King Roderich: how to lose everything in two years
So the Iberian Peninsula looked to:
The bloody wars of the Byzantines with the Persians cleared the way for the victorious march of the Arabs. It is curious that something similar happened later on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea - on the Iberian Peninsula. At that time, the kingdom of the Visigoths was there not for the first hundred years.
The kingdom was rather peculiar, somewhat reminiscent of medieval Poland: a strong aristocracy and a weak king, who was often chosen. And so, in 710, the local aristocrats chose just the next king of the duke Roderich. No one, probably, would have even thought that he would be in charge for only two years and become the last king of the Visigoths: nothing, as they say, foreshadowed. One of the largest states of the then Europe, the kingdom of the Visigoths owned the entire Iberian Peninsula and another small piece of modern France. For a long time it did not know major wars, its cities were rich, and the army was strong.
Of course, they were in the country and dissatisfied. First of all, these were the heirs of the former King Vititsa and their supporters. Why most of the West gothic aristocrats did not want to see one of them king - history is silent. But they harbored a grudge. In addition, the Jews were extremely dissatisfied: they were severely oppressed in the kingdom, and shortly before Roderich took the throne, all Jews in the country who refused to accept Christianity were turned into slavery, and their children were sent to Christian families for upbringing. The townspeople were also dissatisfied, because of the weakness of the king and his inability to tax the nobility, the bulk of the tax burden lay. Nevertheless, all these things were ordinary enough for the world of that time, and hardly anyone saw them as foreshadowing the near end of the state. But the clouds were gathering.
By the time Roderich ascended the royal throne, the whole of North Africa that once belonged to the Byzantines was already conquered by the Arabs. The last outpost of Christians on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar was the city of Ceuta. Formally, it belonged to Byzantium, but was so far from the metropolis that it enjoyed extremely wide autonomy and, in fact, was the capital of a small independent county.They were governed by Count Julian, who was to play an important role in the subsequent history.
In search of support against the Arabs who were getting closer and closer to his possessions (which could not be expected from far Constantinople), Julian tried to get close to the Visigoths and even sent his daughter to Toledo, both for her safety and for her to get upbringing. Further, perhaps, is only a legend, however, according to some sources, King Roderich kindled passion for Julian’s daughter and raped her. Upon learning of this, Julian decided to take revenge. Having surrendered to the Arabs without a fight to Ceuta, he gave them a considerable fleet (almost no Mughrib Muslims had their own) to attack the Visigoths.
At first, the Arabs somehow did not plan to conquer the entire Iberian Peninsula. Their plans were only to plunder the cities of the rich southern coast. But, having landed, they almost met no resistance and began to move farther and farther into the depths of the peninsula. Upon learning of this, the king, apparently, underestimated the threat and rushed to meet with the army that he managed to quickly assemble, without preparing himself thoroughly.In the battle of Guadalete, Roderich's army was defeated, and he himself was killed.
Moving deeper and deeper into the peninsula, the Arabs skillfully exploited discord among the local aristocracy, entering into treaties with some counts and dukes against others. The Jews also actively assisted them, although their rights were limited in the Arab lands, but these restrictions could not be compared with the slavery of the Visigoths. Less than a dozen years, like the entire peninsula, from Gibraltar to the Pyrenees Mountains, fell at the feet of Muslims.
And this is how the peninsula looked like 300 years later. These Christians have already conquered the north.
In the absence of the king, no one was able to provide organized resistance to the Arabs, and for some the new strong government was even more attractive than the amorphous Visigoth monarchy. As a result, the Muslims received a fitting rebuff only from Karl Martel when they came to present-day France. Iberia, captured so swiftly, Christians will beat off from the Moors to shred more than seven hundred years.
But if King Roderich was somehow more discreet in satisfying his desires, maybe nothing would have happened. In general, it is not good to rape the daughters of valuable allies.If possible, try to avoid it.