Rivista italiana
Agenzia Informazioni
e Sicurezza Interna





Italiano Tutte le lingue Cerca i titoli o i testi con
GNOSIS 3/2005
The Ethical and juridical characteristics of the meeting-collision of a civilization
The ‘Reconquista’ of Spain


What was the ‘Reconquista’? What is the significance to be attributed to this term in the Spanish historical context? The question is very controversial indeed. The Reconquista has been seen and described in tones of true epic poetry, as if it had been a great national endeavour directed towards the ousting of the Mohammedan invaders. In this long and relentless war, the Christian People ‘fought until the eventual expulsion of the enemies of Christianity was finally obtained’ – as if it had been a crusade on Spanish territories. It has also been maintained that, during the course of this period, a true and genuine fusion of the three cultures had been achieved. Something which did not impeded, however, the diffusion of religious tensions, hatred and distrust among the different groups. It should not seem strange to us that these kinds of romanticized manifestations are based on historic facts, when you consider the inadequacy of means and lack of scientific rigor, which, until around the middle of the 20th century, had characterized the historiography; even less can we be surprised over such romanticized versions, if we consider how much romanticism prevailed in the work of historical construction in Spain in the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks to the work of people like Washington Irving (1) , for example, a phenomenon that has contributed much in creating a romantic image of the history of Spain.

When we find ourselves before the necessity of having to interpret the events of Spain, from the battle of Guadalete to the expulsion of Islam from Spanish territory, we must keep in mind that we are referring to a real historical experience in which the juridical and political categories flow together and thanks to this, an interpretation can be reached.


The ‘Reconquista’ was not a casual historical process; nothing to do with the spiritual world, but corresponds to a case of accusation, relations between cause and effect, very similar, if not equal, to juridical relations. An act considered unjust by a community characterized by a substantially developed ethical and juridical code, western christian, and followed by a reaction which re-established the shattered juridical order. If the moslems, as we have seen, invaded Spain through means regarded as particularly disloyal in those times – broken pacts, betrayed trust - an outraged people, in other words, the native Hispanics felt juridically authorized to re-establish the smashed order and throw the treacherous invador out of the community.
Seen this way, the ‘Reconquista’ becomes an ethnic need, a juridic necessity, that is, something which is much more than a casual historical happening.
Thus, when one speaks of the ‘Reconquista’, it is necessary to speak of lawful or unlawful domination, since we are speaking of – according to the evaluations of the epoch – the possession of lands and the legitimacy of such possession, which is manifested in the defence of same, as Carl Schmitt tells us.

The facts

With the death of Witiza (February, 710) (2) , a group of his followers proposed one of his sons as successor to the throne – something which involved the breaking of the traditional selective system of the Visigoth monarchy. This possible break with tradition must have caused anxiety to a certain part of the nobility which, perceiving the damage it would do to the juridical tradition relative to the succession to the throne, arranged that the Senatus refuse such an innovative proposal, with the consequence that, according to what was established by the traditional juridical system, the noble Rodrigo was elected the new monarch. Sanchez Albornoz, well versed in this part of Spanish history, describes in the following way, the climate in which these events took place: “Since the highest position of the magistrates was obtained by election, the Goth faction fought ferociously to get one of their own elected. Intrigues, tricks and hatred. An atmosphere of civil war” (3) . The choice had fallen on Rodrigo, Duke of Betica and it would seem, a renowned man of arms.
But the throne was already occupied by the Vitisans who had to be thrown out by force… the noble clans clash once again.. it was obvious that the clan who held power feared being overthrown after twenty years of government and, therefore, oppose Rodrigo, elected, without a doubt, by the adversary side. Civil war breaks out. The Arab chronicles refer the news of the strife. The ex-duke of Betica triumphs. But the Vitisans do not accept defeat and seek revenge” (4) .
It was in just this climate of instability, present in Spain in the years 710 and 711, that the Vitisans hatched a plot to wrest the power and the throne from Rodrigo, a plot which, although secret, induced the supporters of the sons of Witiza to adopt an outwardly submissive (5) manner towards his authority.The situation is that characterized by the scarred and stressed social climate of continued violent opposition between the two noble factions who wanted, at all costs, the supreme power - the throne. To all this must be added, as l’Orlandis (6) mentions, the serious economic crisis which was developing at the end of the reign; a situation caused principally by two factors: a) persistent and grave epidemics (7) b) shrinking foreign commerce, caused by Moslem occupation of the Near East and North Africa. Finally, the reign was stricken by a strong religious crisis. All of this is decisive in explaining the prevailing situation when what is erroneously defined as the Islamic invasion of Spain, took place; as Menendez Pidal rightly says, this climate, that triggered a civil war, originated with the furious favouritism in the struggle between the factions of the Chindasvinto and Wamba families (8) .
While the peninsula was afflicted by such contensions, the Moslems had been able, with great difficulty, to reach the Straits of Gibralter where the City of Ceuta, commanded by the so-called Oibá, Urbán, Ulyán, Alyán or Julián (9) (protagonist of many exaggerated legends) was putting up a strenuous defence. Julian, who seemed to sympathize with the Vitisans, deduced, perhaps on the advice of the chiefs of the insurrection and in view of the loss of Vitisan power in the peninsula, that ‘cordial’ commercial relations with that people, recently arrived at the frontier, could be ‘useful’, at the right moment, to recuperate the throne for his side.
Probably, this situation encouraged Julian and Tarik to reach a mutually advantageous agreement (10) , which was in line with the political expectations of the Vitisan faction, who were, undoubtedly, in favour of closer relations with the Berbers, in order to ensure their help in case, as was probable, the moment came to fight for the crown (11) while the Moslems would have gained the sympathy of the Visigoth power.
To depose Rodrigo, the Vitisans counted on the possibility of obtaining the support of the Moslems who were established on the other side of the Straits, – which, in those times, was not a novelty for the Gothic world, accustomed in its political- military adventures to rely on mercenaries, as they had done on many other occasions.
It seems very probable that the Vitisans had asked the Moslems to be their allies in the insurrection they were organizing which was planned to terminate, as it did, in an open confrontation between the two Visigoth groups – let us call them Vitisans and Rodrigists – and, therefore, in a civil war. We maintain that this request for help is amply verified, even if the sources are limited and not always very clear or explicit. Many illustrious Medieval scholars are of the same opinion. Among them are Sanchez Albornoz (12) , Menendez Pidal (13) , Eduardo Saavedra (14) José Orlandis (15) , García Moreno (16) , Luis G. De Valdeavellano (17) . Also authors such as García De Cortázar (18) and E. Lévi Provençal (19) , are in agreement with this hypothesis, together with other authors too numerous to list.
In an exhausting attempt to regain political power, that is, the crown, the Vitisans did not consider the great risk they were running and with the aprioristic conviction that the Moslems would have respected promises and would have been content with the agreed spoils, they were not able to calculate the danger to which they were exposing the territorial integrity of the monarchy (20) .
While in the South, a plot was being hatched to depose Rodrigo and the landing of auxiliary troops was being prepared, in the North the revolt of the Gascon was felt. Already, on other occasions this people had risen against the central power and on this occasion, participation of the Vitisan party must be suspected. Without a doubt, anything which served to distract the attention of the Monarch from what was being plotted against him in the South, favoured the interests of the Vitisans. It is, therefore, no surprise that it was, indeed, the Vitisans who encouraged the revolt in the North.
It is very normal that who prepares a coup d’etat tries to distract the attention of the intended target by creating other problems in the country and losing no opportunity to reveal real or fictitious plots against him, thereby creating a general situation of unease.
Such details have not escaped the attention of Eduard Saavedra, who recounts the following in his Study on the Arab Invasion of Spain: “The agitators worked with the objective of creating as many difficulties as possible for the king and were successful in achieving the attack by the Franks at the Navarra frontier at the beginning of the Spring, 711, thus provoking the Gascon uprising and obliging Rodrigo to rush to that region with the veterans of his army. This situation presented the perfect moment to enter the Peninsula……” (21) .
During the night of the 27th April, while Rodrigo was fighting the Gascon in the North, Tarik, leading the auxiliary troops, landed at the Rock of Calpe. Four small boats belonging, it seems, to Julian, were used for this expedition and obviously, many trips were necessary to transfer from Ceuta approximate 7,000 men (22) who were awaited by the Vitisan faction on the other shore. Within two or three weeks, Rodrigo received information of what was happening in the South and once aware of the presence of foreigners on Spanish soil, he ordered his entire army to join him at Cordoba, together with his faithful followers and those who had plotted his dethronement. These last would, subsequently,face him on the battlefield (23) .
At last, on 19th July, the two armies faced each other on the shores of the Guadalete – according to some sources, the location was the shores of the Lake of Janda, but whatever place it was, the fact is that this event was seen in the eyes of the Hispanic-Visigoth world (24) as a ‘juridical injustice’. For several days, the two sides observed one another and with various skirmishes, tested their respective strengths. It is assumed that during the course of these days, the Vitisans lost no time in inciting those who were still faithful to Rodrigo (25) , to defect; thus increasing their own forces to the detriment of Rodrigo’s.
From the beginning of the battle, the Vitisans assumed their role of organizers of the insurrection, placing themselves in front ofRodrigo on the field, so that he could recognize that part of the Gothic nobility who were contrary to his nomination and impatient to seize power, at any cost (26) .
If these facts are analysed, we can observe the following elements and circumstances: two well-defined groups are identified – two groups who are fighting ferociously with any means to gain the throne; one of these, the Vitisans, have organized a coup d’etat against the other, actually bringing it onto the ground which they would have conquered. These facts, therefore, are to be considered a ‘civil war’ (27) from which, according to elementary logic, one of the groups would have to come out a winner – let us remember, both Visigoths, or Hispanics – the only contenders, defenders of a different royal dynasty and, obviously, belonging to the same ethnic-cultural identity, which could only be the Hispanic.
But contrary to any prognosis, the story did not finish in this way. After a hard and bloody battle, Don Rodrigo’s army was defeated and accordingly to history, Rodrigo was killed in battle (28) . However, his body was not found. If it had been found, with the proof that the throne was vacant and the possibility that Achila would have occupied it, the campaign would have finished, the auxiliary troops would no longer have been necessary, and with the spoils, would have returned to Africa. But the fact that the body of Rodrigo was not found and the fear that he may still be alive, induced the troops to continue the campaign and make towards Toledo; in fact, since the followers of Rodrigo continued to fight in all those places where they were in the majority, The Vitisans had to entertain the idea that Rodrigo was still alive and, therefore, it was necessary to count on the allied forces up to the end (29) . There must still have been many soldiers at Ecija where another bloody battle took place,once again, won by the Vitisans. After this 2nd victoria, thanks to the conspicuous loss of Rodrigo’s troops, the advance to Toledo advanced rapidly.
Once in Toledo, the Vitisans expected, as had been agreed, that one of the sons of Witiza, probably Achila, would have been proclaimed king. However, perceiving the betrayal of the Moslems (30) , who had no intention of respecting the agreement, Tarik proclaimed the sovereignty of the Caliphe of Damascus, also because he was aware of the significant reduction of troops of those who could have accused him of betrayal. Later, the same Muza, on his arrival in Spain reproached Tarik for his actions; for not having manifested his audacious betrayal in a clear way, for not having debilitated the Visigoth army sooner,for reacting immediately, thereby risking not only a Moslem defeat, but also putting in danger their African possessions.
But, in the end, Muza, far from keeping his word, instead of re-establishing the power and sovereignty of those to whom he had sworn faith – in fact, when he agreed to help, he undertook to defend the legitimacy to the throne of one of Witiza’s sons –ratified the declaration of sovereignty made by Tarik (31) comitting an act of betrayal, according to ethical parameters of the Christian world, but always denied by the descendentsof those Visigoths.
So these are the facts. The logic and significance of which are clear to the famous Spanish jurist (32) and statesman, Joaquin Francisco Pacheco and it is with his words that we conclude our exposition of the fact: “ the followers of the last king, beaten by Rodrigo and allied against him, certainly helped him, if only by advising him and accelerating his arrival.
Julián, Governor of Ceuta and of the territory occupied by the Goths from the times of Sisebuto from the other part of the sea, Oppas, Bishop of Seville and Witiza’s brother and his sons were promoters of an invasion which could have been a way of revenge and, at the same time, a way to take possession of the realm. They did not realize the strength of the African power, nor how impossible it was for the ‘sons of Arabia’ to accept a simple auxiliary role, working for the profit of others. It must have been a terrible disillusion, cruel as their great regret, when they saw themselves dragged liked slaves together their enemies whom they wanted to dominate and decimate” (33) . Any comment is pointless. Stupidity, at least in politics, does not admit compassion or pardon.

The Pact

We have already described the events which happened after the death of Witiza on the Peninsula and we will summarize as follows: two Visigoth factions fighting for power, that of Rodrigo, prevailing in power because elected by the major part of the nobility and Akhila, aspiring, who does not want to relinquish the sceptre (34) . The civil war looming on the horizon, which to be won by the Vitisans, must count on the help of mercenary troops. Other times recourse has been made to them and so, why not now? For this, as we have already said, the Vitisans turned to the Arabs who had just arrived on the African coasts.
It is assumed that when the Visigoths requested the intervention of the Arabs as allies, agreements were made for their participation; that is, the price for services rendered. It would seem logical that negotiations proceeded in this way, and such is confirmed by documentary proof and by sufficient indications reaching over the years up to our times.
Only by keeping in mind the fact of the Vitisan allies can the amazing landing of the Berber troops on the Peninsula be explained or the presence of Gothic (35) officials at the head of the troops. It was not a question of conquering territory, but of fighting to re-establish the Vitisan Dynasty. This was such an obvious fact for the Vitisans that in virtue of this, they never, for a moment, doubted the good faith of the Moslems whom they considered allies and, therefore, friends – only when the betrayal was evident at Toledo, only when the allies did not respect the pacts after defeating Rodrigo’s followers, only then was the deception clear. The pacts which were concluded by both sides and the feeling of respect for the word given by the Visigoth people lead them to have faith in their presumed friends. That it was this way is demonstrated by the words given By the Ajbar Machmua just before the beginning of the battle of Guadalete: “This son of a bitch (referring to Rodrigo) has become head of our kingdom and he’s not even of royal bood –he’s our inferior: those people (referring to the Arabs) don’t want to settle in our country, the only thing they want is the pay-off: once they get that, they’ll go away and not come back. Let’s run away at the beginning of the battle and that son of a bitch will be beaten” (36) . The fact that they were so sure of the behaviour of the Berbers – “they don’t want to settle in our contry, the only thing they want is the pay-off”, leads one to suppose the existence of a pact and its observance. Only the existence of this agreement, which the Vitisans considered inviolable, wold explain their apparent tranquillity.
The existence of this pact is not only a likely hypothesis, in fact we have proof of its existence, thanks to a very ancient chronicle reported in Albajano’L-Mogrib of Abenadari – Archive of fragments of Arab history (37) – a work edited by an historian, Isa ben Mohámed. This work refers to the agreements made betweenTarik and the sons of Witiza.
This reporter's narration of the facts is, as Sánchez Albornoz (38) demonstrates, almost contemporary with the above events and, therefore, more reliable than other subsequent sources which report the events already distorted by the passage of time.
Some accounts are pure fruit of the imagination, such as the conquest of Cava and the subsequent offence of Don Juán, which appear in later sources, but are not reported in the Isa ben Mohám narration, which leads one to suppose that its author wrote it before the occupation.
Isa ben Mohámed tells us that the sons of Witiza took part in the agreements with the 'caudillo' Arabs and that for this reason, they went to Africa. We may deduce from this that they wanted to deliberate carefully on the plot against Rodrigo and that too much haste would be detrimental to the plan. Before undertaking this journey, the requests to be presented to the Arabs, regarding allied troops and the terms of the agreement, would have to be very clear.
These pacts, according to cited sources, were formalized with Tarik (39) , in conformance with a juridically dictated formula, that is, with a convergence of will between the parties, inspired by the principle that no-one can be coerced into agreements against their will. Keeping in mind this detail and the undoubted fact that the Vitisans (belonging to the ruling class of the population (40) , would have gained nothing, nor bettered their condition by delivering Spain (of Western culture) into the hands of foreigners of a different ethnic and cultural background. The most likely thing is that their wishes (reflected in the concluded pacts), apart from a kind of masochism in which we do not believe, were to improve their condition. For this reason, it seems logical to think that the agreement provided that in exchange for a substantial payment, the Vitisans would have obtained the help necessary to defeat Rodrigo's armies and take possession of the throne.
Any other implications seem highly unlikely, especiallly, in light of the certainty expressed by the Vitisans, as we have reported.
The help given to a Visigoth faction by the allies (as in numerous other occasions when fighting for the throne) was agreed upon in rather vague terms. It was the same on this occasion. We must presume that the promise of the Saracen caudillo was to fight for the legitimation of the Vitisan Dynasty. A solemn promise which was never respected, according to the hispanic world, which feeling deceived, defrauded, fooled and victim of an injustice, was never to forget; feelings which were perpetuated by the following generations, which would fight to re-establish the old order that had been smashed with so much malice (41) .

The Reconquista

The Reconquista was characterized, on the one hand, by a desire to reestablish the violated old order, and on the other by the necessity to remedy an injustice which, for the hispanic world (which attributed great value to the given word, being part of the pre-Christian and Christian morality) consisted in the violation of the contents of the agreed pacts. The baseness consisted in an ethical and juridical way of behaviour which was unacceptable to the Hispanic world.
In fact, with the 'Reconquista', distinctive traits of the Hispanic people were re-introduced, fighting against a culture which was neither better nor worse, but not being Hispanic, it was its denial, in the best sense of Hegelian terms.
The 'Reconquista', therefore, denying the denial of the Hispanics, represented the definitive confirmation of the Hispanic world. During this period, the distinctive traits of the Spanish nation were re-introduced into the liberated territories - essentially, they were ethnic, language, law and religion - which rendered, at the end of the process, the greater possibility of the return of a Spanish monarch of Gothic descent (42) , to the throne of the Spanish state, to govern the destiny of a newly united Spain. The injustice was finally avenged (1492), even if at a very high price, with the amputation of Portugal and with the loss of territories beyond The Pyrenees .
Let us see, then, in which way the restoration was accomplished. From an ethnic point of view, as previously stated, the liberation of territories occupied by the Moslems permitted the Hispanics to re-enter and colonize those lands (43) .
In such a way, during the process of the 'Reconquista', a phenomenon was verified in more than one part of Spain: the reconquered areas, abandoned by the Moslems who moved to zones which were still under their control, were de-populated and re-occupied by people, coming from other already liberated areas, in search of property.
This phenomenon concerned populations coming, in the greater part, from the North of Spain and, in a minor percentage, from the rest of Europe.


Let us see what happened, for example, when after the 'conquista' of Toledo, Alphonso VI began a repopulation of the Tagus Valley which was, to a great extent, abandoned, as had happened in other parts, such as Castile (44) , inasmuch as, the Moslem land-owners had fled following the invasion of the Christian troops.
These territories were occupied by those who had given military Collaboration to the Monarch, and who were the first beneficiaries, and then by others who subsequently arrived, attracted by the advantages which were accorded to them in the re-populated districts.
In Andalusia, the Hispanic population was re-introduced in a even more obvious way, if that is possible. As was noted previously, under the dominion of Ferdinand III, after the 'Reconquista', agreements, relative to the permanence of the Mudéjares in the above cited areas, were made (45) . Nevertheless, after the revolt of the Mudéjares of 1264, which again comes back to the violation of the pacts by the Moors (46) , Alphonso X, completely changed his position, giving the go-ahead to a new policy of expulsion of the Mudéjares, who were forced to emigrate to Granada or North Africa (47) . Consequently, what we may define as an emptying of population in the reconquered zone, took place. Naturally, this made a subsequent operation necessary; a 'refilling' with the Castilian population of undoubted Hispanic origin (Western Christian) identical to that preceding the inauspicious invasion. As demonstrated by Professor González Jiméniz, in Andalusia, the ethnic cleansing was total: "Today on the basis of what has been reported from historical documents, it can be stated, without a shadow of doubt, that the presence of the Mudéjar element in the Andalusia repopulated by Castilians was scarce or non-existent.
Since nothing leads us to suppose that the texts have been concealed or changed by the historians, it is not possible, therefore, and least of all, honest, to speak of masses of Mudéjar held in slavery, cultivating the land of the Christian warrior conquerers. Perhaps, this is one of the greatest myths in Andalusian history which is still recounted today, notwithstanding the total lack of foundation for these stories" (48) .
There is no doubt that Andalusian lands were populated, in the main part, by inhabitants from the reigns of León and Castile, or rather, by people identical to those who populated Andalusia before the Hamite-Semitic invasion (49) .
As can be noted, the introduction of a distinctive ethnic trait, for those times, was rather intense and culminated in the expulsion of the last groups of Moors remaining after the conquest of Granada, in the XV Century. In such a way the 'autochthonous' ethnic (50) was reinstated - that is, the one existing before The Hamite-Semitic invasion.
Regarding the introduction of the language, we shall not go into excessive detail. With little exception, it has always been agreed that Spanish, in any of its distinct forms (principally, Castilian, Catalonian an Galician) derive from the Latin, and it is, therefore, an Indo-European language. Up to the present day, there has never been any doubt that the Spanish languages ( all those spoken in Spanish territories, with the exception of Basque - contaminated, besides, by Indo-European, Celtic and Latin, but of doubtful provenance) derive from Indo-European languages and, directly, from Latin. When the invaders arrived on the Peninsula introducing another language, the Hispanics, who held that they had their own language, never accepted the imposition of a foreign language (51) . There are many illuminating works on the subject and, among many, we can cite Vidos, Lapesa and Tovar (52) . There is no doubt in any case, that with the 'Reconquista', the Romance language, which derives directly from the vulgar Latin, returned to be considered, and has never ceased to be considered, the official Spanish language. Another mark of identity re-established.
The same thing happened with the religion and the facts concerning this issue are most explicit. Invaded Spain fell victim to an attempt to change its faith - demonstrated in the desecration of its churches and temples. Everything which was devoted and consecrated to the Christian God was swept aside to make a place for the worship of Allah, a foreign and false faith for the Hispanics, as it is logical to suppose. This is what happened to many temples: for example, that of Cordova, dedicated to the martyr, Saint Vincent - and, perhaps, before that, to Luc, the Celtic God (53) , was torn from the Christian faith and transformed into a mosque. Years later, with every right, by the canons of the 'reconquistatori', it would be restored to the Christian world by Ferdinand III, and is now the Cathedral of Cordova.
The invaders obliged with dramatic means - illustrated on other occasions (54) - many parts of the population, or rather, the spiritually weaker individuals, to abandon their own religion to embrace heresy, as we are reminded by Sánchez Albornoz (55) .
Once the 'Reconquista' started, and with it, the restoration of the legitimate traditions, one of the principal objectives was to restore the traditional official Church. It is not intended here to sustain that from the administrative point of view, the Spanish Church, after the 'Reconquista', was a faithful reproduction of the Church of the Visigoth epoch, but neither were there significant variations.
What seems incontestible is that there was nothing new in the Church after the 'Reconquista': on the contrary, in our opinion, it was rather equal to that of the pre-invasion period, even if, logically, it reflected the evolution due to the passage of time.
A reliable confirmation of what we sustain is found in the significant fact that according to the laws of the time, it was not possible to create more dioceses than existed in the Visigoth epoch; in fact, only those already existing dioceses were restored (56) . Up to this point, the restoration had been capillary, in so far as that it meant restoring not only the faith, but also the previous ecclesiastic administrative organization. In other words, everything had to be as it was before the betrayal.
There are many testimonies which contribute to strengthen the argument that the Spanish were pervaded by a great desire for restoration. A testimony of particular importance, dating back to 18th December 1086 (57) , written on the re-introduction of the Christian faith into the Cathedral of Toledo, in which several phrases attributed to Alphonso VI remain, is as follows: " If I, Emperor Alphonso, guided by Christ, could restore to the faithful, the same things which this treacherous people,under the guidance of their leader, Mohammed, tore from the Christians ....". Pay attention to the fact that Alphonso VI suggests that the objective was to restore only that which had been taken away and no more. Equally important is the fact that the Monarch, in addressing the invaders, uses a precisely qualifying adjective (treacherous), demonstrating with this that their perjured methods were known and perhaps, their deceitful way of entering Spain was also known.
A year later at the taking of Toledo on the above mentioned date, a solemn ceremony sanctioned the end of the process of the restoration of the Christian faith, in the ancient Visigoth church of Saint Mary, usurped for a period by the Moslems who used it as their principal mosque. The Toledo episode repeats itself on many occasions throughout Spain (58) . In this way, Spain recuperates its authentic religion and with it a mark of identity which had been severely trampled on and menaced with erasure.
Also in the case of the law, an equally distinctive identity trait, the restoration is just as tangible.The Juridic system of Medieval Spain which was being restored after The 'Reconquista' was none other than the continuation of the ancient Hispanic-Gothic law on which the Moslem law had exercised no influence. This law was re-introduced with many editions of Liber Iudiciorum and with the municipal laws which further reinforced the Germanic element - with a practical process which Max Weber, for the traditional types of domination, defined 'new effective creations' (59) . Such editions enabled antique institutions of the past to return in force, insomuch as they are recognized by the wisdom of the people. In this way the municipal laws institutionalized the Germanic habits and customs, which, although still in use on the peninsula, were never included in the rules and regulations (60) .
We shall not enter into the renowed polemics in which, several years ago, some of our most prestigious historians of law indulged; they argued the fact that the early medieval law underwent a major or minor germanization, and if, therefore, it presupposed the continuation of the customary Gothic laws or those of the written Roman, especially in Castile (61) . We think, in all honesty, that the germanization theory, guided by Don Ramon Menéndez Pidal seems to be the clearest (62) . We shall not enter into detail, since it is not relevant at this time. What is important is that the law restored with the "Reconquista" is a law whose caracteristics are equal to those preceding the invasion, i.e. a law of the Celtic-Roman-Germanic court, which is applied throughout the entire Peninsula. This is what is stated in all the manuals on the history of Spanish law from the first year course of a Law degree (63) , and our research does not induce us to modify such a simple statement. In the early Middle-Ages the Liber Iudiciorum, as a general law, was in force in the vulgar edition (Forum Iudicum). At least, it was applied in this form in the León, Portugal and Castile territories; furthermore it is highly probable that the Liber had the value of general regulations with territorial characteristics and, in fact, it was also applied in the Aragon and Castile territories, contrary to what has been unreasoningly and persistently sustained (64) .
As professor Pérez Prendes states that although the translation of Liber from the Latin into various Romance languages was published in different versions due to the many variations between the original and the Romance version, it does not detract from the fact that both versions belong to the same juridical system. In other words, they deal with the same Law; they are part of the same concept and category. We cannot deny the strict tie existing between the two cited texts.
On the other side, concerning the phenomenon of the re-germanization which the law underwent in that epoch, mostly due to the effect of the municipal laws (65) , it seems to us that this was due to the necessity for auto-confirmation and consecration of many institutions which were lacking in the Spanish society (66) , in the context of the presence of a foreign culture which the society intended to deny.
In reality, the Goths never ceased or forgot to apply their own juridic praxis (67) although they never held it necessary to put it in writing, at least, the greater part of them. Since said laws continued to be applied out of habit, it is logically that in a situation like an invasion or a threat to the institutions or customs, of a society, it would be natural to try to insert them, in written form, into juridical texts.
The appearance of institutions like the ordeal, the blood revenge, the collective responsability of the family or the neighbourhood for a crime comitted by one of its members, must not have sounded strange to an Indo-European people, who were fighting to defend and restore their own legitimate traditions; perhaps it would be more difficult to find those intitutions, for example, in a Hamite, Semite or Chinese people.
Those laws in force in the liberated zones after the ‘Reconquista’ were not new laws, but substantially the very same, ‘the good old laws’ which existed before the invasion. Therefore, the ‘Reconquista’ was able to restore another important and distinctive trait to the Spanish people. Ethnic characteristics, language, religion and law, as we see, have all been restored to the Spain of the ‘reconquistatori’, authentic traditions which have never been lost after the ‘Reconquista’.The invader, who by treacherous intrigue, was able to overthrow the prevailing juridic-political order in Spain, was thrown out.
It was in this way that a power which was never recognized on the Peninsula, an unlawful dominion which had to be substituted by a legitimate dominion, perfectly impersonated by the ‘reconquistatori’. A dominion which was based, in all cases, on
authentic traditions and rational laws.
The Spanish satisfied, therefore, the requirements of legitimacy, sustained by Max Weber (68) and Heller, according to whom, “to hold on to power, or to ensure that orders are constantly obeyed, it is opportune that those who support them or, at least, the most influential are convinced of the legitimacy of their power” (69) .
The ‘conquistatori’, therefore, restored distinctive traits, recognized as authentic and, therefore, legitimate; expelling those who, in a clearly unlawful way, tried to change the identity and the distinctive character of Spain.


If, in fact, we turn our eyes to the Spain of the Catholic Kings, we can observe that the new State which originates with them, presents, notwithstanding the temporal distance, a sufficient number of contact points with the old Visigoth State. We refer to the administrative apparatus of such states, insomuch as, it is known, that the apparatus of the Catholic Kings had, already, in itself, the complexity of the Renaissance State, whose new characteristic was to be in force throughout the entire country, in other words, to be a centralized power, as the Visigoth State had been in its time. It concerns a territorial law (fundamentally, Celtic-Roman-Visigoth), legitimized by the sovreign who declares himself a descendent of the most noble Gothic lineage (70) and whose official language is the Romance language.
Furthermore, from the confessional point of view, it is a Catholic State. We think, therefore, that this new State has its roots deep within the old Gothic State, constituting its continuation.


So, as the mature man is no longer the child he was, but neither does he cease to be the child, since his present is a continuation of his past, the Spanish State of the ‘catholic’ epoch, without being a Visigoth State, with which it has many similarities, is its continuation (71) , and as the human being in a brief life fights against many threats and dangers, often becoming stronger, and acquiring in such a way, greater maturity, we are convinced that fighting against the Moslem duplicity, the Spanish Nation was able to impose its own identity (Indo-European), acquiring major solidity and maturity. Consequently, Spain, in the subsequent centuries, projected itself on the world, forming a great empire.

(1) With regard to Spain, Washington Irving tried to translate the Colecciòn de Viajes y Descubrimientos (Collection of Voyages and Discoveries) by Martin Fernàndez Navarrete, published in Madrid in the 20’s of the 19th century, which later enabled him to write some of his principal works on Spain, such as the History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, published in London in 1828 and The Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions of Columbus, published in Philadelphia in 1831. With reference to Granada, he wrote The Conquist of Granada – Commentary on the Conquista of Granada - of 1829, which, from a scientific point of view, is mediocre, but which already shows Irving’s great passion for Islamic topics and which leads him to write one of his most famous works, Mahoma y sus sucesores, Mahoma and his Successors, widely read in the English language, and then on to write his most famous work to which he owes his international fame, The Alhambra: a series of tales and sketches of the Moors and Spaniards, a collection of short stories which was published under the universal title of Los Cuentos de la Alhambra – Tales of the Alhambra.
(2) See D. Medina Morales, Razòn Iusfilosofica y ràzon historica, (Juridical-philosophical & Historical Considerations), Granada, 1989
(3) C. Sànchez Albornoz, La Espana Musulmana ( Moslem Spain). 6 th edition, volume 1. Espasa- Calpe. Madrid 1982. pg. 45
(4) C. Sànchez-Albornoz, Orìgenes de la Nacion espanola, El Reino de Asturias ( The Origin of the Spanish Nation. The Reign of the Asturias), Sarpe, Madrid, 1985, page 80.
(5) Regarding this, Luis G. De Valdeavellano, in his Historia de Espana, De los orìgenes a la Baya Edad Media. Alianza Editorial. Madrid 1980
(6) See José Organdis. Historia de Espana. La Espana visigotica. Gredos. Madrid, 1971, page 278 and fol.,
(7) Torres Lopez is in complete agreement with this opinion in Las invasiones y los reinos germanicos de Espana, in Historia de Espana, di Menéndez Pidal, volume 111, Madrid 1980, page 127 and fol.,
(8) See Menendez Pidal, Universalismo y Nazionalismo. Romanos y Germanos. Prologue to volume III of the Historia de Espana. Madrid, 1980. Page XLVI and fol.,
(9) Regarding this, see Osvaldo A. Machado, Los Nombres del ilamado conde Don Julian, in Cuadernos de Historia de Espana. Number III, 1945, Buenos Aires, pages 106-116.
(10) See Sanchez-Albornoz, Orìgenes de la Nacion Espanola... work cited pg. 81. La Espana Musulmana. Work cited. Vol.1.1, pages 45 –46. Luis G. De Valdo, Historia de cited, pgs. 361-362. In this regard, we cannot omit what has been writtien by Eduardo Saavedra in his significant Estudio sobre la invas de los arabes en Espana. (Study on the Arab invasion in Spain). Madrid, 1892, pg. 56.
(11) With reference to this, Torres Lopez, Las invasiones y los reinos Work cited, page 136.
(12) C. Sanchez Albornoz, often agrees with the above theory. It is mentioned, for example, in the work Orìgenes de la Nacion Espanola. pg. 81 .Also confirmed in El Islam de Espana y el Occidente, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid 1981Coleccion Austral, pgs. 9-10.
(13) Also Menéndez Pidal is of the same opinion as his words, taken from Los espanoles en la Historia,. Espasa- Calpe, Madrid, 1982, Austral selections, page 154, testify. In the same sense, see Universalismo y Nacionalismo…… work cited, page LII.
(14) See chapter III of the already cited work Estudio sobre la invasion.. entitled Julian y la conspiracion,( Julian and the Conspiracy) in which Eduardo Saavedra has no doubts.
(15)See José Orlandis on the same theme on page 290 of the already mentioned work Historia de Espana.
(16) Also Garcìa Moreno agrees with this opinion, at least, so it would seem from what is written on page 206 of El Fin del reino visigodo de Toledo ( The End of the Visigoth Reign of Toledo),Università Autonoma, Madrid.
(17) See Luis G. De Valdeavellano in his already cited work Historia de Espana. pg. 363
(18) Garcìa de Cortazar admits this fact when on page 51 of La época medieval ( The Medieval Epoch) corresponding to La Historia de Espana Alfaguara, volume II, directed by Miguel Artola, published by Alianza Universidad, Madrid, 8th edition , says, referring to the arrival of the Moslems who were “. also encouraged by the attitude of the Vitizans, who asking for their help, legitimized their entrance into the new territory”. This author, further away from our theories, admits the Vitizan’s request for help from the Arabs, a request which, in the eyes of the Spanish world, made them allies, not enemies, nor conquerers; conditions which they exploited to actuate their treacherous project. They masqueraded as friends and behaved as traitors.
(19) See the Historia de Espana, by Menéndez Pidal, volume IV, entitled Espana Musulmana, Espasa- Calpe, Madrid, 1982, in particular, the statements on Lévi-Provençal on page 11.
(20) I refer to the words which the Ajbar Machmua put into the mouths of the duped Vitizans to refer to this idea. “These people don’t want to settle in our country, they only want to get the spoils, once they have done this, they’ll go away and will not come back”. Quotation taken from La Espana Musulmana bySanchezz Albornoz, work cited on page 48. Comments are unecessary.
(21) See Eduardo Saavedra. Estudios sobre la invasion de...... Work cited. 64-65
(22) It should also be kept in mind that , as it certainly happened, there was absolutely no possibility to load any kind of horse mounts – see Sanchez Albornoz, Orìgenes de la cited on page 84.
(23) This is what l’Orlandis states in his Historia de Espana..., work cited, page 290
(24) See C. Sanchez Albornoz, Otra vez Guadalete y Covodonga, in Cuadernos de Historia de Espana, 1 and 11, 1944, Buenos Aires, especially in the first chapter.
(25) In such a way, Sanchez Albornoz expresses himself on page 85, of the Orìgenes de la Nacion.,work cited.
(26) Several different interpretations exist in the way in which the defections happened; if just before the battle, at the beginning of the battle or at the crucial moment of the battle; in any case, we do not consider the ‘way’ important.
(27) Also Garcìa Moreno, a very “prudent” author, agrees with this theory. “The situation in the kingdom was much more similar to a civil war than to a foreign invasion”. El Fin del reinovisigodo de Toledo. Madrid, 1975, pg. 207. It was, in fact, a real civil war.
(28) See Sanchez Albornoz Donde y cuando murio Don Rodrigo, ultimo rey de los Godos (Where and When did Don Rodrigo die, the last King of the Goths), in Cuadernos de Historia de Espana, III, Buenos Aires, pgs. 5-105.
(29) See – regarding Eduardo Saavedra, Estudios sobre la invasion de…. work cited pg. 75 and fol.,
(30) The betrayal by the Moslems of the Vitizans, with whom they had agreed a military aid plan, was highlighted by Sanchez Albornoz, as is seen by what hasbeen written on page 86 of Orìgenes de la nacion….work cited. Also most significant is that written on page 60 of the other work ,La Edad Media espanola y la empresa de América, Cultural Hispanic Edition, Madrid, 1983.
(31) Regarding this, see Louis. D. Valdeavellano, in his Historia de Espana, work cited pages 374-375.
(32) The practice of juridical studies accustoms those who exercise it, to interprete only ascertained facts, and always through logical foundations which generally lead to correct results. We must consider that the Law demands, that before passing sentence, the judge expounds sufficiently proven facts and then a discussion on the legal premises which have determined the sentence, is made.
(33) This citation by the prestigious jurist, Don Joaquìn Francisco Pacheco, President of a Council of Ministers of the last century , belongs to the introduction to the 1st volume of Los codigos Espanoles, published by Publicidad, under the direction of D.M. Rivadenyra, Madrid,1847, Chapter II page XXVI.
(34) Akhila or Aquila, according to how the name is transcribed, even reached the point of having his own money coined in various cities in North-East Spain.
(35) Such an idea does not seem absurd to us, since it was already written by M. Fernandez Eschalante in his book Del derecho naturale de los héroes al de los hombres, Granada, 1981, page 54 and fol., as well as by Ignacio Olague in La revolucion Islamica en occidente. Juan March, Barcellona, 1974, pg 275.
(36) Ajbar Machmua, citation taken from La Espana musulmana, Sanchez Albornoz, volume 1,pg 48, work cited.
(37) Sanchez Albornoz mentions it in his work Notas para el estudio de dos historiadores hispano-arabes de los siglos VIII y IX, published by the University of Santiago, 1933, number 5, pages 401 and fol.,and indicates that it is found in the following work, Histoire de l’Afrique et de l’Espagne – Albayano ‘L-Mogrib di Ibn Adhari (marocchino), editor, Dizy, Leyde 1848-1851, Histoire de l’Afrique et d l’Espagne- Al Bayano ‘L. Mogrib, translated by E. Fagnan, 2 volumes. Algeria, 1902-1904. It is also found reproduced in Corrections sur les textes du Bayano’L Mogrib d’Ibn-Adhari (marocchino). Des fragments de la Chronique d’Arib (de Cordoue) et du Hollato s-siyara d’Ibno’L’abbr, of Dozy, R. Lainen 1883,ì. –fac. Sim. Brill.
(38) C. Sanchez Albornoz, Notas para el estudio de dos…. Work cited. Here, Don Claudio has no doubt on this point.
(39) Other historical sources indicate Muza as the representative of the Arabs in the stipulation of the agreements, in Ajbar Machnua, El Fatho-l’Andaluci, Aben Alcardabus, historian of the 12th century, in his Kitab Al Ictifa and Abenalatir in his Kamil, among others.
(40) In the period to which we refer, all the Vitisans had regained their dignity and their positions, after an apparent reconciliation with the king: for this reason, Witiza’s sons had the right to all the privileges of the Spanish-Goth nobility, as is demonstrated by the fact that they rode together with Rodrigo- and, therefore, it is very strange that they were disposed to give up these privileges and consign Spain to foreigners. No-one risks their very life, dignity and property for a stranger. The real objective was to regain power and the government of the nation, for this the Vitisans had agreed with the foreigners while they were useful in reaching their objective and, after a large payment for services rendered, had counted on the Arabs returning from where they came. This is the opinion held by Sanchez Albornoz. Notas para el estudio de dos…work cited, pages 426 and fol.,
(41) Sanchez Albornoz states that: “ The treachery of Tarik in the surprise conquest of Spain could not have pleased either Moslem historians or the Spanish-Islamic people. Thus, we need not marvel at the fact that the news of the preceding agreement between the sons of Witiza and the Saracen chief was not accepted by Spanish-Arab history recorders and the tradition which preserved this memory was soon substituted and cancelled by the legend of the violence perpetrated by Rodrigo against the daughter of Julian and of other legends which tarnished the memory of this prince. Legends which not only cancelled from the pages of history the echo of the base and treacherous behaviour of the conquerors, but made the conquest of Spain appear an intentionally conducted enterprise and realized in a marvellous manner as a divine punishment for the levity, betrayal and the irreverent curiosity and arrogant ambition of the King of the Goths”. Notas para el estudio de dos…. Work cited, page 431.
(42) “Diego de Varela, praising Fernando, the Catholic, describes him as a ‘descedent of illustrious Gothic blood’ and asks him to restore ‘the imperial throne and noble blood of the Goths’.” Gonzalez Fernandez, El mito gotico en la historiografìa del siglo XV, in Los visigodos, Murcia, 1986, pg. 295, reference is made to the preliminary study of the edition of the “ Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos” di Carriazo, Madrid, 1927, pg. CI.
(43) Reference, among many, Gonzalez Jimenez, En torno a los orìgenes Andalucìa. La repoblacion del siglo XIII, Siviglia 1980, E. Cabrera, El mundo rural, in Historia de Andalucìa, volume III, Madrid,Barcellona, 1980.
(44) Reference J. Gonzalez, La repoblacion de Castilla L Nueva, 2 volumes. Universidad Complutense di Madrid, 1975.
(45) The emigration of the Moors towards unconquered territ ory was , however, constant, as Gonzalez Jimenez demonstrates in his article, “Mudejares andaluces ( SS.XIII-XV)” in “Andalucìa entre oriente y occidente (1236-1492)”, Acts of the 5th International Meeting of the Medieval History of Andalusia, Provincial Council of Cordova, 1988,pg. 537 and fol.,
(46) In our opinion, there is not the slightest doubt that the Spaniards,once betrayed by the Moors, who did not respect the pacts –after Guadalete – held that they would never again be obliged to respect pacts stipulated by those people and that any juridical bonds between them were broken forever and, furthermore, any further juridical relations would be impossible. We can thus suppose that on whatever occasion they were called upon to make agreements with the Moors, they did so for strictly political purposes, since, for obvious reasons, they felt no obligation, whatsoever, to respect agreements made with this treacherous people.
(47) Furthermore, we must remember that people were expelled not so much for their physical appearance, but rather for the fact that they were Islamite. It has a cultural connotation insofar as many native Spanish descendents who had embraced Islam were subject to expulsion. Consequently. North Africa was enriched by what we can define as a parallel effect, being populated by a large number of descendents of the Germanic, Vandal or Goth people and they are proud of it. On the measures which favour Moslem emigration to North Africa, for reference see pages 79 on, of Professor Ladero Quesada’s book, “Castilla y la conquista del Reino de Granada”, Provincial Council of Granada, 1987. I refer to this aspect in another article published in Number I/2005, year XI of this same Review, (Gnosis) pg.112.
(48) M. Gonzalez Jimenez, En torno a los orìgines de Andalucìa. La Repoblacion del siglo XIII, work cited, pgs. 71 and 72.
(49) On the identity between the new colonizers of Andalusia and those preceding the hamite-semitic invasion, refer to the article of M.F.Escalante, “Sobre la continuidad de la etnia bélica ( con alguna matización hacia sus objetores)” Universidad de Cordoba, 1988.
(50) Following the policy pursued by Philip II towards the scanty remaining Moor population, we can guarantee that this community in Spain ceased to be relevant (operative), and therefore, to exist; if someone remained (a highly improbable fact, insomuch as almost everyone emigrated and those who resisted the cultural integration were expelled, as the facts demonstrate that even in the 16th century when it was difficult to believe that more than a handful of people had remained, the Moors were forced to go and were expelled from even the most inhospitable territory, consequently fleeing to Africa) mingling with the mass of Spanish colonizers of the reconquered areas.
(51) As already illustrated in ¿España islámic? Gnosis 1/2005, XI year Pages 111- 112.
(52) Ref: B.E. Vidos, Manual de lingüística romanica, Madrid, 1967, R. Lapesa Historia de la lengua Española. Prol. Di R. Menéndez Pidal, 8th edition reviewed and extended. Madrid, 1980. A.Tover, Lo que sabemos de la lucha de las lenguas en la Península Ibérica. Madrid, 1967
(53) See Fernandez Escalante,San Vicente, los cuervos y el dios Luc work cited.
(54) Ref: My own work already cited, Razón iusfilosófica…¿España Islámica?
(55) See the particularly illuminating works of Sánchez Albornoz which, published under the title of De la Andalucía islámica a la de hoy, Madrid, 1983, raised a great deal of controversy.
(56) In this regard, it is opportune to remember the words dedicated to this subject by Professor Ladero Quesada in a chapter ( on Church and religiosity) of the Historia General de América y España, (volume IV, Rialp, Madrid, 1984, pg. 181).
(57) Refer page 275 of the documented appendix of my work Razón….
(58) Such phenomenon has been studied for the concrete case of Andalusia by Nieto Cumplido Orígenes del regionalismo andaluz, (1235-1325), publication of Monte di Pietà and of the Cassa di Risparmio of Cordova. Cordova 1979, page 87 and fol.,
(59) Max Weber, Economía y sociedad, Mexico, 1979, page 181.
(60) Regarding this, the opinions, among many, of Hinojosa, Menéndez Pidal and Sanchez Albornoz are noted.
(61) This subject, in its time, was amply debated by García Gallo who contested the theories of Menéndez Pidal and Sanchez Albornoz. In any event, the re-Germanization which Spanish Law underwent because of the predominant role played by the Gothic world during the ‘Reconquista’, seems unquestionable. In a “state of necessity and self-defence, a purification of traditions and a logical reinvigoration took place. Regarding the controversy under discussion, see the works of García Gallo, El carácter germánico de la èpica y del derecho en la Edad Media Española, in Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español,XXV, 1955, from pg. 583 to 679. and of Sánchez Albornoz, Tradición y derecho visigodos en León y Castilla, in Cuadernos de Historia de España, XXIX and XXX, 1959, pages from 244 to 265.
(62) Many typically Germanic juridical institutions are found in our medieval law, and this is explained only on the basis of theories sustained by Menéndez Pidal. For example, the possibility recognized by the Germanic juridical world of the marriage between kidnapped and kidnapper, against the wishes of the parents, when this last manifested her absence in a precise ritualistic formula, repeated – as the author demonstrates in his ingenious work, published under the title El estado latente en la vida tradicional in the Revista de Occidente, number 2nd epoch, 1963, pages 129 and fol., - in many Spanish forums centuries later, proving how influential the customs of the Gothic people which governed Spain in the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries were.
(63) Reference, for example see Pérez Prendez., Curso de Historia Del Derecho Español. Madrid 1978, page 413 and fol.,
(64) Ref: J. Cerda Ruiz-Funez FueroJuzgo en Nueva Enciclopedia Jurídica,Ed. Seix and Barrai. Ref: also important article of Perez Préndez J.M. Fuero Juzgo in Enciclopedia Vervo, Rio de Janeiro, record 95, where what we are here sustaining is ratified.
(65) Ref: the already cited classic work of Hinojosa, El elemento Germánico en el Derecho Español. In Obras, Volume II, Madrid, 1955, pages 405 – 470..
(66) What is meant here by auto-confirmation is the refusal of the Spanish people to change, (Anderssein) in the historical Hegelian dialectic sense, to produce a synthesis (Aufhebung) with a culture which they refused as being an antithesis to their own. Since this synthesis did not take place, the institutions emerged even more strengthened.
(67) In this regard, the words of Sanchez Albornoz in Tradición y Derecho., work cited, page 248
(68) Max Weber, Economía y sociedad, work cited, pages 172-173.
(69) H. Heller.,Teoría del Estado, Collection of Economic Culture, Mexico 1974, translation, Luis Tobío, page 209.
(70) In this regard, refer Menendez Pidal, El difícil camino de un trono. Introduction to volume XVII of the Historia de España, directed by the aforementioned. Madrid, 1983.
(71) R. Gilbert writes, “Spain is the lasting political form of the Visigoth people. As the Franks created France, the Visigoths created a new reign which, however, was not called Gothia, but retained the Roman name of Hispania. Consequently,“Gothic” became synonymous with Spanish. Over the centuries, the Gothic monarchy and laws became the monarchy and laws of Spain. By tradition, the Visigoth reign has been considered the origin of our nationality. El reino visigodo y el particularismo español, in volume, I goti in Occidente, week of study of the C.I. of Studies on the Early Middle Ages ,Spoleto 1956, III, page 537.