The Visigoths (/ˈvɪzɪɡɒθs/; Latin: Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period. The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups, including a large group of Thervingi, who had moved into the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had played a major role in defeating the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Relations between the Romans and the Visigoths were variable, alternately warring with one another and making treaties when convenient. Under their first leader, Alaric I, they invaded Italy and sacked Rome in August 410. Afterwards, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Hispania, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.VisigothsVisigothiThe eagles represented on these fibulae from the 6th century, and found in Tierra de Barros (Badajoz), were a popular symbol among the Goths in Spain.[a]ReligionGothic paganism, Arianism, Roman Catholicism, Roman paganism
The Visigoths first settled in southern Gaul as foederati to the Romans, a relationship that was established in 418. However, they soon fell out with their Roman hosts (for reasons that are now obscure) and established their own kingdom with its capital at Toulouse. They next extended their authority into Hispania at the expense of the Suebi and Vandals. In 507, however, their rule in Gaul was ended by the Franks under Clovis I, who defeated them in the Battle of Vouillé. After that, the Visigoth kingdom was limited to Hispania, and they never again held territory north of the Pyrenees other than Septimania. An elite group of Visigoths came to dominate the governance of that region at the expense of those who had previously ruled there, particularly in the Byzantine province of Spania and the Kingdom of the Suebi.
In or around 589, the Visigoths under Reccared I converted from Arianism to Nicene Christianity, gradually adopting the culture of their Hispano-Roman subjects. Their legal code, the Visigothic Code (completed in 654), abolished the longstanding practice of applying different laws for Romans and Visigoths. Once legal distinctions were no longer being made between Romani and Gothi, they became known collectively as Hispani. In the century that followed, the region was dominated by the Councils of Toledo and the episcopacy. Little else is known about the Visigoths’ history during the 7th century, since records are relatively sparse. In 711, an invading force of Arabs and Berbers defeated the Visigoths in the Battle of Guadalete. Their king, Roderic, and many members of their governing elite were killed, and their kingdom rapidly collapsed. This was followed by the subsequent formation of the Kingdom of Asturias in northern Spain and the beginning of the Reconquista by Christian troops under Pelagius.
During their governance of Hispania, the Visigoths built several churches that survived. They also left many artefacts which have been discovered in increasing numbers by archaeologists in recent years. The Treasure of Guarrazar of votive crowns and crosses are the most spectacular. They founded the only new cities in western Europe from the fall of the Western half of the Roman Empire until the rise of the Carolingian dynasty. Many Visigothic names are still in use in modern Spanish and Portuguese languages. Their most notable legacy, however, was the Visigothic Code, which served, among other things, as the basis for court procedure in most of Christian Iberia until the Late Middle Ages, centuries after the demise of the kingdom.
Pair of Eagle FibulaWalters Art Museum The first R is held at the Musée de Cluny, Paris Other sources dispute the contents of the supposed “treaty” and claim it was a Gothic surrender. The Words such as: werra > guerra (war), falda > falda (skirt) and skankjan > escanciar (to pour out); See: La época visigoda Susana Rodríguez Rosique (spanish) in Cervantes Virtual. Accessed 15 October 2017. The linguistic remnants of the Gothic people in Spain are sparse. A few place names and a mere handful of well-known “Spanish” first names, such as Alfonso, Fernando, Gonzalo, Elvira, and Rodrigo are of Germanic (Visigothic) origin. At least one high-ranking Visigoth, Zerezindo, dux of Baetica, was a Catholic in the mid-6th century. Cf. the extensive accounts of Visigothic Jewish history by Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews, Vol. 3 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1956 reprint ), pp. 43–52 (on Sisibut, pp. 47–49); Salo W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, Vol. 3 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957), pp. 33–46 (on Sisibut pp. 37–38); N. Roth, Jews, Visigoths and Muslims in Medieval Spain: Cooperation and Conflict (Leiden: Brill, 1994), pp. 7–40; Ram Ben-Shalom, “Medieval Jewry in Christendom,” in M. Goodman, J. Cohen and D. Sorkin, The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 156. According to E. A Thompson, “The Barbarian Kingdoms in Gaul and Spain”, Nottingham Mediaeval Studies, 7 (1963:4n11), the others were (i) Victoriacum, founded by Leovigild and may survive as the city of Vitoria, but a twelfth-century foundation for this city is given in contemporary sources, (ii) Lugo id est Luceo in the Asturias, referred to by Isidore of Seville, and (iii) Ologicus (perhaps Ologitis), founded using Basque labour in 621 by Suinthila as a fortification against the Basques, is modern Olite. All of these cities were founded for military purposes and at least Reccopolis, Victoriacum, and Ologicus in celebration of victory. A possible fifth Visigothic foundation is Baiyara (perhaps modern Montoro), mentioned as founded by Reccared in the fifteenth-century geographical account, Kitab al-Rawd al-Mitar, cf. José María Lacarra, “Panorama de la historia urbana en la Península Ibérica desde el siglo V al X,” La città nell’alto medioevo, 6 (1958:319–358). Reprinted in Estudios de alta edad media española (Valencia: 1975), pp. 25–90. The first R is held at the Musée de Cluny, Paris.
- Important findings have also been made in the Visigothic necropolis of Castiltierra (Segovia) in Spain. See the following downloadable pdf from the National Archaeological Museum-Museo Arqueológico Nacional of Spain for more information: http://www.man.es/man/dam/jcr:eb7fea42-15c8-4b6b-b18c-4d940b2656a5/2018-castiltierra-ii.pdf