Alternate History

Goth-Iberia (Yarmuk)

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The Kingdom of Goth-Iberia, the largest of the Visigothic successor kingdoms, was also the shortest lived, lasting from 968 to 1036. Situated in the centre of Spain, around the former Roman city of Toletum, it was the first in the path of the Frankish advance of 1035. It was formally dismembered by an administrative edict from Frankish emperor Charles the Agressor and given over to a Frankish Marcher Lord by the name of William of Tournai, whose family ruled the lordship for many years to come.

Creation of the Kingdoms

After a series of minor civil disobediences that characterised the last century of Visigothic reign in Spain, the last king, Theodoric VI (the Simple) died in 968, with not an heir to put to his name. The junior branches of the Visigothic monarchy were too weak to sustain their own claims to the kingdom - and consequently it was the most powerful warlords in the land who made the resulting carve up. Goth-Iberia, the largest of these lands, fell respectively to the most powerful candidate, Odemir, who used the forces at his disposal to quickly quell any signs of opposition (which he did successfully, with the exception of the Basques, who were too small and insignificant to be of any consequence). This done, Odemir then set about the strengthening of his nations reputation abroad.

Wars in Spain

His heavy hand was first to fall on Valencia, the northern most point of his rivals territory in Andaulasia, where the Lord of Andaulasia, Roderic, had been causing trouble. Odemir's army was sent down south, where it caught Roderic wrongfooted at the battle of Rio Valentina in 969. Roderic was slain on the field and Valencia and all of the lands around it (including the Balearic Islands, which later rebelled against Odemir's oppression) came under Odemir's jurisdiction. Roderic's successor, Amalric, also acknowledged Odemir as his superior.

Odemir next had to turn north, where the ruler of the other major Spanish principality, Gundobad of Galicia, was causing problems with regard to the north coast. This was partly to do with the contested sovereignty over the Basques (which was a futile venture; the Basques had no wish to be ruled by either Germanic king), but more importantly the overlordship of Navarre; the principality nearest the border with France. The area had been in dispute under most uncertain circumstances; most people, including the Franks and Septimanians, agreed that the land should be under Odemir's control. Gundobad, however, was a man highly overconfident of his resources - and through daring tactics had managed to bypass Odemir's sentries on the border with Asturias and occupied Navarre. Odemir was swift to appprehend this deed; in 970 he marched his army back from Valencia and sent it to watch Gundobad in Navarre. He then gathered a new army and marched into Asturias, pushing aside Gundobad's regency and laying waste both to Asturias and to the pastures of Galicia itself. Odemir then hurried back to his first force, which had withdrawn, more or less intact, to Tarraco. Angrily, Odemir advanced upon Gundobad's army and met it at Pamplona. This battle, fought in the January of 971, was heavily contested, but ultimately ended with the death of Gundobad, and the destruction of his army. Galicia, already devastated by Odemir's raid, was forced to cede the province of Asturias and to pay an indemnity of 5000 florins, most of which was paid off from the Portuguese estates of the Galician monarchy, now lead by Gundobad's moderate nephew, Harald.

A Generation of Peace

Odemir, already an old man, died in 981. His replacement was his ineffectual son Carloman; he was subsequently ousted from his position by a coalition of nobles headed by Alfredrik, Odemir's younger brother and Totila, a man subsequently awarded the title Earl of Valencia. This coalition ruled quietly and peacefully for the next 25 years, during which time relations and trade were developed with the moderate rulers of the Spanish kingdoms. However, the jealous eyes of the Franks were continually resting on this divided land on their southern border.

Steps towards an Elective Monarchy

The position of Alfredrik and Totila of Valencia was, in legal terms, a precarious one; Carloman was the rightful heir to the throne and - though ineffectual - was not entirely without support. The coalition of nobles that now made up the government of the country saw that the best subscription for peace was liberalism. This meant that a voting franchise was given to the men of influence - the nobility - so that they could elect the king. There is some doubt as to the initial intentions of the scheme: Alfredrik was first elected king in 982 and at his death in 990, it was to no ones surprise that Totila was elected. They were both moderate men, however, and so the nobles got their fair share of decisions and did not complain. Totila, in particular was successful in his quest for peace and moderate wealth; he reigned for 26 years to the ripe old age of 65.

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