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The Imposition of Unity

  • Roger Collins
Chapter
Part of the New Studies in Medieval History book series (NSMH)

Abstract

The series of demoralising defeats that they suffered in the years 507–31 at the hands of the newly emergent Franks and their Burgundian allies led directly to the disappearance of the Bait dynasty which had ruled the Visigoths with litde interruption since the time of Alaric I (395–410), if not longer. The first disaster was that of Vouillé in 507, which saw the death of Alaric II and the loss during the ensuing year of most of the Visigothic territory in Gaul.1 The losses might have been greater, but for the intervention from Italy in 508 of the Ostrogothic king Theoderic (493–526), whose army forced the Franks and Burgundians to lift their siege of Arles. As a result, the whole Mediterranean coastal region of southern Gaul remained in Gothic hands, mainly Ostrogothic. Although Aries and other towns of the lower Rhone valley had been in Visigothic hands in 507, they now passed into Ostrogothic control, the price of the rescue. While the kind of pan-Gothic sympathy that is hinted at by the Ostrogothic historian Jordanes (c. 551) may have had a part to play, Theoderic’s interests were also involved in preventing the rapidly expanding Frankish kingdom from gaining access to the Mediterranean, or coming too close to Italy.2 Hence the intervention in 508, which was to initiate a period of considerable Ostrogothic involvement in the affairs of the Visigoths and in Spain.

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© Roger Collins 1995

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  • Roger Collins

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