Book Series Cursor Mundi, vol. 26

Visions of Unity after the Visigoths

Early Iberian Latin Chronicles and the Mediterranean World

Ksenia Bonch Reeves

  • Pages: 288 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2016

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56509-5
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57046-4
  • E-book
  • Available

This study of Iberian Latin chronicles composed between the mid-eighth and mid-thirteenth centuries brings into critical focus the period after the fall of the Visigoths as a time characterized by an intense search for models of social cohesion amid diversity and political fragmentation.


“By breaking from the perspective of Spain’s national historiography Reeves highlights the transregional intellectual connectivity of the texts’ authors. This insightful analysis propels her study and reinvigorates a nearly forgotten subject.” (Dillon Brian-Thomas Webster, in Anuario de Estudios Medievales, 48/1, 2018, p. 433)

“This is a fine piece of original scholarship which demonstrates an excellent understanding of previous works on the subject (…) Bonch Reeves’s addition to the scholarship on medieval Iberia will certainly give grounds for further debate, and what more could one ask form a monograph?” (Aengus Ward, in The Medieval Chronicle 12, 2019, p. 225-226)

“ [Die Autorin] geht sie mit großer Unbefangenheit an die Textüberlieferungen heran, greift ältere Überlegungen wieder auf und wagt neue und überraschende Thesen.” (Das Mittelalter, 23/1, 2018)



This study focuses on post-Visigothic Latin chronicles as testimonies of an intense search for models of stability and social cohesion on the Iberian Peninsula. As the principal source of Iberian political thought between the eighth and mid-thirteenth centuries, these texts have long been regarded from the perspective of modern-day national boundaries of a political entity called Spain. From the post-national perspective of Mediterranean studies, which considers Iberian centres of power in cultural contact with the broader world, post-Visigothic Iberian chronicle writing is seen as a cultural practice that seeks to reconcile the imperative of unity and stability with the reality of diversity and social change.

The book examines, firstly, the Andalusi Christian narrative of Visigothic political demise, which originated in Iberian dhimmī communities between the mid-eighth and mid-ninth centuries. Second, it explores the narrative of sovereignty, developed in Asturias-León from the late ninth century onwards. Finally, it examines the historiographical manipulation of both of these traditions in Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada’s Historia de rebus Hispanie (1243).

The ongoing contact between Iberian Latin textual communities and the broader Mediterranean is interpreted as central to both the development of Iberian historical mythology and its historiographical renovation.




A Note on Texts


After the Visigoths

Scope and Limits

Defining the Terms

The Mozarabic vs the Neo-Gothic

Spain or Iberia?

Rethinking Uniqueness

Approaching the Chronicle

Chapter 1. The Epic’s Poor Cousins: Mediaeval Iberian Latin Chronicles in Twentieth-Century Philology

Chapter 2. The Mozarabic Chronicles, Islam, and the Mediterranean Apocalyptic

The Mozarabic Historiographical Enigma

Visigothic Spain and the Mediterranean

Peripheral Visions

Narrating the Apocalypse

Chapter 3. Between the Emirate and the Holy Land: Eulogius of Córdoba, the Culture of Martyrdom, and the Ideology of Iberian Cohesion

Seeking Unity in Times of Flux

Mediterranean Connections

Eulogius’s Iberian Foundations

Eulogius’s Logical Impasse and its Aftermath

Chapter 4. Visigothic Law, Sovereignty, and North-Eastern Iberian Political Rivalry in the Asturian Chronicle Tradition

Questioning Asturias

Asturias and its Political Neighbours: A Crowded Landscape

Reges et leges: Defining Legitimacy

Lawful Narratives

Chapter 5. Revisiting the Reconquest in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Leonese Chronicles: A Holy War or a Just War?

Locating the Muslims in Leonese Chronicles

Framing the Reconquest: Visigothic Political Thought Prior to 711

Ideologies of the Reconquest in Asturias-León

Chapter 6. Toward a Philosophy of Unity in Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada’s Historia de rebus Hispanie

Castile: Toward a New Unity

Rodrigo and the Post-Gothic

Conclusion: In Search of Continuity

Select Bibliography