Regnum Visigothorum

1. The "Old" Visigothic Kingdom of Tolouse.

Visigothic kingdom of Tolouse in 500

1. The "Old" Visigothic Kingdom of Tolouse.

After murdering his brother Thorismund in 453, Theodoric II became king of the Visigothic Kingdom of Tolouse. In 466, after barely avoiding being assasinated himself by his own younger brother, Euric, the king began expanding his lands in Gaul and to consolidatie the Visigothic presence in the Iberian peninsula. The zenith of the Kingdom of Tolouse came by 500, when from his capital Tolouse, king Theodoric III controlled Gallia Aquitania and Gallia Narbonensis and most of Hispania with the exception of the Suebic Kingdom of Galicia in the northwest and small areas controlled by independent Iberian peoples, such as the Basques and the Cantabrians.

Thorismund and Euric, sons of Theodoric III, quarrelled about the sucession, but, eventually, Thorismund became king and named his brother as his heir if he died heirless. He launched several military expeditions against Galicia and the Basques. However, Alaric I, son of Euric and heir of his uncle Thorismund, came into conflict with the Franks under Clovis I, who had conquered northern Gaul. After a decade of conflict, Alaric I was defeated and killed at the Battle of Campus Vogladesis (507). By 508, the Visigoths had lost most of their Gallic holdings save Gallia Narbonensis (Septimania).

After this, the power of the kings gradually weakened in favor of powerful local lords, who forced the king's hand and made their charges to become hereditary, thus creating local dynasties largely independent from the central authority of the king (in the Tarraconensis and the Baetica). This time of internal disorder and chaos would end in 520, when Theodoric the Great, the ruler of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, invaded Hispania and installed his grandson Amalric (520–531), the son of Alaric II, as king. Amalaric, however, was still a child and power remained under the Ostrogothic king.

Thus, the Visigoth kingdom was to remained divided and with two different dinasties fighting for control of the entire country: Amalric in the north, Theodoric in the south. The struggle was to be concluded by Wallia II, who became king in the south in 556. He took advantage of a revolt in Lusitania to launch an attack and to depose the last Northern kings. After this, he began consolidating his power over all of the country, a process he finished by 595. For this reason, Wallia II is regarded as the founder of the Arian Kingdom of Hispania.
2. The Arian Kingdom of Toledo (590-726)

Witteric III,
Ruler of the Arian
Kingdom of Toledo

2. The Arian Kingdom of Toledo (590-726)

After the Tolosan debacle, the Visigothic kings worked hard to restore the country's stability and prosperity, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art and literature. The first king of the Visigothic Spania, Wallia II, launched several campaigns against the Basques and restored Visigothic hegemony over the south of Lusitania up to Ebora (1). He died in 641, after a reign of 51 years and passed the throne to his son, Wallia III. He, as his father did, represented himself as heir of the Roman Empire (his coins, for instance, were copies of the Roman solidi, even if less valuable). With him, Toledo became the capital of the kingdom. He also reinforced the coastal defences in face of the growing power of the Byzantine Empire after the destruction of the Vandal Kingdom. Furthermore, he sent the first expedition to Africa.

The stability of the kingdom trembled in 660, when Wallia III was deposed and killed by the Visigothic noble Witteric after a short civil war. Early in his reign, king Witterc I was forced to campaign in the Tarraconensis to push Frankish raids back and strengthened the defenses between Spania and the Frankish kingdom. Then, to have the border controlled, he built a new capital in Cesaracosta (2) in 675. Like Wallia III, Witteric I bolstered his claim to authority with propaganda. However, he never held an absolute power. To strengthen his position, Witteric appointed every new dux directly when the office became vacant, but acquiesced to the dux system, because he either wanted to have their support or he was powerless to force them to recognize his authority. This gave the Visigothic kingdom a more feudal organization than ever before. This policy would be followed by his successors. He and his son, Witteric II, would push further into Lusitania, conquering Olissipo (3) in 688. To the west, he reinforced the defences of the Narbonensis extended commercial contacts into the southern provinces of the Frankish kingdom.

His grandson Witteric III became King after the almost peaceful times of his father Witteric II (reigned from 693 to 703). In 706 he began to reinforce and to expand the navy to control the southern shores of Spania;and furthermore, he launched a series of brutal campaigns in Lusitania and against the Basques in 709, 711, 713 and 719. After his victories, Witteric III built a series of fortifications in the conquered areas to establish the formal boundary between his kingdom and unconquered lands, thus creating new duxes that were personally linked to him. After this, and with the Suebi kingdom of Lusitania conquered and under his control, he launched one more campaign against the Basques in 722, but without success. Witteric died in 726, while planning another campaign, this time against the Umayyad Caliphate, which he considered a growing threat for his kingdom.

Domestically, Witteric III pushed for an administrative reform which put more power in the hands of his appointees while reducing the one of the existing regional authorities without any direct action against them or any rebellion taking place against the reforms. He also attempted to finally unite the Visigothic-Arian elite and the Hispano-Roman Catholic population through a doctrinal compromise on matters of faith, but his efforts failed and the religion question was to play a great role in the politics of the kingdom, exhausted by so many campaigns, during the Great Crisis of the IX Century.

(1) The actual Évora
(2) The actual Zaragoza.
(3) The actual Lisbon.
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3. The Crisis of the Arian Kingdom of Toledo (726-819)

King Reccared
3. The Crisis of the Arian Kingdom of Toledo (726-819)

To this day, historians still debate the causes of the Crisis of the IX century. The famines caused by the bad crops were always one of the main causes of social unrest in Medieval Europe. However, the ones behind the Crisis were beyond normal levels and would made us think that Spania's population began to exceed food production levels during the reign of Gundebar I (726-781). However, that would meant an inordiate growth of the population that our sources doesn't confirm. Even then, there are proves of an increase in farming lands in Castille and Andalusia from the 740s onwards. Gundebar also invited settlers from Frankia to Spania. Late in his reign, the harvests began to fail, further straining the resources of the government.

Gundebar I was succeeded by Gundebar II, his son, whose eight-year reign is poorly attested. By this time, royal power had begun to weaken, for which several explanations have been proposed. Contemporary records indicate that the end of the reign of his father was dry, and crop failures may have helped to destabilize the country. When Gundebar II died with no heirs, a dynastic chaos ensued.

In the absence of a direct heir, there were two rival branches with claims to the throne: Alaric, the great-grandson of Witteric III; and a minor, Gesalec, grandson of Witteric IV. A Great Council was called to settle the issue. Gesalec would be king with Alaric acting as his regent. However, when Gesalec came of age in 791, Alaric did not stepped back. Claiming that Gesalic was too weak to rule, he extended his regency "as long as It is deemed necessary".

This led to several uprisings (in 793, in 799 and in 806), which were defeated by Alaric, who kept himself in power with the support of Frankish mercenaries. One of them, Drogo, became his main general and his most trusted advisor. Drogo was even recognized as the ruler of Barcino (1). At some point towards 810 Barcino began governing itself with Drogo acting as an independent dux.

Soon Alaric's authority collapsed. When Euric, dux of the Baetica, renounced Arianism for Catholicism, many Arian nobles and ecclesiastics followed his example. Then, he proclaimed himself king in 812 and the unity of Spania fully disintegrated with the ensuing civil war (812-819). By the end of It, Spania has a new King,

Reccared, dux of Leon, had also declared independence of his lands (815). With the support of the Arian bishop, Athaloc, who was considered by many as being virtually a second Arius, and of the counts Granista and Wildigern, Reccared claimed the crown in 817 and after defeating his rivals, became king in 819. Barcino, however, remained independent.

(1) Barcelona
4. Reccared I the Conqueror (819-851)

Spania in the IX early Century

4. Reccared I the Conqueror (819-851)

Reccared I ruled for almost 32 years and his reign is usually dated from 24 April 819 to 11 March 851, from the age of twenty-six and until his death at age fifty-eight. He is considered a military genius by historians, and an avid expansionist ruler. He turned Spania into an international superpower by creating an empire that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Danube, even if some of those conquests were only temporary. He was also a great propagandist who wrote endlessly about his conquests and reign.​

Once the civil war was over, he launched his first campaign. In 820 he mustered his army and advanced towards Barcino, passing through the fortress of Tarraco (1) in August. One month later, he marched his troops through the plain close to Vicus Ausonae (2), where he won the largest battle of all of his campaigns, crushing the combined forces of Barcino and its Tolosan allies. The size of the two armies is difficult to determine, but both hosts were around 10,000 men. Most scholars believe that the Visigothic army was more numerous. According to Reccared's chronicle, the battle occurred on 29 September 820. After victory in battle, his troops stopped to plunder the enemy the camp and the enemy to was able to escape to Barcino. Reccared was thus forced to besiege the city, but he finally conquered it after a siege of seven months.

This campaign drastically changed the political situation in Spania and in Frankia. By taking Barcino, Reccared regained control of all of northern Spain and, with the destruction of the army of the Tolosan duke, Berengar, called the Wise, he forced him to send tribute and their own sons as hostages to Spania and, at the same time, broke the balance of the already shaken Frankish kingdom. Meanwhile, the Frankish king, Louis the Pious, died when he returned of a failed expedition to the rebellious Burgundy (822). His sons fought then for the crown and the succesion strife (823-826) became mixed with the ongoing civil war (817-826). Both ended with the Treaty of Metz (827), which split the Frankish realm into three parts, to become the kernels of France, that went to his youngest son, Charles, and Germany, for his eldest son, Louis the German, with Burgundy between them.

Reccared I turned then his attention to North Africa. As he has been fighting with the rebels of Barcino, the Eastern shores of Spania, the Ballearic islands and even the Italian península has suffered several Muslim raids. Thus, Reccared decided to attack North Africa to destroy those pirates. In 825 he crossed the Strait and took two cities, Septem (3) and Tamlilt (4), which was garrisoned by the king before he moved inland and took the old city of Icosium (5). Unlike previous plundering raids, Reccared I garrisoned the area, too. This permitted him to ship supplies and troops between Spania and North Africa. Thus, in 827, he used Icosium for a naval transportation of troops directly to Banzart (6). Once the city was secured, he advanced along the coast, pillaging on the way, until he reached Takapes (7). There he embarked again and returned to Spania. After this two campaigns, with their cities desperately impoverished and with their economies in ruins, no Muslim governor would threaten the shores of Spania for a long time.

It was around this time when Reccared moved the capital from Toletum (8) to Reccopolis (9). From there he embarked himself in a program of construction of great buildings. During his life he constructed over 10 churches and the first cathedral of Spain, which he built in Reccopolis. His reign included the improvement and enhacement of the road system and a period of great stylistic changes in the sculpture, paintings and reliefs.

The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Reccopolis

Reccared's next target was the last Lombard state, the principality of Benevento, which was fighting against the Saracens and Leo, duke of Naples When his princeps, Sicard, was assasinated in 830 and two factions fought for power in Benevento, crippling the principality and making it susceptible to external enemies. Reccared sailed directly to Salernum in April 831. After taking the city by surprise, he proceeded south with the usual raiding and pillaging. Undefended, Salerno opened her gates to Reccared. In August he turned north, towards Capua, which he took in November. It appears that the Lombards lords were not expecting an invasion, so they were not ready to defend against Reccared, who was only stopped by the walls of Benevento.

Reccared returned to Italy in 835 but this appears to have been just a raid of the area of the duchy of Calabria. The plunder recorded is minimal, so it was probably just a minor raid. On the following year his next campaign was more intense. Radelcis, the new prince of Benevento, raised a large army and engaged the Visigoths around Consa. Even if Reccared boasted in his chronicle that he had crushed the enemy, the small amount of plunder taken and the fact that he left the peninsula soon atfer indicate that his victory was not as important has he claimed. However, as he did receive tribute from Radelcis after that campaign, it is obvious that the outcome of the battle was in Reccared's favor.

He would raid Calabria and Benevento in 838, and would return to Italy in 841 to put down some rebellions and crushed again the army of Radelcis in a big battle in 842. However, this victory was neither complete nor permanent since Benevento did not remained aligned to Spania for too long after Reccared's death.

(1) present day Tarragona
(2) Vic
(3) Ceuta
(4) Melilla
(5) Alger
(6) Bizerte
(7) Gàbes
(8) Toledo
(9) Reccopolis was one of the four cities founded by the Visigoths in Hispania (578 -OTL-). It was located in the province of Guadalajara, in Castile-La Mancha.
5. Euric I the Blessed and his offspring (851-894)

5. Euric I the Blessed and his offspring (851-894)

When Reccared I died in 851, his grandon, Euric, son of Theodoric, became king. The long reign and longevity of his grandfather meant that most of his son had died by the time that the old conqueror gave his soul. Even then no one expected that Euric would inherit the crown as there were several cousins older than he. Then, death took them one by one and the unprepared and religious Euric sat on the throne.

Since his youth days he had proved to be much interested in religion. In 852, hardly a few months after his coronation, he surrounded himself with some Bulgarian priests that became his royal advisors on spiritual matters. In 860 a sudden change caught by surprise both his Arrian and Christian subjects when he openly embraced religious ideas that were quite close to Bogomilism. Euric tried to shift both his Arrian and Christian subjects into the new doctrine he believed in, but the shifts were not widely accepted. After his death (868), his writtings were burned and his followers persecuted because of the doctrinal threat perceived by both sides. Following his death, change was gradual at first. His son attempted to go on with his father's reform, but after his mysterious death (876), a decade a comprehensive political, religious and artistic reformation began promoting a return of the traditional ways of life to the norms it had precedeed during Euric's reign.

Euric had problems with the Frankish and German kings since early in his reign. Several times the international events seemed to be leading to a war, but in every single oportunity the crisis solved by itself in face of a marked reluctance of Euric to take a too aggressive situation. When this situation therated to turn against him and his kingdom, he visited several times his Aquitain lands and mobilized the army. He had some troublesome nobles executed and returned to Roccopolis in 860. At his death, he left to his son Roderic a kingdom that was economically weak and in turmoil. Diplomatic relations with other kingdoms had been neglected, and Roderic sought to restore them, in particular with Frankia.

He was somewhat successful in this, but he was forced to constantly wage several campaigns in North Africa against rebels and Muslim invaders. In 871, when he returned to Spania after one of those expeditions, he did so very ill and weak and he was forced to rely on the advice of two of his closest advisors. For a time, his life was in danger. From then on, until his deah in 876, his reign was in the hands of those advisors, who began to put an end to the religious revolution started by his father. His death and the demise of his young son, who died when he was ten in 878, opened a time of crisis that was solved when Athaulf, dux of Carpetania, was elected as king in 880. Under Athaulf, Spania's power and confidence were once again restored.

However, it would be up to his son Wilfred I, to bring Spania into his former glory fror the last time.
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6. The Rise and Fall of the Visigothic Kingdom (894-1028).
6. The Rise and Fall of the Visigothic Kingdom (894-1028).

Wilfred I (called "the Great") sought to defend his lands in Aquitaine has the Frankish kings was raiding the area and thus harming the Visigoth dominance over the area. His first military actions were against the Muslim raiders that were attacking the southern and eastern shorse of Spania. Once he secured his Mediterranean lands, he started in 898 his campaigns of reconquest which culminated in 900 in the Battle of Aginnum (1). Even if the battle finished in an apparent stalemate, the Frankish army suffered huge casualties and would not threaten the Frankish fiefdoms of Wilfred. In 905 he returned to Aquitaine and raided the enemy countryside, reconquering Massalia (2) and Lugdunum (3). He would raid the Frankish lands in 907 and, in 909, he marched north to recover Lugdunum. Even if he conquered hthe city, he had to return in 904 to put down a rebellion and the city and the surrounding area would prove to be hardly a stable possession. From 910 to 916 he would constantly battle with Charles III of France, until a peace treaty was signed in 911, recognizing the border land between the two kingdoms. Grudindly, the Frankish kings had to accept Wilfred as overlord of Aquitanie. For this, Charles III would be was deposed in 919 and died in captivity. From 919 to 936, France would be rocked a civil strife that would end with the restoration of Charles' son, Louis IV, as king of the Franks. Wilfred I was also famed for the huge number of children he sired by his various wives and many lovers. He constructed many monuments and expanded Riccopolis.

His son Wilfred II would be the last "great" Visigothic king. He became king after the death of his father in 930. He would have to face the Muslim attacks led by the the Abbasid caliph, al-Muʿtaḍid, that began in 935 and finished in 941, after defeating the invaders in many battles. However, the heavy cost of the campaign of his father and of Wilfred II slowly exhausted Spania's treasury, which exploded in a deep crisis in 955 which included a famine that devastated the southern provinces. This would led to a chaotic situation that even threated the king's life, as it was discovered a plot against his life by his third wife, who wanted to have his son, Theodoric, to inherit the throne.
Discoverd Theodoric commited suicide before his could be arrested. His death in 981 was followed by years of bickering among his son. When his elder son, Wilfred (III) became king, his two other sons, Roderic and Reccared, kept pestering his brother and started the feud that would end in the fragmentation of Spania, which was increasingly beset by droughts, famine, civil unrest and official corruption.

Wilfred III continued with the construction program that he inherited from his father and grandfather, which included the enlarging of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Reccopolis. However, in 987, he had to fight again the Muslim raids again as Abu Mansur Nizar, the Fatimid caliph, began to harass the shores of Spania until 989, when the chaos in Syria forced the caliph to turn his attention there. During his reign, prices of basic commodities, in particular grain, rose sharply. With Spania's economy getting weaker, Wilfred III turned to usurping and pillaging the statues, buildings and monuments of his forebears to finish his own proyects. Furthermore, in the 990s some of his high officials (one of them his finance minister and overseer of the treasury Humfred) began to act as semi-independent lords due to the power they have amassed and the own weakness of the king. It was during his time when his brothers returned to defy Wilfred who was in office since the end of Ramesses III's reign: Roderic became a de facto "king" of the Baetica nd his power grew at the expense of that of the king.

Spania's political and economic decline continued unabated during Wilfred III's reign. However, the Visigothic king still wielded some sort of influence with his lands in Aquitaine, even it this power vanished after his death, with the last local lords changing their loyalties around that time. The Spanian control of Lusitania was much firmer at the time, owing either to the advanced "Spaniatization" of the local populatio or to the economic importance of this region. He died in 998, leaving his throne to his son Gundebar, who was deposed and murdered by his younger brother, Wilfred with the support of his uncles Roderic and Reccared. For the first twelve years of his reign, Wilfred IV was just but a puppet of his uncles. Then, a period of anarchy, chaos and civil war erupted when, after the death of Roderic and Recared, Wilfred rose against his cousins. Apparently, the king and the two royal princes were reconciliated around 1010, but then both the Baetica and the Tarraconensis were almost indepdendent states by themselves. This would prove true when Wilfred IV died without issue in 1028, when the Barcelona, Sevilla, Pampulona and Lisbon declared their independence from Toledo.


Spania in 1028
-The blue area is the kingdom of the Baetica.
-The orange area is the kingdom of the West, under Recared's heirs.
-The green area is the duchy of Pampelona,
with the lands in dispute with the kingdom of the West
-The white area, the remants of the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo.
-The pink area, the kingdom of Gallaecia
and the lands in dispute with Toledo.​

(1) Present day Agen
(2) Marseille
(3) Lyon.
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The use of the toponym 'Portugal' in such context is quite anachronistic, considering that there was no Kingdom of Galicia for starters.

Before the formation and later expansion of the Kingdoms of Galicia and Asturias/León, that pink area north of Duero River was still known as Gallaecia (Galicia), including the north of modern Portugal, and the area south of them Lusitania.
The use of the toponym 'Portugal' in such context is quite anachronistic, considering that there was no Kingdom of Galicia for starters.

Before the formation and later expansion of the Kingdoms of Galicia and Asturias/León, that pink area north of Duero River was still known as Gallaecia (Galicia), including the north of modern Portugal, and the area south of them Lusitania.
I was doubting about that, and I must confess that I forgot absolutely about Gallaecia. Thank you very much, Mario!
The use of the toponym 'Portugal' in such context is quite anachronistic, considering that there was no Kingdom of Galicia for starters.

Before the formation and later expansion of the Kingdoms of Galicia and Asturias/León, that pink area north of Duero River was still known as Gallaecia (Galicia), including the north of modern Portugal, and the area south of them Lusitania.
You know, I was about to propose an alternate origin for Portugal by shouting out VIKINGS! (in the manner of lindybeige).
But then I saw the date of that map. Portugal's not gonna happen.