BMCR 2022.08.19

The Visigothic kingdom in Iberia

, The Visigothic kingdom in Iberia: construction and invention. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020. Pp. xiv, 183. ISBN 9780812252538 $79.95.
, , The Visigothic kingdom: the negotiation of power in post-Roman Iberia. Late antique and early medieval Iberia, 9. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020. Pp. 408. ISBN 9789463720632 €129,00.
, , Framing power in Visigothic society: discourses, devices, and artifacts. Late antique and medieval Iberia, 7. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020. Pp. 223. ISBN 9789463725903 €106,00.

Three recent books discuss power in the kingdom of the Visigoths, the so-called successor state that, by the seventh century, had claimed sovereignty over the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania (southern Gaul). While power, and especially the extent and limits of kingly power, has been a recurrent topic in Visigothic scholarship, these contributions intend to bring new frameworks and interpretations to this persistent question. The volumes, with sometimes divergent and sometimes convergent views on power in the Visigothic kingdom, offer a comprehensive view of the state of the field as well as new possible avenues of research.

The first book, The Visigothic Kingdom in Iberia: Construction and Invention, by Santiago Castellanos, provides a summary of the author’s prolific output as well as a succinct introduction to an important strand of Visigothic scholarship. As the title indicates, the book adopts the standard lexicon of state-building and especially nation-state-building historiography. In Castellanos’ view, the process of Visigothic state “construction” entailed rooting a new polity in the preexisting power structures of Roman Hispania, while “invention” refers to discourses that justified, among other things, why and how kings should be obeyed. For an Anglophone audience, this book represents an accessible synthesis of a particular strand of current Visigothic historiography. The chronological framework of the work is less ambitious than what the title suggests, since Castellanos focuses on the period until the reigns of Chindaswinth (r. 642-653) and Recceswinth (co-ruler 649-653, sole ruler 653-672), by which time the construction and invention of the kingdom would have been completed.

Castellanos begins with a narrative that has become, with few exceptions, the standard interpretation of the fifth and early sixth centuries. According to the author, the end of the Roman empire in the Iberian Peninsula unleashed centrifugal forces and the de facto independence of local communities. Castellanos notes dramatic changes in the archaeological record: abandonment of villas and urban public spaces, overall impoverishment, construction of Christian buildings, occupation of fortified hilltops, and new peasant habitat (interpreted as villages). Among the ruins of the old and the foundation of the new, “the Gothic kingdom would be constructed, and its elites would establish its ideological architecture” (pp. 7-8) Also following the standard historiography in the field, Castellanos describes the rise of the Visigothic kingdom as a slow process of territorial conquest. Visigothic kings did not fully achieve unified territorial sovereignty until the reign of Leovigild (r. 568/9-586/7)—except for a few Byzantine enclaves on the southeastern coast of the peninsula, brought into the Visigothic fold in the early seventh century.

Most of the book, however, is devoted to the post-Leovigild era. Castellanos presents power in crude terms, as the relentless domination of landowners over peasants. He has no doubts about the chasm between these two groups. Differences between rural laborers in terms of legal status and material conditions paled in relation to the unremitting inequalities of wealth and social standing between peasants and landowners. In Castellanos’s words, the latter were “magnates” and “great proprietors” in the economic sphere and “lordship” holders in social terms—domini as well as patroni. To be sure, Castellanos accepts the possibility of freer peasants in newly-formed village communities, although he points out that “the overall impression is that the magnates were not completely left out of this process” (p. 41). Most of the rural population would have lived under some form of “servitude”, regardless of the legal status (free, freed, or unfree).

This socio-economic relationship preceded the “construction” of the kingdom, which eventually created a political system “anchored” in the magnates’ economic and social power. Indeed, Castellanos considers that the Visigothic kingdom’s main functions of taxation, justice, and war worked as ways of assuaging these local powers. Kings wielded what Castellanos (and other Visigothic scholars) call “theoretical power”—a power that could not exist without the collaboration/support of these so-called magnates. Occasionally, the “central power” would try to limit these “local powers”, usually through property confiscations. Yet readers are left with the impression that this was a lost battle for the monarchy. Instead, kings had to persuade magnates (bishops included) to collaborate by granting land, office, and military exploits. Ultimately, Castellanos argues, the process involved equal amounts of imposition and negotiation.

This story, however, represents half of the picture. Castellanos believes that negotiation with magnates was not enough to construct the kingdom. This process also required a powerful “ideological invention”. This invention relied on two unifying discourses, one related to religion and the other to ethnicity. The argument runs as follows: the monarchy and the church sealed an alliance, as it were, after the conversion of Reccared to Nicene Christianity. Bishops and monks became the main producers and transmitters of a new message that reflected a unified kingdom based on a new reconstruction (or “invention”) of the past. Kings were appointed by God to rule over an orthodox Christian people. Regardless of any other difference, this people lived under the rule of a Gothic king, and they became fully identified with a Gothic nation: the land of Hispania, the nation (gens) of the Goths, and the kingdom became one single category. These ideas were expressed, above all, by Isidore of Seville, who, in Castellanos’s opinion, produced a coherent historical and politico-theological discourse. Although most, if not all, the sources available were consumed by the elites, Castellanos maintains that the message spread widely beyond the circle of kings and magnates through different means, such as sermons.

Castellanos’s book offers a two-tiered power system. On the one hand, stark socio-economic domination. On the other hand, a give-and-take relationship between two actors: a monarchy that, with the invaluable help of the ecclesiastical intelligentsia, made more power claims that it could enforce; and a group of magnates who seized the institutional and economic opportunities offered by the newly-unified state. Power was rooted in material realities and clothed in ideas (or ideology) that disguised or distorted such realities. This structure had geographical dimensions (central and local powers) which can be mapped from the charts of settlement patterns: the central powers were in Toledo and, via proxy authorities, in cities. Local powers were in cities and hilltops (castella). Rural workers sometimes escaped these power dynamics though they often became engulfed by them. Overall, the book offers a condensed version of a significant branch of Visigothic historiography, to which Castellanos has profusely contributed over many decades.

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Two recent collective volumes also tackle the question of power in the Visigothic kingdom. The first of these volumes, The Visigothic Kingdom: The Negotiation of Power in Post-Roman lberia, collects papers from a conference organized in October 2018 in Hamburg by Paulo Pachá and Sabine Panzram, who also co-edited the book. Four sections structure this 400-page volume, in addition to a prologue on the fourth century by Laurent Brassous and an epilogue on the Arab conquest by Julián M. Ortega Ortega, written from an archaeological perspective. The titles of these sections map the historiographical scaffolding that also informed Castellano’s book: “Concepts of Central and Local Power”, “Power, Identity, and Ethnicity”, “Representations of Power”, and “Power and Church”. It would be impossible to summarize the volume’s twenty chapters. In what follows, I try to provide as much content coverage as possible while stressing the arguments that relate more directly to the question of power.

The conclusion of the book offers a programmatic summary of the project. Written by one of the editors, Paulo Pachá, it emphasizes that the volume intends to challenge the model of a weakening Visigothic state, which relates to the ideas of feudalization or “proto-feudalization” that characterized earlier Visigothic scholarship. Indeed, the notion of a conflict between monarchy and aristocracy, in which the latter emerged as the winner by absorbing much of public authority, was a powerful strand of twentieth century Visigothic historiography. Yet it was certainly not the only available position, and other historians and archaeologists embraced the more “Romanist” (or “Byzantine”) view of Visigothic society. Be that as it may, the book presents itself as a corrective for an important strand of past historiography. The contributions primarily focus only on the “top tier” power structure—that is, powers central and local.

Not all chapters necessarily address the question posed by the authors explicitly, though in general they assume the idea of two foci of power—local and central. This is the case even in discussions on ethnic and other forms of identity. The question of identity and power has formed part of Visigothic scholarship for a considerable time. Earlier Visigothic historians tended to present the relationship between identity and power in unambiguous terms: a Visigothic aristocracy that took the reins of the monarchy and office-holding, and a “local” Roman (or Hispano-Roman) population. Moreover, until the mid-twentieth century historians were relatively certain what they meant by “Goth” or “Roman”. Yet the consensus fell apart in the second half of the twentieth century, after the contributions of ethnogenesis studies, the general impact of the cultural turn, and other theoretical approaches towards race, ethnicity, and identity more generally.

Traditional topics persist. A group of chapters returns to the enduring discussion on whether adornments (mostly brooches and buckles) in post-fifth century cemeteries indicate the presence of a “foreign” group and whether ethnicity is archaeologically traceable. Two chapters by Jaime Vizcaíno Sánchez and Luis García Blánquez on a rural site in southwestern Spain and by Rafael Barroso Cabrera on the episcopal see of Segovia assume that these adornments reflect the presence of Visigothic or “Germanic” peoples. Javier Arce is more skeptical about identifying Visigothic presence through archaeology. Although he does believe that there was indeed a Gothic migration en masse after 531, Arce states that Goths were culturally undistinguishable from Romans—and therefore impossible to identify from burials or other material remains. Christoph Eger provides a detailed summary of the debate over cemeteries and poses a series of questions to move the debate forward. According to Eger, the sudden change in material culture (whether it happened in the mid-fifth century, as is traditionally assumed, or precedes the “barbarian” conquest, as recently argued) demands an explanation, which none of the current interpretative models provides satisfactorily.

Perhaps more directly related to the discussion of power, the distinction between “central” and “local” identities informs some chapters, at least in part. For instance, Herwig Wolfram sees Gothic identity as a contingent form of the identity of “magnates and their clans” (p. 144), who needed kings (though not necessarily Gothic kings) to preserve their social standing. Yet Manuel Koch’s chapter on ethnicity in the seventh-century hagiographical collection Lives of the Father of Mérida suggests that the kingdom of Toledo gave “Gothic identity” its meaning. Gothic identity did not relate to a religious (“Arian”), professional (military), or territorial (kingdom-wide) category. Instead, “Goth” meant elite identity, while the Lives reserved “Roman” for Byzantine characters. In Koch’s terms, Gothus was “a socio-political label.” (p. 159). It was the result of a presumptive process of conquest and the formation of a new “central power” that replaced the old Roman structures. While Visigothic identity appears to be primarily related to the “central” power, Koch’s chapter ends by asking about the possible role of this identity in local contexts. Javier Martínez Jiménez provides a tentative answer: Gothic as well as Roman identities held little relevance at the local level. Instead, Martínez Jiménez maintains that civic identity mattered more than other forms of identity at the local level because it provided individuals with emotional and social attachments to their physical environment. Martínez Jiménez sees evidence of this civic identity in the development of local martyrial cults and urban infrastructure. The author also believes that the monarchy recognized civic identities, and “in exchange for royal protection and honours, cities had to contribute to the kingdom with taxes and soldiers” (p. 206).

Other chapters directly or indirectly explore the relationship between power structures and practices in relation to Roman models and Christian ideas. Figures like Martin of Braga, Markus Mülke claims in a chapter on this monk-bishop, participated in a literary culture that promoted both classical and Christian ideals. Lauro Olmo Enciso analyzes the city of Reccopolis, the ex-novo foundation by king Leovigild in the southern Castillian plateau. The chapter pays special attention to the so-called palace complex, a large construction which, in Olmo Enciso’s opinion, had symbolic (largely imitative of imperial models), administrative, and fiscal functions. Reccopolis stands as part of the “ideological project” of Leovigild and his immediate successors to control the aristocracy and the church. So tightly was Reccopolis connected to the Visigothic state that its urban decline in the second half of the seventh century serves as a proxy for an alleged general crisis of the Visigothic state during the same period. Ruth Pliego studies the iconography of numismatic evidence and concludes that the images show a transition from romanitas to Christianitas. In all cases, the model for Visigothic coinage lies in the Roman and, later, eastern Roman empire. Original features do appear, including specific types of royal crowns, fleur-de-lis decorations, and the introduction of Christ pantocrator before the Byzantines adopted it. Pliego stresses the qualitative change that the “majestic Christ” coinage under Erwig (r. 680-687) represented, which she relates to the king’s anti-Jewish policies. Michael J. Kelly notes a somewhat similar transformation in his chapter on the Liber Iudiciorum (“Book of Judgements”), the legal compilations of ancient and new laws under kings Recceswinth (r. 653-672) and Erwig. Kelly maintains that these two compilations convey distinct historical narratives. Recceswith’s recension of the Liber Iudiciorum intended to suppress the role of earlier kings as lawgivers and present its author (and his father Chindaswinth) as the promoters of justice, and “Catholic justice” in particular, in order to legitimize their would-be dynasty before the kingdom’s religious establishment and subjects in general. Erwig’s recension, however, shifted the focus to the centrality of the (Erwigian) law in the kingdom as well as its historical-providential dimensions. All these chapters emphasize the shift in communicating power through time. “Central” power becomes manifest in buildings, images, and texts, in which the language of power representation changed over time, with a growing emphasis on Christianity while imperial (Roman or Byzantine) discourses slowly faded.

Other chapters propose in a more explicit manner models of interactions between central and local power—and more particularly, ecclesiastical actors. Isabel Sánchez Ramos and Jorge Morín de Pablos approach this question from the perspective of material culture, and monumental architecture in particular. In their study church buildings in Toledo, the kingdom’s capital, and its environments, the authors argue that the Visigothic monarchy is certainly visible in the city through royal interventions in ecclesiastical and ceremonial infrastructure. It is equally visible in the countryside since, they posit, rural churches and monasteries were part of the kingdom’s administrative structure (this solid administration could explain, for instance, the military capacities of the state that Sebastian Steinbach describes in his chapter on Julian of Toledo’s History of Wamba). Earlier, Paulo Pachá rejected the idea of an opposition between central and local powers as well as the idea of cooperation between these two powers. Pachá offers what he considers a third model: the idea that elites were “bearers of both local and central powers” (p. 105). The evidence he offers is the regular attendance of bishops (and especially bishops of important sees) to the councils of Toledo, which, Pachá argues, were the main places for kings and local powers to coordinate their priorities. His ideas also resonate with Javier de Santiago Fernández’s study of epigraphy, in which the latter affirms that inscriptions reveal collaboration and integration between both civil and ecclesiastical elites. Jamie Wood discusses politics from a rather different perspective. Wood mistrusts any approach that assumes a unified episcopacy throughout the kingdom. Instead of being solid representatives of “local powers”, bishops depended upon two sets of factors: local, civic strife (which could turn virulent in Visigothic cities) and external authority (royal or imperial). Certain bishops managed to turn this fragile situation in their favor, by claiming that they protected the whole community against internal and external threats. Yet, Wood argues that we should not take such claims at face value: episcopal power was highly contingent.

In sum, the volume discusses what the editors define as power negotiation from different vantage points. Most of the contributions approach this issue from the perspective of identity, including ethnic, civic, and religious identities. Each chapter, however, provides a slightly different take on how these identities related to the local-central dynamics described by the editors.  In most cases, these identities appeared as discursive productions that emanated from the “central power”. In a few instances, however, the “local” perspective dominates in the analysis.  The chapters also reflect another take on “negotiation”, applying it to the relationship between local and central powers. These range from a full embrace of structural stability to case studies that stress contingency and volatility.  Although not all contributions explicitly embrace the volume’s framework, most chapters agree that the central power mostly succeeded in conveying messages and, likely, in asserting power.

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The third volume under review, Framing Power in Visigothic Society. Discourses, Devices, and Artifacts, collects seven essays under the direction of Eleonora Dell’Elicine and Céline Martin. Unlike in Panzram and Pachá’s book, the model preferred by the editors is not “negotiation” but “framing”. By this, the authors appear to mean the contexts in which “central” power operated. Indeed, the introduction argues that power was “central” yet was not a given. It existed in a context of overlapping systems of authority, which church and monarchy, as it were, appropriated. The programmatic scope of the book is not necessarily to redefine power relations in the Visigothic kingdom, but rather “to provide an overview of the potential new insights into power in Visigothic society” (p. 10). The volume pursues this task by looking at discrete textual and material examples at all levels of society, from peasant houses to royal legislation.

Rural power structures and relations receive particular attention in two chapters. Carlos Tejerizo describes the rural landscape of the Visigothic period to argue that peasant villages emerged in the Iberian Peninsula after the fifth century. Changes in rural habitat such as sunken cabins and small storage silos or rural necropoleis reveal the presence of rural villages that form “networks” of peasant settlement. In Tejerizo’s mind, these villages developed their own communal identity despite internal differences in wealth, which conforms to the “peasant mode of production”, in Chris Wickham’s view. Nevertheless, Tejerizo concludes with an invitation to consider the impact of the large property on peasant communities. To some extent, Eleonora Dell’Elicine does precisely that when she considers the social continuum between peasantry and landlords. Discussing anti-idolatry legislation, she argues that these laws do not refer to traditionalist cults of the Roman era but rather cultic practices of natural elements in the countryside. Dell’Elicine opines that these cults underpinned social structures by creating common bonds between people of different statuses—slave, free, and even landowners. Rural cults created alternative forms of understanding rural space, which clashed with centralized forms of organizing the territory.

Four chapters pay attention to texts and power. Jacques Elfassi summarizes the direct influence of Augustine in Isidore of Seville’s texts. He argues that Isidore’s use of Augustine’s writings should not necessarily be understood as part of an ideological program, but it was also perfectly possible that the bishop of Seville borrowed from Augustine for erudite or purely aesthetic reasons. Yet Elfassi admits that many borrowings somewhat altered the original meanings of the Augustinian texts, a conscious strategy by Isidore to “update” Augustine’s ideas and, thus, be more faithful to Augustine. In contrast, Dolores Castro’s chapter offers a reading more akin to power agendas of texts. In her opinion Isidore’s exegetical approach, which followed Augustine’s De doctrina Christiana, represents a tactic to control the biblical message and, therefore, assert episcopal authority. But Castro also maintains that Isidore’s message was equally directed towards those in charge of instructing Christians on the basic tenets of their faith.

As one moves higher in the political hierarchy, texts also combine power claims with practical needs. Céline Martin studies the use of exile as punishment in Visigothic legal and canonical legislation and argues that exile replaced death penalty as a punishment for political and religious crimes. Such change implied a slight transformation of punishment, from an idea based on retribution and deterrence to an approach that considered “reform”, since exile could always be (and frequently was) reverted. This modification of the law, however, did not necessarily replace the normal judicial practice. In Martin’s opinion, it brought normative texts in line with what probably was occurring on the ground. It also allowed the king to display piety and clemency as part of his royal persona. Margarita Vallejo finds a similar goal of conveying power claims in the correspondence between king Sisebut and the Byzantine patricius Caesarius within the broader context of Visigothic-Byzantine relations. Her chapter shows that written agreements were only one part of a much broader set of diplomatic skills, which included the development of trust between the parties and expressing an awareness of the interlocutor’s priorities (for instance, the Byzantines’ recognition of Sisebut’s piety). Diplomacy did not prevent military conflict, which ultimately relied on the military relation of forces. Yet letters show both parties’ attentiveness to legal arguments and ceremonial niceties, which eventually transmitted ideas on power.

Instead of a model of confrontation/alliance or negotiation, Dell’Elicine and Martin’s volume seems to propose the ways in which the “central power” (or perhaps, simply power structures) operated on the basis of appropriating microscopic power dynamics and claims in the countryside, literary and ecclesiastical communities, and kingdom-wide institutions. In their intellectual program, the authors do not take agents as the starting point, but sources (or “discourses, devices, and artifacts”). Rather than construction and invention, or negotiation, they propose framing power in Visigothic society as a myriad of smaller fragments upon (or through?) which state power rested and operated.

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The topic of power, and especially the relationship between central and other “powers” or practices, is not unique to Visigothic historiography, but rather common to almost all late antique regional fields, both imperial and post-imperial. However, in Visigothic historiography this question is ubiquitous. The division between “central” and “local” power, or between state (and “church”) and other forms of power permeates different subfields, including archaeology. In part, historical and political reasons explain this emphasis. Especially in Spanish historiography, the process of modern Spanish nation state-building in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries informs the approach towards power (readers could find a commendable overview of this question in Sabine Panzram’s introduction to her co-edited volume). One could also add the interest of earlier generations of scholars in the quarrel between kings and elites to explain the fall of the kingdom in 711 to the Arab-Berber conquerors.

There is, however, a more immediate reason for framing the debate on power in these terms, a reason that relates to the peculiar nature of the documentary evidence. As Visigothic historians frequently lament, they need to make do with sources that represent a “central” perspective, if by that term we mean kingship and court, general councils, royal-centered chronicles, and literary works by authors related to the kingdom’s capital, Toledo. Exceptions are few, such as a few of non-Toledan hagiographies, regional councils, or a handful of charters, letters, and slate documents. The books reviewed here express the difficulties scholars face when writing about historical actors and practices other than the monarchy and church councils. It is possible to ask questions, but the answers are elusive, incomplete, and tentative. Historians naturally mistrust “central” documents, but this mistrust is a double-edged sword. Documents “from the center” made claims about how social hierarchies operated (or should operate) as well as conflicts across these hierarchies. Should we believe the latter but not the former? In other words, do sources distort reality when they affirm power hierarchies but become transparent when they describe conflicts? Moreover, as Ruth Pliego reminds us in her chapter on recent developments in Visigothic coinage (in Framing Power…), scholars work with a set of sources that depend on fortuitous survival and can produce distortions if we take them as representative of wider trends. Visigothic historians navigate these and similar questions with extreme caution, but the answer predictably varies from scholar to scholar.

Defining the contours of “local powers” is far from simple and reconstructing them often depends on finding traces in “central” sources in the same way an astronomer might reconstruct a meteorite based on the crater it left on a planet’s surface. Sources offer few hints about the world of lay elites and sub-elite groups. We know little about the landowning class beyond what laws and ecclesiastical sources are willing to tell us. To be sure, a handful of sixth-century charters provide information about large properties, but how much we can generalize from there is left to the historians’ discretion. Reconstructing what non-episcopal actors thought of Christian writers’ ideas on authority and identity is an uphill battle. Even when we do have a source, such as the writing of the ascetic impresario Valerius of Bierzo, we have little else with which to compare it. The works discussed above show both the limits to how much we can recreate and the courage and imagination that takes to bring that world into life. Historians often need to take a leap of faith from power claims to power dynamics. These leaps of faith, in the end, produce different forms of models and theories, of which these three volumes are good examples.

As is bound to happen with works of such extensive and diverse coverage, readers are unlikely to agree with every argument they contain. A combined review of these works, however, illustrates how unsettled perennial questions of Visigothic historiography remain. Above all, these books bear witness to the tenacity and the historical imagination with which scholars must approach a particularly difficult set of primary sources if they want to investigate power structures and dynamics within society at large. All three volumes, to a different extent, seek to theorize the relationship between central power and society, including local forms of domination. In doing so they contribute to a distinctive tone of Visigothic scholarship in matters related to power.

Authors and titles: Panzram and Pachá, The Visigothic kingdom: the negotiation of power in post-Roman Iberia.

1. The Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo: Current Perspectives on the Negotiation of Power in Post-Roman Iberia, by Sabine Panzram

The Day Before – Prologue
2. Late Roman Spain, by Laurent Brassous

Concepts of Central and Local Power
3. The Visigoths in Hispania: New Perspectives on their Arrival and Settlement, by Javier Arce
4. The Early Visigothic Presence in Southeastern Hispania: New Finds from a Rural Settlement in the Carthaginiensis, Senda de Granada (Murcia), by Jaime Vizcaíno Sánchez and Luis Alberto García Blánquez
5. Beyond Central and Local Powers: The General Councils of Toledo and the Politics of Integration, by Paulo Pachá
6. King Wamba’s Campaign against dux Paulus (673): Narration of Military and Royal Power in the Late Visigothic Kingdom, by Sebastian Steinbach

Power, Identity, and Ethnicity
7. How to Stay Gothic without a Gothic King, by Herwig Wolfram
8. Who are the Visigoths? Concepts of Ethnicity in the Kingdom of Toledo: A Case Study of the Vitas Sanctorum Patrum Emeretensium, by Manuel Koch
9. The Visigothic Kingdom – A Kingdom without Visigoths? The Debate on the Ethnic Interpretation of the Early Medieval Cemeteries on the Iberian Peninsula, by Christoph Eger
10. Local Citizenships and the Visigothic Kingdom, by Javier Martínez Jiménez

Representations of Power
11. Recopolis: The Representation of Power in a Complex Landscape, by Lauro Olmo Enciso
12. Figura et potentia: Coin and Power in the Visigothic Kingdom, by Ruth Pliego
13. The Liber Iudiciorum: A Visigothic Literary Guide to Institutional Authority and Self-Interest, by Michael J. Kelly
14. Epigraphic Habit and Power in Visigothic Hispania, by Javier de Santiago Fernández

Power and Church
15. Between Throne and Altar: Political Power and Episcopal Authority in the Beginning of the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo, by Rafael Barroso Cabrera
16. Ecclesiastical Landscapes in the Visigothic Capital and Countryside of Toledo (Spain), by Isabel Sánchez Ramos and Jorge Morín de Pablos
17. Ancient Classics and Catholic Tradition through Time and Space, by Markus Mülke
18. Conflicts over Episcopal Office in Southern Hispania: Comparative Perspectives from Visigothic and Byzantine Territories, by Jamie Wood

The Day After – Epilogue
19. In a Savage Kingdom (regnum efferum)? Evaluating the Islamic Conquest of Spania from the Archaeological Record, by Julián M. Ortega Ortega
20. Conclusions and Future Perspectives, by Paulo Pachá

Authors and titles: Dell’Elicine and Martin, Framing power in Visigothic society: discourses, devices, and artifacts.

1. Texts, Discourses, and Devices: Reading Visigothic Society Today, by Eleonora Dell’ Elicine and Céline Martin
2. Presence of Augustine of Hippo in Isidore of Seville: Some Provisional Remarks, by Jacques Elfassi
3. The Bishop and the Word. Isidore of Seville and the Production of Meaning, by Dolores Castro
4. Unearthing Peasant Societies: Historiography and Recent Contributions in the Archaeology of the Rural World during Visigothic Times, by Carlos Tejerizo
5. Excolentes sacra fontium vel arborum. Pagan Cults, Kinship, and Regimes of Sacralization in the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo, by Eleonora Dell’ Elicine
6. Ervig and Capital Penalties: The Way of Exile, by Céline Martin
7. ‘Put All Your Trust in Ansemundus’. A Look at Distrust in Visigothic-Byzantine Diplomatic Relations, by Margarita Vallejo
8. Visigothic Currency: Recent Developments and Data for Its Study, by Ruth Pliego