Aside from that Mynydd makes the Visigoths into bigger Roman "allies" than they were is reality and the false claim that electing kings was an "old Germanic" custom, the article below does an excellent job of debunking the numerous myths and falsifications about the Visigoths in Spain and Portugal.

Well done Mynydd! Thank You for writing this informative article!

The Myth of the Visigoths in Spain and Portugal, by Mynydd

Reading the infamous and unscholar writings of Arthur Kemp and other such nordicists, one gets the feeling that all deeds of grandeur both in Spain and Portugal are due to the contribution of Nordic blood into the Hispanic gene pool by the Visigoths. Not only Kemp, but many others speak of a blonde Queen Isabel of Castilla who would be of Visigoth origins... when the only portrait that remains of her made when she was still alive shows her with black hair!!!

The Visigoths arrived in Hispania not as an invasion but as foederati to Rome. The agreement was they could settle in the lands in exchange for defeating other Germanic tribes which were raiding that part of the Roman Empire and helping in reinforcing Roman Law and order.

They brought with them a society which was ruled by a king, something strange to Hispano-Romans at the time, accustomed to the more soffisticated Imperial rule. Their monarchy type was not hereditary, but elective as was usual among Germanic peoples. This elective type of kingship proved little efficient as one way to become a king was to kill the elected king (thus the long list of kings in such a short period of history).

They never got to rule over the whole of Hispania, many parts were included at later periods, and in most of it the king never had enough authority. Apart from some area which had an allegiance to the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire), and the Kingdom of the Suebi in the Galaecia (both of which were incorporated later), they failed in their attempts to rule over the Northern mountain areas where the old tribes of Asturi, Cantabri and Vasconi lived.

These tribes were the same people which the Romans, before the Goths, never could rule completely, and therefore remained little romanized. While most of the rest of Hispania only counted with few mobile Roman Cohorts, in the Northern areas these were fixed Legions and Cohorts much as the ones in the Rhine limits with the Germanic barbarians.

The capital of the Visigoth Kingdom was Toledo, but the power was not as centralilzed as some may suppose, and the country was ruled by Dvx. One of these, Rodrigo, who historians suspect was Dux of Lusitania, was elected king. But there was a party of Visigoths who supported the heirs of former king Witiza. When Rodrigo was elected the family of Witiza and many "Witizans" fled Toledo to look for shelter with the Dux of the Betica (Southern province). From there, and with the help of the Governor of the city of Ceptem (modern Ceuta in Northern Africa), they stroke a deal with Muza, the Moslem Governor of Northern Africa. By this deal, Muza should provide an army to support their rebellion against Rodrigo and help them regain the Crown of Toledo.

In 711AD these treacherous Visigoths provided the ships to carry a small army recruited among Berbers under the command of Tariq, the Berber General of Muza. When these mixed Moslem and Visigoth army arrived, King Rodrigo found himself suffocating a revolt in the North by the Basques. The Northern Hispanic tribes were accustomed to raiding their more romanized neighbours since the times of the Roman Empire. Long before King Rodrigo reign, one Visigoth king had succeeded in having the Cantabrians quite by giving them a semi-independent territory ruled by a local Dux.

When Rodrigo and his hosts came face to face with the "invading" army (notice the quotes... it was not all an invasion but a revolt helped with foreign troops), some of his men fled the battlefield to join the Witizans). The treason was served. As Rodrigo and the men who stayed with them were defeated, the moorish army continued invaded all of Hispania with little to no resistance. Many of the Witizans and other Visigoths, instead of re-acting, took on the rampage sacking and pillaging the now undefended towns, so for the Islamic army it was litlle more than a quite walk around. Many of the Visigoths, in order to keep their properties and status, converted to Islam as can be attested by their arabicized surnames.

So... what's all that about the Visigoths taking refuge in the Northern mountains and starting the so-called "Reconquista"? Well, that's part of the myth and one that's not new but rather old. The first kings of the Astur-Leonese crown needed to show a continuity to claim the whole of Hispania for themselves, and that's where it is first created the myth of this people being the descendants of the Visigoths. Now they had linked their names to the Kingdom of Toledo and could claim a "Reconquista" (which in other newly created kingdoms was seen as a mere "Conquista").

What I've written here is History and historical research, not delusions nor mythifications. Many excellent historians like Proffessors A. Barbero and M. Vigil have dealt with this issue through serious and scholar research (for a good read, I suggest Sobre los Orígenes Sociales de la Reconquista, by the mentioned scholars).

It would be a nice detail if he who claims that the "Reconquista" period are work of the Visigoths, when they simply are the cause of the invasion and mostly traitors, and how is it possible that these Goths played a leading part in the creation of the Spanish and/or Portuguese Empires.

P.S.: of course this is just a summarized account of what happened, the full details are worth days of enjoyable reading.

P.S.: of the social aspects of the making and growth of the Spanish Empires, many scholars support the thesis that it was due to the high level of Romanization in the country (and yes, those little romanized tribes eventually accepted "hispanic romanization" through the effort of the Reconquista), and therefore a social continuation of the Roman Empire.

So far we've seen how the Visigoths betrayed the Western World by calling in the Moslems and helping them to take over Hispania. We've also seen how their betrayal was completed by converting to Islam only to keep their posessions and social status. But most important, we've seen that the popular belief which claims that the Visigoths retreated to the Northern mountains of Cantabria and Asturia is just a myth, and where and why that myth first took place.

Next I'll stress some events in those mountain areas which further support that the Visigoths did not play any important role -if any- in the process of resisting the islamic take over and the subsequent reconquering of the territory.

Let's start with the "Battle of Covadonga". Most historians agree in taking this event as the cornerstone which lead to the start of the resistance by the Christians, but only as a convention. The area where the cave of Covadonga is located belongs, nowadays, to the Principality of Asturias, but it is an area which was populated by the Cantabri and which belonged to the territory governed by the Dux of Cantabria in ancient times. The importance of this point is relative, as we can perfectly think of those people as Cantabro-Asturians for our purposes. The name of the legendary leader of this event, Pelayo (Pelagius) does not suggest he was of Gothic heritage. Besides, anyone who has visited the area can attest that the orography of the terrain does not allow for a battle to take place in there. The "battle" was just a brush over an expeditionary force of moslems, though significant enought at that time for Pelayo to be hailed as leader of the Asturi (the confusion here is to differenciate Asturia de Oviedo and Asturia de Santillana). At the same time other focus of resistance were taking place in other areas of Cantabria, led by Pedro, Dux of Cantabria.

It was the son of Pedro, who married the daughter of Pelayo according to the tradition and old chronicles, who first appointed himself as Alfonso I, King of Asturias. It is important here to remember that the Dux of Cantabria had been a title given by the Visigoth King Leovigildo to a Cantabrian in order to have the rebellious Cantabri in calm, and that the Visigoths never succeeded indefeating the Cantabri nor the Vasconi (Basques), while the area remained overly hostile to the Visigoths.

Then, why would the Visigoths -who on the other hand had submitted themselves in mass to the moslems- retreat to an area hostile to themselves? Since the islamic "invasion" was only made up by a relative army of Berbers later joined by a group of Arab leaders, they welcomed any conversion and even accepted Christians living under their rule as tributaries ("dhimmies"). As I already stated in my first post, the answer is the continuity of a dinastic claim, which was formulated later by the Kings of Leon. The "Reconquista", or the "Conquista" to be more precise, was initiated and eventually achieved by the Hispani, not by any [']Nordic['] Visigoths.


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Have a nice reading!