When reading the final letter directed by Álvaro of Córdoba to Eleazar the Jew in Spain during the ninth century CE, one cannot help notice the way in which Álvaro seeks to tie himself to the legacy of the Visigoths who ruled the Iberian Peninsula prior to the Muslim conquests. Some of his references can be traced back to a work by Saint Isidore of Seville composed in the seventh century CE concerning the history of the kings of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi. The Goths (in particular, the Visigoths) and Suevi were the Germanic peoples who came to dominate the Iberian Peninsula following the collapse of Roman rule there during the fifth century CE, while the Vandals were a Germanic people who established their kingdom in what was the Western Roman Empire's part of 'Africa' (i.e. modern-day Tunisia and northern Algeria), but their realm was destroyed by the Byzantines in the sixth century CE. The Suevi held out for a long-time in northwest Iberia (the Gallaecia region) but their kingdom was eventually conquered by the Visigoths, who were still ruling Spain at the time that Isidore was writing.
It is to the Visigoths that Isidore pays primary tribute in this work, hailing their virtues and skills in war. One might have thought that Isidore would have a negative view of them, but he accepts them as an authentic part of Iberia given their adoption of the Latin language and (most crucially) their adoption of Catholicism in the late sixth century CE. For later Christians like Álvaro of Córdoba and Saint Eulogius of Córdoba, it is these aspects of the Visigoths that distinguish them as acceptable rulers in contrast with the later Muslim conquerors, who are alien in both faith and language.
Isidore's account itself, unsurprisingly, is mostly focused on the history of the kings of the Goths, while the sections on the kings of the Vandals and Suevi can be seen as appendices to the main work. The account's main merit is that it is concise, but there are problems of accuracy (especially in relation to the early history of the Goths and the chronology for the Vandal kingdom) as well as issues of unevenness in the content. For example, it is noted that Alaric II ruled for 23 years as king of the Visigoths, but the only thing noted in Isidore's history with regards to his reign is the defeat and demise he suffered at the hands of the Franks.
I would like to dedicate this work foremost to Kirk Sowell, a friend who has long supported my work and has shown an interest in Latin (despite his only partial learning of the language, through the Cambridge Latin Course that I do not recommend for any learner). Kirk, since your contempt for the Roman Empire as a 'corrupt military dictatorship' is clear to me, I have no doubt that you appreciate and admire the Goths, Vandals and Suevi for their role in the destruction of the Western Roman Empire. I should like to know which king from each of the three peoples you admire most. I also dedicate this work to Fanar Haddad, an academic who has an interesting book out on the concept of 'sectarianism' (specifically the Sunni-Shi'i dynamic) in the modern Arab world. Fanar, I hereby call on you to analyse the conflicts between the Christian sects of the Arians and the Catholics discussed in this work through the lens of your discussions on the concept of 'sectarianism.'
Below is the text of the work translated in full with explanatory and context notes where necessary. I use the original Latin text of the work produced here as the basis of the translation- something that has required some amendments to be made. As always, I welcome any suggestions for corrections.
Of all the lands, which are from the west all the way to the Indian lands, you are the most beautiful, oh sacred one, and almost the happy one of the princes, and the mother of peoples, Hispania. You now by right the queen of all provinces, from which not only the West, but also the East borrows lights. You are what is proper, and the ornament of the world, the more illustrious portion of the Earth: in which the glorious fecundity of the Getic people rejoices much and flourishes bountifully.
Deservedly has the rather indulgent nature endowed you with the fertility of all things that arise. You are rich in berries, a flowing strength, delightful in harvests. You are clothed in the cornfield, you are shadowed by the oils, you are covered in the vine. You are full of flowers in fields, full of leaves in mountains, full of fish in the shores. You are placed under the most gracious net of the world, and you are not towered by the summer heat of the Sun, nor do you become weary with glacial rigour, but girded by the temperate zone of the sky, you are nurtured by the happy west winds. For you give birth to whatever fertility the fields bear, whatever preciousness the metals bear, whatever beauty and usefulness the animals bear. And things are not to be neglected by those rivers, which the clear fame of beautiful flocks makes noble.
Alphaeus will yield to you in horses,[iii] Clitumnus in cattle,[iv] although sacred Alpheus exercises with Olympic palms the flying chariots through the spaces, and Clitumnus once immolated huge bullocks for the Capitoline victims. You do not search for the groves of Etruria[v] as you are more fertile in food, nor do you, full as you are of palms, wonder at the groves of Molorchus,[vi] nor in the running of your horses will you envy the Elean chariots. You are fertile with the overflowing rivers, you are tawny in the gold-flowing torrents. You have the fount that is the bearer of the horse. The fleeces dyed with the dyes of the native molluscs glow for you to Tyrian red colours. The stone shining brightly for you amid the dark places of the inner mountains is lit up by the contiguous ray of the neighbouring Sun.
Therefore, as you are rich in both gems and purple dyes, as you are fertile equally for the nourishing guides and the endowments of the empires, so you are opulent for the leaders to be adorned, and blessed for those to be begotten. And so golden Rome, the capital of the peoples, desired you by right long ago, and although the same virtue of Romulus first as victor pledged you to itself, nonetheless in a renewal the most flourishing people of the Goths after multiple victories in the world seized you in struggle and loved you, and enjoys until now among the royal ornaments and bountiful sheep the secure felicity of empire.
It is certain that the people of the Goths are very ancient: some suspect their origin comes from Magog, the son of Japhet,[vii] on account of the similarity of the last syllable, and they deduce that further from Ezechiel the prophet.[viii] But erudition going back has been accustomed to call them more Getae rather than Gog and Magog. A most mighty people is described as intended to devastate the land of Judaea as well.
But the interpretation of their name as covered in our language is that the meaning is fortitude, and this is the reality, for there was no people in the world that wearied the Roman Empire as much as these people. For these are the people whom even Alexander said were to be avoided, whom Pyrrhus[ix] feared, and at whom Caesar shuddered.[x] Indeed through many centuries back they used kings, afterwards kings, whose times one must explain in order chronologically, and to reveal the extracts from the histories by what name and act they ruled.
In the year 12 before the era dating,[xi] while Cnaeus Pompeius[xii] and Caius Julius Caesar had stirred up civil war in order to seize the power of the republic, the Goths came to provide aid to Pompeius intending to fight in Thessalia against Caesar. While in the army of Pompeius the Aethiopians, the Indians, the Persians, the Medes, the Greeks, the Armenians, the Scythians and the rest of the peoples of the East called out had fought against Julius, these people resisted Caesar more bravely than the rest. Caesar, disturbed at their abundance and virtue, is said to have contemplated flight, if night had not given an end to the battle. Then Caesar said that neither Pompeius knew how to win, nor could Caesar be beaten. For if Pompeius had known how to win, on that day he would have overcome Caesar with such harsh men.
In era 294,[xiii] in the first year of the reign of Valerianus[xiv] and Gallienus,[xv] the Goths descended from the Alp mountains where they lived and devastated Graecia,[xvi] Macedonia, Pontus,[xvii] Asia[xviii] and Illyricum.[xix] Of these places they held Illyricum and Macedonia for almost 15 years. From there, after being overpowered by the Emperor Claudius, they sought their own homes again.[xx] But the Romans honoured Claudius Augustus with outstanding glory because of the fact he had removed such a mighty people from the borders of the state, and they placed for him in the Forum a golden shield, and a golden statue in the Capitolium.
In era 369,[xxi] in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Constantinus,[xxii] the Goths attacked the region of the Sarmatians and fell upon the Romans in most abundant columns, laying waste to all in violent power through sword and plundering. Against them the same Constantinus drew up a battle-line and after scarcely overcoming them in a huge struggle expelled them beyond the Danubius:[xxiii] thus he was outstanding in the glory of virtue to the various peoples, but more glorious concerning the victory over the Goths. The Romans, with the Senate's acclamation, bestowed on him public praise on the grounds that he defeated such a great people and on the grounds that he restored the state of the homeland.
In era 407,[xxiv] in the fifth year of the reign of Valens,[xxv] Athanaricus first undertook the administration of the people of the Goths, ruling for thirteen years.[xxvi] Establishing a most cruel persecution against the faith, he wanted to exercise himself against the Goths who were considered Christian in his people.[xxvii] Of these people he made martyrs of very many who did not acquiesce to sacrifice to the idols. But the remainder, who were afflicted with many persecutions, he gave licence as he shuddered to kill on account of the multitude. Indeed rather he compelled them to leave his kingdom, and to migrate into the provinces of the Roman territory.
In era 415,[xxviii] in the thirteenth year of the reign of Valens, the Goths were divided against each other in Istrum[xxix] according to the factions of Athanricus and Fridigernus,[xxx] devastating each other with alternating slaughters. But Athanaricus overcame Fridigernus with the help of the Emperor Valens.[xxxi] On account of this matter he sent envoys with gifts to the same emperor, and demanded teachers to take up the rule of the Christian faith. But Valens was a deviant from the truth of the Catholic faith and held by the perversity of the Arian heresy[xxxii] and so he sent heretical priests and added the Goths by wicked persuasion to the dogma of his error and transmitted a pest-bearing poison with pernicious seed into such a distinguished people, and thus held and preserved for a long time the error which recent faith had imbibed.
Then Gulfilas the bishop of the Goths established the Gothic alphabet, and translated the scriptures of the New and Old Testaments into the same language.[xxxiii] But the Goths, as soon as they began to have literature and law, drew up for themselves the churches of their dogma, holding such teachings about the divinity according to the same Arius, such that they believed that the Son was lesser than the Father in majesty, and came after Him in eternity. They asserted that the Holy Spirit is neither God nor the substance of the Father, but was created through the Son, given to the ministry of both, and subjected to the obedience of both. Also they asserted that as the Father is one separate person, and also in nature; so also the person of the Son is separate, and likewise also the person of the Holy Spirit is separate, so that not one God and Lord was worshipped (as per the tradition of the sacred Scripture), but rather three gods were venerated according to the superstition of idolatry. They held the evil of this blasphemy through the passing of times and succession of kings for 213 years. At last remembering their salvation, they rejected the implanted perfidy, and reached the unity of the Catholic faith through the grace of Christ.
In era 416,[xxxiv] in the fourteenth year of the reign of Valens, the Goths, who had first expelled the Christians from their land, were again expelled by the Huns with their king Athanaricus, and after crossing the Danubius, since they could not bear the force of the Emperor Valens, handed themselves over without laying aside their arms, and received Thracia[xxxv] to inhabit. But when they saw that they were being oppressed by the Romans contrary to the custom of autonomous liberty, they were compelled to rebel. They devastated Thracia with sword and fires, and destroyed the Roman army,[xxxvi] and burned Valens himself after he had been wounded with a javelin and was taking refuge in a certain house, so that he should deservedly be burned alive by them in temporal fire since he had handed over such fine souls to the eternal fires.
But in that battle the Goths found the previous Gothic confessors, whom they had expelled a while ago on account of their faith from their land, and they wanted to join them to themselves for an alliance of plunder. But since they refused to acquiesce, some were killed. Others, holding mountainous places, and constructing whatever refuges for themselves that they could, not only persevered as Catholic Christians, but also remained in the concordance of the Romans, by whom they had been received some time ago.
In era 419,[xxxvii] in the third year of the reign of Theodosius Hispanus,[xxxviii] Athanaricus arranged a treaty and friendship with Theodosius, and soon made for Constantinople. [xxxix]And there on the fifteenth day after he had been received honourably by Theodosius, he perished. But the Goths, with their own king dead, looked on the kindness of the Emperor Theodosius, and entered into a treaty and handed themselves over to the Roman Empire and were with the Romans for 28 years.
In era 420,[xl] in the fourth year of the reign of Theodosius, the Goths, renouncing the patronage of the Roman treaty, declared Alaricus to be their king.[xli] They judged it unworthy to remain subdued to the Roman power, and to follow those whose laws and empire they had rejected some time ago, and from whose alliance they had turned themselves away in the triumph of battle.
In era 437,[xlii] in the fifth year of the reigns of Honorius and Arcadius, the Goths became divided among Alaricus and Radagaisus, and while they were lacerating each other in the two parts of their realm through various slaughters, they then became united to destroy the Romans and set up a plan in common. And with equal intention they were divided from each other to plunder some regions of Italy.
In era 443,[xliii] in the eleventh year of Honorius and Arcadius, Radagaisus the king of the Goths- Scythian by descent, dedicated to the cult of idolatry, and most savage in the ferocity of barbaric monstrosity- attacked the regions of Italy in vehement devastation with 200,000 men. He pledged that he would pour the blood of the Romans in libations to his gods out of contempt for Christ, if he were victorious. His army was surrounded by Stilico[xliv] the Roman commander in the mountainous places of Thuscia,[xlv] and was consumed more by hunger rather than the sword. Finally the king himself was captured and killed.
In era 447,[xlvi] in the fifteenth year of the reign of Arcadius, after Radagaisus was killed, Alaricus who had a share in the kingdom, indeed Christian by name, but a heretic by profession,[xlvii] grieved at the fact that such a great multitude of the Goths had been extinguished by the Romans. He waged a battle against Rome in order to avenge their blood and after besieging it he broke in through attack, fire and the swords, and thus the City that was the conqueror of all peoples, was conquered and fell to the Gothic triumphs, and having been captured and subjugated became a slave of theirs. But the Goths were so merciful there, that they previously gave the vow that if they should enter the City, whoever of the Romans should be found in the places of Christ, would not be sent into devastation of the city. So after this vow, they attacked the city, and all who took refuge at the thresholds of the saints were spared from death and captivity. But those who were outside the places of the martyrs and named both Christ and the saints, were also spared by them in similar mercy.
But in the remaining things, even if the booty of the enemy lay open, nonetheless the monstrosity of striking was restrained. But while the Goths were rushing in that devastation through the City, a certain powerful man had found a consecrated virgin who was elderly. He admonished her decently that he would carry forth any gold and silver she had. She brought forth what she had with faithful conscience. And while he beheld the form of the vases and the beauty of that old opulence of the Romans, the virgin said: 'These vases were deposited with me from the shrine of the apostle Petrus;[xlviii] take them, if you dare. I do not dare to give a holy sacrifice.' The Goth, terrified with great fear at the name of the apostle, reported through a messenger this matter to the king. The king immediately ordered for all these things to be carried with the greatest reverence through the virgin to the shrine of Saint Petrus,[xlix] saying: 'I have waged war with the Romans, not with the apostles of God.'
Therefore the virgin, honoured with the most reverent duties, returned, and with her returned all who had joined themselves to her, carrying over their heads the golden and silver vases with hymns and canticles, with guardians of armed men stretched out from everywhere by order of the king for the purpose of defence. From everywhere the columns of the Christians rushed from the hiding places to the voices of those singing. Also the pagans rushed, and they were admitted among them, while they pretended to be servants of Christ, and also themselves evaded the destruction of calamity.
In this storm the Goths captured at Rome with a huge treasure of gold and silver Placidia,[l] who was the daughter of the Emperor Theodosius (who had been princeps) and the sister of the Emperors Arcadius and Honorius. And with much of the wealth of the Romans taken, on the third day, with the City burnt and destroyed in parts, they departed. From there they boarded the ships, but when they arranged to cross over to Sicily that is separated by a narrow strait from Italy, they came up against the danger of the hostile sea and lost much of their forces. They had such great glory concerning the capture of the city of Rome, that they thought that in comparison with it they endured nothing bad in that storm, weighing up the losses of the shipwreck against the outcome of the victory. The death of Alaricus quickly followed, and in the twenty-eighth year of his rule he died in Italy.
In era 448,[li] in the seventeenth year of the reign of Honorius, and the first of Theodosius Minor,[lii] after Alaricus died after the capture of the City, Athaulfus[liii] was put in charge by the Goths of Italy for rule for six years. This man retreated in the fifth year of his rule from Italy, and approached the Gallic lands, and took up for himself Placidia the daughter of the Emperor Theodosius, whom the Goths had captured at Rome. In this regard the prophecy of Daniel was believed by some to have been fulfilled, as he said that the daughter of the king of the south would be married to the king of the north, but with no offspring existing from her seed. This is so, as the same prophet adds in following sections saying: 'And her seed will not stand.'[liv] For no one was born from her womb, who might succeed his father in the kingdom. But while Athaulfus was seeking the Spanish lands after leaving the Gallic lands, he was butchered by one of his own at Barcinona[lv] amid familiar stories.
In era 454,[lvi] in the twenty-second year of the reign of Honorius, after the death of Athaulfus, Sigericus was chosen as leader by the Goths.[lvii] While he was most ready for peace with the Romans, he was soon killed by his own.
In the aforementioned era, Walia[lviii] succeeded Sigericus and held the kingdom for three years, having been made leader by the Goths for the sake of war. But he was commanded to peace by divine providence, for as soon as he began to reign, he struck a treaty with the Emperor Honorius, and he restored honorifically to him his sister, who had been captured by the Goths at Rome. He promised to the emperor that all struggle would be undertaken for the sake of the state. And so called to the Spanish lands through Constantius the patrician, he brought great slaughters on the barbarians in the name of Rome.
He destroyed all the Selingui Wandali in Baetica[lix] through war.[lx] He destroyed the Alans, who held power over the Vandali and Suevi, in such a way that after the killing their king Atax, the few who had survived forgot the name of their realm and subjugated themselves to the regime of Gundericus[lxi] the king of the Vandali, who had resided in Gallecia. Therefore with the war of Hispania finished, Walia arranged to cross into Africa after drawing up the naval fleet, but he was broken in the strait of the Gaditanian sea[lxii] by the force of a very heavy storm, and he was also mindful of that shipwreck under Alaricus. Passing over the danger of sailing, he left the Spanish lands and sought the Gallic lands. And he was granted by the Emperor on account of the merit of victory second Aquitania[lxiii] with certain towns of the neighbouring provinces all the way to the Ocean.[lxiv]
In era 457,[lxv] in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of Honorius, after King Walia died, Theuderedus[lxvi] succeeded in the kingdom for 33 years. He was not content with the Aquitanic kingdom, so he rejected the treaty of the Roman peace, occupied most of the municipalities of the Romans neighbouring their seats, and assaulted Arelas[lxvii]- the most noble town of Gallia- after besieging it with much force. He did not retreat unpunished from the siege of it, as the virtue of Aetius the commander of the Roman military was overhanging.
But with Aetius thus removed from military power by the order of the Emperor Valentinianus,[lxviii] while Theuderedus was hostile to the Narbonensian city[lxix] through long-standing siege and starvation tactics, he was again put to flight by Litorius, the commander of the Roman military, who was assisted by Huns. But Litorius, while he had first had success against the Goths, again he was deceived by the signs of demons and the responses of the soothsayers,[lxx] so he unwisely went into war with the Goths, and with the Roman army lost, he miserably perished after being defeated. And he made it to be understood how much that multitude that perished with the same man could have been beneficial, if he had preferred to make use of faith rather than the fallacious displays of the demons.
So with Litorius killed, from there Theuderedus entered into peace with Romans, and again he entered into open conflict in the Catalaunian plains with the help of Aetius (the Roman commander) against the Huns,[lxxi] who were devastating the provinces of the Gallic lands with savage raiding and destroying very many cities. And there he died as victor in battle. But the Goths, with Thurismundus (the son of King Theuderedus) fighting, fought so bravely, that between the first and final battle almost 300,000 men fell in that struggle.
Many signs of Heaven and Earth preceded in that same time, by whose portents a war so cruel was signified. For, with the frequent earthquakes having occurred, the Moon was obscured from the part of the east, a comet star appeared from the setting of the Sun, and glowed for some time with huge magnitude. The sky grew red from the area of the north, as though it became fire or blood, with rather clear lines, mixed as they were through the fire-like red, formed into the appearance of reddening spears. And it was no wonder that so much showing of signs was demonstrated through divine intervention in the such huge mass of slaughtered men.
But the Huns, having been slaughtered almost to the point of annihilation, abandoned the Gallic lands with their king Athila,[lxxii] and fled to Italy, breaking into a number of cities. There also they were struck partly through starvation and partly through heavenly plagues, and they perished. In addition, an army was sent by the Emperor Marcianus,[lxxiii] and so they were struck with a strong affliction, and having been excessively afflicted and diminished, they returned to their own lands of residence, in which their king Attila died soon after he returned.
After his death the people of the Huns also devastated themselves through their own destruction. And immediately among his sons there arose great struggles to attain the rule. And thus the Huns, who had been previously diminished by so many disasters, again felled themselves by internecine clashes of the swords. Among them it is wondrous that, while every battle results in loss for the peoples, these people accomplished something by falling in internecine struggle. For thus it was that they were put in place to punish the faithful, just like the people of the Persian nation.
For they are the stick of the fury of God, and whenever His indignation proceeds against the faithful, they are punished through those people, so that, amended by the afflictions of them, they should restrain themselves from the desire of this life and sin, and come to possess the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom. But these people were so horrendous that whenever they suffered hunger in war, they would touch the vein of the horse and thus would shut out their hunger after consuming its blood.
In era 490,[lxxiv] in the first year of the reign of Marcianus, Turismundus,[lxxv] the son of Theuderedus, was brought forth to rule for one year. As he stirred up hostilities, wild and obnoxious as he was, in the beginnings of his rule, and did many things rather insolently, he was killed by his brothers Theudericus[lxxvi] and Frigdaricus.
In era 491,[lxxvii] in the second year of the reign of Marcianus, Theudericus, after the killing of his brother, succeeded into the kingdom and ruled for 13 years. Since he had provided help with the Gauls to the Emperor Avitus[lxxviii] so that he could assume the imperial throne, he entered from Aquitania into Hispania with a huge multitude of the army and with the permission of the same Avitus, in the fifth year of his reign.[lxxix] But the king of the Suevi Recchiarius[lxxx] opposed him with a large force, and soon a battle began at the twelfth milestone from the Asturicensian city,[lxxxi] at the river that is called Urbicus.[lxxxii] Recchiarius was defeated, with columns of the Suevi slaughtered, some captured, and very many routed. Finally the king himself, wounded by a weapon, fled, and lacking the protection of his own people, he was captured at the place of Portucale,[lxxxiii] and he was brought alive to King Theudericus.
After that man was killed, with many of those who had survived from the prior struggle handing themselves over, but nonetheless with some butchered, the kingdom was almost destroyed, and so the kingdom of the Suevi came to an end. But the remaining Suevi who had remained in the farthest part of Gallaecia, established as king for themselves the son of Massila, called Maldras.[lxxxiv] Thus the kingdom of the Suevi was restored. Following the killing of Recchiarius, Theudericus came down as victor from Gallaecia to Lusitania.[lxxxv] While he endeavoured to plunder the Emeritensian city,[lxxxvi] he was terrified by the displays of the holy martyr Eulalia,[lxxxvii] and so he immediately departed with the whole army, and sought the Gallic lands again.
Soon from there he sent one part of the army, led by Ceurila, to the province of Baetica, and he directed another part under the commanders Singericus and Nepotianus to Gallaecia, who devastated the Suevi at Lucus[lxxxviii] through savage plundering. But in the Gallic lands the count and citizen Agrippinus, rival to the Roman count Aegidius,[lxxxix] handed over Narbona to Theudericus so that he should earn the help of the Goths. Afterwards some ambassadors were sent by Remismundus the son of Masdras[xc] the king of the Suevi and they came to Theudericus, demanding peace and friendship. Similarly, Theudericus sent them back to Remismundus with the addition of arms, gifts and even a companion directed, whom he might have as a wife. Also, again Theudericus sent Sallas the ambassador to Remismundus. Once he returned to the Gallic lands, he found out that Theudericus was killed by his brother Euricus.[xci]
In era 504,[xcii] in the seventh year of the reign of Leo, Euricus succeeded into the kingdom with equal crime as his brother, for 17 years. Having been carried forth in this honour, and crime, he immediately directed ambassadors to the Emperor Leo.[xciii] And without delay, he plundered parts of Lusitania with great attack. From there he sent another army, as he from there captured Pampilona[xciv] and captured Caesaraugusta[xcv] after the sending of the army, and also he subjected upper Hispania to his power. Also he ravaged through the incursion of the army the nobility of the Tarraconensian province,[xcvi] which had rejected him. But having turned back into the Gallic lands, he obtained the city of Arelatum[xcvii] and Massilia[xcviii] by waging war, and subjected both to his rule.
This man on a certain day, with the Goths gathered in meeting, saw that the weapons which all had in their hands had for some time changed in the natural appearance of their iron on account of the aging of the iron and the battles: some had changed with green colour, others with rose colour, others with scarlet colour and others with black colour. Under this king, the Goths began to have the statutes of their laws in writings, for previously they were only held by customs and manner. King Euricus died at Arelatum, having died a natural death.
In era 521,[xcix] in the tenth year of the Emperor Zeno,[c] following Euric's death, his son Alaricus[ci] was made leader of the Goths at the city of Tolosa,[cii] reigning for 23 years. Fludujus the leader of the Franks who strove to rule Gallia,[ciii] waged war against him with the assistance of the Burgundians,[civ] and with the forces of the Goths routed, finally he killed the king himself who was defeated at Pictavium.[cv] But Theudericus the king of Italy,[cvi] when he had discovered the death of his son-in-law, immediately set out from Italy, laid low the Franks, received the part of the kingdom, which the hand of the enemy had occupied, and restored it to the control of the Goths.
In era 545,[cvii] in the seventeenth year of the reign of Anastasius,[cviii] Gisaleicus,[cix] the son of the previous king born from a concubine, was made leader at Narbona, ruling for four years. Just as he was most cheap in descent, so he was greatest in infelicity and sloth. In short when the same city had been plundered by Gundebadus the king of the Burgundians,[cx] this man brought himself to Barcinona with much disgrace of his own, and with the great disaster of his people. And he stayed there until also he was deprived of the rule of the kingdom by Theudericus on account of the disgrace of his flight.
From there he set out to Africa, and demanded the help of the Vandali, so that he could be restored into his kingdom. But since he had not acquired the help, he soon returned from Africa, and sought Aquitania on account of fear of Theudericus, and hiding there for one year, he turned back into Hispania, and he engaged in battle and was overpowered by the commander of King Theudericus at the twelfth mile from the city of Barcinona. He was turned into flight, and captured across the river Druentius of the Gallic lands,[cxi] he perished, and thus first he lost his honour, and afterwards his life.
In era 549,[cxii] in the twenty-first year of the reign of Anastasius, Theudericus Iunior,[cxiii] after Gisaleicus the king of the Goths had been killed, again held the kingdom of Hispania for 15 years. He had been made some time ago consul and king at Rome by the Emperor Zeno. After the killing of Odouacrus the king of the Ostrogoths,[cxiv] and after the defeat of his brother Honoulfus[cxv] and his being put to flight across the confines of the Danubius, he ruled for 49 years in Italy. Surviving he left the kingdom of Hispania to his grandson Amalaricus.[cxvi] From there he returned to Italy, and ruled for some time with all prosperity: through him no small dignity was restored to the city of Rome as well. For this man restored its walls, and by the grace of this matter he earned a gold-gilded statue from the Senate.
In era 564,[cxvii] in the first year of the rule of Justinianus,[cxviii] after Theudericus had returned into Italy and died in the same place, his grandson Amalaricus ruled for five years. But when he had been overcome in battle at Narbona by Childebertus the king of the Franks,[cxix] he fled in fear to Barcinona, and having been made contemptible in the sight of all, he was executed by his army that had come from Narbona and perished in the forum.
In era 569,[cxx] in the sixth year of the reign of Justinianus, Theudis[cxxi] was made king in Hispania after Amalaricus and he ruled for 17 years and five months. While he was a heretic, he nonetheless conceded peace to the Church, in such a way that he granted the bishops license to convene in the city of Toletum,[cxxii] and to arrange freely and with license whatever was necessary for the discipline of the Church. While he ruled, the kings of the Franks had gathered into Hispania with boundless forces, and they ravaged the Tarraconensian province through war, so the Goths led by Theudisclus, having shut the bolts of Hispania, laid low the army of the Franks with much admiration of victory. The same leader, after entreaties and huge amounts of money were offered to him, provided a way of escape for the remaining enemies within the space of one day and night. The rest of the crowd of unfortunate people, for whom the transit of the set time did not occur, fell after being killed by the sword of the Goths.
After an outcome of such fortunate victory, the Goths unwisely managed themselves across the strait. In short, when they had crossed the straits of the Ocean against the soldiers,[cxxiii] who had invaded the town of Septem[cxxiv] after driving away the Goths, and as they assaulted the same fort with the great force of the struggle, on the arrival of Sunday they laid low their arms, lest they should defile the sacred day with struggle. So with this occasion found, the soldiers attacked by a sudden incursion, and laid low the army that was shut in from all sides by land and sea, cowardly and unarmed, in such a way that not even one survived who should surpass the destruction of such a great disaster.
And soon enough, the due death came upon the leader. For he was wounded by someone in the palace, who had some time ago feigned the appearance of a demented person in order to deceive the king. For he feigned insanity through skill, and stabbed the leader, who after being laid low by this wound fell, and breathed out by the force of the sword his soul that was indignant. But he is said to have sword amid the pouring out of blood that no one should kill the murderer, saying that he had received the congruous vicissitude of his merit, because he himself as a private man had killed his leader in agitation.
In era 586,[cxxv] in the twenty-third year of the reign of Justinianus, after Theudis was killed, Theudisclus[cxxvi] the commander for the prior leader was put in charge of the Goths, ruling for one year and three months. While he disgraced the marriages of very many powerful men through public prostitution, and on account of these things intended to kill many, he was prevented from doing by as he was slaughtered by the hand of conspirators in Hispalis amid the feast, and having been stabbed with a sword he was extinguished.
In era 587,[cxxvii] in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Justinianus, after Theudisclus was extinguished, Agila was made king, ruling for five years.[cxxviii] This man stirred up battle against the city of Córdoba, while he brought the injustice upon the most blessed martyr Acisclus[cxxix] in contempt against the Catholic religion, and polluted the sacred place of his burial with the blood of enemies and beasts, being the profaner that he was. Thus with the struggle initiated against the Córdoban citizens, he earned the worthy punishments that were brought on by the saints. For having been struck by revenge for the present war, he both lost there his son who was killed with the forces of the army, and he lost all the treasure with the outstanding wealth.
Having been defeated, and having been put to flight with pitiful fear, he retreated to Emerita. Against him, with a space of some time having intervened, Athanagildus[cxxx] launched a coup with the desire of ruling, and at Hispalis he laid low through military virtue that man's army sent against him. So the Goths, seeing that they were being destroyed by their own destruction, and more fearing that the Roman soldiers would invade Hispania on the pretext of providing help, killed Agila at Emerita, and handed themselves over to the regime of Athanagildus.
in era 592,[cxxxi] in the twenty-ninth year of the reign of Justinianus, after Agila was killed, Athanagildus held the kingdom that he had invaded for 14 years. When this man had launched the coup a while back as he tried to deprive Agila of the kingdom, he had demanded the help of soldiers from the Emperor Justinianus for himself, but afterwards he contrived to remove them from the kingdom, yet he could not do so.[cxxxii] Against them there has been conflict up to this point. Previously they were killed in frequent battles, but now they have been broken and finished by many mishaps. But Athanagildus departed by a natural death at Toletum, with an interregnum for five months.
In era 605,[cxxxiii] in the second year of the reign of Justinus Minor, after Athanagildus, Liuva[cxxxiv] was put in charge of the Goths at Narbo, ruling for three years. In the second year after he attained the leadership, he made Leovigildus[cxxxv] his brother not only the successor, but also the participant in the kingdom with him, and put him in charge of administration of Hispania, while he himself was content with ruling in Gallia. And thus the kingdom had two rulers, while no power is enduring a fellowship. But only one year as king is reckoned in the order of times for this Liuva, while the rest are counted to his brother Leovigildus.
In era 606,[cxxxvi] in the third year of the rule of Justinus Minor,[cxxxvii] Leovigildus attained leadership of Hispania and Gallia, and resolved to expand the kingdom through war and increase its wealth. Indeed with the zeal of his army, and with the concordance of favour, he attained many outstanding victories. For he gained hold of the Cantabri,[cxxxviii] captured Aregia,[cxxxix] all of Sabaria[cxl] was defeated by him, also very many rebellious cities of Hispania yielded to the arms of that man. Also he routed the soldiers in various battles, and received through fighting certain camps that had been occupied by them. From there he defeated his son Hermenegildus who was launching a coup against his power after besieging him. Finally he brought war on the Suevi, and with astounding speed transferred their kingdom into the laws of his own people. He thus gained control of Hispania for the most part. For previously the people of the Goths were confined by narrow borders. But the error of impiety darkened in him the glory of such great virtue.
In short, filled with the fury of the Arian perfidy, he initiated persecution of the Catholics, and relegated very many of the bishops to exile. He took away the incomes and privileges of the churches, and also drove many through terrors into the Arian pestilence, very many he deceived without persecution, enticed as they were by gold and material things. Also among the rest of the filthy things of his heresy he dared to rebaptise the Catholics, and not only from the people, but also from the dignity of the priestly order, like Vincentius Caesaraugustanus, having been turned from a bishop into an apostate, and like one cast forth from heaven into hell.
But also he was pernicious to some of his own people, for whomever he saw as most noble and powerful, he either decapitated, or proscribed them after taking away their wealth, and after proscribing them he sent them into exile. Also this man was the first to enrich his private treasury, and the first to increase the public treasury through the plunder taken from citizens and enemies. And he was the first to sit on a throne among his own people, covered as he was in regal clothing. For before him, the habit and sitting together were something in common for the people and the kings. He also established a city in Celtiberia,[cxli] which he named Recopolis[cxlii] after his son. Also in the laws he corrected those things that seemed to have been set without foundation by Euricus, adding very many overlooked laws while taking away most of the superfluous ones. But he reigned for 18 years, dying a natural death at Toletum.
In era 624,[cxliii] in the third year of the reign of Mauricius,[cxliv] after Leovigildus' death, his son Recaredus[cxlv] was crowned king, endowed with the cult of the religion, and far removed from his father's customs. For while that man was irreligious, and most ready for war, this man was pious in faith and outstanding in peace. While that man was expanding the power of his people through the arts of arms, this man was gloriously elevating the same people through the trophy of faith. For in the beginnings of his reign he adopted the Catholic faith and called back the peoples of the whole Gothic nation to the cult of the correct faith after the disgrace of the accustomed error had been abandoned.
From there he brought together a synod of bishops from the various provinces of Hispania and Gallia to condemn the Arian heresy. The same most religious leader participated in this council, and affirmed its deeds by his presence and signature, abdicating along with all his own people the perfidy, which the people of the Goths had learnt through Arius' teachings, and declared the unity of the three persons in God, that the Son was begotten co-substantially by the Father, that the Holy Spirit proceeds inseparably from the Father and the Son, and that there is one Spirit of both, hence they are also One.
So he gloriously made war against the hostile peoples after undertaking the help of the faith, for as the Franks rushed on the Gallic lands with forces of almost 60,000 armed men, he sent his general Claudius against them, and triumphed through glorious outcome. There was never a victory of the Goths in the Spanish lands that was either greater in war, or similar. For they were laid low and many thousands of the enemy were captured, but the remaining part of the army, having turned to flight beyond hope while the Goths pursued from behind, were slaughtered all the way into the borders of their realm. Also often he mobilised forces against the insolences of the Romans and the incursions of the Vascones.[cxlvi] Hence he seems to have not so much engaged in wars as exercised the people, as though in the game of the palaestra, for the use of the struggle.
But the provinces which his father acquired in war, he preserved with peace, arranged with fairness, and ruled with moderation. But he was pleasant, mild, of outstanding goodness. He had such great grace in his face, and had such great benignity in his mind, that influencing the minds of all, he even drew the evil to the affection of his love. So generous was he, that he restored to their original owners the wealth of the private citizens and the loot of the churches, which his father's disgrace had joined to his private treasury. So clement was he, that he often relaxed the tributes of the people through the generosity of indulgence.
He also endowed many with material things, and elevated very many with honours. Spending his wealth on the poor and his treasures on the needy, knowing that the kingdom was brought to him for these things, so that he should enjoy it wholesomely, he attained a good end through good beginnings. For the faith of the correct glory, which he took at the beginning of his reign, he culminated at the very end with a public confession of repentance. He died peacefully at Toletum, and he reigned for 15 years.
In era 639,[cxlvii] in the nineteenth year of the reign of Mauricius, after King Recaredus, Liuva his son[cxlviii] reigned for two years, indeed born from an ignoble mother, but distinguished through the innate quality of virtue. In the first flower of his youth, he was cast down from rule, innocent as he was, by Wictericus[cxlix] who launched a coup against him. And with his right-hand cut, he was killed by him in the twentieth year of his age, but only the second year of his rule.
In era 641,[cl] in the twenty-first year of the reign of Mauricius, after Liuva was killed, Wictericus assumed the kingdom that he had invaded while that man was alive, ruling for seven years. Indeed a strenuous man in the art of arms, but nonetheless having no share in victory. For he often contrived battles against the Roman soldiers, but he accomplished nothing of sufficient glory except that he obtained certain soldiers at Sagontia[cli] through commanders. This man did very many illicit things in life, but he perished in death by the sword because he had made use of the sword. Indeed the death of an innocent person was not unavenged against that man: for amid the banquets of lunch he was killed by a conspiracy of certain people. His body was carried out cheaply and buried.
In era 648,[clii] in the eighth year of the reign of Phocas,[cliii] Gundemarus[cliv] ruled after Wictericus for two years. This man devastated the Vascones in one expedition, and besieged the Roman soldiers in another. He died a natural death in Toletum.
In era 650,[clv] in the second year of the reign of Heraclius,[clvi] the most Christian Sisebutus[clvii] was called to the regal power after Gundemarus. He ruled for eight years and six months. In the beginning of his reign he moved the Jews to the Christian faith.[clviii] Indeed he had zeal, but not according to knowledge; for he compelled by power those whom it was necessary to induce by the reason of the faith. But as has been written, what does it matter whether Christ is proclaimed through occasion, or through truth?[clix] But he was shining in conversation, learned in opinion, and imbued in great part with the knowledge of literature. Strenuous and most ready in judgements with justice and piety, benign in mind, outstanding in the splendour of his reign, he was also distinguished in teachings of war and victories.
For he subdued the rebellious Asturians after sending an army. He defeated through commanders the Ruccones[clx] who were fortified from all sides by arduous mountains. He also in person triumphed twice with success against the Romans, and he subjected some of their cities to himself through assault, and exhausted all the remaining cities between the strait, which the people of the Goths afterwards easily reduced into their power. So clement was he after victory, that he freed many who had been reduced into slavery by his army in enemy booty, after the giving of the price, and his treasury was the redemption of the captives. Some assert that this man was killed by a natural illness, others by immoderate consumption of a medicine, others still by poison. His death was a source of grief not only to the religious, but also to the beast laypeople. He left his little son Recaredus,[clxi] who was considered leader for only a few days after the death of his father, as death intervened.
In era 659,[clxii] in the tenth year of the rule of Heraclius, Suintila,[clxiii] most glorious by divine grace, undertook the sceptres of the kingdom. This man, having obtained the office of duke under King Sisebutus, subdued the Roman garrison, and defeated the Ruccones. After indeed he ascended the apex of regal power, he obtained through engagement of battle the remaining cities that the Roman hand held in the Spanish lands, and through wondrous felicity won the increased glory of triumph beyond the rest of the kings. He was the first to obtain monarchy of the kingdom for all of Hispania on this side of the strait of the Ocean- something that was brought to none of the leaders before. The cover of two patricians increased the title of his virtue in that battle, as he made one of them his own by prudence, while the other he subjected to himself by the virtue of battle.
He also had in the beginning of his rule an expedition against the incursions of the Vascones infesting the Tarraconensian province, where in such a way were the mountain-wandering peoples struck by the terror of his arrival that immediately, as though knowing the due laws, they laid aside their weapons and extended their hands to entreaty, and they submitted their necks in supplication to him, gave hostages, and established Ologitis[clxiv] the city of the Goths by their stipends and labours, promising to obey his rule and dictate, and to accomplish whatever was commanded.
Besides these praises of military glory, there are in him very many virtues of royal majesty, faith, prudence, industry, examination in judicial issues, strenuous care in ruling the realm. He was also generous with particular munificence around all, and sufficiently ready in mercy towards the poor and needy, such that he is worthy to be called not only the leader of the peoples, but also the father of the poor.
His son Racimirus has been taken up to share the realm, and enjoys equal sovereignty with his father, and in his infancy does the splendour of sacred innate quality thus shine, that in him both by his merits and look the effigy of his father's virtues is noted beforehand. For him one must pray to the guider of heaven and the human race, so that as he is a partner by his father's concession, so after the long rule of his father he may also be most worthy of the succession of the realm. Therefore with the times of the kings of the Goths reckoned from the beginning of King Athanaricus, all the way to the fifth year of the most glorious leader Suintila, the kingdom of the Goths is found to have extended through 256 years,[clxv] with God's support.
Thus the recapitulation of the same Isidorus in praise of the Goths
The most ancient origin of the Goths was from Magog the son of Japhet, from where also the race of the Scythians arose. For the same Goths are proven to have been born from Scythican[clxvi] origin. Hence not far do they differ from the name. For with a letter changed and detracted, they have been called Getians, as though Scythians. Therefore these people, inhabiting the icy cliffs of the North around the Scythican realms, possessed with the rest of the peoples those things which are arduous areas of the mountains. They were driven from these seats of residence by the attack of the people of the Huns, and after crossing the Danubius, they gave themselves to the Romans. But, as they did not sustain their injustices, they were indignant, chose a king for themselves from their crowd, rushed into Thracia, devastated Italy, captured the City after besieging it, attacked the Gallic lands, and after the Pyrenees mountains were laid open, they came all the way into the Spanish lands, and there they established a seat of life and power.
Peoples brisk in nature, quick in ingenuity, relying on the strength of awareness, strong in the rigour of the body, arduous in the height of stature, conspicuous in manner and habit, ready in hand, hard in wounds, as the poet says about them:
The Getians despise death while the wound is praised.
They had such great magnitude of wars, and so extolling virtue of glorious victory, that Rome itself the conqueror of all peoples, subjected to the yoke of captivity, acceded to the Getian triumphs, and the mistress of all nations became in service to them as a servant.
All the nations of Europe trembled at these people, the bolts of the Alps yielded to these people. Also the Vandalic barbarians of wide renown were not so much terrified by their presence as put to flight by mere thought of them. The Alans were extinguished by the vigour of the Goths. Also the Suevi who had been so far bound inside the inaccessible corners of the Spanish lands, experienced the danger of their demise by their arms, and in more disgraceful loss have now come to lack a kingdom, which they held with lazy slothfulness. That said, it is truly wondrous that they held all the way to this point that which they could have come to lack without the testing of defence.
But who will be able to tell of the such great magnitude of the strength of the Gothic people? I pose this question particularly because while it has hardly been allowed for many peoples to reign because of entreaties and gifts, for these people however, liberty has been more fitting through fighting rather than the seeking of peace, and when the necessity of waging war has placed itself in the way, they have applied strength rather than entreaties. Moreover they are sufficiently admirable in the arts of arms, and fight not only with spears, but also with javelins on horseback. They proceed not only in battle on horseback, but also through foot-soldiers. Nonetheless they rely more on the swift course of horsemen, hence also the poet says: 'Whither the Getian proceeds on horse.'
For they love most of all to exercise themselves with weapons and to pray beforehand in battles. They also engage in struggles of games by daily practice. They only lacked up to this point this experience of arms, that they did not study engagement in classical wars on the sea. But after Sisebutus the leader took up the sceptres of the kingdom by the heavenly grace, they have set out by his studies to such great virtue of felicity, that they approach not only the lands, but also the seas themselves with their arms, and the Roman military having been subdued serves them, whom it sees that so many peoples and Hispania itself serve.
History of the Vandali
In era 444,[clxvii] two years before the break into the Roman city, the peoples of the Alans, Suevi and Vandali, roused through Stilico, crossed the river Rhine and rushed into the Gallic lands, wore down the Franks, and with direct impetus came all the way to the Pyrenees, but with their obstruction occupied by Didymus and Veranianus the most noble and powerful Roman brothers, they were kept away from Hispania for three years, and wandered through the neighbouring provinces of Gallia. But after the same brothers, who protected the enclosures of the Pyrenees through their private garrison were killed by Constantius Caesar[clxviii] on suspicion of a coup even though they were innocent and guilty of no blame.
In era 446,[clxix] the Vandali, Alans, and Suevi occupied the Spanish lands, brought about slaughters and devastations through cruel raids, burned cities, exhausted the substance that they had seized, such that human flesh was being devoured by the peoples on account of the force of hunger. Mothers ate their sons, also the beasts became accustomed to the corpses of those dying through the sword, hunger and pestilence, and were also brought out to the demise of the living, and thus with four plagues raging through all Hispania, the prior announcement of divine anger, once written about through the prophets, was fulfilled.
In era 459,[clxx] after the wicked ruin of the plagues, by which Hispania was slaughtered, at last the barbarians were turned to entering into peace through God's mercy, and they divided by lot its provinces for their possession. So the Vandali and Suevi occupied Gallaecia, the Alans Lusitania and the Carthaginian province.[clxxi] But the Vandali- Selingui by cognomen- left Gallaecia, and after they devastated the islands of the Tarraconensian province, returned, and obtained Baetica. But the Spanish, afflicted by the plagues through the cities and remaining forts, subjected themselves to the servitude of the dominating barbarians. But the first king of the Vandali- Gundericus- succeeded to rule in Hispania, ruling in the parts of Gallaecia for 18 years. With the treaty of peace broken, as he besieged the people of the Suevi in the Erbasian mountains, he then abandoned the siege of the Suevi, and plundered the Balearic Islands of the Tarraconensian province. From there, with Carthago Spartaria[clxxii] destroyed, he crossed over to Baetica with all the Vandali, destroyed Hispalis, and with the slaughter enacted, sent his people forth to plunder. But since by the authority of his regal power he had irreverently extended his hands into the basilica of Vincentius the martyr of that city,[clxxiii] soon by the judgment of God, seized by a demon in the doors of the temple he perished.
In era 466,[clxxiv]Gisericus,[clxxv] the brother of Gundericus, succeeded into rule for 40 years. He, having become an apostate from Catholicism, is said to have been the first to have crossed over into Arian perfidy. This man, from the shore of the province of Baetica with all the Vandali and their families, crossed the straits to Mauritania and Africa after leaving the Spanish lands. Valentinianus Iunior,[clxxvi] the Emperor of the West, not able to oppose him, sent a request for peace to him, and gave him, as though in a peace offering, a part of Africa which the Vandali should possess, with conditions of oath accepted by him that he should not invade any further.
But that man, concerning whose friendship nothing was in doubt, broke the sacredness of the oath, invaded Carthage through the trickery of peace, and turned all of its wealth, after torturing its citizens through various kinds of torments, to his own property.[clxxvii] From there he plundered Sicily, besieged Panormus,[clxxviii] sent the Arian pestilence through all of Africa, drove the priests from the churches, made very many martyrs, and as per the prophecy of Daniel, with the mysteries changed, he handed over the churches of the saints to the enemies of Christ. And he made orders that they should no longer be places of divine cult, but to be dwelling places for his own people.
Against him Theodosius Minor,[clxxix] the Emperor of the East, prepared war, which did not turn out well. For with the Huns devastating Thracia and Illyricum, the army sent to the Vandali, was called back from Sicily to defend the Thracians and Illyrians. But Majorianus the emperor coming from Italia to the Spanish lands, when he had prepared some ships in the Carthaginian province for himself to cross against the Vandali, the Vandali, warned through traitors, seized them from the Carthaginian shore. And thus Majorianus, thwarted in his arrangement, returned to Italy, and was killed after being surrounded in trickery by the patrician Ricchimirus.[clxxx]
After discovering this, Gisericus, not content with the devastations of Africa alone, was carried by ships and entered Rome, with the wealth of the Romans seized through 14 days. He brought with himself the widow of Valentinianus, her daughters and many thousands of captives. Soon he returned to Carthage and, with peace demanded by the emperor through ambassadors, he sent back the widow of Valentinianus to Constantinople though he married off one of her daughters to his son Hugnericus. And thus after the disasters of many provinces, and the spoils and killings of the Christians, he died in the fortieth year of his reign.
In era 506,[clxxxi] after Gisericus, Ugnericus,[clxxxii] the son of Gisericus, ruled for seven years and five months, having in marriage the daughter of Valentinianus, whom his father had led away as a captive from Rome with her mother. He also, roused with Arian fury, persecuted the Catholics through all of Africa, more furiously than his father. He razed the churches, sent the priests and clerics of every order into exile. Also he relegated around 4000 monks and laypeople to harsher exiles, made martyrs, cut off the tongues of confessors, who, even as their tongues were cut off, spoke perfectly all the way to the end.
Then Laetus, the bishop of the city of Nepte,[clxxxiii] was crowned gloriously with martyrdom. For as he could not be stained in various punishments with the disgrace of the Arian contagion, suddenly as victor he obtained the heavens. But Ugnericus amid the innumerable butcheries of his impieties, which he had exercised against the Catholics, finished his life miserably in the eighth year of his reign, just like his father Arius, with all his insides poured out.[clxxxiv]
In era 526,[clxxxvii] after Guntamundus died, Trasemundus[clxxxviii] ruled for 27 years and four months. This man, filled with Arian madness, persecuted the Catholics,[clxxxix] shut the churches, sent 120 bishops from all of the African Church to Sardinia in exile, and he died at Carthage. In his time, Fulgentius, the Ruspensian bishop, was outstanding in our dogma.
In era 553,[cxc] after Trasemundus, Ildericus,[cxci] the son of Ugnericus, born from the daughter of the Emperor Valentinian, ruled for seven years and three months. This man was bound by oath from his predecessor Trasemundus, that he should not open churches for the Catholics in his kingdom, or restore privileges. Before he came to rule (lest he should violate the sacredness of the oath), he ordered both for the Catholics priests to be led back from exile, and for the churches to be opened. But Gilimer,[cxcii] who launched a coup against him, deprived him of rule, and confined him to the custody of prison with his sons.
In era 560,[cxciii] Gilimer assumed the kingdom through a coup, extinguishing many of the noblemen of Africa province, and depriving many of livelihoods. Against him the Emperor Justinianus sent an army with Belisarius the magister militum[cxciv] as commander. This was on account of a visitation by Laetus the bishop, who had been made a martyr by Ugnericus the king of the Vandali. And with battle commenced the same Belisarius killed Guntemirus and Gebamundus the brothers of the king after they were overcome in the first battle, from there also Gilimirus was put to flight. He captured Africa in the ninety-seventh year of the entry of the Vandali.
But before there was a fight in the encounter with Belisarius, Gilimer the tyrant killed Ildericus the king along with some of the fellow people of his kind. But Belisarius captured the tyrant Gilimirus, and led him along with the riches acquired from the spoils of the provinces and Africa to Constantinople to the Emperor Justinianus. And thus the kingdom of the Vandali was destroyed along with its people and offspring in era 564,[cxcv] which remained for 113 years, from King Gundericus all the way to the demise of Gilimirus.
History of the Suevi
In era 447,[cxcvi] the Suevi, with Hermericus[cxcvii] as their leader, entered the Spanish lands at the same time with the Alans and Vandali, and occupied all of Gallaecia with the Vandali. But as the Vandali crossed over to Africa, the Suevi alone obtained Gallaecia, and Hermericus ruled over them in the Spanish lands for 32 years. But the Gallaecians exercised their own sovereignty in part of the province. Hermericus plundered them with assiduous devastation, but at last overcome by illness, he made peace with them and put Recchila his son in place of rule. He was sent with a large part of the army, and laid low Andevotus the commander of the Roman military with many forces at the Singilium river[cxcviii] of the province of Baetica after war was commenced. Much of the supplies of his gold and silver were seized too. From there he entered into Emerita after besieging it, and joined it to his own kingdom after obtaining it. But Hermericus his father, who was affected with long-standing feebleness over the course of seven years, died.
In era 479,[cxcix] after Hermericus died, Recchila, his son, ruled for eight years. After the death of his father, he got hold of Hispalis and reduced the Baetican and Carthaginian provinces into his power, and from there he ended his life at Emerita, under the cult, as they say, of heathenism.
In era 486,[cc] Recchiarius,[cci] the son of Recchila, who became Catholic, succeeded into the kingdom for nine years, with the daughter of Theuderedus the king of the Goths accepted into marriage. At the beginning of his reign, after taking the auspices he plundered the Vasconian lands. Soon he set out to Theuderedus his father-in-law, and laid waste to the region of Caesaraugusta after entering it with the support of the Goths. He invaded the Tarraconensian province, which was subject to the control of the Roman Empire. He plundered the Carthaginian regions, which Recchila his father had restored to the Romans. Finally, while Theudericus the king of the Goths was entering Hispania, with battle initiated against him, he was first put to flight, from there he was killed after being captured.
In era 495,[ccii] after Recchiarius was extinguished, the Suevi, who had remained in the farthest part of Gallaecia, they chose Maldras the son of Massila as king for themselves. Soon they were divided into two factions: one that called Franta[cciii] king, another that called Maldras king. And soon enough, with Franta dead, the Suevi who were with him, followed Recchimundus, and, after a peace was initiated with Maldras they equally plundered the parts of Lusitania. But Maldras was killed by his own people in the third year of his reign.
In era 498,[cciv] after Maldras was killed, dissension arose between Frumarius[ccv] and Remismundus[ccvi] concerning the power of the kingdom, but Frumarius with the band of the Suevi which he had, destroyed the Conventus[ccvii] of the Flaviensian city[ccviii] through grave destruction. But Remismundus equally plundered the localities of Aurigensium[ccix] that neighboured him and the maritime places of Conventus Lucensis.[ccx]
In era 502,[ccxi] after Frumarius died, Remismundus, with all the Suevi called back into his authority by regal law, struck peace with the Gallaecians, sent treaty ambassadors to Theudericus the king of the Goths, from whom also he accepted through ambassadors both arms and a wife whom he might have. From there he crossed to Lusitania. He seized Conimbria[ccxii] through deception in peace. Olyssipona[ccxiii] was also occupied by him, as its citizen Lusidius who was in charge of it handed it over. In the time of this man, Ajax, a Galatian by nation,[ccxiv] having become an Arian apostate, emerged among the Suevi, with the help of their king, as an enemy of the Catholic faith and the divine Trinity, bringing this pest-bringing poison from the Gallic region of the Goths, and infecting the people of the Suevi with the disgrace of the lethal perfidy. From there with many of the kings of the Suevi remaining in the Arian heresy, at last Theudemirus undertook the power of the kingdom.[ccxv]
He immediately, with the error of the Arian impiety destroyed, restored the Suevi to the Catholic faith, with the support of Martinus, the bishop of the Dumiensian monastery,[ccxvi] who was clear in faith and knowledge. By his zeal also the peace of the Church was amplified, and many things were established for the regions of Gallaecia in the Ecclesiastical disciplines. After Theudemirus, Miro was made leader of the Suevi, ruling for 13 years.[ccxvii] This man brought war in the second year of his reign against the Ruccones. From there he went to assault Hispalis in order to help Leovigildus the king of the Goths against his rebellious son, and there he came to the end of his life.[ccxviii]
This man was succeeded by his son Heboricus in rule.[ccxix] But as a young man he was deprived of his rule by Andeca who launched a coup against him, made him a monk and condemned him to a monastery. For him however the pronouncement of fate was not put off for long. For Leovigildus, the king of the Goths, soon made war on the Suevi, and having obtained the same kingdom, he cast down Andeca, and having shaved the man, he confined him to the office of presbyter after the honour of the kingdom. For thus it should have been that what he himself had done to the king, again the same person should appropriately suffer in-kind. But the kingdom of the Suevi, after being destroyed, was transferred to the Goths. It is written that it remained for 177 years.
[i] Derived from Hispalis (Seville)
[ii] Also called the Vandals.
[iii] Alpheus: also known by the Greek name Alpheios. A river/river-god in southern Greece.
[iv] Clitumnus: a river in Umbria renowned for the cattle that pastured on its banks (Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography: 1854).
[v] A region of Italy.
[vii] Cf. Genesis 10:2.
[viii] Cf. Ezekiel 38:1 ff.
[ix] Pyrrhus the king of Epirus.
[xi] c. 50 BCE. This is because the Spanish era dating begins in 38 BCE.
[xii] Pompey, a late Republican Roman general who became Caesar's main rival.
[xiii] 256 CE.
[xiv] Roman emperor in the period 253-260 CE.
[xv] Son of Valerianus and his co-emperor in the period 253-260 CE.
[xvii] Referring to a region that is now northern Turkey.
[xviii] The province of Asia: i.e. what is now western Turkey.
[xix] An area roughly corresponding to the former Yugoslavia.
[xx] Referring to the defeat of the Goths by Claudius Gothicus at the Battle of Naissus (268-269 CE).
[xxi] 331 CE.
[xxii] Constantine the Great, Roman emperor in the period 306-337 CE.
[xxiii] The River Danube.
[xxiv] 369 CE.
[xxv] Eastern Roman Emperor in the period 364-378 CE.
[xxvi] Athanaric, a Gothic king during the period 369-381 CE.
[xxvii] In this case, a pagan persecution against Christians in general.
[xxviii] 377 CE.
[xxix] Another name for the Danube.
[xxxi] It should be noted that this account goes contrary to the one related in Sozomen's Ecclesiastical History (6:37), which says that Athanaric initially defeated Fritigern but Fritigern won the second battle through Valens' help and then embraced (Arian) Christianity as a result, while persuading the Goths under him to follow the faith.
[xxxii] Referring to the teachings of Arius on the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The most notable idea in these teachings is that the Son was created at a point in time and is inferior to the Father. Arianism's ideas go contrary to the Christian understanding of the persons of the Trinity that became the orthodoxy and remains so to this day: namely, that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-equal, co-substantial and co-eternal.
[xxxiii] Some of Ulfilas' Bible translations still survive today, and constitute the main surviving corpus of the Gothic language.
[xxxiv] 378 CE.
[xxxv] Thrace, corresponding to modern-day Bulgaria and the European part of Turkey.
[xxxvi] The Battle of Adrianople in 378 CE.
[xxxvii] 381 CE.
[xxxviii] 'Theodosius the Spaniard,' better known as Theodosius I. He was Roman Emperor in the period 379-395 CE.
[xxxix] Cf. Jordanes' history of the Goths (chapter 28), which says that Athanaric succeeded Fritigern as king and that Theodosius made peace with him.
[xl] 382 CE.
[xli] The statement here appears to be at odds with the last statement of the preceding section (i.e. that the Goths were in service to the Romans for 28 years). In contrast, Jordanes' history of the Goths (chapter 29) says that Alaric was made king of the Goths following the death of Theodosius in 395 CE and notes the end of subservience to the Romans amid the policies pursued by Theodosius' sons (Honorius, who became Western Roman Emperor, and Arcadius, who became Eastern Roman Emperor):
'But after Theodosius the lover of peace and of the race of the Goths departed from human affairs, his sons, living luxuriously, began to destroy both states [i.e. the Western and Eastern Roman Empires] utterly and to remove the accustomed gifts from their auxiliaries- that is, the Goths. Soon the Goths' loathing for them increased, as they feared that their strength would be loosened by a long peace...'
It should also be noted that Alaric was king of a branch of the Goths (the Visigoths) and not all the Gothic tribes.
[xlii] 399 CE.
[xliii] 405 CE.
[xliv] Stilicho, a Roman general of partly Vandalic origin who served as a guardian for Honorius and was executed in 408 CE.
[xlv] Tuscia, a region of northern Italy.
[xlvi] 409 CE.
[xlvii] i.e. Because Alaric was an Arian Christian.
[xlviii] The apostle Peter.
[xlix] Saint Peter: i.e. the apostle Peter.
[l] Galla Placidia, who would become a prominent figure in the reign of the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III (425-455 CE).
[li] 410 CE.
[lii] Theodosius II, who was Eastern Roman Emperor in the period 402-408 along with his father Arcadius and then sole Eastern Roman Emperor in 408-450 CE.
[liii] Athaulf, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 411-415 CE.
[liv] Cf. Daniel 11:6.
[lv] Corresponding to modern-day Barcelona.
[lvi] 416 CE.
[lvii] Sigeric, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 415 CE.
[lviii] Wallia, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 415-418 CE.
[lix] A region in southern Iberia.
[lx] Compare with the Gallic Chronicle of 511 that mentions two branches of Vandals: the Silingi who settled in Baetica, and the Hasdingi that settled in Gallaecia (northwest Iberia) with the Suevi.
[lxi] He is mentioned later in the section by Isidore discussing the Vandal kings.
[lxii] i.e. The sea between southern Iberia and North Africa.
[lxiii] Aquitania originally referred to a large region of southwest Gaul. It was then divided into smaller regions. The region of Aquitania Secunda ('Second Aquitania') was centred around Burdigala (modern-day Bordeaux).
[lxiv] i.e. The Atlantic Ocean.
[lxv] 419 CE.
[lxvi] Theoderic I, king of the Visigoths in the period 418-451 CE.
[lxvii] The modern-day town of Arles.
[lxviii] Valentinian III.
[lxix] Narbo Martius, which corresponds to modern-day Narbonne in France.
[lxx] The point in this section is that Litorius was performing rituals of auspices associated with Roman paganism.
[lxxi] The famous Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451 CE, though the interesting phrasing here makes it seem as though the Roman general Flavius Aetius was the subordinate of Theoderic I. While the Visigoths and other Germanic forces might have made up the majority of the fighting force on the side opposing the Huns, they were in an official sense aiding the Western Roman Empire.
[lxxii] Attila the Hun.
[lxxiii] Marcian: Eastern Roman Emperor in the period 450-457 CE.
[lxxiv] 452 CE.
[lxxv] Thorismund, king of the Visigoths in the period 451-452/3 CE.
[lxxvi] Theoderic II, king of the Visigoths in the period 452/3-466 CE.
[lxxvii] 453 CE.
[lxxviii] Avitus: Western Roman Emperor in the period 455-456 CE.
[lxxix] i.e. In the fifth year of Theoderic II's reign as king of the Visigoths, which would correspond to 456 CE.
[lxxx] The Suevic king of Gallaecia.
[lxxxi] Corresponding to modern-day Astorga in Spain.
[lxxxii] Corresponding to the River Órbigo in Spain. The battle took place in October 456 CE.
[lxxxiii] Corresponding to modern-day Porto in Spain.
[lxxxiv] King of the Suevi in the period 556-560 CE.
[lxxxv] A region corresponding to southwest Iberia.
[lxxxvi] Corresponding to modern-day Mérida in Spain.
[lxxxvii] Eulalia of Mérida, who was martyred in the fourth century CE during the persecution of Diocletian.
[lxxxviii] Corresponding to modern-day Lugo in Spain.
[lxxxix] Agrippinus and Aegidius were two rival Roman generals in Gaul during the latter half of the fifth century. The latter had been supported by the Emperor Majorian (Western Roman Emperor in the period 457-461 CE).
[xci] Euric, king of the Visigoths in the period 466-484 CE.
[xcii] 466 CE.
[xciii] Leo I: Eastern Roman Emperor in the period 457-474 CE.
[xciv] Corresponding to modern-day Pamplona in Spain.
[xcv] Corresponding to modern-day Zaragoza in Spain.
[xcvi] A province/region of Spain named for the town of Tarraco (corresponding to modern-day Tarragona in northeastern Spain).
[xcvii] Corresponding to modern-day Arles in France.
[xcviii] Corresponding to modern-day Marseilles in France.
[xcix] 483 CE.
[c] Eastern Roman Emperor in the period 474-475 CE and then 476-491 CE.
[ci] Alaric II, king of the Visigoths in the period 484-507 CE.
[cii] Corresponding to modern-day Toulouse in France.
[ciii] Clovis I, who first united the Franks.
[civ] A Germanic people who established a realm in southern Gaul during the fifth century.
[cv] Corresponding to modern-day Poitiers in France. The battle is called the Battle of Vouillé, which took place in 507 CE.
[cvii] 507 CE.
[cviii] Anastasius I: Byzantine/Roman Emperor in the period 491-518 CE.
[cix] Gesalec, king of the Visigoths in the period 507-511 CE.
[cxi] Corresponding to the River Durance in France.
[cxii] 511 CE.
[cxiii] i.e. Theoderic the Great.
[cxiv] Odaocer, the first king of Italy following the de facto end of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE. However, Isidore is in error here. Odoacer was certainly not king of the Ostrogoths.
[cxv] Also called Onoulfus. The brother of Odoacer.
[cxvi] Amalric, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 526-531 CE (he had a regent overseeing him in the period 522-526 CE).
[cxvii] 526 CE.
[cxviii] Justinian I: Byzantine/Roman emperor in the period 527-565 CE.
[cxix] Childebert I.
[cxx] 531 CE.
[cxxi] Theudis, king of the Visigoths in the period 531-548 CE.
[cxxii] Corresponding to modern-day Toledo in Spain.
[cxxiii] It seems that the reference here is to the Byzantine/Roman soldiers.
[cxxiv] Corresponding to modern-day Ceuta, currently a Spanish enclave in North Africa.
[cxxv] 548 CE.
[cxxvi] Theudigisel, king of the Visigoths in the period 548-549 CE.
[cxxvii] 549 CE.
[cxxviii] Agila, king of the Visigoths in the period 549-554 CE.
[cxxx] Athanagild, king of the Visigoths in the period 554-567 CE.
[cxxxi] 554 CE.
[cxxxii] The Byzantines established a garrison in southern Iberia that became the province of Spania, which lasted until 624 CE.
[cxxxiii] 567 CE.
[cxxxiv] Liuva I, king of the Visigoths who made his brother Leovigild co-ruler and heir.
[cxxxv] Leovigild, king of the Visigoths in the period 568-586 CE.
[cxxxvi] 568 CE.
[cxxxvii] Justin II: Byzantine emperor in the period 565-574 CE.
[cxxxviii] The Cantabrians, who resided in northern Iberia.
[cxxxix] Perhaps corresponding to the region of Aragón.
[cxl] A region in northwest Iberia that lay between the realms of the Visigoths and the Suevi.
[cxli] A region of northern and central Iberia in antiquity. It was called Celtiberia because of the speakers of Celtic languages who dwelled in it.
[cxlii] The remains of this town are to be found in modern-day Guadalajara province in Spain.
[cxliii] 586 CE.
[cxliv] Maurice: Byzantine emperor in the period 582-602 CE.
[cxlv] Reccared I, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 586-601 CE.
[cxlvi] The Basque people.
[cxlvii] 601 CE.
[cxlviii] Liuva II, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 601-603 CE.
[cxlix] Witteric, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 603-610 CE.
[cl] 603 CE.
[cli] Appears to correspond to modern-day Sagunto in eastern Spain.
[clii] 610 CE.
[cliii] Eastern Roman Emperor in the period 602-610 CE.
[cliv] Gundemar, king of the Visigoths in the period 610-612 CE.
[clv] 612 CE.
[clvi] Eastern Roman Emperor in the period 610-641 CE.
[clvii] Sisebut, king of the Visigoths in the period 612-621 CE.
[clix] Cf. Philippians 1:18.
[clx] A people of northern Iberia.
[clxi] Reccared II, who was king of the Visigoths briefly in 621 CE.
[clxii] 621 CE.
[clxiii] Suintila, who was king of the Visigoths in the period 621-631 CE.
[clxiv] Appears to correspond to the modern-day Olite in northeastern Spain.
[clxv] i.e. The current year is 626 CE.
[clxvii] 406 CE.
[clxviii] Constantius III, who was a general under Honorius and was briefly Western Roman Emperor along with Honorius in 421 CE.
[clxix] 408 CE.
[clxx] 421 CE.
[clxxi] A Roman province of central and eastern Iberia whose capital was Carthago Nova ('New Carthage'), which corresponds to modern-day Cartagena in Spain.
[clxxii] Another name for Carthago Nova.
[clxxiv] 428 CE.
[clxxv] Gaiseric/Genseric, the most significant Vandal king who established and consolidated the Vandal kingdom in North Africa. This account has his reign lasting from 428 until 468 CE, but the conventional account is that Gaiseric died in 477 CE. It may be that Isidore made an accidental error in that he actually intended to reckon the 40 years beginning from around or just before the time of the capture of Carthage, and then the mistake affects the rest of the chronicle of the Vandal kingdom in Africa.
[clxxvi] Valentinian III.
[clxxvii] In 439 CE.
[clxxviii] Corresponding to modern-day Palermo in Sicily.
[clxxix] Theodosius II.
[clxxx] The sequence of events related here is somewhat misleading. In fact, the Vandal sack of Rome occurred in 455 CE and Western Roman Emperor Majorian's failed expedition against the Vandals came later. The patrician Ricimir was a prominent figure of Germanic origin in the last years of the Western Roman Empire's army.
[clxxxi] 468 CE.
[clxxxii] Huneric, king of the Vandals in the period 468-476 CE (according to this account) or conventionally 477-484 CE.
[clxxxiii] Corresponding to modern-day Nefta in Tunisia.
[clxxxv] 476 CE.
[clxxxvi] Gunthamund, king of the Vandals in the period 476-488 CE (according to this account) or conventionally 484-496 CE.
[clxxxvii] 488 CE.
[clxxxviii] Thrasamund, king of the Vandals in the period 488-515 CE (according to this account) or conventionally 496-523 CE.
[clxxxix] This account is contradicted by the earlier and more detailed work of Procopius, who says that Thrasamund sought to win over Catholics to the Arian faith through honours and rewards rather than persecution (De Bello Vandalico 1:8).
[cxc] 515 CE.
[cxci] Hilderic, king of the Vandals in the period 515-522 CE (according to this account) or conventionally 523-530 CE.
[cxcii] Gelimer, the last king of the Vandals in the period 522-526 CE (according to this account) or conventionally 530-534 CE.
[cxciii] 522 CE.
[cxciv] A military title originating from the later Roman army and meaning 'master of soldiers.'
[cxcv] 526 CE.
[cxcvi] 409 CE.
[cxcvii] Hermeric, king of the Suevi.
[cxcviii] Corresponding to the Genil River, which is a tributary of the Guadalquivir.
[cxcix] 441 CE.
[cc] 448 CE.
[ccii] 457 CE.
[cciii] Also called Framta.
[cciv] 460 CE.
[ccv] Also called Frumar.
[ccvii] An administrative region.
[ccviii] An area in northwest Iberia, though I am not sure of the exact location (any suggestions welcome).
[ccix] Possibly corresponding to the modern-day locality of Ourense in northwest Spain.
[ccx] The most northwestern part of the Gallaecia region.
[ccxi] 464 CE.
[ccxii] Located in what is now central Portugal.
[ccxiii] Corresponding to modern-day Lisboa in Portugal.
[ccxiv] The Galatians were an originally Celtic people who came to inhabit central Anatolia.
[ccxv] Theodemir was the king of the Suevi in the 560s CE.
[ccxvi] The Monastery of Dumio, which is located in what is now Braga in northwest Portugal.
[ccxvii] Miro, who was king of the Suevi in the period 570-583 CE.
[ccxviii] It seems implausible that Miro would have come to help Leovigild (an Arian Christian hostile to Catholicism) against those rebelling against Leovigild's rule. It seems more plausible that he would have come to help the other side, as suggested in Gregory of Tours' account (6:43). The accounts also differ because Gregory of Tours says that Miro was surrounded and took an oath of obedience to Leovigild and then returned to his own realm.
[ccxix] Also called Eboric.