The Imposition of Unity

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


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Gregor)’ of Tours, Historiarurn Libri Decem, II.37, tr. O.M. Dalton (Oxford, 1927) vol. II, pp. 77–8; see also Cassiodorus, Variae III. 1–4, ed. T. Mommsen, M.G.H., A.A. XII, pp. 78–81 for Ostrogothic attempts at mediation.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jordanes, Getica, ed. T. Mommsen, M.G.H., A.A. v.i (Berlin, 1882), tr. C.C. Mierow, The Gothic History of Jordanes, 2nd edn (Princeton, 1915): Isidore, H.G. 36 ed. Rodríguez Alonso (B2(b)), p.230.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Isidore, H.G. 37–8, ed. Rodríguez Alonso (B2(b)), pp. 232, 234.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jordanes LVIII (n. 2 above), tr. Mierow, p. 137.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Isidore, H.G. 39 (B2(b)), p. 236; Arcipreste de Talavera, Vida de San Isidoro, ed. J. Madoz (Madrid, 1962) ch. 1, p. 70.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gregory of Tours (n. 1 above) in.10, tr. Dalton, pp. 92–3; Isidore, H.G. 40 (B2(b)), p. 238.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chronicorum Caesaraugustanorum Reliquiae, ed. T. Mommsen, M.G.H., A.A. XI (Berlin, 1894) pp. 222–3. R. Collins, ‘Isidore, Maximus, and the Hitoria Gothomm’ (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ibid. p. 222.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae XXVII. v.6, ed. J.C. Rolfe (Loeb Library, 1939) vol. III, p. 32; H. Wolfram, ‘Athanaric the Visigoth: Monarchy or Judgeship. A study in Comparative History’, Journal of Medieval History, I (1975) pp. 259–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sidonius Apollinaris, Panegyric on Avitus (Carmen VII), line 505, ed. W.B. Anderson, (Loeb Library, 1936) vol. I, p. 160. Is avus here exact?Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Procopius, History of the Wars, v. xii. 50–4, ed. H.B. Dewing (Loeb Library, 1919), vol. III, pp. 130–3.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Isidore, H.G. 42 (B2(b)), p. 242.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Isidore, H.G. 43 (B2(b)), p. 244; Lex Theudi Regis, L.V., pp. 467–9. (B2(b)).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Isidore, H.G. 44 (B2(b)), pp. 244, 246: Jordanes LVII (n. 2 above), tr. p. 138.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Isidore, H.G. 45 (B2(b)), pp. 246, 248.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    E.A. Thompson, The Goths in Spain, (A2(b)), pp. 320–3, gives the arguments.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    P. Grierson, ‘Una Ceca Bizantina en Espana’, Numario Hispanico, IV (1955) pp. 305–14.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jordanes LVIII (n. 2 above), tr. Mierow, p. 138.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fredegar, Chronicle IV. 42, ed.J.M. Wallace-Hadrill, (London, 1960), p. 35;J. Nelson, ‘Queens as Jezebels: the Careers of Brunhild and Balthild in Merovingian History’ in D. Baker (ed.), Medieval Women, (Oxford, 1978) pp. 31–77.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Isidore, H.G. 48 (B2(b)), pp. 250, 252; John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), p. 213.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    V.P.E. (A3(b)), v. v. 2-vi. 2, pp. 200–9. For convenience references will be made here to the Garvin edition, which contains the only translation of this work. For the Latin text the edition by Maya Sánchez (B3(b)) should be used.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    J. Vives, Concilios (B2(b)), pp. 53–64.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Isidore, D.V.I. XXXI (B2(b)), pp. 151–2.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Victoris Tonnennensis Episcopi Chronica, ed. T. Mommsen, M.G.H., A.A. XI, pp. 184–206.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    J. Vives, Conälios (B4(b)), pp. 155, 157, 161, 162.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    V.P.E. (A3(b)), pp. 208–10.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gregory of Tours, Histories (see n. 1 above) V.37, tr. pp. 208–9, and De Miraculis Sancli Martini I.11, P.L. LXXI, cc. 923–5.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), pp. 212–5.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ibid. p. 215; K. Raddatz, ‘Studien zu Recopolis I: Die Archaolögischen Befunde’, Madrider Mitteilungen, v (1964), pp. 213–33.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), p. 215.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Gregory of Tours, Histories (see n. 1 above), v. 38, tr. p. 209.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), p. 216.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    See the arguments of RJ.H. Collins, ‘Mérida and Toledo, 550–585’, V.S., pp. 215–8. (A2(b)).Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    He is treated as a martyr in the De Vana Saeculi Sapientia of Valerius of Bierzo, ed. R.F. Pousa, San Valerio: Olrras (Madrid, 1942) pp. 145–57.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    G.C. Miles, Coinage of the Visigoths (A3(b)), pp. 182–98.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Gregory of Tours, Histories (see n. 1 above), VI.43, tr. p. 275; John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), p. 216, also Isidore H.G. 91 (A2(b)), p. 42.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Epistulae Austrasicae 27, 28, 43–5, ed. W. Gundlach], Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, CXVII (Turnholt, 1957), pp. 450–7, 46Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gregory the Great, Dialogues III. xxxi, éd. A de Vogüé, Sources Chrétiennes, 260 (Paris, 1979) pp. 384–91.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), pp. 216–7.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    J.N. Hillgarth, ‘Coins and Chronicles’ (A2(b)).Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    V.P.E. (A3(b)) v. iv. 1–8, pp. 198–201.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Isidore, D.V.I. xxx (B4(b)), p. 151.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), p. 216.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Isidore, D.V.I. XXVIII and XXX (B4(b)), pp. 149–51.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    R.J.H. Collins, ‘Mérida and Toledo, 550–585’, V.S. (A2(b)).Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    R. Collins, ‘¿Donde estabán los Arrianos en el año 589?’, El Condlio III de Toledo, XIV Centenario (Toledo, 1991) pp. 211–22.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    J. Vives, Concilios (B4(b)), p. 160.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    V.P.E. v. xi. 15 (A3(b)), pp. 242–3.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Ibid. v. xii. 2–5, pp. 244–7.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    J. Vives, Concilios (B4(b)), pp. 154–5.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    John of Biclar, Chronicle (B2(b)), pp. 219–20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Roger Collins 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Collins

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations