VISIGOTHS IN SPAIN

In 476 AD the Roman Empire finally collapsed due to serious internal problems, including political, military and corruption, and also because of the pressure coming from outside its frontiers from the so- called Barbarians.

At the beginning of the 5th century the Iberian peninsula had a population of approximately 5 million inhabitants. In the year 409 it was invaded by the Sueves, Vandals and the Alans from Asia. In 416 the Visigoths, who had become allies of Rome in order to drive the other invading tribes from Hispania, appeared. The Visigoths numbered approximately 80,000 and were at the same time pushed by the Huns
and their leader Atila, who became King in 434 AD.

The Sueves resisted in the North East of the peninsula, which today is Asturias, Galicia and Portugal. The Visigoths, whose capital was in the south of France in Toulouse, were defeated by the French in the battle of Vouillé and so moved their capital to Toledo in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. In the south, the Byzantine Empire, led by Justiniano, managed to establish itself in a large part of the Mediterranean area.

In 585 the Visigoth King Leovigildo managed to unify the country geographically after a number of military campaigns, incorporating the Sueve Kingdom into the Visigoth one. His son Recaredo carried out the religious unification by abandoning the Arian heresies and converting to Catholicism, the main religion in Hispania, at the 3rd Council of Toledo. From that moment a strong anti Jewish policy was followed.

In the year 654, when Recesvinto came to the throne, the legal text Liber Iudiciorum (free movement) was formulated, based on the principles of Roman law. This text brought about the legal unification of all the products from the Roman population and the Visigoths.

Around the year 710, the forces of the Caliphate Omeya clashed with Rodrigo and his army at the battle of Guadalete, where Rodrigo died. A few years later the whole Iberian Peninsula, except the North, had been conquered by the Muslims.

The great thinkers of the Visigoth era were pastors such as Saint Isidoro and Saint Leandro. Saint Isidoro, who was the bishop of Seville, wrote the Etymologiae, the first encyclopedia, where he ordered and explained all the learning of his era based on the origen of words.

Regarding architecture, the churches of San Juan de Baños in Palencia, San Pedro de la Nave in Zamora, Santa Comba de Banda in Orense and Quintinilla de las Viñas in Burgos stand out.

In metal craftwork, the treasures of Torredonjimeno in Jaén and the treasure of Guadarrazar, including the crown of Recesvinto, are worthy of note.

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