Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/560

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HISTORY]
539
SPAIN


of Spain to found the Vandal kingdom of Carthage, his whole horde numbered only 80,000 persons, including old men, women and children, and runaway slaves who had joined him. The Suebi, who remained, were certainly not more numerous. Such small bodies could not have occupied so extensive a terri- tory, even if they had scattered themselves in driblets all over its surface. What they did was to rove about in hordes, plunder- ing or levying blackmail. The cowed inhabitants had been trained out of all habit of acting for themselves by the imperial despotism, and could only flee or submit. There is probably some truth in the assertion of Salvian that many of the subjects of the empire preferred poverty among the barbarians to the tyranny of the imperial tax collectors. This would be pre- eminently the case with the smaller landowners who formed the " curiales," and who were in reality serfs of the fisc, for on them fell the main weight of taxation, and they were confined to their position by oppressive laws. The great landowners who formed the " ordo senatorius " had almost as much to fear from the agrarian insurgents known as bagaudae, who are indeed found acting with the Suebi, as from the barbarians. In time some of them took to " living barbarously " — that is to say, they fortified their villas, collected an armed following and fought for their lives, families and property. In some districts the inhabitants reverted to a state of tribal independence. This undoubtedly was the case in the north, where the Asturians and Basques, the least Romanized part of the population, appear from the beginning of the age of barbarization as acting for themselves. In the mountain country of Cuenca, Albacete, and the Sierra Nevada the natives known as the Orospedans were entirely independent in the middle of the 6th century. But if there lay in this revival of energy and character the germs of a vigorous national life, for the time being Spain was thrown back into the state of division from which it had been drawn by the Romans — with the vital difference that the race now possessed the tradition of the Roman law, the municipalities, and one great common organization in the Christian Church.

Xo help was to be expected from the empire. Unable to aid itself it had recourse to the Visigoths (see Goths). Ataulphus vii th' (?■•) tne successor of Alaric, and the husband of Occupation. Placidia, daughter of the emperor Theodosius, whom he had married against the wish of her brother Honorius, entered Spain in 412, as the ally of the empire. He was murdered in 4 1 5, but after the speedily ensuing murder of his murderer and successor Sigeric, Wallia (415-419), who was elected to the kingdom, continued his work. He destroyed the Alans, and drove the Vandals and Suebi into the north-west. Then he handed Spain back to the imperial officials, that is to say, to weakness and corruption, and marched with all his people into the Second Aquitaine, the south-west of modern France, which had been assigned to them by Honorius as a home and a reward. From this date till the very end of the reign of Amalaric (511- 5,31), the seat of the Visigothic kings was at Bordeaux, or Toulouse or Narbonne, and their main interests were in Gaul. They continued to intervene in Spain and to extend their influ- ence over it. But for an interval of more than twenty-five years they stood apart. Southern Spain was overrun and plundered by the Vandals before their departure for Africa. In 456 Theodoric II. (453-466) entered Spain as ally of Avitus, whom he had himself raised to the empire in Gaul. He defeated the Roman senators of the Tarraconensis and the Suebi, putting their king to death, and advanced as far as Merida. But he was recalled to Gaul, and his return was accompanied by outrages against the Roman cities. Majorian (457-461), the last capable emperor of the West, proposed to make Spain the basis of his attack on the Vandals at Carthage till his fleet was destroyed by them in the harbour of Carthagena. The fratricidal murderer and successor of Theodoric, Euric (466-485) followed his brother's policy in Spain. With the extinction of the Western Empire (476 or 479) the kings of the Visigoths became more and more the representatives of authority, which they exercised on Roman lines, and with an implied or formal deference to the distant emperor at Constantinople. But the continued existence of the obscure Suevic kingdom in the north-west, the effective inde- pendence of several districts, and the rule of others by the Roman senators, proves that the regions actually under Visigothic rule were not extensive. After the defeat and death of Alaric II. (485-507) at Vouille the shattered Visigoth power was preserved from destruction at the hands of the Frankish king Clovis (q.v.) by Theodoric, the Gothic king of Italy. But on his death ;he advance of the Franks began again. Amalaric (507-531) fled from Narbonne, to meet the usual violent end of a Visigothic king at Barcelona.

The line of the Visigothic kings of Spain begins, strictly speak- ing, with his successor Theudis (531-548), an Ostrogoth appointed by Theodoric to act as guardian of Amalaric. Tie character of had acquired great possessions in the valley of the Visigothic Ebro by marriage with a Roman lady. It was a K'"xdom. government, and not a people, which was established in Spain with Theudis. The Visigoths had been much Romanized during their establishment in Gaul, and we hear of no exodus as having accompanied Amalaric. The example of Theudis is enough to show that the law of the Theodosian code which forbade the marriage of Romans and barbarians was not regarded by the Goths. It remained indeed unrepealed, as many laws have done since, long after it had become a mere dead letter. The govern- ment which came with Theudis, and fell to ruin with Roderic, may be described as having been at once Roman and bad. In so far as it was affected by the Visigoths it was influenced for the worse. Their monarchy was elective. Until the death of Amalaric the choice was confined to one family, but he was the last of his line. The kings tried to make the crown here- ditary, and the nobles, Visigothic seniores, and Roman senatores seized every opportunity to keep it elective. Spain presented a forecast of the anarchy of Poland. Of the twenty-three kings between Theudis and Roderic five were certainly murdered, one was deposed, and three were tonsured by tricks or open force. Of the others some were passing phantoms, and the records of the later times of the kingdom are so obscure that we cannot be sure of knowing the names of all who perished by violence.

The administration which these kings of unstable authority had to direct was essentially the Roman system. The great owners, whether nominally Visigoth or nominally Roman — seniores or senatores — continued to enjoy all the privileges and exemptions of the ordo senatorius in the last days of the empire. They lived surrounded by multitudes of semi-servile coloni, or farmers, bound to the soil, of actual slaves, and of buccelarei, who were free swordsmen to whom they gave rations (buccelatum, soldiers' bread, or buccella, a portion). The curiales remained as before the victims of the fisc. How far the fact that Theudis and the four next sovereigns were Arians affected their government is not very clear. It prevented them from enjoying the active support of the Catholic clergy. But it is very doubtful whether Christianity had spread much beyond the cities. We hear of the conversion of pagans down to the last days of the Visigothic kingdom. The spread of Mahommedanism was so rapid in the first years after the conquest that it is impossible to believe that the country had been thoroughly christianized. Theudis, who made his headquarters at Seville, endeavoured to complete his mastery of the diocese of Spain by occupying Mauritania Tingitana, but he was defeated by the The imperial officers at Ceuta. He was in due course visigothic murdered at Seville by Theudigisel (548-549) who gs was himself promptly slain. The reigns of his two successors, Agila (549-554) and Athanagild (554-567), coincided with the reign of Justinian and the temporary revival of the Eastern Empire. Athanagild called on the imperial officers to help him against Agila, and paid for their assistance by the surrender of the province of Baetica. On his death there was an obscure interregnum of five months, which ended by the election of Liuva (567-572), the governor of Narbonne, the surviving remnant of the Visigoth power to the north of the Pyrenees. Liuva did not come to Spain, but associated his brother Leovigild (567-586) with him. The reigns of Leovigild and of his son Reccared are the greatest in the list of the Visigoth kingdom in