- Suebic Kingdom of Galicia
Suebic Kingdom of Galicia was the first kingdom to separate from the Roman Empire and mint coins. Located in Gallaeciaand northern Lusitania, it was established at 410and lasted until 584after a century of slow decline. Smaller than the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy or the Visigothic kingdom in Hispania, it never reached major political relevance. After the kingdom of the Suebi was conquered by the Visigoths in 585, Braulio of Zaragozadepicted the region as "the edge of the west in an illiterate country where naught is heard but the sound of gales".
historiographyof the Suebic Galicia was long marginalised in Spanish culture; it was left to a German scholar to write the first connected history of the Suebi in Galicia, as writer-historian Xoán Bernárdez Vilarhas pointed out. [http://www.culturagalega.org/temadia_arquivo.php?id=4740]
ettlement and integration
The Germanic invaders settled mainly in the areas of
Braga(Bracara Augusta), Porto(Portus Cale), Lugo(Lucus Augusta) and Astorga (Asturica Augusta). Bracara Augusta, the modern city of Bragaand former capital of Roman Gallaecia, became the capital of the Suebi. Another Germanic group that accompanied the Suebi and settled in Gallaecia were the Buri. They settled in the region between the rivers Cávadoand Homem, in the area know as Terras de Bouro(Lands of the Buri). [Domingos Maria da Silva, "Os Búrios", Terras de Bouro, Câmara Municipal de Terras de Bouro, 2006. (in Portuguese)]
As the Suebi quickly adopted the local Hispano-Roman language, few traces were left of their Germanic tongue. Some influence on the
Galician languageand Portuguese languageremained, like "lawerka" for Portuguese and Galician "laverca" (synonym of "cotovia" - lark).
438Hermeric ratified the peace with the Hispano-Roman local population and, weary of fighting, abdicated in favour of his son Rechila.
The irruption of Visigoths in the Iberian Peninsula from
416sent from Aquitania by the Emperor of the West to fight the Vandalsand the Alansresulted into an ephemeral expansion of the Suebi Kingdom: at its heyday Suebic Gallaecia extended as far as Mérida or Seville.
448, Rechiladied, leaving the crown to his son Rechiarius who had converted to Roman Catholicism circa 447. In 456, Rechiardied after being defeated by the Visigothic king Theodoric II, and the Suebic glory began to fade. The Suebic kingdom became cornered in the hostile northwest, and political division arose across the river Minius (Minho or Miño) with two different kings ruling in both sides of the river.
The Suebi remained most pagan and their subjects Priscillianist until an Arian missionary named Ajax, sent by the Visigothic king
Theodoric IIat the request of the Suebic unifier Remismund, in 466 converted them and established a lasting Arian church which dominated the people until the conversion to Catholicism in the 560s.
Conversion to Catholicism
The conversion of the Suebi to Catholicism is presented very differently in the primary records. The only contemporary record, the minutes of the
First Council of Braga—which met on 1 May 561—state explicitly that the synod was held at the orders of a king named Ariamir. While his Catholicism is not in doubt, that he was the first Catholic monarch of the Suebes since Rechiar has been contested on the grounds that he is not explicitly stated to have been.Thompson, 86.] He was, however, the first to hold a Catholic synod. The "Historia Suevorum" of Isidore of Sevillestates that a king named Theodemarbrought about the conversion of his people from Arianism with the help of the missionary Martin of Dumio. [Ferreiro, 198 n8.] According to the Frankishhistorian Gregory of Tourson the other hand, an otherwise unknown sovereign named Chararic, having heard of Martin of Tours, promised to accept the beliefs of the saint if only his son would be cured of leprosy. Through the relics and intercession of Saint Martin the son was healed; Chararic and the entire royal household converted to the Nicene faith.Thompson, 83.] Finally, the Suebic conversion is ascribed, not to a Suebe, but to a Visigoth by John of Biclarum, who puts their conversion alongside that of the Goths, occurring under Reccared Iin 587–589.
Most scholars have attempted to meld these stories. It has been alleged that Chararic and Theodemir must have been successors of Ariamir, since Ariamir was the first Suebic monarch to lift the ban on Catholic synods; Isidore therefore gets the chronology wrong. [Thompson, 87.] [Ferreiro, 199.] Reinhart suggested that Chararic was converted first through the
relicsof Saint Martin and that Theodemir was converted later through the preaching of Martin of Dumio. Dahn equated Chararic with Theodemir, even saying that the latter was the name he took upon baptism. It has also been suggested that Theodemir and Ariamir were the same person and the son of Chararic. In the opinion of some historians, Chararic is nothing more than an error on the part of Gregory of Tours and never existed. [Thompson, 88.] If, as Gregory relates, Martin of Dumio died about the year 580 and had been bishop for about thirty years, then the conversion of Chararic must have occurred around 550 at the latest. Finally, Ferreiro believes the conversion of the Suevi was progressive and stepwise and that Chararic's public conversion was only followed by the lifting of a ban on Catholic synods in the reign of his successor, which would have been Ariamir; Theodemir was responsible for beginning a persecution of the Arians in his kingdom to root out their heresy. [Ferreiro, 207.]
Twilight of the kingdom
In 569 Theodemir called the
First Council of Lugo, [Ferreiro, 199 n11.] which dealt with Arianism, whereas the council of Braga in 561 had dealt with Priscillianism.
In 570 the Arian king of the Visigoths,
Leovigild, made his first attack on the Suebi. Between 572 and 574, Leovigild invaded the valley of the Douro, pushing the Suebi northwards. In 575 the Suebic king, Miro, made a peace treaty with Leovigild, but in 583 he supported the rebellion of the Catholic Gothic prince Hermenegildand was overthrown. The kingdom could not survive Leovigild's response. First Andecain 585 and then Malaricwere defeated and the Suevic kingdom was no more.
List of Galician Suebic monarchs
Hermeric, c. 409–438
Heremigarius, 427–429, leader in Lusitania
Aioulf, 456–457, foreigner, possibly appointee of the Visigoths
Maldras, 456–460, in opposition to Framta after 457
Framta, 457, in opposition to Maldras
Richimund, 457–464, successor of Framta
Frumar, 460–464, successor of Maldras
Remismund, 464–469, succeeded Frumar, reunited the Suebi
*"Period of obscurity"
Hermenericfl. c. 485
Theodemundfl. 6th century
*Chararic, after c.550–558/559, existence sometimes doubted
Eboric, 583–584, deposed and put in a monastery by Andeca
Andeca, 584–585, deposed and put in a monastery by Leovigild
Malaric, 585, opposed Leovigild and defeated
*Arias, Jorge C. [http://people.virginia.edu/~jca4w/Jorge%20Arias%20-%20Identity%20and%20Interaction%20The%20Suevi%20and%20the%20Hispano-Romans.pdf "Identity and Interactions: The Suevi and the Hispano-Romans."] University of Virginia: Spring 2007.
*Ferreiro, Alberto. [http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:pao-us:&rft_dat=xri:pao:article:v530-1995-003-00-000009 "Braga and Tours: Some Observations on Gregory's "De virtutibus sancti Martini"."] "
Journal of Early Christian Studies". 3 (1995), p. 195–210.
* Lopez Carreira, A. "O Reino de Galiza". A Nosa Terra, Vigo, 1998
* Lopez Carreira, A. "O Reino medieval de Galicia". A Nosa Terra, Vigo, 2005
*Thompson, E. A. "The Conversion of the Spanish Suevi to Catholicism." "Visigothic Spain: New Approaches". ed. Edward James. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980. ISBN 0-19-922543-1.
* [http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/hydatiuschronicon.html The Chronicle of Hydatius] is the main source for the history of the suevi in Galicia and Portugal up to 468.
* [http://www.celtiberia.net/articulo.asp?id=1670 Medieval Galician anthroponomy]
* [http://www.benedictus.mgh.de/quellen/chga/index.htm Minutes of the Councils of Braga and Toledo] , in "Collectio Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis"
* [http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/orosius.html Orosius' "Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII"]
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