Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry

'The Delaforce Family History'
Chapter 45 - Gothic triumph & disaster

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Chapter 45

"Your opponents are in front of you - your enemies are behind you" political motto

Gothic triumph & disaster

Leovegilde & Théodora’s other son, Recarred Balt King of the Visigoths 586-601 (?559 - 601) is a very important figure. He had a wife, Bauda Afonso (abt 580 - ?) & a son, Suintila (Swinthila) Balthes (?584 - 635). Recarred was responsible for the wholesale conversion of Spain to Catholicism from Arianism, all of which he now ruled with a rod of iron, thanks to his father clearing the Byzantines out of Cordova. The conversion was doubtless, a shrewd political manoevre, as the Orthodox Christianity of the Byzantines more resembled the traditional Arianism of the Goths & Recarred needed the national unity a common religion would assist, just in case the Byzantines, still a very powerful voice in the Dark Age world, tried to come back, as they had in the past. The whole Western World must have had it in the backs of their minds for several centuries, that maybe the Romans (even if in the form of the Greek Empire of Byzantium) might manage a comeback, to everyone’s embarrassment. The conversion was very well managed, with a lengthy conference to discuss it. Incredibly, the full minutes of the conference have survived.

In fact, the Catholics did not have it all their own way. Recarred’s son Liuva succeeded him for a couple of years but was murdered by Witteric, the leader of the Arian faction. Witteric hung on for seven years before, he, in turn, was murdered (if that is the appropriate verb). But these people, unlike Recarred, were not Delaforces.

Until this time too, the original Spanish were still using the Roman legal system & the Visigoth legal system ran in parallel, which must have made for some interesting court cases but now, under Swinthila, theywere finally merged up into a common code.

Despite the Catholic conversion, the greatest period of Visigoth civilisation now began. Many gold artefacts and some of the churches still survive from this period.

A sixth century Visigoth Spanish Church

A Visigoth belt buckle in copper from this period

A Visigoth gold Fibula

A digression seems appropriate on the subject of language. The indigenous Spanish spoke a decaying form of Latin, which did not become the Spanish language as a literary medium for another half millennium. From the late 3rd century, the Goths had been largely bilingual: their original Germanic language & the local forms of Latin of the frontier regions they had long inhabited, even before their conquest of Gaul (or France). As a result, both modern French & Spanish still contain Visigothic ‘borrow’ words. They also had had a surprisingly high level of literacy. The frequent marriages betwen Visigoths, Ostrogoths & Franks were doubtless aided by their common use of latin derivatives. Roman influence had spread far beyond the formal frontiers of the empire, so those of you who are now saying that Patrick & Ken are just evolved barbarians, please repeat after us, ‘The Barbarians were not barbarous’. Both Gothic nations made some attempt to keep Roman civic institutions going as best they could, which is why some historians deprecate the use of the date 476 to mark the ‘Fall of the Roman Empire & the beginning of the Dark Ages’. In fact, Visigoth Spain was the most stable entity in Western Europe after the fall of Rome. (The Angles & Saxons who invaded England, however, had had far less contact with Rome, with the result that English is a derivative of German).

Recarred also had a relationship with Floresinda & their daughter Theodora married her half-brother Swinthila. They named their son Chindaswind ('son of Swind') (?610 - ?653) & he married Rekiberga (?630 - ?653). Chindaswind was an illiterate roughneck but he did have the wit to make efforts to reconcile the romanised Spanish subjects. His daughter Glasvinda carries part of our line away from the Kings of Spain. She married twice, firstly to Ardabast, a 2nd cousin, once removed, who was descended from the troublesome Hermenegilde. Two question marks hang over their son Ervik. Was his wife the grand-daughter of Suintila? She could not have been the daughter, as several sources have it unless she was the daughter of a young concubine, Theodora being too old at her birth and was it their daughter Alpaide who may have married Pepin the Fat, the great-grandfather of Charlemagne? However, another Alpaide, descended from Clothilde II, is also in the frame. Either way, Glasvinda herself is a Delaforce Granny because secondly, she married Froila Count of Cantabria. Their son Pedro (Pierre but maybe just Peter) ‘the Visigoth’ Duke of Cantabria (670 - ?) fathered Fruela Perez of Bardalia, Duke of Cantabria (?705 - 765?), who seems to have married someone called Gosendes, about whom it has not been possible to discover anything, including whether this is correct. Froila was also an ancestor of Sancho Mitarra, who we will meet in chapter 50.

Chindaswind King of the Visigoths 641-649 (?610 - 1/10/653) = Rekiberga (?630 - ?653)

Glasvinda BALT Princess Visigoth =

2 husbands

See the next tree below

Theodofred Duke of Cordova = Recilona Princess of Visigoths

Roderic last Spanish King of the Visigoths (?670 - 19/7/711 Battle of Guadalete) = Egilona

Princess Egilona = Abdul Aziz (abt 670 - abt 717) Governor of Egypt, descended from the Prophet Mohammed, see chapter 42

Recceswinth BALT King of the Visigoths 649-672 (? - 1/9/672) = Recceberga (? - 657)

No issue (was Recceswith, gay?) & several non-Baltic kings follow until Roderic (left) succeeded & made a mess of things.

Favila BALT Conde da Galiza = ?

Favila II Balthes Duke of Galiza = Luz de Cantabrie

see below

Recceswinth's crown

Glasvinda BALT Princess Visigoth = 1. Ardabast or Grego BALT (?611 Greece -?) back link

Ervik of the Visigoths (? - 15/11/687) = Liubigotona BALT (bfr 633 - ?) ?grand-daughter of Suintila Balthes above on this link

Alpaide (?654 - ?705) = Pepin the Fat see this link
May not have been this Alpaide

Cixillo = (681) Egica King of the Visigoths from 687 abdicates 702 (?620 - aft 702) 2nd wife

Sisebut Count of Coimbra (682 - aft 734) = ?


Some sources have Ervik & Liubigotona as Pedro's parents (below) but more have Froila & Glasvinde

= 2. Froila Count of Cantabria

Pedro (Peter) Duke of Cantabria fr 700 (?670 - ?) = ?

Alphonse I the Catholic, King of Asturies 739 (?693 - 757) = Hermesinde BALT (abt 710 - ?)

Fruela 'the Cruel' King of Asturias (722 - 768) = Munia Froliaz of Cantabria (see right)

Alphonso II the Chaste, King of Asturias 791 (759 - 20/3/842 Oviedo)

Froila des Asturias (? - 842)

Bermudo I 'the Deacon' King of the Asturias 789-791 (?740 - 797) = Ursinde Numila de Nunilon (?752 - 831)

see the next family tree

Fruela Perez of Bardalia Duke of Cantabria (?705 - ?765) = ? Gosendes

Roderic I Frolaz Count of Castille (abt 745 -?) = Sancha

see Chapter 50

Numabela of Cantabria (?740 - 785?) = (abt 770) Loup II (755 - 791) Duke of Gascony

See chapter 48

Munia Froilaz of Cantabria = Fruela King of Asturias, see left

Froilemba de Cantábria = Favila des Asturias

Vitulo de Cantábria = ?

Luz de Cantabrie = Fávila II BALT Duke of Galiza (?650 - ?) see above

Pélage (Pelayo) BALT Prince of the Astúrias (abt 680 - 737) = Gaudasia of the Galiza (?685 -?)

Fávila III BALT King of Asturies (? - 739 killed by a bear)

Hermesinde BALT (abt 710 - ?) = Alphonse I the Catholic, King of Asturies (?693 - 757)

see leftmost column

Bermudo I 'the Deacon' King of the Asturias fr 789-791 (?760 - 797) = Ursinde de Nunilon (?752 - ?)

Ramiro I King of the Asturias fr 842 (780 Oviedo - 1/2/850) = Urraca Paterna of Castile (?800 Galicia - ?)

Ordoño I King of Asturias fr 850 (bfr 830 - 27/5/866 Oviedo) = Nuña Mussadonna (830 - ?)

Leodegundis of Leon (845 - ?) = (858) García Iñiguez I King of Pamplona, Duke of Gascony fr 864 (?810 - ?882)

no issue

Alfonso III 'El Magno' King of Asturias & Galicia (848 - 20/12/910 Zamora) = Jimena Garces de Navarre (858 - ?)

see this link to chapter 51

4 others

Rodrigo II Count of Castile (?825 - 5/10/873) = ?

Diego Rodríguez Porcellos Count of Castile = Asura Ansurez

Gaston Count of Vierzo (?823 Galicia - ?) = ?Egilona (835 - ?)

Ermessende Gastonez (855 - ?) = Hermengilde Gutierrez (840 - ?)

Elvira Munia de Menendez (? - 921) = Ordoño II King of Leon (Galicia+Asturias) (873 - 924)

see chapter 51

Bermudo abdicated & returned to holy orders.

The Visigoth towers in the wall of Carcassonne, much renovated by Viollet-le-Duc

It was during Peter’s watch that the Moors invaded Spain in force in 711 & Cantabria represented a large slice of what was left of Visigoth (i.e. Christian-ruled) Spain. King Roderic was on one of the Visigoths occasional attempts to subdue the Basques when the Moors invaded & this was contributory to the Moors success, as Roderic had to make a forced march from Northern to Southern Spain.

Pelayo had been elected the Visigoth King of Asturias and it was he who gave the Moors their first serious bloody nose at the battle of Covadonga in 722. (This is the reason that the heir to the Spanish throne takes the name, Prince of Asturias). Pelayo is Pélage on the previous family tree but his position on this is disputed by some sources.

He was definitely the father of Ermesinde, the Queen of Alphonse the Catholic, so is a Delaforce ancestor whatever his disputed ancestry from Chindaswind.

The daughter of Fruela Perez & Gosendes was Numabela, who was married off to Loup II, Duke of Gascony. One can see the military/political point of this. Her cousin, Fruela the Cruel, consolidated the Kingdom of the Asturias but is not one of us, as his son & eventual successor, Alphonso the Chaste was, well, chaste.

That is the Delaforce Visigoths sorted out or is it?

We must back-track a little. King Roderic was the son of Chindaswind's son, Theodofred. His daughter Egilona married Abdul Aziz (abt 670 - abt 717) Governor of Egypt and who was descended from the Prophet Mohammed. This brought Abdul Aziz, who had been crowned King of Spain, under suspicion back in Damascus. Egilona may not have had much choice, as Roderic was the last Visigoth King of Spain, having been defeated, swept aside & slain by the advancing Moors, lead by Tarik idn Zayad, on July 19th 711 at the Battle of Guadalete, where he was also betrayed by his allies, the sons of the king he had killed to obtain the throne, hence the motto at the head of this chapter. The Moorish advance left little but the north coastal regions protected by the Cantabrian mountains from further Moorish depredations, see Pelayo above. It must be admitted that the Moors, abandoning the feverish Mohammedan compulsory conversion policies of earlier years, won friends by their tolerance of both Christians and Jews & by their taxation policies. Abdul & Egilona’s daughter Aisha married someone called Fortun. His father was another Goth, Cassius Fortunius of Meark. Aisha & Fortun’s son was Musa ibn Fortun, Chief of the Banu Qasi who we met in chapter 42.

The next chapter traces the Merovingian contribution to the Delaforce gene pool.

Things Gothic

It is strange how some ideas linger in history, well past their era. With the Moorish invasions, the Visigoths became indistiguishable from the Basques & surviving Iberians, having previously decided to sanction interbreeding. The Ostrogoths never kept any power after their defeat by Belisarius, although resistance continued for some years. Yet:-

1. At the Congress of Basel in 1431, the Swedish & Austrian delegates almost came to blows over who was the purer Goth.

2. ‘Gothic’, as a style of architecture has had its ups and downs ever since, with periodic revivals & some architects are still building 'Gothic' in 2005.

3. Some girls go around with heavy black make-up & call themselves Goths. Strangely, this has not suffered the ravages of changing fashion since it came in during the Sixties. There has been a continuous presence of some girl Goths since them.

4. We are all familiar with ‘Gothic’ novels, Victorian horror stories but why Gothic?

The best of French cooking is alleged to come from our area of South-Western France & our genealogical researches allowed us to confirm this. It is pleasant to tease the French that this is, in fact, Basque/Visigoth cookery.

Girl Goth of 2003

The Palace of Westminster - neo-Gothic architecture with attitude!

What was it about the Goths?

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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him
©1980-2005 Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry. All rights reserved Last revised 26/12/2005