Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab, took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain. The Christian forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his rivals, Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal, in battle against the Almohad Muslim rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula; the Caliph al-Nasir led the Almohad army, made up of people from the whole Almohad empire. Most of the men in the Almohad army came from the African side of the empire. In 1195, Alfonso VIII of Castile was defeated by the Almohads in the so-called Disaster of Alarcos. After this victory the Almohads took several important cities: Trujillo, Talavera and Uclés. In 1211, Muhammad al-Nasir crossed the Strait of Gibraltar with a powerful army, invaded Christian territory, captured Salvatierra Castle, the stronghold of the knights of the Order of Calatrava.
The threat to the Hispanic Christian kingdoms was so great that Pope Innocent III called European knights to a crusade. There were some disagreements among the members of the Christian coalition: French and other European knights did not agree with Alfonso's merciful treatment of Jews and Muslims who were defeated in the conquest of Malagón and Calatrava la Vieja, they had caused problems in Toledo, with assaults and murders in the Jewish Quarter. Alfonso crossed the mountain range that defended the Almohad camp, sneaking through the Despeñaperros Pass, being led by Martin Alhaja, a local shepherd who knew the area; the Christian coalition caught the Moorish army at camp by surprise, Alhaja was granted the hereditary title Cabeza de Vaca for his assistance to Alfonso VIII. According to legend, the Caliph had his tent surrounded with a bodyguard of slave-warriors who were chained together as a defense; the Navarrese force led by their king. The Caliph escaped; the victorious Christians seized several prizes of war: Miramamolín's tent and standard were delivered to Pope Innocent III.
Christian losses were far fewer. The losses were heavy among the Orders; those killed included Pedro Gómez de Acevedo, Alvaro Fernández de Valladares, Pedro Arias and Gomes Ramires. Ruy Díaz was so grievously wounded; the Caliph Muhammad al-Nasir himself died in Marrakech shortly after the battle, where he had fled after the defeat. The crushing defeat of the Almohads hastened their decline both in the Iberian Peninsula and in the Maghreb a decade later; that gave further impulse to the Christian Reconquest and reduced the declining power of the Moors in Iberia. Shortly after the battle, the Castilians took Baeza and Úbeda, major fortified cities near the battlefield and gateways to invade Andalusia. According to Letter from Alfonso VIII of Castile to Pope Innocent III, Baeza was evacuated and its people moved to Úbeda, here the king laid siege and put to death 60,000 muslims and enslaved many more. According to the latin chronicle of kings of Castile the number given is 100,000 Saracens, including children and women, were captured.
Thereafter, Alfonso VIII's grandson Ferdinand III of Castile took Cordova in 1236, Jaén in 1246, Seville in 1248. In 1252, Ferdinand was preparing his army for invasion of the Almohad lands in Africa, but he died in Seville on 30 May 1252, during an outbreak of plague in southern Hispania. Only Ferdinand's death prevented the Castilians from taking the war to the Almohad on the Mediterranean coast, James I of Aragon conquered the Balearic Islands and Valencia. By 1252 the Almohad empire was finished, at the mercy of another emerging African power. In 1269 a new association of African tribes, the Marinids, took control of the Maghreb, most of the former Almohad empire was under their rule; the Marinids tried to recover the former Almohad territories in Iberia, but they were definitively defeated by Alfonso XI of Castile and Afonso IV of Portugal in the Battle of Río Salado, the last major military encounter between large Christian and Muslim armies in Hispania. In 1292 Sancho IV took Tarifa, key to the control of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Granada, Almería, Málaga were the only major Muslim cities of the time remaining in the Iberian peninsula. These three cities were the core of the Emirate of Granada, ruled by the Nasrid dynasty. Granada was a vassal state of Castile, until taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Harry Harrison's 1972 alternate history/science fiction novel Tunnel Through the Deeps depicts a history where the Moors won at Las Navas de Tolosa and retained part of Spain into the 20th century. Alvira Cabrer, Martín, Las Navas de Tolosa, 1212: idea, liturgia y memoria de la batalla, Sílex Ediciones, Madrid 2012. García Fitz, Las Navas de Tolosa, Barcelona 2005. García Fitz, Was Las Navas a decisive battle?, in: Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 5–9. Nafziger, George F. and Mark W. Walton, Is
The Reconquista is a name used in English to describe the period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the expanding Christian kingdoms in 1492. The completed conquest of Granada was the context of the Spanish voyages of discovery and conquest, the Americas—the "New World"—ushered in the era of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires. Traditional historiography has marked the beginning of the Reconquista with the Battle of Covadonga, the first known victory in Iberia by Christian military forces since the 711 military invasion of Iberia by combined Arab-Berber forces. In that small battle, a group led by the nobleman Pelagius defeated a Muslim patrol in the mountains of northern Iberia and established the independent Christian Kingdom of Asturias. In the late 10th century, the Umayyad vizier Almanzor waged military campaigns for 30 years to subjugate the northern Christian kingdoms.
His armies composed of Slavic and African Mamluks, ravaged the north sacking the great shrine of Santiago de Compostela. When the government of Córdoba disintegrated in the early 11th century, a series of petty successor states known as taifas emerged; the northern kingdoms struck deep into Al-Andalus. After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian forces in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. After 1491, the entire peninsula was controlled by Christian rulers; the conquest was followed by the Alhambra Decree which expelled Jews who would not convert to Christianity from Castile and Aragon, a series of edicts which forced the conversions of the Muslims in Spain, although a significant part of them was expelled from the Iberian Peninsula. The concept of Reconquista, consolidated in Spanish historiography in the second half of the 19th century, was associated with the development of a Spanish national identity, emphasizing nationalistic and romantic, colonialist, aspects.
Since the 19th century traditional historiography has stressed the existence of the Reconquista, a continuous phenomenon by which the Christian Iberian kingdoms opposed and conquered the Muslim kingdoms, understood as a common enemy who had militarily seized territory from native Iberian Christians. The concept of a Christian reconquest of the peninsula first emerged, in tenuous form, at the end of the 9th century. A landmark was set by the Christian Chronica Prophetica, a document stressing the Christian and Muslim cultural and religious divide in Iberia and the necessity to drive the Muslims out. Both Christian and Muslim rulers fought amongst themselves. Alliances between Muslims and Christians were not uncommon. Blurring distinctions further were the mercenaries from both sides who fought for whoever paid the most; the period is seen today to have had long episodes of relative religious tolerance. The Crusades, which started late in the 11th century, bred the religious ideology of a Christian reconquest, confronted at that time with a staunch Muslim Jihad ideology in Al-Andalus by the Almoravids, to an greater degree by the Almohads.
In fact, previous documents from the 10th and 11th centuries are mute on any idea of "reconquest". Propaganda accounts of Muslim-Christian hostility came into being to support that idea, most notably the Chanson de Roland, a fictitious 11th-century French version of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass dealing with the Iberian Saracens, taught as historical fact in the French educational system since 1880; the modern idea of Reconquista is inextricably linked to the foundational myths of Spanish nationalism in the 19th century, consolidated by the mid-20th century during Franco's National-Catholic dictatorship, based on a strong underlying Castilian ideological element. The idea of a "liberation war" of reconquest against the Muslims, depicted as foreigners, suited well the anti-Republican rebels during the Spanish Civil War who agitated for the banner of a Spanish fatherland threatened by regional nationalisms and communism, their rebellious pursuit was thus a crusade for the restoration of the Church's unity, where Franco stood for both Pelagius of Asturias and El Cid.
The Reconquista has become a rallying call for right and far-right parties in Spain to expel from office incumbent progressive or peripheral nationalist options, as well as their values, in different political contexts as of 2018. Some contemporary authors consider it proved that the process of Christian state-building in Iberia was indeed defined by the reclamation of lands, lost to the Moors in generations past. In this way, state-building might be characterised—at least in ideological, if not practical, terms—as a process by which Iberian states were being'rebuilt'.. In turn, other recent historians dispute the whole concept of Reconquista as a concept created a posteriori in the service of political goals. A few historians point out that Spain and Portugal did not exist as nations, therefore the heirs of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom were not technically reconquering them, as the name suggests. One of the first Spanish intellectuals to question the idea of a "reconquest" that lasted for eight centuries was José Ortega y Gasset, writing in the first half of the 20th century.
However, the term is still in use
Spain in the Middle Ages
In many ways, the history of Spain is marked by waves of conquerors who brought their distinct cultures to the peninsula. After the passage of the Vandals and Alans down the Mediterranean coast of Hispania from 408, the history of medieval Spain begins with the Iberian kingdom of the Arianist Visigoths, who were converted to Catholicism with their king Reccared in 587. Visigothic culture in Spain can be seen as a phenomenon of Late Antiquity as much as part of the Age of Migrations. From Northern Africa in 711, the Muslim Umayyad Caliphate crossed into Spain, at the invitation of a Visigothic clan to assist it in rising against King Roderic. Over the period 711–788, the Umayyads conquered most of the lands of the Visigothic kingdom of Hispania and established the territory known as Al-Andalus. A revolt during the conquest established the Christian Kingdom of Asturias in the North of Spain. Much of the period is marked by conflict between the Muslim and Christian states of Spain, referred to as the Reconquista, or the Reconquest.
The border between Muslim and Christian lands wavered southward through 700 years of war, which marked the peninsula as a militarily contested space. The medieval centuries witnessed episodes of warfare between Spain's Christian states. Wars between the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castile were sparked by dynastic rivalries or disagreements over tracts of land conquered or to be conquered from the Muslim south; the Middle Ages in Spain are said to end in 1492 with the final acts of the Reconquista in the capitulation of the Nasrid Emirate of Granada and the Alhambra decree ordering the expulsion of the Jews. Early Modern Spain was first united as an institution in the reign of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor as Charles I of Spain. After completing the reconquest of Spain from the Muslims, the Iberians extended their battle against Islamdom to include North Africa, the Western Mediterranean and after the voyages of Vasco da Gama, the entire Southern Seas from East Africa to the Philippines.
When the Germanic peoples invaded the provinces of the Roman Empire, the hordes, urged forward by the pressure of the Huns in their rear, hurled themselves for the first time upon the Pyrenean Peninsula – the Alani, a people of Scythian, or Tatar, race. The Alani were, for the most part brought into subjection; the Vandals, after establishing themselves in Baetica, to which they gave the name of Vandalusia, passed on into Africa, while the Visigoths hemmed in the Suebi in Galicia until the latter were brought under control. These Visigoths, or Western Goths, after sacking Rome under the leadership of Alaric, turned towards the Iberian Peninsula, with Athaulf for their leader, occupied the northeastern portion. Wallia extended his rule over most of the peninsula. Theodoric I took part, with the Romans and Franks, in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, where Attila was routed. Euric, who put an end to the last remnants of Roman power in the peninsula, may be considered the first monarch of Spain, though the Suebians still maintained their independence in Galicia.
Euric was the first king to give written laws to the Visigoths. In the following reigns the Catholic kings of France assumed the role of protectors of the Hispano-Roman Catholics against the Arianism of the Visigoths, in the wars which ensued Alaric II and Amalaric lost their lives. Athanagild, having risen against King Agila, called in the Byzantine Greeks and, in payment for the succour they gave him, ceded to them the maritime places of the southeast. Liuvigild restored the political unity of the peninsula, subduing the Suebians, but the religious divisions of the country, reaching the royal family, brought on a civil war. St. Hermengild, the king's son, putting himself at the head of the Catholics, was defeated and taken prisoner, suffered martyrdom for rejecting communion with the Arians. Reccared, son of Liuvigild and brother of St. Hermengild, added religious unity to the political unity achieved by his father, accepting the Catholic faith in the Third Council of Toledo; the religious unity established by this council was the basis of that fusion of Goths with Hispano-Romans which produced the Spanish nation.
Sisebut and Suintila completed the expulsion of the Byzantines from Spain. Chindasuinth and Recceswinth laboured for legislative unity, legalized marriages, hitherto prohibited, between Goths and Latins. After Wamba, famous for his opposition to his own election, an unmistakable decline of the Gothic monarchy set in. Manners were relaxed, immorality increased, Wittiza has stood in Spanish history for the type of that decay which, in the next reign, that of Roderic, ended in the ruin of the kingdom. For specific medieval Muslim dynasties, see: Umayyad Dynasty in Spain: Umayyad Emirate of Cordoba, 756–912 Abd ar-Rahman I, 756–88 Hisham I, 788–96 al-Hakam I, 796–822 Abd ar-Rahman II, 822–52 Muhammad I, 852–86 al-Mundhir, 886–88 Abdallah ibn Muhammad, 888–912 Abd ar-Rahman III, 912–29 Umayyad Caliphate of Cordoba, 929–1031 Abd ar-Rahman III, as caliph, 929–61 Al-Hakam II, 961–76 Hisham II, 976–1008 Muhammad II, 1008–09 Suleiman, 1009–10 Hisham II, restored, 1010–12 Suleiman, restored, 1012–17 Abd ar-Rahman IV, 1021–22 Abd ar-Rahman V, 1022–23 Muhammad III, 1023–24 Hisham III, 1027–31 Taifa kingdoms Beheading An organizing principle of medieval Spain was the Reconquista, the Crusade by which territories that had once been Christian and Visigothic were recaptured and Christianized.
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was mythologized as the virtuous El Cid and is remembered as instrumental in this effort. For Medieval Northern Spain
Ferdinand I of León
Ferdinand I, called the Great, was the Count of Castile from his uncle's death in 1029 and the King of León after defeating his brother-in-law in 1037. According to tradition, he was the first to have himself crowned Emperor of Spain, his heirs carried on the tradition, he was a younger son of Sancho III of Navarre and Muniadona of Castile, by his father's will recognised the supremacy of his eldest brother, García Sánchez III of Navarre. While Ferdinand inaugurated the rule of the Navarrese Jiménez dynasty over western Spain, his rise to preeminence among the Christian rulers of the peninsula shifted the locus of power and culture westward after more than a century of Leonese decline. "he internal consolidation of the realm of León–Castilla under Fernando el Magno and Sancha is a history that remains to be researched and written." There is some disagreement concerning the order of birth of Sancho III's sons, of Ferdinand's place among them. He was a younger son, he was born than 1011, by which date his parents are known to have married.
Most, the most reliable, charters name Sancho's sons in the order Ramiro, García, Gonzalo Ferdinand. Three documents from the Cathedral of Pamplona list them in this way, as well as four from the monastery of San Juan de la Peña. One charter from Pamplona, dated 29 September 1023, is witnessed by Sancho's mother, Jimena Fernández, his wife Muniadona, her children, listed García, Ferdinand Gonzalo, their brother, the illegitimate Ramiro. In five documents of the monastery of San Salvador de Leire, Ferdinand is listed after Gonzalo. Two of these are dated to 17 April 1014. If authentic, they place Ferdinand's birth before that date. Three further documents from Leire are among the only ones to place Ferdinand second among the legitimate sons, but they suffer from various anachronisms and interpolations. Two preserved diplomas of Santa María la Real de Irache put Gonzalo ahead of him. On the basis of these documents, Gonzalo Martínez Díez places Ferdinand third of the known legitimate sons of Sancho III, his birth no earlier than 1015.
The Crónica de Alaón renovada, which Martínez Díez dates to 1154, but which other scholars dismiss as a late medieval concoction, lists García, Ferdinand and Gonzalo as Sancho III's sons by Muniadona in that order, but in the same passage mistakenly places Gonzalo's death before his father's. Ferdinand was in his teens when García Sánchez, Count of Castile, was assassinated by a party of exiled Castilian noblemen as he was entering the church of John the Baptist in León, where he had gone to marry Sancha, sister of Bermudo III, King of León. In his role as feudal overlord, Sancho III of Navarre nominated his younger son Ferdinand, born to the deceased count's sister Muniadona, as count of Castile. Although Sancho was recognised as the ruler of Castile until his death, Ferdinand was granted the title "count" and was prepared to succeed in Castile. On 7 July 1029, before a council in Burgos, the capital of Castile, Óneca, aunt of the late García and queen Muniadona, formally adopted Sancho and Muniadona, making them her heirs.
The record of the council is the first recorded instance of Ferdinand bearing the title of count. A charter from the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, dated 1 January 1030, explicits lists Sancho as king in León and Ferdinand as count in Castile; the first indication that Ferdinand was independently reigning over Castile, or was at least recognised as count in his own right, is a charter of 1 November 1032 from the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza, which does not mention his father, but dates it to the time of "Fernando Sánchez bearing the county". Sancho's decision to name his son as count in Castile preserved its high degree of autonomy, although no Castilian document after 1028 is dated by the reign of Bermudo III nor is he named as king of León; the only sovereign whose regnal year was used was Sancho III, making Ferdinand the first count of Castile not to recognise the suzerainty of the king of León. Sancho III arranged for Ferdinand to marry García of Castile's intended bride, Sancha of León, in 1032.
The lands between the Cea and Pisuerga rivers went to Castile as her dowry. After his father's death on 18 October 1035, Ferdinand continued to rule in Castile, but he was not, as many authors have it, king of Castile. Contemporary documents stress his status as count and his relationship of vassalage to the king of León. A document issued by his brother Ramiro on 22 August 1036 at San Juan de la Peña was drawn while "emperor Bermudo reigning in León and count Ferdinand in Castile, king García in Pamplona, king Ramiro in Aragon, king Gonzalo in Ribagorza." Two private Castilian documents dated 1 January 1037 both express Ferdinand's continuing vassalage to the Leonese monarch explicitly, dating themselves by the reign of "king Bermudo and Ferdinand, count in his realms". In a dispute over the territory between the Cea and Pisuerga, nominally a vassal of Bermudo III, defeated and killed his suzerain at the Battle of Tamarón on 4 September 1037. Ferdinand took possession of León by right of his wife, the heiress presumptive, on 22 June 1038 had himself formally crowned and anointed king in León.
On 15 September 1054, Ferdinand defeated his elder brother García at the Battle of Atapuerca and reduced Navarre to a vassal state under his late brother's young son, Sancho García IV. Although Navarre at that time included the traditionally Castilian lands of Álava and La Rioja, Ferdinand demanded the cession only of Bureba. Over the next decade, he extended his control over more of the weste
Kingdom of the Suebi
The Kingdom of the Suebi called the Kingdom of Gallæcia, was a Germanic post-Roman kingdom, one of the first to separate from the Roman Empire. Based in the former Roman provinces of Gallaecia and northern Lusitania, the de facto kingdom was established by the Suebi about 409, during the 6th century it became a formally declared kingdom identifying with Gallaecia, it maintained its independence until 585, when it was annexed by the Visigoths, was turned into the sixth province of the Visigothic Kingdom in Hispania. Little is known about the Suevi who crossed the Rhine on the night of 31 December 406 AD and entered the Roman Empire, it is speculated that these Suevi are the same group as the Quadi, who are mentioned in early writings as living north of the middle Danube, in what is now lower Austria and western Slovakia, who played an important part in the Germanic Wars of the 2nd century, allied with the Marcomanni, they fought fiercely against the Romans under Marcus Aurelius. The main reason behind the identification of the Suevi and Quadi as the same group comes from a letter written by St. Jerome to Ageruchia, listing the invaders of the 406 crossing into Gaul, in which the Quadi are listed and the Suevi are not.
The argument for this theory, however, is based on the disappearance the Quadi in the text and the emergence of the Suevi, which conflicts with the testimony of other contemporary authors, such as Orosius, who did indeed cite the Suevi among the peoples traversing the Rhine in 406, side by side with Quadi, Marcomanni and Sarmatians in another passage. Sixth century authors identified the Sueves of Galicia with the Alamanni, or with Germans, whilst the 4th century Laterculus Veronensis mentions some Suevi side by side with Alamanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples. Additionally it has been pointed out that the lack of mention of the Suevi could mean that they were not per se an older distinct ethnic group, but the result of a recent ethnogenesis, with many smaller groups—among them part of the Quadi and Marcomanni—coming together during the migration from the Danube valley to the Iberian Peninsula. Other groups of Sueves are mentioned by Jordanes and other historians as residing by the Danube regions during the 5th and 6th centuries.
Although there is no documented reason behind the migration of 406, a accepted theory is that the migration of the various Germanic peoples west of the Rhine was due to the westward push of the Huns during the late 4th century, which forced the Germanic peoples westward in response to the threat. It should be noted that this theory has created controversy within the academic community, because of the lack of convincing evidence. Whether displaced by the Huns or not, the Suevi along with the Vandals and Alans crossed the Rhine on the night of 31 December 405, their entrance into the Roman Empire was at a moment when the Roman West was experiencing a series of invasions and civil wars. This allowed the invading barbarians to enter Gaul with little resistance allowing for the barbarians to cause considerable damage to the northern provinces of Germania Inferior, Belgica Prima, Belgica Secunda before the empire saw them as a threat. In response to the barbarian invasion of Gaul, the usurper Constantine III halted the masses of Vandals and Sueves, confining them to northern Gaul.
But in the spring of 409, Gerontius set up his own emperor, Maximus. Constantine, elevated to the title of Augustus, set off to Hispania to deal with the rebellion. Gerontius responded by stirring up the barbarians in Gaul against Constantine, convincing them to mobilize again, and, in the summer of 409, the Vandals and Suevi began pushing south towards Hispania; the civil war that erupted in the Iberian Peninsula between the forces of Constantine and Gerontius left the passes through the Pyrenees either purposely or inadvertently neglected, leaving southern Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula vulnerable to barbarian attack. Hydatius documents that the crossing into the Iberian Peninsula by the Vandals and Suevi took place on either 28 September or 12 October 409; some scholars take the two dates as the beginning and the end to the crossing of the formidable Pyrenees by scores of thousands, since this could not have been accomplished in a twenty-four-hour time frame. Hydatius writes that upon entering of Hispania the barbarian peoples-—and the Roman soldiers—-spent 409–410 in a frenzy, plundering food and goods from the cities and countryside, which caused a famine that, according to Hydatius, forced the locals to resort to cannibalism: " by hunger human beings devoured human flesh.
In 411 the various barbarian groups brokered a peace and divided the provinces of Hispania among themselves sorte, "by lot". Many scholars believe that the reference to "lot" may be to the sortes, "allotments," which barbarian federates received from the Roman government, which suggests that the Suevi and the other invaders had signed a treaty with Maximus. There is, however, no concrete evidence of any treaties between the Romans and the barbarians: Hydatius never mentions any treaty, states that the peace in 411 was brought about by the compassion of the Lord, while Orosius asserts that the kings of the Vandals and Sueves were pursuing a pact similar to that of the Visigoths at a date; the division of the land among the four barbarian groups went as such: the Siling Vand
Toledo is a city and municipality located in central Spain. Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage. Toledo is known as the "Imperial City" for having been the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, as the "City of the Three Cultures" for the cultural influences of Christians and Jews reflected in its history, it was the capital from 542 to 725 AD of the ancient Visigothic kingdom, which followed the fall of the Roman Empire, the location of historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo. Toledo has a long history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now common souvenirs from the city. People who were born or have lived in Toledo include Brunhilda of Austrasia, Al-Zarqali, Garcilaso de la Vega, Eleanor of Toledo, Alfonso X, Israeli ben Joseph, El Greco; as of 2015, the city had a population of 83,226 and an area of 232.1 km2. The town was granted arms in the 16th century, which by special royal privilege was based on the royal of arms of Spain.
Toledo is mentioned by the Roman historian Livy as sed loco munita. Roman general Marcus Fulvius Nobilior fought a battle near the city in 193 BC against a confederation of Celtic tribes including the Vaccaei and Celtiberi, defeating them and capturing a king called Hilermus. At that time, Toletum was a city of the Carpetani tribe, part of the region of Carpetania, it was incorporated into the Roman Empire as a civitas stipendiaria, that is, a tributary city of non-citizens, by Flavian times it had achieved the status of municipium. With this status, city officials of Carpetani origin, obtained Roman citizenship for public service, the forms of Roman law and politics were adopted. At this time, a Roman circus, city walls, public baths, a municipal water supply and storage system were constructed in Toletum The Roman circus in Toledo was one of the largest in Hispania, at 423 metres long and 100 metres wide, with a track dimension of 408 metres long and 86 metres wide. Chariot races were held on special holidays and were commissioned by private citizens to celebrate career achievements.
A fragmentary stone inscription records circus games paid for by a citizen of unknown name to celebrate his achieving the sevirate, a kind of priesthood conferring high status. Archaeologists have identified portions of a special seat of the sort used by the city elites to attend circus games, called a sella curulis; the circus could hold up to 15000 spectators. During Roman times, Toledo was never a provincial capital nor a conventus iuridicus, but it started to gain importance in late antiquity. There are indications that large private houses within the city walls were enlarged, while several large villas were built north of the city through the third and fourth centuries. Games were held in the circus into the late fourth and early fifth centuries C. E. an indication of active city life and ongoing patronage by wealthy elites. A church council was held in Toledo in the year 400 to discuss the conflict with Priscillianism. A second council of Toledo was held in 527; the Visigothic king Theudis was in Toledo in 546.
This is strong though not certain evidence. King Athanagild died in Toledo in 568. Although Theudis and Athangild based themselves in Toledo, Toledo was not yet the capital city of the Iberian peninsula, as Theudis and Athangild's power was limited in extent, the Suevi ruling Galicia and local elites dominating Lusitania and Cantabria; this changed with Liuvigild. The Visigoths ruled from Toledo until the Moors conquered the Iberian peninsula in the early years of 8th century. Today in the historic center basements, wells and ancient water pipes are preserved that since Roman times have been used in the city. A series of church councils was held in Toledo under the Visigoths. A synod of Arian bishops was held in 580 to discuss theological reconciliation with Nicene Christianity. Liuvigild's successor, hosted the third council of Toledo, at which the Visigothic kings abandoned Arianism and reconciled with the existing Hispano-Roman episcopate. A synod held in 610 transferred the metropolitanate of the old province of Carthaginensis from Cartagena to Toledo.
At that time, Cartagena was ruled by the Byzantines, this move ensured a closer relation between the bishops of Spain and the Visigothic kings. King Sisebut forced Jews in the Visigothic kingdom to convert to Christianity; the Fifth and Sixth Councils of Toledo placed church sanctions on anyone who would challenge the Visigothic kings. The Seventh Council of Toledo instituted a requirement that all bishops in the area of a royal city, that is, of Toledo, must reside for one month per year in Toledo; this was a stage in "the elevation of Toledo as the primatial see of the whole church of the Visgothic kingdom". In addition, the seventh council declared that any clergy fleeing the kingdom, assisting conspirators against the king, or aiding conspirators, would be excommunicated and no one should remove this sentence; the ban on lifing these sentences of excommunication was lifted at the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653, at which, for the first time, decisions were signed by palace officials as well as bishops.
The eighth council
Spania was a province of the Byzantine Empire from 552 until 624 in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. It was established by the Emperor Justinian I in an effort to restore the western provinces of the Empire. In 409 the Vandals and Alans, who had broken through the Roman border defences on the Rhine two years before, crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian peninsula. Effective Roman rule was maintained over most areas till after the death of Emperor Majorian in 461; the Visigoths, vassals of the Roman Empire who had settled in Aquitaine by imperial invitation filled the vacuum left as the Vandals moved into North Africa. In 468 they attacked and defeated the Suevi, who had occupied Roman Gallaecia and were threatening to expand; the Visigoths ended the Roman administration in Spain in 473, their overlordship of most of the eastern and central peninsula was established by 476. A large-scale migration of the Visigoths into Iberia began in 494 under Alaric II, it became the seat of their power after they lost most of their territory in Gaul to the Franks after the Battle of Vouillé in 507.
In 534, Roman general Belisarius re-established the Byzantine province of Mauretania with the conquest of the Vandal Kingdom in northern Africa. Despite his efforts, the Vandal king Gelimer had been unable to effect an alliance with the Gothic king Theudis, who took the opportunity of the collapse of Vandal authority to conquer Ceuta across the Straits of Gibraltar in 533 to keep it out of Byzantine hands; this citadel was seized the following year by an expedition dispatched by Belisarius. Ceuta became a part of Mauretania, it was an important base for reconnaissance of Spain in the years leading up to the peninsula's invasion by Justinian's forces in 552. In 550, in the reign of Agila I, Spain was troubled by a series of revolts, two of which were serious; the citizens of Córdoba rebelled against Gothic or Arian rule and Agila was roundly defeated, his son killed, the royal treasure lost. He himself retreated to Mérida; the date of the other major revolt cannot be arrived at precisely. Either at the commencement of his reign or as late as 551, a nobleman named Athanagild took Seville, capital of Baetica, presumed to rule as king in opposition to Agila.
Who approached the Byzantines for assistance and when is disputed. The name of the general of the Byzantine army is disputed. Although Jordanes wrote that the Patrician Liberius was its commander: He was succeeded by Agila, who holds the kingdom to the present day. Athanagild has rebelled against him and is now provoking the might of the Roman Empire. So Liberius the Patrician is on the way with an army to oppose him. James J. O'Donnell, in his biography of Liberius, casts doubt on this statement, since the patrician was an octogenarian at the time, Procopius reports he had returned to Constantinople when the Byzantines invaded Hispania and could not have led the invasion. O'Donnell states that "Jordanes may have heard that Liberius' name was being mentioned for commander of the Spanish expedition, but, in the end, the fact of his relief from command of the forces in Sicily makes the story of his voyage to Spain incredible."However, according to Isidore of Seville in his History of the Goths, it was Athanagild, in autumn of 551 or winter of 552, who begged Justinian for help.
The army was sent in 552 and made landfall in June or July. Roman forces landed at the mouth of the Guadalete or Málaga and joined with Athanagild to defeat Agila as he marched south from Mérida towards Seville in August or September 552; the war dragged on for two more years. Liberius returned to Constantinople by May 553 and it is that a Byzantine force from Italy, which had only been pacified after the Gothic War, landed at Cartagena in early March 555 and marched inland to Baza in order to join up with their compatriots near Seville, their landing at Cartagena was violent. The native population, which included the family of Leander of Seville, was well disposed to the Visigoths and the Byzantine government of the city was forced to suppress their freedoms, an oppression which lasted decades into their occupation. Leander and most of his family fled and his writings preserve the strong anti-Byzantine sentiment. In late March 555, the supporters of Agila, in fear of the recent Byzantine successes and assassinated him, making Athanagild the king of the Goths.
The new king tried to rid Spain of the Byzantines, but failed. The Byzantines occupied many coastal cities in Baetica and this region was to remain a Byzantine province until its reconquest by the Visigoths seventy years later; the Byzantine province of Spania never extended far inland and received little attention from East Roman authorities because it was designed as a defensive bulwark against a Gothic invasion of Africa, which would have been an unnecessary distraction at a time when the Persian Empire was a larger threat in the East. The most important cities of Byzantine Spania were Málaga and Cartagena, the probable landing sites of the Byzantine army, renamed from Carthago Nova to Carthago Spartaria, it is unknown which of those two cities was the provincial capital, but it was certainly one of them. The cities were the centres of Byzantine power and while a few were retaken by Agila, the ones which were retained were a bulwark against Visigothic attempts at reconquest; the Goths ravaged the countryside of Spania but were inept at sieges and the fortified towns were safe centres of Roman administration.
There are few citie