Conquerors and Chroniclers of Early Medieval Spain

Front Cover
Kenneth Baxter Wolf
Liverpool University Press, 1999 - History - 205 pages

From the perspective of the Hispano-Romans, the Visigoths who invaded Spain in the midfifth century were heretical barbarians. But Leovigild's military success and Reccared's conversion to Catholic Christianity led to more positive assessments of the Gothic role in Iberian history.

John of Biclaro (c.590) and Isidore of Seville (c.625) authored histories that projected the Gothic achievements back on to their uncertain beginnings, transforming them from antagonists of the Roman Empire to protagonists of a new, independent Christianity in Spain. The Muslim occupation of Spain in the early eighth century also prompted Christian historians to think creatively about the role of the invaders in the history of Spain. The fact that they did not, like their Gothic predecessors, convert to the religion of the peoples they conquered made it difficult for the Latin historians to present them as the heroes of their chronicles. Nonetheless, the anonymous authors of the Mozarabic Chronicle of 754 and the ninth-century Chronicle of Alfonso III modeled their efforts on those of Isidore and John of Biclaro, adopting and adapting their techniques for making sense of the conquest of a Christian territory by heterodox foreigners.

This volume will appeal to those interested in late antiquity, medieval studies, and historiography; it will be of particular value in the fields of Iberian and Hispano-American studies.


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About the author (1999)

Kenneth Baxter Wolf was educated at Stanford University where he received his BA in Religious Studies and his PhD in history. He is the author of Christian Martyrs in Muslim Spain (Cambridge, 1988) and Making History: The Normans and their Historians in Eleventh-century Italy (Pennsylvania, 1995). He is currently an Associate Professor of Medieval History at Pomona College in Claremont College in California.

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