Regnum Visigothorum

16. Ricimer, the unwanted and unwilling king (1231-1254)

Ricimer I, king of Spania and lord of Naples (1231-1254)

16. Ricimer, the unwanted and unwilling king (1231-1254)

Ricimer, Theodofred's son and heir, was one of the greatest generals of his father. He had conquered most of Occitania by himself and had proved his might in Palestine. He was 56 years old when his father died and, according to his own chronicle, wanted nothing to do with the crown. However, he wasted little time to sit on the throne and, as his father had done before, he relied heavily on the reformed Aula Regia. However, he never made up his mind about it. Sometimes he semeed to have the Aula Regia ruling wihout him and some other times he was really upset when the Aulia Regia acted without his consent or in a different way as he wished. In the end, he despised its members and ignored its demands.

In 1232, when Toulouse revolted again, he send his two older sons, Sisebut and Recceswinth, to bring the city back into line. It was a short campaign, more a display of power than a realy military expedition. Then, as the situation in Jerusalem worsened again after the assasination of Raymond-Roupen. Thus, Ricimer send his heir, Recceswinth, with a small crusading army to install some order and common sense in the Holy City. However, Recceswinth died in 1233. It seems that Recceswin't death plunged his father into a bout of depression that he never recovered from. Hardly six months later As-Salih Ismail, emir of Damascus, fell upon the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Two heavy blows paralized the Christian lords when first Gaza (November) and then Jerusalem (December) were conquered by the Muslim army. Then, Ascalon was the next one to fell, followed by Safed, while the Principality of Antioch was reduced to its capital and the surrounding area. It was the beginning of the end of the Crusader States.

Ricimer did not bother about it. In fact, he had become tired of politics and began to rely on his royal favourites while withdrawing from the public view in 1236, after making his son Sisebut his regent. Finally, in 1240, he left Reccopolis and withdrew to a vila, close to Toletum. Embittered with the Aula Regia, he left the government in hands of Sisebud, until he unexpectedly died in 1240. Then, the kingdom fell in the hands of one of Ricimer's most brilliant and ambitious generals, Alaric, who, from 1242 onwards, was left in control of the administration of the empire. . It was said that Alaric had a hand in Sisebud's death. In fact, he married his widow, Fredegonda, in 1242. Alaric, determined to secure his position, began to purge the nobility, until he was, in turn, purged by Ricimer himself, when he made an unexpected return to Reccopolis in 1246.

His last years were sad. His unwillingness to meddle in state affairs reached its highest mark. However, Spania continued to run under the inertia of the bureaucracy established by his predecessors in spite of the king's bouts of paranoia, which resulted in summary trials and executions from time to time. He was to be succeeded by his grandson, Chindaswinth, son of the late Recceswinth, who the king raise as his own son and educated him to succeed him.

Ricimer died in 1254, much to his own relief and everybody else's too.
 
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17. The language/s of Spania
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A page from the "Bible
of King Theodofred" written in Iberian

17. The language/s of Spania

After the Tolosan debacle in the VI century, the use of the Gothic language was reinforced and extended among the inhabitants of Spania as a reaction to the defeat (1), giving rise to the four historical dialects of the Spanian Gothic: Carthagenian, Tarraconian, Betican and East Gothic. However, the commong folk did not adopt the Gothic language and they eventually moved from Vulgar Latin to the Proto-Iberian, Proto-Galician and Proto-Catalan languages, beign the latter heavily influenced by the Frankish settlers that arrived to the Eastern part of Spania in the VII century. Because of the centralisation of power, the Carthagenian Gothic dialect (CG) became the dominant one among the ruling class and the nobility, even if the south the Betican dialect remained strong and would, in turn, heavily influence the sourthern variety of Iberian. However, the loss of power of the Visigothic ruling class during the the Crisis of the IX century, the strain caused by the wars of the XI century in Aquitania and against the Muslim invasion in the Baetica, which in turn fueled the "Iberian" patriotism and the early "Iberian" identity in contraposition with the Northern enemies and the Southern invaders; and the slow Visigothic conversion to Christianism from the 890s onwards gave rise to a process of progressive creolisation of the CG through contact with Iberian, as we can see in the extreme reduction in inflected forms and the gradual simplification of the Gothic vowel system, as /ɛ/, /ɛː/, /ɛː/ and /iu/ dissapeared. Eventually, this "creolle" Ibero-Gothic would be replaced by Iberian in the royal court with the reunification process of the XII century.

By late 1180s, Iberian was the only language spoken in the center of the Visigothic kingdom of Toiedo, as CG was used only in very formal writtings until it was finally replaced in that function in the early XIII century, while two different languages, Galician in the Western provinces and Catalan in the Eastern ones, which had developed in those areas from the Latin spoken by Roman soldiers and colonists. During the chaotic reign of Euric I the Blessed and his son (851-876), the Western and Eastern elites turned to use their own Galician and Catalan languages as a reaction to the religious, political and cultural reforms of the two kings, specially under the late reign of Euric. The chaos that lasted from 894 to 1028 not only damaged the royal power and the economy of the kingdom but also ensured that the linguistic divergence went ahead and also the unstopabble decline of Gothic, that was gradually replaced by Galician and Catalan in those areas, giving rise to a Galician and Catalan "national feeling" adopted by the ruling classes in their bid for power against Toledo, to win the hearts of their subjects. So, by 1028, when Barcelona, Sevilla, Pampulona and Lisbon declared their independence from Toledo, in the kingdom of the West, Catalan became the language of the Royal Chancellary and was used not only in poetry but also when writing law and in notaries; the same happened in the kingdom of Gallaecia with Galician. It must be mentioned that a dialect of Iberian appared in the royal court of Pampulona, which featured a heavy influence from the French and Catalan.

It must be mentioned that, even if the kingdoms of the Baetica and Pampulona separated from Toledo, the two new royal courts kept the CG dialect as their official language, thought they, eventually, also adopted the Ibero-Gothic. This language, as we have seen, contained a great number of Iberian loan-words while its own influence on that language was quite smaller. In fact, the evolution from GC to Ibero-Gothic was the consecuence of the common folk fully embracing their Iberian language and the loss of influence of the Gothic as the language of culture and of the ruling class. This Ibero-Gothic dialect is not to be found neither in the Eastern nor in the Western parts of the Peninsula, as Gothic had been abandoned by the ruling classes in the XIth century.

Thus, by 1200, medieval Iberian, Gallician and Catalan were the common languages of the ruling class and of their subjects even if Iberian evolved into the language of prestige under Theodofred and was adopted by the Catalan and Galician nobilty in their communications and interactions with the king and their Iberian counterparts.


(1) ITTL, not IOTL
 
18. Chindaswinth, the bane of the aristocracy (1254-1265)
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Chindaswinth,
king of Spania, lord of North Africa
and of Naples (1254-1265)

18. Chindaswinth, the bane of the aristocracy (1254-1265)

Chindaswinth began his reign with a number of construction projects during his reign, as the improvement of the harbours of Hispalis (that was renamed Sevilla in 1258 and became Chindaswinth's capital) and Tarraco. He also build the first permanent harbour of Barcino and enlarged the cathedral of the city, as the one of Sevilla. He expanded the imperial palace of Sevilla and began also the build-up of the navy.

He also greatly reduced the powers of the Aulia Regia, This body had become accustomed to rule without a king after the departure of Ricimer from Reccopolis in 1240. Chindaswinth wanted none of this and replaced several of its members while ordering a set of investigations and trials using as a pretext some ocussations of corruption and bribery that remained unsolved in the archives of the same Aula Regis After he had executed two of its members, he faced a number of conspiracies against him the only heled to further decimate the Aulia Regia as more and more of its members were arrested after the plots were foiled. Among the executed was the governor of Barcelona, Ponç d'Alest, for his connections to a conspiracy

In 1261, the king began a great campaign into North Africa and made a significant attempt at expanding into Central Italy. First, he crushed the Almohad army at Badis (1261) and had executed Abū Ḥafṣ ‘Umar al-Murtaḍā, the Almohad Caliphat. What followed was the sudden and fast conquest of all the territory that stretched from the northern peninsula opposite Gibraltar, to Sala Colonia (or Chellah) and Volubilis to the south, and as far east as the Mulucha river. Later on, he would move further east and set the border in the Ampsaga river (1) by late 1263.

Then he launched a campaign in Italy, which ended in failure. Apparently, some of his noblemen were unwilling to fight there after the continued North African campaigns and this brought the firat expedition to any end by the summer of 1264.

That year, Chindaswinth began implementing very controversial religion policies. He aimed to achieve a peaceful settlement in the Midi which brought him into direct conflict with the Pope. Reportedly, he put an end to the religious persecutions against the Cathars, which were to be given a status akind to the Jews. However, even with this attenpts, the king needed to quell several riots and conspiracies in Occitania during his reign. His sudden death (1265) ended his religious reform as his successor, his uncle Theodofred (II), would use the sword and the stake to deal with the heressy.

(1) present day Rummel river
 
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This implies that Iberia comes to refer to the lands around Toledo not the whole peninsula. Is that correct?
One could say that Iberia is used in many ways. One to refer to the whole peninsula and the other for the language. There is no Castilla in this timeline, so "Castillian" is not available to be used. A pity.
 
19. Theodofred II the Good (1265-78)
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Theodofred II the Good
king of Spania, lord of North Africa
and of Naples (1265-78)

19. Theodofred II the Good (1265-78)

Theodofred II was raised to be a priest, until he proved himself to be not the right kind of men for the job; then, he began to be trained to be a historian, and he excelled at that. So he was forgotten by the royal family, trusting that he won't be of any harm among books... until he found himself with a crown on his head. Ironically, even if his own family ignored him, he was respected by the nobility, because they hoped that, if ever Theodofred would be king, he would be easily manipulated to their side. To counter this, king Chindaswinth began to trust him and made him governor of the Baetica

A constant trait of his reign was his constant need to assert his right to rule, and, to legitimize his rule against potential usurpers, he adopted the role of a Warrior King. Thus, in several campaigns, he first secured his Neapolitean dominion and then further expandem them, adding Apulia, Tuscany and Umbria. He also conquered the Peloponese during the Bizantine Civil War (1271-1278) and supported Michael VIII Palaiologos againts Philip I, Latin Emperor. It was during this time when he was remainded by his court that he needed to have a heir and he married then Blanche (early 1253 – 17 June 1320) , the daughther of king Louis IX of France. He also launched several campaigns against the Cathars heretics: in 1269-1277 he marched there with 40,000 men, and, after the completion of some sieges, he seemed to make an impression on the Occitan lords, as all the castles and big cities on the wat to Toulouse opened their gates to his advance. The first village he conquered, Perpiniani, was razed to the ground and then rebuilt and resettled with people from Catalonia and renamed Perpenyà. In 1276 he captured Roger, duke of Toulouse, who was deprived from his titles and jailed in Toletum until his death.

He also embarked on many public works throughout his reign, both in the capital and in the provinces. He paid special attention to transportation, buidling new roads and canals. Theodofred also reduced taxes and reduced the royal expenses to a quarter of the original amount and the beginning of his reign. He also was quite hard at crushing any conspiracy aimed against him (or what he thought to be a plot). When Alfonsus, governor of the Ballearic Islands, rose in arms against him in 1268 and gained the support of a few minor noblemen, Theodofred had all them executed and their lands forfeited. He also hit hard the Aula Regia sending to trial many of its members for different conspiracies, and by 1270, that body was hardly a shell of its former shelf. In 1271 he directed a massive persecution of heretics from the duchy of Toulouse. By 1276, when Theodofred considere that Occitania had been "cleaned" from heressy, By then and according to the chronicles, 2,700 Cathars parfaits had been executed. The heressy had been butchered and would never be as strong as it was before Theodofred.

Theodofred died from a stroke when he was preparing a new campaign, aimed to reconquer Jerusalem (lost in 1270). His son Thorismund became the new king. Among his last writtings, it was found the order of execution of his wife Blanche.
 
20. Thorismund the Mad (1278-82) and the War of the Four Kings (1282)

20. Thorismund the Mad (1278-82) and the War of the Four Kings (1282)

Thorismund was the last Visigothic king and, according to many, the worst of all. He became king in 1278, aged sixteen years and began well, sending expeditions along the North Africa shores while preparing a big army to conquer those areas. According to the chronicles, he had set his eyes in Alexandria, and was determined to fight all the way to the city. Then, in 1280, his uncle Liuvigild and his son Hermenegild were arrested and brutally executed by the king, who accused then of plotting against his life. Late that year, he did the same to his great-uncle Suintila and his son Reccimer. By that time, many began to believe that the king was mad, as he had fits of rage and killed some minor noblemen of his court. Then, in March 1282, Segga, dux of the Baetica, rebelled against Thorismund. Froia, dux of the Carthaginensis, was ordered to put down Segga's rebellion, but Segga asked Alphonso, dux of Lusitania, for help and they both united their forces against Froia, who, in turn, also rebelled against Thorismund. In his situation, To further complicate the situation, Berenguer Roderic, dux of the Tarraconensis, also rebelled against Thorismund and had the support of the main lords of Occitania too, but, uncannily, he did not move against the king.

Then, on June 8, 1268, with the troops of Segga at the gates of Toletum. the Royal Guard changed sides and Thorismund commited suicide to avoid being captured by the rebels, even if some sources claim that he was murdered by Tisellius, the head of the Royal Guard. Thus started the Visigothic Civil War because, just had Segga claimed the throne for himself, he was attacked by his former ally, Alphonso. However, Segga was hardly a better ruler than Thorismund and soon began a purge among the Aulia Regia and the royal court. Then, Alphonso rose in arms against him on December 1268. Segga marched against Alphonso but, defeated at Toletum, he was murdered by his own bobyguards when he was fleeing the battlefield. The two armies proclaimed Alphonso as the new king and he entered Reccopolis two weeks later.

Alphonso tried to pacify the kingdom after the months of bloodshed carried out by his Segga, but soon became convinced that Froia was planning to murder him and, after declaring his lands forfeited, marched his army against him, However, one of his generals murdered him (April 16, 1282) and offered the crown to Berenguer Ramon. Froia was the first one to acknowledge the new king and thus the civil war finished. Berenguer Ramon, the new king of Spania, was of mixed blood. The son of the former Dux of the Tarraconensis, Ramon Roderic ( 1221 – 1271), he claimed his rights to the crown as he was the great-great-great-grandson of king Wilfred II of Spania. However, his great-grandfather had married into the Pampulonese nobilty and his father into the Catalan one. Thus, due to this fact and to his complete transformation of the kingdom, Berenguer Roderic is considered to be the first king of the House of Girona, a scion of the old Visigothic royal line.
 
21. The House of Girona (1282-1311)


21. The House of Girona (1282-1311)

Berenguer Roderic
was a "rare bird" among the Visigothic rulers of Spain. He was not only an accomplished soldier but also a great administrator and diplomat. He fought for Chindaswinth in North Africa and in Italy and had acted for his as a temporay governor (from 1263 to 1265), when he was in his forties, and followed Theodofred II to Italy until a g revious wound at the gates of Apulia put an end to his military career. He returned in 1275 to Occitania and oversaw the persecution of the Cathar.and, under Thorismund he supressed the Great Occitan Revolt (1279-1280).

When he became king of Spania, Berenguer Roderic was 60 years old. He began his reign with a tax reform to restore the royal finances. renewing old taxes and instituting new ones, increased the tribute of the African and Italian provinces, and kept a watchful eye upon the treasury officials. The unrest caused by this measures led to a rebellion in Naples in 1283 that was supressed by Roderic Berenguer, the son and heir of the king. In January 1284 Occitania rose in arms, too, but the uprising was crushed by the end of the year. Apparently, after this troubled beginning, peace returned to the kingdom until 1291, when he moved the royal court to Sicily and ruled from there, extending and consolidating the Visigothic dominion over the southern part of Italy and preparing to pushing north. There he died in 1292.

His son Roderic Berenguer began the conquest of Central Italy in 1292, conquering Peruggia and Spoletto. This expansion led Spania close to be attacked by the German Empire until the troubled election of that year led to the weak reign of Adolf, King of the Romans (1292-1309). He used the Guelf and Ghibelline rivalry to further intervene in North Italy. However, in 1295 he became seriously ill and was unable to rule his kingdom for some time. After recovering, he devoted his reign to reinforce the economy, to expand the border defenses of his realm and initiated a massive urban building program in Toletum (which he renamed Toledo in 1298 when he moved his royal court there), Barcelona (the old Barcino) and Sevilla (the old Hispalis). He conquered Rimini and Ravena (1304-1306), further damaging the standing of Adolf and propelling his fall two years later. Seeing the decadence of the last remnats of the fallen Kingdom of Jerusalem, he conquered the Principality of Achaea in 1308.

He is to be remebered for his strong authoritarian characteristics; he ruled as an enlightened despot. His religious, military and cultural propaganda aimed at presenting him as a kind of divine ruler. He was popular with the people and army, but despised by the aristocracy, who considered him a tyrant. After surviving a murder attempt in 1308, he died peacefully in 1311. As he was without a male heir, he named the husband of his daughter Beatriu, Enrique El Gordo (Henry the Fat), duke of Pamplona, as his successor and thus the first king of the House of Pamplona.
 
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22. The House of Pamplona (1311-1407) -1-

Juan I of Spania (1292-1331).
22. The House of Pamplona (1311-1407) -1-

The House of Pamplona was not of Visigothic blood. Their origins were in Erwig, the youngest son of Sisenad III, king of the West. The house continued for three centuries as a cadet branch of the main line of kings, serving as nobles under them and then of the House of Barcelona. The senior line of the House of Pamplona became extinct in the male line in 1259 with the death of Karl, duke of Pamplona. This made the junior branch the senior one of the House. In 1311, at the death of Roderic Berenguer, the House of Barcelona became extinct in the male line. Thus, the Head of the House of Pamplona, who was also married to the only daughter of the late king, became King of Spania as Enrique I.

Enrique I (1311-1312) was at odds with the Visigothic rulers: he not only was in good terms with the Aulia Regia but also he paid attention to its advice. Howver, he lacked support among the nobility and the commoners. He put an end to trials based on treason, released those who had been jailed under these charges, and granted amnesty to many who had been exiled. All properties which had been confiscated by his predecessor were returned to their respective families. To gain support among the commoners, he made a string of economic reforms intended to alleviate the burden of taxation from the most needy Spanians and granted allotments of land to the poorest, who were also exempted from the inheritance tax. However, his expenses strained the economy of Spania and led to the formation of a commision to drastically reduce expenditures, as reducing the most superfluous religious acts, while new income was generated from his predecesors's silver and gold statues, and Enrique forbade that similar images were made in his honor. His benign nature turned into a reluctance to assert his authority and this led to chaos, as everyone acted in his own interests while trying to settle scores with personal enemies, which led to an anarchy rampage hardly 15 months after his coronation. In October 1312 these tensions came to a head when Gutierre Álvarez de Toledo, lord of Alba de Tormes, who was the mos trusted royal advisers, took control of the Aulia Regia and killed dozens of its members. In this situation, Enrique I decided to abdicate in his elder son, Juan, who was twenty years old by then, and withdrew from the court.

Juan I (1312-1331) had strained relations with the Aulia Regia, that he solved by feigning reluctance tand by reorganizing the body into a Cortes following the model set by the English Parliament following the Magna Carta of 1255, Even then, he was able to start building a team of supporters in the Cortes. Thus, in a subtle way, he managed, by his influence and power, to guide the actions and the decisions of the Cortes much to the way he wanted just as Theodofred I did in his time with the Aulia Regia. Using the civil war that had erupted in the Byzantine Empire between John V Palaiologos and his grandfather Michael IX Palaiologos, he launched a campaign in 1315 that led to the conquest of the lordships of Athens and Salona (1315-1316) and the annexation of the Triarchy of Negroponte (1320). Then, in 1323, he went to war against Louis IV, called the Bavarian, Holy Roman Emperor. By the time that it was over (1327), Juan had managed to fight his enemy to a stalemate, even if that cost if its influences over the states of Northern Italy. It was during the last stages of this war that Juan felt ill and had to return to Spania. He never recovered his health and in his last years, power was held by his younger brother, Enrique, the future Enrique II. Juan died in 1331.
 
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