths from 418 to 451. An illegitimate son of Alaric, Theodoric is famous for defeating Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451, where he was mortally wounded.-Early...

 (418–51), the Visigoths attacked Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

 (in 425 and 430) and 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...

 (436) but were checked by Flavius Aetius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

 using Hunnic mercenaries
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, and Theodoric was defeated in 438. By 451, the situation had reversed and the Huns had invaded Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

; now Theodoric fought under Aetius against Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
Attila , more frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire, which stretched from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea. During his reign he was one of the most feared...

 in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. Attila was driven back, however Theodoric was killed in the battle.

By 454, the Vandals had conquered North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and the Suevi had taken most of Spain. The Roman emperor 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...

 now sent the Visigoths into Spain. 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...

 (453–66) invaded and defeated the King of the Suevi, Rechiarius, at the battle on the river Orbigo
Órbigo
The Órbigo River is a river in the provinces of León and Zamora, Spain. It begins at the convergence of the Luna River and the Omaña River in the town of Santiago del Molinillo. It flows from north to south through the province of León and ultimately flows into the Esla River below Benavente.How...

 in 456 near Asturica Augusta (Astorga
Astorga, Spain
Astorga is a town in the province of León, northern Spain. It lies southwest of the provincial capital of León, and is the head of the council of La Maragatería. The river Tuerto flows through it. , its population was about 12,100 people....

) and then sacked Bracara Augusta (Braga
Braga
Braga , a city in the Braga Municipality in northwestern Portugal, is the capital of the Braga District, the oldest archdiocese and the third major city of the country. Braga is the oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the World...

) the Suevi capital. The Goths' sacking of the cities in Spain was quite brutal, they massacred a portion of the population and even attacked some holy places, probably due to the clergy's support of the Suevi. Theoderic took control over Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica was one of three Imperial Roman provinces in Hispania, . Hispania Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica was part of Al-Andalus under the Moors in the 8th century and approximately corresponds to modern Andalucia...

, Carthaginiensis and southern 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...

. In 461, the Goths received the city of Narbonne from the emperor 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...

 in exchange for their support. This led to a revolt by the army and Gallo-Romans under Aegidius which saw Romans under Severus and the Visigoths fighting other Roman troops and was only contained in 465.

Kingdom of Toulouse


In 466, Theodoric's brother 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...

 had him killed and was crowned as the new King. Under Euric (466–84) the Visigoths began expanding in France and consolidating their presence in Spain. Euric fought a series of wars with the Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

 who retained some influence in Lusitania, and brought most of this region under Visigothic power, taking Emerita Augusta (Merida
Mérida, Spain
Mérida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, western central Spain. It has a population of 57,127 . The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.- Climate :...

) in 469. Euric also attacked the Western Roman Empire, capturing Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

 in 472, the last bastion of Roman rule in Spain. By 476, he had extended his rule to the Rhone
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...

 in the south having taken Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

 and Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

, and up to 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...

 river in the north. In his campaigns, Euric had counted on a portion of the Gallo-Roman and Hispano-Roman aristocracy who served under him as generals and governors. The Visigothic Kingdom was formally recognized when the Western 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...

 (473–480) signed an alliance with Euric, granting him the lands south of the Loire and west of the Rhone in exchange for military service and the lands in 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...

 (including Arles and Marseilles). The lands in Spain remained under de facto Visigothic control. After Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

 deposed the last Roman emperor in the West, Romulus Augustulus, Euric quickly recaptured 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...

, a fact which Odoacer formally accepted in a treaty.

By 500, the Visigothic Kingdom, centered at 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...

, controlled Gallia Aquitania
Gallia Aquitania
Gallia Aquitania was a province of the Roman Empire, bordered by the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Narbonensis, and Hispania Tarraconensis...

 and 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...

 and most of Hispania with the exception of the Suebic Kingdom of Galicia
Suebic Kingdom of Galicia
The Suebic Kingdom of Galicia was the first independent barbarian Christian kingdom of Western Europe and the first to separate from the Roman Empire, as well as the first one to mint coins. Based in Gallaecia, it was established in 410 and lasted as independent state until 584, after a century of...

 in the northwest and small areas controlled by independent Spanish peoples like the Basques and the Cantabri
Cantabri
The Cantabri were a pre-Roman Celtic people which lived in the northern Atlantic coastal region of ancient Hispania, from the 4th to late 1st centuries BC.-Origins:...

ans. Euric's son Alaric II
Alaric II
Alaric II, also known as Alarik, Alarich, and Alarico in Spanish and Portuguese or Alaricus in Latin succeeded his father Euric on December 28, 484, in Toulouse. He established his capital at Aire-sur-l'Adour in Aquitaine...

 (484–507) issued a new body of laws, the Breviarium Alarici and held a church council at 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...

.

The Visigoths now came into conflict with the Franks under their King 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...

, who had conquered northern Gaul. Following a brief war with the Franks, Alaric was forced to put down a rebellion in Tarraconensis, probably caused by recent Visigoth immigration to Spain due to pressure from the Franks. In 507, the Franks attacked again, this time allied with the Burgundians
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...

. Alaric II was killed at the battle of Campus Vogladensis
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...

 (Vouillé
Vouillé, Vienne
Vouillé is a commune in the Vienne department in the Poitou-Charentes region in western France.The Battle of Vouillé or Vouglé was fought in the northern marches of Visigothic territory, at Vouillé, Vienne, , in the spring of 507 between the Franks commanded by Clovis and the Visigoths of Alaric...

) near Poitiers
Poitiers
Poitiers is a city on the Clain river in west central France. It is a commune and the capital of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. The centre is picturesque and its streets are interesting for predominant remains of historical architecture, especially from the Romanesque...

, and Toulouse was sacked. By 508, the Visigoths had lost most of their Gallic holdings save Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

 in the south.

Arian Kingdom of Hispania


After Alaric II's death, his bastard son 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...

 took power until he was deposed by 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...

, ruler of the Ostrogothic Kingdom
Ostrogothic Kingdom
The Kingdom established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas lasted from 493 to 553. In Italy the Ostrogoths replaced Odoacer, the de facto ruler of Italy who had deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 476. The Gothic kingdom reached its zenith under the rule of its...

 who invaded and defeated him at 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...

. Gesalic fled and regrouped, but was defeated again at 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...

, and was captured and killed. Theoderic then installed his grandson 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....

 (511–31), the son of Alaric II, as king. Amalaric however was still a child and power in Spain remained under the Ostrogothic general and regent, 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...

. It was only after Theoderic's death (526) that Amalaric obtained control of his Kingdom. His rule did not last long, as in 531 Amalaric was defeated by the Frankish king 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...

 and then murdered at Barcelona. Afterwards 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...

 (531–48) became king. He expanded Visigothic control over the southern regions, but he was also murdered after a failed invasion of Africa. Visigothic Spain suffered a civil war under King Agila I (549–54), which prompted the Roman/Byzantine emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 to send an army and carve out the small province of Spania
Spania
Spania was a province of the Roman Empire from 552 until 624 in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. It was a part of the conquests of Roman Emperor Justinian I in an effort to restore the western half of the Empire....

 for the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 along the coast of southern Spain. Agila was eventually killed and his enemy Athanagild
Athanagild
Athanagild was Visigothic King of Hispania and Septimania. He had rebelled against his predecessor, Agila, in 551. The armies of Agila and Athanagild met at Seville, where Agila met a second defeat...

 (552–68) became the new king. He attacked the Byzantines, but he was unable to dislodge them from southern Spain, and was obliged to formally acknowledge the suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 of the Empire.

The next Visigothic king was Liuvigild
Liuvigild
Liuvigild, Leuvigild, Leovigild, or Leogild was a Visigothic King of Hispania and Septimania from 569 to April 21, 586. From 585 he was also king of Galicia. Known for his Codex Revisus or Code of Leovigild, a unifying law allowing equal rights between the Visigothic and Hispano-Roman population,...

 (569 - April 21, 586). He was an effective military leader and consolidated Visigothic power in Spain. Leovigild campaigned against the Romans in the south in the 570s and he took back 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...

 after another revolt. He also fought in the north against the Suebi and various small independent states, including the Basques and the Cantabrians. He pacified northern Spain, but he was unable to completely conquer these peoples. When Liuvigild
Liuvigild
Liuvigild, Leuvigild, Leovigild, or Leogild was a Visigothic King of Hispania and Septimania from 569 to April 21, 586. From 585 he was also king of Galicia. Known for his Codex Revisus or Code of Leovigild, a unifying law allowing equal rights between the Visigothic and Hispano-Roman population,...

 established his son 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...

 as joint ruler, a civil war ensued. Hermenegild became the first Visigothic king to convert to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 due to his ties with the Romans, but he was defeated and sent into exile in 584. By the end of his reign Leovigild had united the entire Iberian peninsula, including the Suebic Kingdom which he conquered in 585 during a Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

 civil war that ensued after the death of King Miro. Leovigild established amicable terms with the Franks through royal marriages, and they remained at peace throughout most of his reign. Leovigild also founded new cities like Reccopolis
Reccopolis
Reccopolis near the tiny modern village of Zorita de los Canes in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha, Spain, is one of at least four cities founded in Hispania by the Visigoths, the only new cities in Western Europe known to be founded between the fifth and eighth centuries...

 and Victoriacum (Vitoria), the first barbarian king to do so.

Catholic Kingdom of Toledo





On becoming King, Leovigild's son Reccared I (586–601) converted to Catholic Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. This led to some unrest in the Kingdom, notably a revolt by the 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...

 bishop of Merida which was put down, he also beat back another Frankish offensive in the north. Reccared I then oversaw 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...

 in 589, where he announced his faith in the Nicene creed and denounced Arian. He adopted the name Flavius, the family name of the Constantinian dynasty and styled himself as the successor to the Roman emperors. Reccared also fought the Byzantines in Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica was one of three Imperial Roman provinces in Hispania, . Hispania Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica was part of Al-Andalus under the Moors in the 8th century and approximately corresponds to modern Andalucia...

 after they had begun a new offensive.

Reccared's son Liuva II became king in 601 but was deposed by the Visigothic noble Witteric
Witteric
Witteric was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from 603 to 610....

 (601–610) ending the short-lived dynasty. There were various Visigothic Kings between 610 and 631 and this period saw constant regicide. This period also saw the definitive conquest of the Byzantine territories in the south. War continued in the north against the Basques and Asturians
Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

, as indeed it would continue for the rest of the Visigothic Kingdom's existence. These Kings also worked on religious legislature, especially King Sisebut (612–621) who passed several harsh laws against Jews and forced many Jews to convert to Christianity. Sisebut was also successful against the Byzantines, taking several of their cities including Málaga
Málaga
Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

. The Byzantines were finally defeated by Suintila
Suintila
Suintila was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from 621 to 631. There was a new peace in the Kingdom of the Visigoths. As a direct result, by 624 the king was able to retake those lands that had been under the control of Byzantium...

 (621–631), who had captured all of their Spanish holdings by 625. Suinthila was deposed by the Franks and replaced by Sisinand.
The instability of this period can be attributed to the power struggle between the Kings and the Nobility. Religious unification strengthened the political power of the church which it exercised through church councils at Toledo along with the nobles. The 4th council, held during the brief reign of Sisinand in 633 excommunicated and exiled the King replacing him with Chintila
Chintila
Chintila was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from 636. He succeeded Sisenand in a time of weakness and reigned until his death....

 (636–639). The church councils were now the most powerful institution in the Visigothic state, they took the role of regulating the process of succession to the Kingship by election of the King by Gothic noble 'senators' and the church officials. They also decided to meet on a regular basis to discuss ecclesiastical and political matters which affected the Church. Finally, they decided that the King should die in peace and declared their person sacred, seeking to end the violence and regicides of the past. Despite all this, another coup took place and Chintila was deposed in 639 and King Tulga took his place, he was also deposed in the third year of his reign and the council elected the noble Chindasuinth
Chindasuinth
Chindasuinth was Visigothic King of Spain, from 642 until his death. He succeeded Tulga, from whom he usurped the throne in a coup; he was "officially" elected by the nobles and anointed by the bishops 30 April 642....

 as king.

The reigns of Chindasuinth
Chindasuinth
Chindasuinth was Visigothic King of Spain, from 642 until his death. He succeeded Tulga, from whom he usurped the throne in a coup; he was "officially" elected by the nobles and anointed by the bishops 30 April 642....

 and his son Recceswinth saw the compilation of the most important Visigothic law book, the Liber Iudiciorum (completed in 654). The code included old laws by past kings like Alaric II in his Breviarium Alarici and Leovigild, but many were also new laws. The code was based almost wholly on Roman law, with some influence of Germanic law in rare cases. The new laws applied to both Gothic and Spanish populations who had been under different laws in the past and it replaced all older codes of law. Among the old laws that were eliminated were the harsh laws against Jews. The liber shows that the old system of military and civil divisions in administration was changing, and dukes (duces provinciae) and counts (comes civitatis) had begun taking more responsibilities outside their original military and civil duties. We also see that the servants or slaves of the king became very prominent in the bureaucracy and exercised wide administrative powers. With the Visigoth Law Codes, women could inherit land and title and manage it independently from their husbands or male relations, dispose of their property in legal wills if they had no heirs, and women could represent themselves and bear witness in court by age 14 and arrange for their own marriages by age 20. Chindasuinth (642–653) strengthened the monarchy at the expense of the nobility, he executed some 700 nobles, forced dignitaries to swear oaths and in the seventh council of Toledo laid down his right to excommunicate clergy who acted against the government. He was also able to maneuver his son Recceswinth on the throne sparking a rebellion by a gothic noble who allied with the basques but was put down. Reccesuinth (653–672) held another council of Toledo, which reduced sentences for treason and affirmed the power of the councils to elect Kings.

Following Reccesuinth, King Wamba (672–680) was elected king. He had to deal with initial revolts in Tarraconensis and because of this he felt a need to reform the army. He passed a law declaring that all dukes, counts and other military leaders, as well as bishops had to come to the aid of the Kingdom once danger became known or risk harsh punishment. Wamba was eventually deposed in a bloodless coup. King Ervig (680–687) held further church councils and reneged the previous harsh laws of Wamba, though he still made provisions for the army. Ervig had his son in law Egica made king. Despite a rebellion by the bishop of Toledo, the sixteenth council was held in 693 which denounced the bishop's revolt. The seventeenth council in 694 passed harsh laws against the Jews, citing a conspiracy and many were enslaved, especially those who had converted from Christianity. Egica also raised his son Wittiza
Wittiza
Wittiza was the Visigothic King of Hispania from 694 until his death, co-ruling with his father, Ergica, until 702 or 703.-Joint rule:...

 as co-ruler in 698. Not much is known about his reign, but a period of civil war quickly ensued between his sons (Achila and Ardo) and King Roderic who had seized Toledo.

Muslim conquest


In 711, Tariq ibn Ziyad, a Muslim 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...

 client of Musa bin Nusair
Musa bin Nusair
Musa bin Nusayr al-Balawi was a balawi who served as a governor and general under the Umayad caliph Al-Walid I. He had ruled over the Muslim provinces of North Africa , and directed the islamic opening of the Visigothic kingdom in Hispania....

, the governor of Islamic Africa, invaded Spain with about 7000 men while Roderic
Roderic
Ruderic was the Visigothic King of Hispania for a brief period between 710 and 712. He is famous in legend as "the last king of the Goths"...

 was in the north fighting the Basques. Muslim sources indicate he was invited by enemies of Roderic, perhaps by Witiza's sons. By late July a battle took place at the Guadalete River
Guadalete River
The Guadalete River is a small stream located in the Spanish province of Cádiz, arising in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park at an elevation of about 1000 m, and running for 172 km into the Bay of Cádiz at El Puerto de Santa Maria, south of the city of Cádiz...

 in the province of Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

. Roderic was betrayed by his troops who sided with his enemies, and the king was killed in battle. The Muslims then took much of southern Spain with little resistance, and went on to capture Toledo, where they executed several Visigothic nobles. In 712, Musa, the governor of Ifriqiya
Ifriqiya
In medieval history, Ifriqiya or Ifriqiyah was the area comprising the coastal regions of what are today western Libya, Tunisia, and eastern Algeria. This area included what had been the Roman province of Africa, whose name it inherited....

, arrived with another army of 18,000, with large Arab contingents. He took Merida
Mérida, Spain
Mérida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, western central Spain. It has a population of 57,127 . The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.- Climate :...

 in 713 and invaded the North taking Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 and León
Kingdom of León
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León...

, which was still under King Ardo, in 714. After being recalled by the Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, Musa left his son Abd al-‘Aziz in command. By 716, most of Spain was under Islamic rule, with 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...

 taken between 721 and 725. The only effective resistance was in Asturias, where a Visigothic nobleman named Pelagius (Pelayo) revolted in 718, allied with the Basques and defeated the Muslims at the small battle of Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

. Resistance also continued in the regions around the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 and the mountainous regions of northern Spain, where the Muslims were uninterested in maintaining authority. Most of the Arabs in Spain were from Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, and they settled in the river valleys of the Guadalquivir
Guadalquivir
The Guadalquivir is the fifth longest river in the Iberian peninsula and the second longest river to be its whole length in Spain. The Guadalquivir is 657 kilometers long and drains an area of about 58,000 square kilometers...

 and the Ebro
Ebro
The Ebro or Ebre is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the biggest river by discharge volume in Spain.The Ebro flows through the following cities:*Reinosa in Cantabria.*Miranda de Ebro in Castile and León....

. The Berbers
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...

 settled in the south and the Meseta Central in Castile
Castile (historical region)
A former kingdom, Castile gradually merged with its neighbours to become the Crown of Castile and later the Kingdom of Spain when united with the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre...

. The Muslims generally left the Christians alone to practice their religion, although non-Muslims were subject to Islamic law and treated as second-class citizens.

Visigothic settlements


For much of their history in Spain, the Visigoths kept themselves apart from the native Hispano-Roman population. The Visigoths always were a small minority, accounting for less than twelve per cent of their kingdom's estimated population of 10 million. Visigothic settlement was concentrated along the Garonne
Garonne
The Garonne is a river in southwest France and northern Spain, with a length of .-Source:The Garonne's headwaters are to be found in the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, though three different locations have been proposed as the true source: the Uelh deth Garona at Plan de Beret , the Ratera-Saboredo...

 River between Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

 and 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...

 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...

, and later in Spain and Portugal around Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 along the Ebro
Ebro
The Ebro or Ebre is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the biggest river by discharge volume in Spain.The Ebro flows through the following cities:*Reinosa in Cantabria.*Miranda de Ebro in Castile and León....

 River, around the city of Mérida
Merida
Places of the world named Mérida or Merida include:*Mérida, Spain, capital city of the Spanish Community of Extremadura*Mérida, Yucatán, capital city of the Mexican state of Yucatán*Merida, Leyte, a municipality in Leyte province in the Philippines...

, between the upper reaches of the Douro
Douro
The Douro or Duero is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto...

 River and 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:...

, and along the Tagus
Tagus
The Tagus is the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. It is long, in Spain, along the border between Portugal and Spain and in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Lisbon. It drains an area of . The Tagus is highly utilized for most of its course...

 River north of Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

. There was little Visigothic settlement elsewhere in the kingdom.

Founding of cities


The Visigoths founded the only new cities in Western Europe between the fifth and eighth centuries. It is certain (through contemporary Spanish accounts) that they founded four and there is a possible fifth city ascribed to them by a later Arabic source. All of these cities were founded for military purposes and three of them in celebration of victory.

The first, Reccopolis
Reccopolis
Reccopolis near the tiny modern village of Zorita de los Canes in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha, Spain, is one of at least four cities founded in Hispania by the Visigoths, the only new cities in Western Europe known to be founded between the fifth and eighth centuries...

, was founded by Leovigild in 578 after his victory over the Franks, near what is today the tiny village of Zorita de los Canes
Zorita de los Canes
Zorita de los Canes is a municipality located in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. According to the 2004 census , the municipality has a population of 98 inhabitants....

. He named it after his son Reccared and built it with Byzantine imitations, containing a palace complex and mint, but it lay in ruins by the ninth century (after the Arab conquest).

At a slightly later date, Leovigild founded a city he named Victoriacum after his victory over the Basques. Though it is often supposed to survive as the city of Vitoria, contemporary twelfth-century sources refer to this city's foundation by Sancho VI of Navarre
Sancho VI of Navarre
Sancho VI Garcés , called the Wise , was the king of Navarre from 1150 until his death in 1194....

.

Leovigild's son and namesake of the first Visigothic city founded his own sometime around 600. It is referred to by Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

 as Lugo id est Luceo in the Asturias
Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

, built after a victory over the Asturians or Cantabri
Cantabri
The Cantabri were a pre-Roman Celtic people which lived in the northern Atlantic coastal region of ancient Hispania, from the 4th to late 1st centuries BC.-Origins:...

.

The fourth and possibly final city of the Goths was Ologicus (perhaps Ologitis), founded using Basque labour in 621 by Suintila
Suintila
Suintila was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from 621 to 631. There was a new peace in the Kingdom of the Visigoths. As a direct result, by 624 the king was able to retake those lands that had been under the control of Byzantium...

 as a fortification against the recently subjected Basques. It is to be identified with modern Olite
Olite
Olite is a town and municipality located in the province and autonomous community of Navarre, northern Spain....

.

The possible fifth Visigothic foundation is Baiyara (perhaps modern Montoro
Montoro
Montoro is a city and municipality in the Córdoba Province of southern Spain, in the north-central part of the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is located about east-northeast of the capital of the province, Córdoba...

), mentioned as founded by Reccared in the Geography of Kitab al-Rawd al-Mitar
Kitab al-Rawd al-Mitar
Kitab al-Rawd al-Mitar, The Book of the Fragrant Garden, is a fifteenth-century Arabic geography by Muhammad bin Abd al-Munim al-Himyari that is a primary source for Spain in the Middle Ages, though it is based in part on the earlier account by Muhammad al-Idrisi. It was edited and translated into...

.

See also

  • 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...

  • Caliphate of Córdoba
    Caliphate of Córdoba
    The Caliphate of Córdoba ruled the Iberian peninsula and part of North Africa, from the city of Córdoba, from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by remarkable success in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Iberia were constructed in this period, including the famous...

  • History of Spain
    History of Spain
    The history of Spain involves all the other peoples and nations within the Iberian peninsula formerly known as Hispania, and includes still today the nations of Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain...

  • History of the Basque people
    History of the Basque people
    The Basque people are a group of people inhabiting adjacent areas of Spain and France. Their history is therefore interconnected with Spanish and French history and also with the history of many other past and present countries, particularly in Europe and the Americas.-First historical...

  • Kings of the Visigoths