Latin Languages: Vanished Visigoths

At the beginning of the 5th century many migrants are said to have arrived in Iberia.

The Visigoths, Suebi, Vandals and Alans arrived in Spain by crossing the Pyrenees mountain range, leading to the establishment of the Suebi Kingdom in Gallaecia, in the northwest, the Vandal Kingdom of Vandalusia (Andalusia), and the Visigothic Kingdom in Toledo.

The last of these migrant groups to arrive were the Visigoths.

The Visigoths were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths. These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period.

The Visigoths arrived late because they took the scenic route [via Rome] on their forty two year marauding meander across Europe towards their Iberian retirement home.

The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups (possibly the Thervingi) who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378… The Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410.


They then “began settling down” in Iberia by establishing the Visigothic Kingdom.

After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Spain and Portugal, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.

However, according to the linguistic history of Spain, the Visigoths “had very little impact on the language spoken” because there “weren’t enough Visigoths” to impose their language.

Apparently, there were only enough Visigoths to impose their will by conquering Iberia.

And, of course, like all good Germanic tribes of nomadic conquerors they spoke a “nonstandard form of Latin” called Vulgar Latin while writing their official documents in standard Latin.

During their actual reign, which only lasted two centuries, the Visigoths had very little impact on the language spoken there.

For the most part, they let the “Roman” inhabitants of Hispania keep speaking Vulgar Latin.

There simply weren’t enough Visigoths – between one hundred thousand and two hundred thousand took refuge in Spain among four million Hispanians – to impose their German language.

In addition, by the time they conquered Hispania, the Visigoths had been already doing business with the Romans for at least a century, so they spoke Latin.

As a result, during the two centuries of Visigoth rule over Hispania, Latin remained the language of the administration, and all official documents were produced in Latin.

The Story of Spanish – Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow – 2013

Kingdom of the Visigoths 418–c. 720
Languages: Vulgar Latin, Gothic (spoken among elite)

Vulgar Latin or Sermo Vulgaris (“common speech”) was a nonstandard form of Latin (as opposed to Classical Latin, the standard and literary version of the language) spoken in the Mediterranean region during and after the classical period of the Roman Empire.

Because of its nonstandard nature, Vulgar Latin had no official orthography.

If the Visigoth narrative sounds like a tall story then that’s par for the course.

For example:

The names of the early Visigoth kings sound like they have been “pulled straight from the medieval folklore of Germany”.

Some of the names of early kings of Spain sound strangely incongruous, as if they were pulled straight from the medieval folklore of Germany, rather than Spain: Reccared, Roderic, Athanagild, Leovigild, Seisebut, Chindasuinth, Recceswinth, and Wamba.

The Story of Spanish – Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow – 2013

Theoderic the Great (454 – 30 August 526), often referred to as Theodoric, was king of the Ostrogoths (475–526), ruler of Italy (493–526), regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patricius of the Roman Empire.

In legends about Theoderic the Great… the Gothic king Theoderic became known as Dietrich von Bern… most of the legends were slowly forgotten after 1600.

The early Visigoth kings of Iberia are impossible to identify from their coins.

Liuvigild, Leuvigild, Leovigild, or Leovigildo, (c. 519[citation needed] – 21 April 586) was a Visigothic King of Hispania and Septimania from 568 to April 21, 586.

The first coins, commonly known as the pseduo-imperial series, imitate contemporary Roman and Byzantine coinage, with copied legends.

But after 580 [apparently] the Visigoth kings of Iberia can be identified from their coins.

After 580 coins were issued in the name of the Visigothic kings.

Ruderic was the Visigothic King of Hispania710 and 712… an extremely obscure figure… little can be said with certainty

We do not have any documentation of the mints and little is known of their organisation or the relationship between the mints and the Visigothic state, beyond what can be inferred from the changes in the coinage over time.

Toledo is said to have been capital of the Visigothic Kingdom for over 175 years but there’s “very little evidence” to support this claim as the Visigoth “inscriptions” have vanished.

There is very little evidence of the Visigoth presence in Toledo.

Most of what remains – fragments of buildings and the odd engraving in Gothic characters – can be seen only behind glass display cabinets in museums.

Otherwise, almost everything the Visigoths built was destroyed by the empires that followed them.

The Story of Spanish – Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow – 2013

Wamba carried out renovation works in Toledo in 674-675, marking these with inscriptions above the city gates that are no longer extant but were recorded in the eighth century.,_Spain#Visigothic_Toledo

Wamba was the king of the Visigoths from 672 to 680.

Capital: Toledo (542-725)

Claims are made about Visigoth churches having characteristic horseshoe-style arches.

There are about a dozen churches throughout Spain that have characteristic Gothic horseshoe-style arches.

The Story of Spanish – Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow – 2013

However, there are a few problems with this line of evidence.

Firstly, the prime example [cited by Wikipedia] of a Visigothic 7th century church with a characteristic horseshoe-style arch is “not the one currently standing”.

Church of San Juan de Baños in Spain, Visigothic architecture 7th century.

An original church (which is not the one currently standing) was commissioned by the Visigothic king Recceswinth of Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula, comprising modern Spain and Portugal), in the year 661 and whose solemn consecration ceremony is believed to have taken place on the 3rd of January, 661.,_Ba%C3%B1os_de_Cerrato

Secondly, archaeological studies at this prime example [cited by Wikipedia] of a church with a characteristic Visigothic horseshoe-style arch have established the site is “not Visigothic”.

The most recent archaeological studies have proven it to be not Visigothic, but Mozarabic (so, 9th century or more probably 10th century in date).,_Ba%C3%B1os_de_Cerrato

Thirdly, the horseshoe-style arch is emblematic of Moorish architecture.

The horseshoe arch, also called the Moorish arch and the keyhole arch, is the emblematic arch of Moorish architecture.


The presence of an emblematic Moorish arch in the walls of Toledo suggests even the claimed Visigothic “renovation works” were actually undertaken by Moorish craftsmen.,_Spain#Toledo_under_Arab_rule

While the Visigothic brooches from Badajoz [as presented by Wikipedia] are far removed from the typical “round or triangular flat head” designs associated with Gothic brooches.

The eagles represented on these fibulae from the 6th century were a popular symbol among the Goths. Similar fibulae have been found in Visigothic graves in Spain.

A fibula is a brooch or pin for fastening garments.

There are numerous types of post-Roman fibulae.
The so-called Gothic group of bow fibulae have a round or triangular flat head plate, often with 3, 5 or 7 knobs, a small arched bow and a long flat diamond shaped foot. They were widely used by the Germanic Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Gepids, and the non-Germanic Slavs and Avars, and are found over a wide part of southern and western Europe in the 5th and 6th centuries AD.

This is no surprise as the Y-DNA evidence suggests the Visigoths didn’t arrive.

What did arrive was the myth of a unified Christian Visigothic Spain.

Yet the most significant political impact of the Visigoths on Spanish was their legacy: the myth of a unified, Christian Visigothic Spain centered on Toledo.

The Story of Spanish – Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow – 2013

This myth was the perfect excuse for the Christian conquest of Carthaginian-Moorish Iberia.

The Reconquista is a name used to describe the period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the expanding Christian kingdoms in 1492.

Traditional historiography has stressed since the 19th century the existence of the Reconquista, a continuous phenomenon by which the Christian Iberian kingdoms opposed and conquered the Muslim kingdoms, understood as a common enemy who had militarily seized territory from native Iberian Christians.

In other words:

The Iberian Visigothic Kingdom is a perfect example of Orwellian propaganda in action.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Epigraphy - Inscriptions, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Language, Latin Languages, Spain. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Latin Languages: Vanished Visigoths

  1. johnm33 says:

    Alan Wilson has the Vandals and their allies, from [V]andalusia and Murcia departing Spain/Carthage, and establishing themselves in Mercia, after their sacking of Sicilly and Constantinople and returning home to find Carthage occupied by Romans. I’m pretty sure he wrote/ said this before that ‘saxon hoard’ which contained eastern roman artifacts was found in [?]Cheshire[?] and the saxons suddenly turned into international traders. He says the Mabinogion tale with the 9 piglets is the childs version of their arrival.
    There are some striking similarities in their story and that of the Carthaginians.

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    • malagabay says:

      Mértola is a municipality in southeastern Portuguese Alentejo near the Spanish border.

      During Classical Antiquity, Mértola was inhabited by Phoenicians, Carthaginians and finally the Romans, who called it Myrtilis Iulia.

      Mértola – then called Martulah – and its port played an important economic role in the commerce of agricultural and mineral goods between the Alentejo and other parts of Al-Andalus (Arab Hispania) and Northern Africa.

      Main church (the Matriz), originally a mosque built between the 12th and 13th centuries.

      After the Christian conquest of the town, in 1238, the mosque was turned into a church, but its architectonic structure was left unaltered.

      In the 16th century the church was partially remodelled, gaining Manueline vaulting with a new roof and a new main portal in Renaissance style.

      Nevertheless, the inner arrangement of the naves of the church, with four naves and several columns, strongly resembles that of the original mosque, and the interior of the church still has the mihrab, the decorated niche that indicates the direction of the Mecca.

      Outside, the church has four portals with horseshoe arches, typical of Islamic architecture.

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