Muslim conquest of Egypt
Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt. Egypt had been conquered just a decade before by the Persian Sassanid Empire under Khosrau II; the Rashidun Caliphate took advantage of the exhaustion of the Byzantine army and captured Egypt ten years after its reconquest by Heraclius. Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt had begun, Byzantium had lost the Levant and its Ghassanid allies in Arabia to the Caliphate; the loss of the prosperous province of Egypt and the defeat of the Byzantine armies weakened the empire, allowing for further territorial losses in the centuries to come. In December 639, ` Amr ibn al - `. Most of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of'Ak, although Al-Kindi mentions that one-third of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of Ghafik; the Arab soldiers were joined by some Roman and Persian converts to Islam. However,'Umar, the Muslim caliph, reconsidered his orders to Amr, thinking it foolhardy to expect to conquer such a large country as Egypt with a mere 4,000 soldiers. Accordingly, he wrote.
The messenger,'Uqbah ibn'Amr, caught up with Amr at Rafah, a little short of the Egyptian frontier. Guessing what might be in the letter,'Amr ordered the army to quicken its pace. Turning to'Uqbah,'Amr said that he would receive the caliph's letter from him when the army had halted after the day's journey.'Uqbah, being unaware of the contents of the letter and marched along with the army. The army halted for the night at Shajratein, a little valley near the city of El Arish, which'Amr knew to be beyond the Egyptian border.'Amr received and read'Umar's letter and went on to consult his companions as to the course of action to be adopted. The unanimous view was that as they had received the letter on Egyptian soil, they had permission to proceed. When'Umar received the reply, he decided to watch further developments and started concentrating fresh forces at Madinah that could be dispatched to Egypt as reinforcements. On Eid al-Adha, the Muslim army marched from Shajratein to El Arish, a small town lacking a garrison.
The town put up no resistance, the citizens offered allegiance on the usual terms. The Muslim soldiers celebrated the Eid festival there. In the part of December 639 or in early January 640, the Muslim army reached Pelusium, an Eastern Roman garrison city, considered Egypt's eastern gate at the time; the Muslim siege of the town dragged on for two months. In February 640, an assault group led by a prominent field commander Huzaifah ibn Wala assaulted and captured the fort and city. Armanousa, the daughter of Cyrus who fiercely resisted the Muslims in Pelusium and fell hostage in their hands, was sent to her father in the Babylon Fortress; the losses incurred by the Arab Muslim army were ameliorated by the number of Sinai Bedouins who, taking the initiative, had joined them in conquering Egypt. These Bedouins belonged to the tribes of Lakhm; the ease with which Pelusium fell to the Muslim Arabs, the lack of Byzantine reinforcements to aid the city during the month-long siege, is attributed to the treachery of the Egyptian governor, the Monothelite/Monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria.
After the fall of Pelusium, the Muslims marched to Belbeis, 65 kilometres from Memphis via desert roads and besieged it. Belbeis was the first place in Egypt where the Byzantines showed some measure of resistance towards the Arab conquerors. Two Christian monks accompanied by Cyrus of Alexandria and the famous Roman general Aretion came out to negotiate with'Amr ibn al-'As. Aretion was the Byzantine governor of Jerusalem, had fled to Egypt when the city fell to the Muslims.'Amr gave them three options: to either convert to Islam, to pay Jizya, or to fight the Muslims. They requested three days to reflect --. At the end of the five days, the two monks and the general decided to reject Islam and Jizya and fight the Muslims, they thus disobeyed Cyrus of Alexandria, who wanted to surrender and pay Jizya. Cyrus subsequently left for the Babylon Fortress, while the two monks and Aretion decided to fight the Arabs; the fight resulted in the victory of the latter and the death of Aretion.'Amr ibn al-'As subsequently attempted to convince the native Egyptians to aid the Arabs and surrender the city, based on the kinship between Egyptians and Arabs via Hagar.
When the Egyptians refused, the siege of Belbeis was continued. Towards the end of March 640, the city surrendered to the Muslims. With the fall of Belbeis, the Arabs were only one day away from the head of the Delta. Amr had visualized; this expectation turned out to be wrong. At the outposts of Pelusium and Belbeis, the Muslims had met stiff resistance; the siege of Pelusium had lasted for that of Belbeis for one month. Both battles were preludes to the siege of Babylon, a larger and more important city. Here, resistance on a larger scale was expected. After the fall of Belbeis, the Muslims advanced near modern Cairo; the Muslims arrived at Babylon some time in May 640 AD. Babylon was a fortified city, the Romans had prepared it for a siege. Outside the city, a ditch had been dug, a large force was positioned in the area between the ditch and the city walls; the Muslims besieged the fort of Babylon some time in May 640. The fort was a massive structure 18 metres high with walls more than 2 metres thick and studded with numerous tower
Gothic War (535–554)
The Gothic War between the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Emperor Justinian I and the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy took place from 535 until 554 in the Italian peninsula, Sardinia and Corsica. The war had its roots in the ambition of the East Roman Emperor Justinian I to recover the provinces of the former Western Roman Empire, which the Romans had lost to invading barbarian tribes in the previous century; the war followed the Byzantine reconquest of the province of Africa from the Vandals. Historians divide the war into two phases: From 535 to 540: ending with the fall of the Ostrogothic capital Ravenna and the apparent reconquest of Italy by the Byzantines. From 540/541 to 553: a Gothic revival under Totila, suppressed only after a long struggle by the Byzantine general Narses, who repelled an invasion in 554 by the Franks and Alamanni. In 554 Justinian promulgated the Pragmatic sanction. Several cities in northern Italy held out against the Byzantines until 562. By the end of the war Italy had been depopulated.
The Byzantines found themselves incapable of resisting an invasion by the Lombards in 568, which resulted in Constantinople permanently losing control over large parts of the Italian peninsula. In 476 Odoacer deposed Emperor Romulus Augustulus and declared himself rex Italiae, resulting in the final dissolution of the Western Roman Empire in Italy. Although Odoacer recognised the nominal suzerainty of the Eastern Emperor, his independent policies and increasing strength made him a threat in the eyes of Constantinople. To provide a buffer, the Ostrogoths, under their leader, Theodoric the Great, were settled as foederati of the Empire in the western Balkans, but unrest continued. Zeno sent the Ostrogoths to Italy as the representatives of the Empire to remove Odoacer. Theodoric and the Goths defeated Italy came under Gothic rule. In the arrangement between Theodoric and Zeno, his successor Anastasius, the land and its people were regarded as part of the Empire, with Theodoric a viceroy and head of the army.
This arrangement was scrupulously observed by Theodoric. The army, on the other hand, was Gothic, under the authority of their chiefs and courts; the peoples were divided by religion: the Romans were Chalcedonian Christian, while the Goths were Arian Christians. Unlike the Vandals or the early Visigoths the Goths practised considerable religious tolerance; the dual system worked under the capable leadership of Theodoric, who conciliated the Roman aristocracy, but the system began to break down during his years and collapsed under his heirs. With the ascension of Emperor Justin I, the end of the Acacian schism between the Eastern and Western Churches, the return of ecclesiastical unity within the East, several members of the Italian senatorial aristocracy began to favour closer ties to Constantinople to balance Gothic power; the deposition and execution of the distinguished magister officiorum Boethius and his father-in-law in 524 was part of the slow estrangement of their caste from the Gothic regime.
Theodoric was succeeded by his infant grandson Athalaric in August 526, with his mother, Amalasuntha, as regent. This conciliation and Athalaric's Roman education displeased Gothic magnates, who plotted against her. Amalasuntha had three of the leading conspirators killed and wrote to the new Emperor, Justinian I, asking for sanctuary if she was deposed. Amalasuntha remained in Italy. In 533, using a dynastic dispute as a pretext, Justinian had sent his most talented general, Belisarius, to recover the North African provinces held by the Vandals; the Vandalic War produced an unexpectedly swift and decisive victory for the Roman Empire and encouraged Justinian in his ambition to recover the rest of the lost western provinces. As Regent, Amalasuntha had allowed the Roman fleet to use the harbours of Sicily, which belonged to the Ostrogothic Kingdom. After her son's death in 534, Amalasuntha offered the kingship to her cousin Theodahad. Through his agents, Justinian tried to save Amalasuntha's life but to no avail and her death gave him a casus belli to go to war with the Goths.
Procopius wrote that "as soon as he learned what had happened to Amalasuntha, being in the ninth year of his reign, he entered upon war". Belisarius was appointed commander in chief for the expedition against Italy with 7,500 men. Mundus, the magister militum per Illyricum, was ordered to occupy the Gothic province of Dalmatia; the forces made available to Belisarius were small when compared to the much larger army he had fielded against the Vandals, an enemy much weaker than the Ostrogoths. The preparations for the operation were carried out in secret, while Justinian tried to secure the neutrality of the Franks by gifts of gold. Belisarius landed at Sicily, between Roman Africa and Italy, whose population was well disposed toward the Empire; the island was captured, with the only determined resistance, at Panormus, overcome by late December. Belisarius prepared to cross to Italy and Theodahad sent envoys to Justinian, proposing at first to cede Sicily and recognise his overlordship but to cede all of Italy.
In March 536 Mundus overran Dalmatia and captured its capital, but a large Gothic army arrived and Mundus' son Mauricius died in a skirmish. Mundus was himself mortally wounded in the pursuit; the R
Domestic of the Schools
The office of the Domestic of the Schools was a senior military post of the Byzantine Empire, extant from the 8th century until at least the early 14th century. The commander of the Scholai, the senior of the elite tagmata regiments, the Domestic rose in prominence: by the mid-9th century, its holders occupied the position of commander-in-chief of the Byzantine army, next to the Emperor; the office was eclipsed in the 12th century by that of the Grand Domestic, in the Palaiologan period, it was reduced to a purely honorary, mid-level court dignity. The first holder of the office of Domestic of the Schools first appears in the sources for the year 767, shortly after the creation of the tagmata; these were elite cavalry regiments stationed in or around the capital Constantinople, commanded by officers titled "Domestics" and distinct from the provincial armies of the themes under their respective stratēgoi. The Schools was the senior tagma, tracing their origin to the Scholae Palatinae established by Constantine the Great and placed under the command of the magister officiorum.
The historian J. B. Bury has traced a reference to a certain Anianos, "Domestic of the magister", in the Chronicon Paschale for the year 624, considers this official to be the predecessor of the Domestic of the Schools; as the magister officiorum was deprived of some of his functions in the 7th and 8th centuries, the Domestic became an independent official. The Kletorologion of 899 lists his subordinate officials as comprising his deputy or topotērētēs, the secretary or chartoularios, the head messenger or proximos and the other messengers, as well as the various subordinate officers of the regiment. In the 9th century, the office of the Domestic, or "Domesticate", of the Schools rose in importance and its holder was appointed as the head of the army in the absence of the emperor. However, this role was not yet enshrined: it depended rather on the abilities of the current Domestic, other generals of inferior rank were sometimes entrusted with supreme command instead; the Domestic of the Schools rose to such prominence that the sources speak of the office as "the Domestic" without further qualification, the power and influence of the post saw it occupied by persons related to the emperor.
From the time of Michael III on, the Domestic ranked in the imperial hierarchy above all other military commanders except for the stratēgos of the Anatolic Theme. In practice, he became senior to the latter, as demonstrated by the fact that military leaders like Nikephoros Phokas and John Tzimiskes were promoted from the generalship of the Anatolics to the Domesticate. In the reign of Romanos II the post was split, with a "Domestic of the West" and a "Domestic of the East" being created for operations in Europe and Asia respectively; the command of the Schools regiment passed to the Domestic's deputy, the topotērētēs, although it appears that by that time there were several officers occupying that position at the same time. The ceremony for the Domestic's appointment is described in the De Ceremoniis. With some exceptions, most notably the unparalleled 22-year tenure of John Kourkouas, or in times of domestic instability, Domestics were changed on the average every three to four years. During the 10th century, the Domesticate of the Schools was dominated by members of the Phokas family, which produced six holders of the office.
Their attempts to monopolize the office led a series of emperors, concerned over the power of the military aristocracy, to entrust the over-powerful office to non-military court officials, including—especially in the first half of the 11th century, before the military aristocracy reasserted its authority—to eunuchs though this was in theory forbidden, with the alternate office of stratopedarches having been created for this purpose. In the 10th and 11th centuries, the variant "Grand Domestic" appears sporadically, used in parallel with other variants such as "Grand Domestic of the Schools" or "Grand Domestic of the East/West" for the same person; the Byzantinist Rodolphe Guilland considers most of these early references either as anachronistic references by 12th-century writers, or cases where "megas" is used as an honorific prefix, as was the norm with other senior offices during this period, like the Drungary of the Watch or the Domestic of the Excubitors. Guilland argues that from the time of Alexios I Komnenos on, the "Grand Domestic" became a separate office, senior to the "plain" Domestics of the Schools and in effect the new commander-in-chief of the army beside the Emperor.
However, the usage of the titles is not consistent, the habitual division of command between East and West seems to have been sometimes applied to the Grand Domesticate as well during the 12th century, causing some confusion as to the nature of the office and its relation to the "plain" Domestic. In the 13th century however the two titles became distinct: the Grand Domestic was the commander-in-chief of the entire army and one of the highest offices of state, while the Domestic of the Schools was relegated to a simple dignity without duties, awarded to provinci
The Byzantine navy was the naval force of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire. Like the empire it served, it was a direct continuation from its Imperial Roman predecessor, but played a far greater role in the defence and survival of the state than its earlier iteration. While the fleets of the unified Roman Empire faced few great naval threats, operating as a policing force vastly inferior in power and prestige to the legions, the sea became vital to the existence of the Byzantine state, which several historians have called a "maritime empire"; the first threat to Roman hegemony in the Mediterranean was posed by the Vandals in the 5th century, but their threat was ended by the wars of Justinian I in the 6th century. The re-establishment of a permanently maintained fleet and the introduction of the dromon galley in the same period marks the point when the Byzantine navy began departing from its late Roman roots and developing its own characteristic identity; this process would be furthered with the onset of the Muslim conquests in the 7th century.
Following the loss of the Levant and Africa, the Mediterranean Sea was transformed from a "Roman lake" into a battleground between Byzantines and Arabs. In this struggle, the Byzantine fleets were critical, not only for the defence of the Empire's far-flung possessions around the Mediterranean basin, but for repelling seaborne attacks against the imperial capital of Constantinople itself. Through the use of the newly invented "Greek fire", the Byzantine navy's best-known and feared secret weapon, Constantinople was saved from several sieges and numerous naval engagements were won for the Byzantines; the defence of the Byzantine coasts and the approaches to Constantinople was borne by the great fleet of the Karabisianoi. Progressively however it was split up into several regional fleets, while a central Imperial Fleet was maintained at Constantinople, guarding the city and forming the core of naval expeditions. By the late 8th century, the Byzantine navy, a well-organized and maintained force, was again the dominant maritime power in the Mediterranean.
The antagonism with the Muslim navies continued with alternating success, but in the 10th century, the Byzantines were able to recover a position of supremacy in the Eastern Mediterranean. During the 11th century, the navy, like the Empire itself, began to decline. Faced with new naval challenges from the West, the Byzantines were forced to rely on the navies of Italian city-states like Venice and Genoa, with disastrous effects on Byzantium's economy and sovereignty. A period of recovery under the Komnenians was followed by another period of decline, which culminated in the disastrous dissolution of the Empire by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. After the Empire was restored in 1261, several emperors of the Palaiologan dynasty tried to revive the navy, but their efforts had only a temporary effect. By the mid-14th century, the Byzantine fleet, which once could put hundreds of warships to sea, was limited to a few dozen at best, control of the Aegean passed definitively to the Italian and Ottoman navies.
The diminished navy, continued to be active until the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in 1453. The Byzantine navy, like the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire itself, was a continuation of the Roman Empire and its institutions. After the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, in the absence of any external threat in the Mediterranean, the Roman navy performed policing and escort duties. Massive sea battles, like those fought in the Punic Wars, no longer occurred, the Roman fleets were composed of small vessels, best suited to their new tasks. By the early 4th century, the permanent Roman fleets had dwindled, so that when the fleets of the rival emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius clashed in 324 AD, they were composed to a great extent of newly built or commandeered ships from the port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean; the civil wars of the 4th and early 5th centuries, did spur a revival of naval activity, with fleets employed to transport armies. Considerable naval forces continued to be employed in the Western Mediterranean throughout the first quarter of the fifth century from North Africa, but Rome's mastery of the Mediterranean was challenged when Africa was overrun by the Vandals over a period of fifteen years.
The new Vandalic Kingdom of Carthage, under the capable king Geiseric launched raids against the coasts of Italy and Greece sacking and plundering Rome in 455. The Vandal raids continued unabated over the next two decades, despite repeated Roman attempts to defeat them; the Western Empire was impotent, its navy having dwindled to nothing, but the eastern emperors could still call upon the resources and naval expertise of the eastern Mediterranean. A first Eastern expedition in 448, went no further than Sicily, in 460, the Vandals attacked and destroyed a Western Roman invasion fleet at Cartagena in Spain. In 468, a huge Eastern expedition was assembled under Basiliscus, reputedly numbering 1,113 ships and 100,000 men, but it failed disastrously. About 600 ships were lost to fire ships, the financial cost of 130,000 pounds of gold and 700 000 pounds of silver nearly bankrupted the Empire; this forced the Romans to sign a peace treaty. After Geiseric's death in 477, the Vandal threat receded; the 6th century marked the rebirth of Roman naval power.
In 508, as antagonism with the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Theodoric flared up, the Emperor Anastasius I is reported to have sent a fleet of 100 warships to raid the coasts of Italy. In 513, the general Vitalian revolted against Anastasius; the rebels assembled a fleet of 200 ships which, despite some initial successes, were dest
Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628
The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 was the final and most devastating of the series of wars fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Sasanian Empire of Iran. The previous war between the two powers had ended in 591 after Emperor Maurice helped the Sasanian king Khosrow II regain his throne. In 602 Maurice was murdered by his political rival Phocas. Khosrow proceeded ostensibly to avenge the death of Maurice; this became a decades-long conflict, the longest war in the series, was fought throughout the Middle East: in Egypt, the Levant, the Caucasus, Armenia, the Aegean Sea and before the walls of Constantinople itself. While the Persians proved successful during the first stage of the war from 602 to 622, conquering much of the Levant, several islands in the Aegean Sea and parts of Anatolia, the ascendancy of emperor Heraclius in 610 led, despite initial setbacks, to a status quo ante bellum. Heraclius' campaigns in Iranian lands from 622 to 626 forced the Persians onto the defensive, allowing his forces to regain momentum.
Allied with the Avars and Slavs, the Persians made a final attempt to take Constantinople in 626, but were defeated there. In 627 Heraclius invaded the heartland of Persia. A civil war broke out in Persia, during which the Persians killed their king, sued for peace. By the end of the conflict, both sides had exhausted their human and material resources and achieved little, they were vulnerable to the sudden emergence of the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the war. The Muslim forces swiftly conquered the entire Sasanian Empire and deprived the Byzantine Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus and North Africa. Over the following centuries, much of what remained of the Byzantine Empire, the entire Sasanian Empire, would come under Muslim rule. After decades of inconclusive fighting, Emperor Maurice ended the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 572–591 by helping the exiled Sasanian prince Khosrow, the future Khosrow II, to regain his throne from the usurper Bahrām Chobin.
In return the Sasanians ceded to the Byzantines parts of northeastern Mesopotamia, much of Persian Armenia and Caucasian Iberia, though the exact details are not clear. More for the Byzantine economy, they no longer had to pay tribute to the Sasanians. Emperor Maurice began new campaigns in the Balkans to stop incursions by the Slavs and Avars; the magnanimity and campaigns of emperor Tiberius II had eliminated the surplus in the treasury left from the time of Justin II. In order to generate a reserve in the treasury, Maurice instituted strict fiscal measures and cut army pay; the final mutiny in 602 resulted from Maurice ordering his troops in the Balkans to live off the land during the winter. The army proclaimed a Thracian centurion, as emperor. Maurice attempted to defend Constantinople by arming the Blues and the Greens – supporters of the two major chariot racing teams of the Hippodrome – but they proved ineffective. Maurice was soon intercepted and killed by the soldiers of Phocas. Upon the murder of Maurice, governor of the Byzantine province of Mesopotamia, rebelled against Phocas and seized Edessa, a major city of the province.
Emperor Phocas instructed general Germanus to besiege Edessa, prompting Narses to request help from the Persian king Khosrow II. Khosrow, only too willing to help avenge Maurice, his "friend and father-", used Maurice's death as an excuse to attack the Byzantine Empire, trying to reconquer Armenia and Mesopotamia. General Germanus died in battle against the Persians. An army sent by Phocas against Khosrow was defeated near Dara in Upper Mesopotamia, leading to the capture of that important fortress in 605. Narses escaped from Leontius, the eunuch appointed by Phocas to deal with him, but when Narses attempted to return to Constantinople to discuss peace terms, Phocas ordered him seized and burned alive; the death of Narses along with the failure to stop the Persians damaged the prestige of Phocas' military regime. In 608, general Heraclius the Elder, Exarch of Africa, urged on by Priscus, the Count of the Excubitors and son-in-law of Phocas. Heraclius proclaimed himself and his son of the same name as consuls—thereby implicitly claiming the imperial title—and minted coins with the two wearing the consular robes.
At about the same time rebellions began in Roman Syria and Palaestina Prima in the wake of Heraclius' revolt. In 609 or 610 the Patriarch of Antioch, Anastasius II, died. Many sources claim that the Jews were involved in the fighting, though it is unclear where they were members of factions and where they were opponents of Christians. Phocas responded by appointing Bonus. Bonus punished the Greens, a horse racing party, in Antioch for their role in the violence in 609. Heraclius the Elder sent his nephew Nicetas to attack Egypt. Bonus was defeated by the latter outside Alexandria. In 610, Nicetas succeeded in capturing the province, establishing a power base there with the help of Patriarch John the Almsgiver, elected with the help of Nicetas; the main rebel force was employed in a naval invasion of Constantinople, led by the younger Heraclius, to be the new emperor. Organized resistance against Heraclius soon collapsed, Phocas was handed to him by the patrician Probos. Phocas was executed, though not before a celebrated exchange of comments between him and his successor:"Is it thus", asked Heraclius, "that you have governed the Empire?""Will you," replied Phocas, with unexpected spirit, "govern it any better?"
The elder Heraclius disappears soon afterward from sources dying, t
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
The Visigoths were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths. These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period; the Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Relations between the Romans and the Visigoths were variable, alternately warring with one another and making treaties when convenient; the Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and in Hispania, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD; the Visigoths first settled in southern Gaul as foederati to the Romans – a relationship established in 418. However, they soon fell out with their Roman hosts and established their own kingdom with its capital at Toulouse.
They next extended their authority into Hispania at the expense of the Vandals. In 507, their rule in Gaul was ended by the Franks under Clovis I, who defeated them in the Battle of Vouillé. After that, the Visigoth kingdom was limited to Hispania, they never again held territory north of the Pyrenees other than Septimania. A small, elite group of Visigoths came to dominate the governance of that region at the expense of those who had ruled there in the Byzantine province of Spania and the Kingdom of the Suebi. In or around 589, the Visigoths under Reccared I converted from Arianism to Nicene Christianity adopting the culture of their Hispano-Roman subjects, their legal code, the Visigothic Code abolished the longstanding practice of applying different laws for Romans and Visigoths. Once legal distinctions were no longer being made between Romani and Gothi, they became known collectively as Hispani. In the century that followed, the region was dominated by the Councils of the episcopacy. In 711 or 712, an invading force of Arabs and Berbers defeated the Visigoths in the Battle of Guadalete.
Their king and many members of their governing elite were killed, their kingdom collapsed. During their governance of Hispania, the Visigoths built several churches, they left many artifacts, which have been discovered in increasing numbers by archaeologists in recent times. The Treasure of Guarrazar of votive crowns and crosses is the most spectacular, they founded the only new cities in western Europe from the fall of the Western half of the Roman Empire until the rise of the Carolingian dynasty. Many Visigothic names are still in use in modern Portuguese, their most notable legacy, was the Visigothic Code, which served, among other things, as the basis for court procedure in most of Christian Iberia until the Late Middle Ages, centuries after the demise of the kingdom. Contemporaneous references to the Gothic tribes use the terms "Vesi", "Ostrogothi", "Thervingi", "Greuthungi". Most scholars have concluded that the terms "Vesi" and "Tervingi" were both used to refer to one particular tribe, while the terms "Ostrogothi" and "Greuthungi" were used to refer to another.
Herwig Wolfram points out that while primary sources list all four names, whenever they mention two different tribes, they always refer either to "the Vesi and the Ostrogothi" or to "the Tervingi and the Greuthungi", they never pair them up in any other combination. This conclusion is supported by Jordanes, who identified the Visigoth kings from Alaric I to Alaric II as the heirs of the 4th century Tervingian king Athanaric, the Ostrogoth kings from Theoderic the Great to Theodahad as the heirs of the Greuthungi king Ermanaric. In addition, the Notitia Dignitatum equates the Vesi with the Tervingi in a reference to the years 388–391; the earliest sources for each of the four names are contemporaneous. The first recorded reference to "the Tervingi" is in a eulogy of the emperor Maximian, delivered in or shortly after 291 and traditionally ascribed to Claudius Mamertinus, it says that the "Tervingi, another division of the Goths", joined with the Taifali to attack the Vandals and Gepidae. The first recorded reference to "the Greuthungi" is by Ammianus Marcellinus, writing no earlier than 392 and later than 395, recounting the words of a Tervingian chieftain, attested as early as 376.
The first known use of the term "Ostrogoths" is in a document dated September 392 from Milan. Wolfram notes that "Vesi" and "Ostrogothi" were terms each tribe used to boastfully describe itself and argues that "Tervingi" and "Greuthungi" were geographical identifiers each tribe used to describe the other; this would explain why the latter terms dropped out of use shortly after 400, when the Goths were displaced by the Hunnic invasions. As an example of this geographical naming practice, Wolfram cites an account by Zosimus of a group of people living north of the Danube who called themselves "the Scythians" but were called "the Greutungi" by members of a different tribe living