Tuesday 23 January 2018

Visigothic Kingdom of Europe - Arian Kingdom of Hispania

After Alaric II's(King of Visigoths) death in 502 CE, his illegitimate son Gesalec took power until he was deposed by Theodoric the Great, ruler of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, who invaded and defeated him at Barcelona. Gesalic fled and regrouped, but was defeated again at Barcelona, and was captured and killed.


Theodoric, installed his grandson Amalaric (511–531), 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. Only after Theoderic's death (526) did Amalaric obtain control of his kingdom. His rule did not last long, as in 531, Amalaric was defeated by the Frankish king Childebert I and then murdered at Barcelona.

Illustration of Amalaric

Theudis became king of the Visigoths from 531 CE  until 548 CE. He expanded Visigothic control over the southern regions. In 541, Theudis had to confront the Franks under Chlothar I and Childebert I, who had penetrated as far as Zaragoza, which they besieged for forty-nine days, but the Franks lifted their siege when they learned the city was protected by the relics of Saint Vincent of Saragossa. He was murdered after a failed invasion of Africa.

Saint Vincent of Saragossa

Visigothic Spain suffered a civil war under King Agila I (549–554), which prompted the Roman/Byzantine emperor Justinian I to send an army and carve out the small province of Spania for the Byzantine Empire along the coast of southern Spain. Agila was eventually killed, and his enemy Athanagild (552–568) became the new king.

Justinian I

Athanagild (d. 568 CE) became the king of the Visigoths in 552 CE. He attacked the Byzantines, but he was unable to dislodge them from southern Spain, and was obliged to formally acknowledge the suzerainty of the Empire. His queen, Goiswintha, gave him two daughters — Brunhilda and the murdered Galswintha — who were married to two Merovingian brother-kings: Sigebert I of Austrasia and Chilperic, king of the Neustrian Franks.


The next Visigothic king was Liuvigild (569 – April 21, 586). He was an effective military leader and consolidated Visigothic power in Spain. Liuvigild campaigned against the Romans in the south in the 570s and he took back Cordova after another revolt. He pacified northern Spain, but was unable to completely conquer these peoples.

Statue of Liuvigild

When Liuvigild established his son Hermenegild as joint ruler, a civil war ensued between them. Hermenegild became the first Visigothic king to convert to Nicene Christianity due to his ties with the Romans, but he was defeated in 584 and killed in 585.

First Council of Nicaea 
By the end of his reign, Liuvigild had united the entire Iberian peninsula, including the Suebic Kingdom. Liuvigild established amicable terms with the Franks through royal marriages, and they remained at peace throughout most of his reign. Liuvigild also founded new cities, such as Reccopolis and Victoriacum (Vitoria), the first barbarian king to do so.

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