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Roderic

From Academic Kids

Roderic (in Spanish Rodrigo), was the last king of the Visigoths (710 - 711). He deposed the previous king, Achila, and took control of Toledo. Roderic's rivals fled to Septa (Ceuta) on the African shore, the African Pillar of Hercules, which was where the Visigothic dispossessed foregathered, where Arians and Jews fled to avoid forced conversions at the hands of the Catholic bishops that controlled the Visigothic monarchy. The surrounding area of the maghreb had recently been conquered by Musa Ibn Nosseyr, who established his governor, Tariq ibn Ziyad, at Tangier with an Arab army of 1700 men.

Julian, the lord of Septa, whom the Arabs called Ilyan, was Roderic's vassal but also on increasingly good terms with Tariq. The Egyptian historian of the Arab conquest, Ibn Abd-el-Hakem, related a century and a half later that Julian had sent one of his daughters to the Visigothic court at Toledo for education (and as a gauge for Julian's loyalty, no doubt) and that Roderic had made her pregnant. Later ballads and chronicles inflated this tale and attributed Julian's enmity to this, but personal power politics may have played a larger part. "He sent to Tariq, saying, 'I will bring thee to Andalus'" (the Arab name for the area the Visigoths still called by its Roman name Baetica).

In the spring of 711, while Roderic was busy subduing rebellions in the far northern town of Pamplona, Tariq, briefed by Julian, whom he left behind among the merchants, crossed the Straits with a reconnaissance force of some 1700 men, sailing by night and keeping their force inconspicuous: "the people of Andalus did not observe them, thinking that the vessels crossing and recrossing were similar to the trading vessels which for their benefit plied backwards and forwards" Ibn Abd-el-Hakem reported. Tariq and his men marched up as far as Cartagena on the coast, then to Cordoba, where the local garrison despised his small band at first, but were soundly beaten and driven back to the city.

"When Roderic heard of this, he came to their rescue from Toledo. They then fought in a place of the name of Shedunia, in a valley which is called this day the valley of Umm-Hakim. They fought a severe battle; but God, mighty and great, killed Roderic and his companions."

That is the report from the Muslim side. The European name for this engagement is the Battle of the Rio Barbate or the battle at the Guadalete River, which happened in the Province of Cadiz, the extreme south of the Iberian peninsula, on July 19, 711. Roderic may have drowned in this fight. Their defeat left the Visigoths disorganized and leaderless, and the survivors fled north.

Sending his cavalry commander to take Cordoba, Tariq entered the Visigothic capital, Toledo, where his one concern was for a precious table, called the table of Solomon son of David:

"Andalus having been conquered for Musa Ibn Nosseyr, he took from it the table of Suleyman Ibn Dawid, and the crown. Tariq was told that the table was in a citadel called Faras, two days' journey from Toledo, and the governor of this citadel was a nephew of Roderic. Tariq, then, wrote to him, promising safety both for himself and family. The nephew descended from the citadel, and Tariq fulfilled his promise... Tariq said to him, deliver the table, and he delivered it to him. On this table were gold and silver, the like of which one had not seen. ...He took up the pearls, the armour, the gold, the silver, and the vases which he had with him, and found that quantity of spoils, the like of which one had not seen. He collected all that. Afterwards he returned to Cordova, and having stopped there, he wrote to Musa Ibn Nossevr informing him of the conquest of Andalus, and of the spoils which he had found."

The following year, 712, Tariq's lord, Musa ibn-Mosseyr, joined the attack, and in less than half a year, they had subdued over half of Spain. By 718, the Muslims occupied all of Spain save some mountain fastnesses in the farthest north.

External link

es:Rodrigo eo:Rodrigo PORTELA fr:Rodéric gl:Don Rodrigo pt:Rodrigo

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