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Visigothic Spain 409 - 711 Hardcover – May 21, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0631181859 ISBN-10: 0631181857 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (May 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631181857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631181859
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,830,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Readers interested in more detailed accounts of Spanish history will ... find this book very accessible." British Bulletin of Publications

"There is much to admire and enjoy in this volume … highly readable and impressively researched work." History

Book Description

Between the end of Roman rule in the early fifth century and the Arab conquest in the eighth, Spains destiny lay with the Visigoths, a confederacy of different ethnic groups formed in the Balkans in the later fourth century. Taking account of important new documentary evidence and of the latest archaeological findings, the author presents a wealth of original theories, challenging many traditional assumptions about Visigothic Spain about how the Visigothic kingdom was governed, law in the kingdom, the nature and methods of the Arab conquest, and the rise of Spain as an intellectual force in the West.The book falls into two parts: the first providing a chronological overview of political and military events; the second reviewing the evidence for social life and organization in Visigothic Spain. A historiographical introduction summarizes the current state of research on the history and archaeology of the period.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
There aren't that many book in English which summarize in a single volume the 300 hundred plus years of history of the Visigoth Kingdom in Spain (and in the South of France). Even if not the only one, this one seems to be the most recent one available. While perhaps not perfect, it does cover all the ground rather well and offers interesting discussions of a society and civilization about which we know little and generally learn even less about. The book is structured in two parts.

The first half (a bit less than 150 pages) is a summary in five chapters of the Kingdom's political history, from AD 409, just before Alaric and his Visigoths attack and pillage Rome, down to 711 and the Arab Conquest. It offers some very valuable insights about their arrival in Spain as "federate" allies of the declining Roman Empire and on the establishment of a powerful Visigoth Kingdom in Iberia and Southern France during the second half of the 5th century. It also shows how the Kingdom survived the death of its King in battle against the Franks and the loss of most of its territories north of the Pyrenees and reinvented itself into an elected monarchy, how it converted to Catholicism and how it had to contend with the Eastern Roman Empire which reconquered a coastal strip of Spain during the reign of Justinian and held on to it for three-quarters of a century. Finally, this first section examines what it terms "the Visigoth Twilight", the nature of the Arab Conquest, and the rather parlous state of the Kingdom, racked with civil war, when it happened.

The author makes a number of very interesting points, showing for instance that the defeat in AD 507 at the hands of the Franks occurred at a time when many of the Goths seem to have been resettling in Spain.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marcel Dupasquier on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book, which gives a nice introduction into Visigothic Spain, is essentially structured into two halves, where the first half describes the political developments of the period, whereas the second one takes a closer look at some cultural characteristics of the same epoch. In the first half, the political developments during the Visigothic period in Spain are subdivided into four parts:

- 409 - 507 Conquest, the kingdom of Toulouse and the loss of the Gallic dominions. In this part Roger Collins also lays out why the barbarian successor kingdoms of the Western Roman Empire often quickly came into severe troubles after losing just one battle, as the Visigoths did after 507 or the Vandals after 533.
- 507 - 586 The Arian kingdom and the election of the kings among the Visigothic nobles after Amalaric until the conversion of Reccared to Catholicism.
- 586 - 672 The backlash of the before privileged Arians, the Catholic kingdom and Isidore of Seville.
- 672 - 711 The declines and fall of the kingdom of Toledo, the latter of which was caused not by Visigothic decadence but rather by a temporary weakness due to contentions for the throne among the Visigothic nobles. As such, the Arabs could take on fraction after fraction, which of course made the task easier. Moreover, Roger Collins also gives a nice introduction into the Arab conquest of the North African coast, which was not a sweeping movement along the Southern Mediterranean coast but rather a hoping from one to the next inhabited costal area that lay like pearls on the Southern shore between strips of desert and that could as such only be reached by ship.
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