How powerfull would a surviving Visigothic kingdom be?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Gukpard, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Gukpard hominem populist

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    [​IMG]

    I'm not going to make a route to be used on this scenario, but the only point that should be kept is that the visigoths defeat any invasion of Hispania, be Frankish or Moor. The Visigoths may have coups, civil wars, changes of dynasty and all kind of crisis coming from desestabilization, but they cannot be conquered

    So, in a scenario that the Visigothic kingdom is not conquered by any foreign invader, what would be it's main differences from modern Spain? Could this result on a earlier colonization of america? What about North africa? If they defeat the moor invasions and resolve their internal crisis could they try to invade Morroco and Algeria?
     
  2. LSCatilina Vassican Labosiotos Vergagnatos

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    Avoiding any foreign invasion or takeover, even partial, if going to be really, really hard for the VIIIth, which was really a low point for Goths.

    Giving the anti-dynastic institutional relative instability*, it did make Goths vulnerable to "let's call a complete foreigner to settle our disputes" as they did three times with Byzzies, Franks and Arabo-Berbers : I won't be surprized that Peppinids won't pull a protectorate, at least in the eastern part, as Ostrogoths did two centuries before, by placing frankish nobles at the head of some regions and/or treating some territories as an enlarged Aquitaine (as Gothia was IOTL, basically).

    In the absence of an Arabo-Berber conquest, Gothia went trough a vicious circle of anti-dynastic and desunification of the peninsula, which implied regular foreign assistance to one or the other claimant, and the large independence of several potentes.; which would certainly favour a Francia that was undegoing a trend of unification which was basically ended in the late VIIth and already in the process to crush peripherical autonomous regions (Aquitaine, Bavaria, Thurungia, Provence, etc.).

    Now, I entierly agree it couldn't last long if it was significantly harming Gothic interests. I even think that it would eventually evolve out of a new situation as it happened in al-Andalus historically.

    The best case scenario would be Carolingians pullling a Theodoric and being content with establishing Gothia as a client/protectorate while having only limited conquests (especially on pyrenean piemonts, I think) : and let's be honest, it's not at all an unlikely prospect, especially in the case of an Arabo-Islamic threat popping up earlier in Italy.
    With the caveat that with Carolingian decline, you might end with return to old ways; but the early feudal model could be likely imported in at least part of Gothia.

    If not, I'd be leaning to envision a factual division of the peninsula along the traditional line between the eastern third and the rest, at least for a time. The worst case scenario being that the remaining 2/3 explode in several principalties. At this point, I do not think that Frankish or Franco-Aquitain dominance (which would be barely felt in some regions IMO) would last forever (altough I could see an enlarged Aquitaine on both side of Pyreness), but just enough to let its cultural and geopolitical mark on the region.
    After that, I do think you'd end up with unyfing tendencies in Spain : it's not because you didn't have a concept of nation, that you didn't have the concept of common identity and what I would call a "common geopolitical horizon".

    *The anti-dynastic situation was, as they say, not a bug but a feature : gothic potentes actively searched to prevent the appearance of a strong dynasty that would monopolize honors and fisc at its benefit, most of the kings managing to be in place thanks to a large redistribution network.

    Really hard to say, with such an early PoD it could happen both ways. But giving Goths tended to be a bit more mediterranean-minded, I would at least think that there would be no special reason for an earlier transoceanic migration.

    That's really unlikely in a first time, and not that obvious safe geographical continuity : Gothic Vetica suffered Berber raids since some time at this point, and Goths never answered by putting the fight back on Maghrib, but rather as campaigning against raids whenever possible (as they did with Basques and Aquitains in the North). Again, ther's the problem of naval projection, huge decentralisation and prevention of the appearance of a strong king devised above.

    EDIT : could you reduce a bit the picture you posted? Thanks!
     
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  3. Gukpard hominem populist

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    And let's say that after some centuries one of their kings succesfully unify the Kingdom as a centralized power under his command, in this case could they put this off?
     
  4. LSCatilina Vassican Labosiotos Vergagnatos

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    It's hard to tell, given the butterflies : the best I can do, at least, is to give some really generic lines to work with.

    First, it's unlikely for any medieval power in western Europe to be labelled as centralized. I realize you may have meant unified, which can integrated a various number of entities more or less dominated by the unifying power, but centralized as one or few centers monopolizing the decisional power is out of reach of even a bureaucratic-feudal entity.

    We might see, rather, some equivalent to multi-"national" expeditions as you had in Sicily, Northern Africa, Aragon IOTL (as in under a royal overlordship, with with mostly independent, and foreign, nobles pulling the work). The difficultly is less, in such vague case, to have a Gothic king pulling it, than managing to keep it.

    I'll use the "Kingdom of Africa" historical equivalent as a comparison, there : Sicilian Normans managed to take a grap at the Tunisian coast in the late XIIth century, up to taking over the main harbours of the region. But taking the coast from the delinquescent Zirid dynasty was the easy part : then come the impossibility to manage the region and the threat that the immediate Berber presence represented.

    Similarily, I don't think that a medieval kingdom of Gothia* would have trouble taking on the North African coast (even if it would be a far less wealthy prize than Africa was to Normans) : it's how they'll manage to hold it before the general hostility and the Berber push. A good comparison could be made as well with how Portugal managed to seize a good chunk of the Maroccean coast in the XVth, benefiting from hinterland disorder, but was kicked out brutally in the XVIth.

    *The name began to be used for the whole of Spain in the VIIth century
     
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  5. Gukpard hominem populist

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    I cannot, since I didn't made the picture, I can only remove it :S

    I love this name so much

    Even Portugal? As far as I know they were the most centralized medieval kingdom



    Right, thank you
     
  6. Galba Otho Vitelius Well-Known Member

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    On the question as to when they will be invaded, French regimes always prioritized expansion into the Low Countries, the Rhineland, and Italy over Spain, this was even true with Napoleon, and the geo-strategic reasons were pretty sound. Very rarely were incursions into Spain mounted from the northern in the Middle Ages, I can only think of Charlemagne's one foray and the 14th century English. Though in ancient times you did have Rome, but this was probably a one off due to the Punic Wars.

    That leaves from North Africa, and this did have numerous examples in classical and medieval times. But if a Byzantine dependency or state in Tunisia holds, they have bigger strategic priorities to attack Spain. The Berbers only go over if the Visigoths are weak or disunited.

    So are we looking at a reasonably strong state by Medieval standards, or something weak and fractured, like the Umayyad Caliphate in the 11th century. Who knows?
     
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  7. LSCatilina Vassican Labosiotos Vergagnatos

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    Francia isn't France, as much as Roman Empire isn't Italy.
    We're talking different geocultural and geostrategical concerns there.

    I can think of two in the VIIth, no mentionning Gascon-Aquitain meddling.
     
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  8. 123456789blaaa Well-Known Member

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    Could you expand on this?
     
  9. LSCatilina Vassican Labosiotos Vergagnatos

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    Well, for starters, the "political horizon" of Franks tended to entierly include the regnum, complete with peripherical duchies
    The first motivation of Peppinids/Arnulfids, once they managed to unify the three proper Frankish sub-kingdoms (Neustria, Austrasia, Burguny) in the late VIIth was to impose their authority over the peripherical duchies of the regnum(Aquitaine, Bavaria, Thruningia, etc.)., or even the peripherical entities out of the regnum (Frisians, Saxons, Gothia)

    Where modern French geostrategical horizon tended to a sanctuarisation of the territory (altough one could stress that Capetian ambitions were to slowly eat on their immediate neighbours) Peppinids/Arnulfids were more focused on recovering the entiere regnum at their benefit : for instance while the Arabo-Berber raid of 725-726 plundered the entiere Rhone valley, and either stopped at Autun, but possibly at Sens (which is less than 100km from Paris, N-E, for localisation purposes); Charles prioritarized his campaigns on Bavaria.

    I'll make a leap backwards on time there : While I can think of two Frankish participation in Spanish matters (in 632 with Dagobert's support of Sisenand, in 672 the support of Paul' rebellion), there was not I can think of in Italy for the same time, while Dagobert more or less campaigned everywhere (forcing Saxons to be Frankish tributaries, pushing back Vascons, meddling with Brittany, and campaigning in Central Europe with Lombard support against Slavs). We have to constate that there was no Italian strategy for Franks at this point, and relatively late so.

    Eventually, while Peppinids/Arnulfids/Carolingian did first focused on establishing their control of the old regnum, most of campaigns after that give a large part to political and economical matters : the takeover of Italy was less dictated (we saw it) by a Napoleonic-like geostrategical vision, that how undergoing it was decisive for inner politics. And even before Charlemagne, you didn't had much tought to an outright conquest, than sattelization of Lombardy (Pepin III's matrimonial policy with Lombards, for exemple) : but the support Lombards gave to peripherical duchies as Aquitaine and Bavaria, and critically the support they gave to Carloman's son claims, plus the pontifical-Carolingian alliance (which was determining into strengthening the latter legitimacy) helped a more...decisive resolution.
    You'd notice that in the Ordinato Imperii of 806, Italy was treated as a separated kingdom to be, as Aquitaine, while Francia proper would take the lion's share in North Sea and Central Europe.

    Similarily, you did initially not had a huge drive on Spain, as it happened for Italy. Carolingian's objectives on this matter were less than clear, except benefiting from a call to help from andalusian revoltees (initially formenting a pro-Abassid rebellion for some). It pathetically ended, mostly because al-Andalus for all its structural weakness was a strong polity (which Carolingia, must it be said, wasn't).
    In the case of a Visigothic survival, however, while you'd certainly have such call to support (as Franks recieved during the VIIth), the structural weakness of Gothia would play more favourably for what matter Frankish intervention : not that I think they would that bother with replacing local nobility (they almost never did, with the big exception of Frisia, Bavaria and Saxony, on which they get rid of part of the local elites due to particular resilience), but the capacity of resistence of Goths before a Frankish intervention would be small.

    Probably that several Gothic potentes would escape a real Frankish presence, as southern Lombards duchies did : in spite of being tributary and technically vassals to Franks, they were their own thing for all the period.
     
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