Battle of Guadalete
|Battle of Guadalete|
|Part of the Muslim conquests|
The Goths' retirement in front of the Berber cavalry, as depicted by Salvador Martínez Cubells (1845–1914)
|Christian Visigothic Kingdom||Muslim Umayyad Caliphate|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Roderic †||Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad|
100,000 (Muslim sources)
187,000 (Christian sources)
|Casualties and losses|
|Unknown, but included many nobles and the king||Unknown|
The Battle of Guadalete was fought in 711 or 712 at an unidentified location between the Christian Visigoths of Hispania under their king, Roderic, and an invading force of Muslim Arabs and Berbers under the Berber commander Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad. The battle was significant as the culmination of a series of Berber attacks and the beginning of the Islamic conquest of Hispania. In the battle Roderic probably lost his life, along with many members of the Visigothic nobility, opening the way for the capture of Visigothic capital of Toledo.
The battle is sometimes referred to as the Battle of Jerez de la Frontera, Battle of La Janda, Battle of the Río Barbate, or Battle of the Transductine Promontories.
The primary source for the battle is the Mozarabic Chronicle, which was written shortly after 754 probably in the vicinity of Toledo. The Latin Chronicle was written by a Mozarab Christian. The only other Latin Christian source written within a century of the battle is the Historia Langobardorum of Paul the Deacon. Paul was neither Visigothic nor Hispanic, but was writing probably in Montecassino between 787 and 796, where many Visigothic monks had taken refuge. The Chronicle of 741 is a near-contemporary Hispanic source, but it contains no original material pertaining to the battle. Several later Latin Christian sources contain descriptive accounts of the battle that have sometimes been trusted by historians, most notably the Chronicle of Alfonso III, written by Alfonso III of Asturias in the late ninth century. The high medieval accounts, such as that of Lucas de Tuy, are generally untrustworthy, containing much legend and invention.
Besides the Latin Christian sources there are several Arabic language sources widely used by historians, but increasingly coming under heavy criticism. None of them predates the mid-ninth century, the date of the earliest, the Futūh Miṣr of Ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥakam (c.803–71), which was composed in Egypt. This account, more rich in detail than the Mozarabic Chronicle, is at odds with not only the later Latin histories, but also the later Arabic ones: the anonymous compilation called the Akhbar Majmu'ah, the late tenth-century work of Ibn al-Qūṭiyya ("the son [i.e. descendant] of the Goth [i.e. Wittiza]"), the eleventh-century historian Ibn Hayyān, the thirteenth-century Complete History of Ibn al-Athir, the fourteenth-century history of Ibn Khaldūn, or the early modern work of al-Maqqarī. The Akhbar Majmu'ah in particular was upheld by Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz as a genuine eighth-century work surviving only in later copies, but this view has since been refuted. The French Orientalist Évariste Lévi-Provençal on the other hand advocated Ibn Hayyān as the supreme Muslim historian of the era (and the battle).
Among modern Anglo-American historians, Roger Collins, R. A. Fletcher, E. A. Thompson, and Kenneth Baxter Wolf are sceptical of the Arabic sources and rely more on the Mozarabic Chronicle. Historians Thomas F. Glick and Bernard S. Bachrach are less sceptical. Collins in particular rejects a syncretistic approach incorporating information from all the available sources.
Though the reign of Roderic is traditionally dated to 710–11, a literal reading of the Chronicle of 754 indicates 711–12. Roderic did not rule unopposed, however. The nature of his accession, whether on death of Wittiza or through his assassination, is not clear from the sources. It is possible that Roderic was probably the dux (duke) of Baetica before coming to the throne. Archaeological evidence and two surviving lists of kings show that one Achila II ruled in the northeast of the kingdom at this time, but his relationship to Roderic is unknown. Probably they were rivals who never actually came into open conflict, due to the shortness of Roderic's reign and his preoccupation with Muslim raids. Even with Roderic's sphere of influence (the southwest) and his capital Toledo, he was not unopposed after his "usurpation" (the Chronicle of 754 calls it an "invasion").
The battle of Guadalete was not an isolated Berber attack but followed a series of raids across the straits from Africa which had resulted in the sack of several south Iberian towns. Berber forces had probably been harassing the peninsula by sea since the conquest of Tangiers in 705/6. Some later Arabic and Christian sources present an earlier raid by a certain Ṭārif in 710 and one, the Ad Sebastianum recension of the Chronicle of Alfonso III, refers to an Arab attack incited by Erwig during the reign of Wamba (672–80). and two reasonably large armies may have been in the south for a year before the decisive battle was fought. These were led by Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad, and others, under the overall command of Mūsā ibn Nuṣayr. Most of the Arabic and Berber accounts agree that Ṭāriq was a Berber military leader from northern Africa. Ignacio Olagüe, in La Revolución islámica en occidente, argues Ṭāriq to have been a Goth and the nominal governor of Tingitania. Others have argued that Ṭāriq was Jewish or Persian.
According to all sources, the earliest being Paul the Deacon, Ṭāriq left from Ceuta (Septem) and landed at the Rock of Calpe, the later Gibraltar, which Arabic sources derive from Jebel Tariq, "Rock of Ṭāriq". A legend first recorded by al-Idrīsī has it that Ṭāriq burned his boats after landing. From Gibraltar he moved to conquer the region of Algeciras and then followed the Roman road that led to Seville. According to Ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥakam writing around 860, Ṭāriq, commander of the Berber garrison of Tangiers, crossed the straits of Gibraltar with ships from a certain Count Julian (Arabic Ilyan), lord of Ceuta and "Alchadra" (Algeciras), and landed near Cartagena, which he took and made his headquarters.
According to the Mozarabic Chronicle, Mūsā crossed the Gaditanum fretum (strait of Cádiz) with a large force in 711 and remained in Hispania for fifteen months, but it is unclear from the sources if he came before or after the battle of Guadalete, which was fought by the forces of his subordinates. During his time in the peninsula it was racked by civil war (intestino furore confligeratur, "internal frenzy", to the Mozarabic chronicler), cities were razed and many people slaughtered in the general destruction.
According to al-Maqqarī, Roderic was fighting the Basques when he was recalled to the south to deal with an invasion. There is also the record of a Byzantine attack on southern Iberia that was repulsed by Theudimer some years before the fall of the Visigothic kingdom. This has led to theories that the Berber attacks may have been related to the Byzantine, and perhaps the Arabs were originally useful allies in a Byzantine attempt to reconquer the lost province of Spania.
The author of the late Asturian Chronica Prophetica (883) dates the first invasion of Spain to "the Ides of November in the year 752 era", that is, 11 November 714. He also identified two invasions, the first by an Abu Zubra and the second, a year later, by Ṭāriq; probably he has divided the historical figure Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad into two persons.
Date and place
The date of the battle is traditionally 711, though this is not the date given by the Chronicle of 754. The Chronicle dates it to 712 and places it before the conquest of Toledo, which it attributes to Mūsā in 711. If this discrepancy is solved by preferring the chronicler's order to his dating, then the battle occurred in 712 and the fall of Toledo later that same year. Later Arabic accounts give an exact date of 25 or 26 July. A more rough dating is between 19 and 23 July. According to David Levering Lewis, the battle took place on 19 July 711. Preceding the battle was an entire week of inconclusive skirmishes near the lake La Janda, in the plain stretching from the Río Barbate to the Río Guadalete.
According to ʻAbd al-Ḥakam, Ṭāriq was marching from Cartagena to Córdoba—after defeating a Gothic army that tried to stop him—when he met Roderic in battle near Shedunya, probably modern Medina Sidonia. The later Arab accounts, most of them generating from al-Ḥakam's, also place the battle near Medina Sidonia, "near the lake" or Wadilakka (river Lakka), often identified as the Guadalete river, La Janda lake, stream of "Beca", or the Barbate river (that is, their associated valleys). The earliest Christian source, and the nearest source in time to the events, says that it took place near the unidentified "Transductine promontories" (Transductinis promonturiis). Thomas Hodgkin, probably following Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, placed the battle at Jerez de la Frontera. Joaquín Vallvé, studying toponymy, puts the engagement on the banks of the Guadarranque, which he says might derive from Wad al-Rinq (Roderic's river).
Engagement and aftermath
The armies that met in battle on the day that decided the fate of the Gothic kingdom in Spain are not reliably described in the surviving records. Glick surmises that the Muslim army was predominantly Berber cavalry under Berber leadership. The Arabic sources traditionally give Roderic 100,000 troops, gathered during his return to the south after confronting the Basques. This number is outrageously high; it complements the figure of 187,000 for the Muslims provided by the Ad Sebastianum version of the Chronicle of Alfonso III. Ṭāriq is said to have landed with 7,000 and requested 5,000 more from Mūsā. There could thus have been as many as 12,000 Muslim fighters at the battle. One modern estimate, disregarding the primary source claims, suggest a quarter of the 7,500 reported in one of them; this would be approximately 2,000. The Visigothic forces were "probably not much larger", and the Visigothic kingdom was not, like Francia to its north, organised for war. A small number of elite clans (perhaps around twenty five), their warrior followings, the king and his personal following, and the forces that could be raised from the royal fisc constituted the troops upon which Roderic could draw. But since the Civil War in the days of Chindaswinth the state had been issuing edicts with increasingly heavier fines, relating to the difficulties to hold levy troops, whether provincials or those from minor nobles retinues, which frequently deserted or didn't even report alluding whatever issues. When considering the numbers mustered by other medieval monarchs with more reliable reports, even from those without fractions who could command the majority of his subjects like those of King Harold Godwinson, and the difficulties of logistics to move from one part of the nation to another, as Roderic is supposed to have done from a conflict in the North he was reported to have been, which would have reduced his forces if he had to leave garrisons in his back, and any reinforcement from Andalusian nobles sympathetic to his reign, the forces that Roderic must have had at hand may have been not much larger than the African invading Army, numbers which must have been known to him by then to match with numeric advantage, and erroneously misjudged sufficient.
The defeat of the Visigothic army followed on the flight of the king's opponents, who had only accompanied the host "in rivalry", "deceitfully", and "out of ambition to rule" says the Mozarabic chronicler. The story of Sisibert abandoning Roderic with the right wing of the host is a legend. Estimating Visigothic forces at 33,000, David Lewis recounts how the Muslim army engaged in a series of violent hit and run attacks, while the Visigothic lines maneuvered en masse. A cavalry wing that had secretly pledged to rebel against Roderic stood aside, giving the enemy an opening. Ṭāriq's cavalry, the mujaffafa, forming as much as a third of the total force and armored in coats of light mail and identifiable by a turban over a metal cap, exploited the opening and charged into the Visigothic infantry, soon followed by the infantry. The Christian army was routed and the king slain in the final hours of battle. The engagement was a bloodbath: Visigothic losses were extremely high, and the Muslims lost as many as 3,000 men, or a quarter of their force.
Considering the factors that the engagement lasted for so long or was dragged in such way, and the fact that Visigothic forces entered on ground chosen by the African general for their style of combat, according to the sources, once the Goths found themselves boxed in and with their backs to the lake, this otherwise added defensive advantage turned against themselves and attempting to flex into more room to maneuver, or just to flee as reported and offer battle again at a better ground and another day, large numbers of them became drowned and their number advantage swiftly dwindled, making the slaughter inevitable. Those wings who were off the main force thus reduced, and with possibilities to escape whether they wanted it or not (as later they would be accused for whatever reasons suspected for it), must have been forced to flee after the chances of victory became almost impossible, and indeed significant detachments of them were reported later joining other Gothic forces and fortified garrisons to resist the invading armies. Plenty of Goths were reported later spread throughout the wide geography of the peninsula and south France, offering resistance or alliance to the invading African Armies, so any estimation that makes of the Goths as utterly routed or fallen down exterminated at once in bulk in the battle is overly an exaggeration, what gives another clue as to the reality of Roderic's Force numbers in line with others of the Age, and Tariq's. The Visigoths became or continued to be split in factions, of which the main focus of opposition to the new wrestling Power in the land appeared to be as it had been, those clans of nobles of the Narbonne-Barcelona region which resulted in the continued independent rule of Akhila or Ardo, and those in the Lusitania-Betica provinces which offered the longest resistance to Musa in Merida, around the figure of the widow Queen Egilona and her late husband still large supporters, which after surrender to the Muslim Governor formed a substantial body of the new province of the Caliphate, as only a small part but still many hundreds of them were taken to Syria as hostages, and many remained as clients or attendants at the court of their Queen. As Berbers had been for a generation and other peoples before them, any professional military men were forced to join and replenish the ranks of the Caliph's armies, as some Gothic or Hispano-roman nobles became reported whether converted to Islam or not, and even as slaves or personally bound to the Islamic generals.
It is possible that his enemies intended to abandon Roderic on the field, to be defeated and killed by the Muslims. Whatever the case, their plan failed, for they too were largely slain. By another text from the Mozarabic Chronicle the treachery can be placed at Roderic's feet. He "lost his kingdom together with his patria with the killing of his rivals". This unclear passage could indicate that Roderic had killed his rivals and weakened his army, ensuring defeat, or that his rivals too died in the battle or its retreat. The chronicler may be blaming the defeat on factionalism. The Chronicle of Alfonso III, in both its versions, blames the anonymous "sons of Wittiza" for conspiring against Roderic. Oppa, Wittiza's historical brother, was found in Toledo, possibly as king-elect, by Mūsā when he took the city. This Oppa may have had a part to play in the opposition to Roderic, but certainly not his nephews, who would have been too young to participate in power politics in 711. The metropolitan of Toledo, Sindered, fled the city at the coming of the Muslims, and remained for the rest of his life an exile in Rome. The author of the Mozarabic Chronicle caustically notes that he was "an hireling, and not the shepherd" (quoting Jesus, Gospel of John 10:12). The Gothic nobleman Theudimer made an alliance with the conquerors to preserve his own rule of his territory. Within a decade all of the peninsula save the tiny Kingdom of Asturias and the mountain-dwelling Basques was under Muslims dominion and they had advanced beyond the Pyrenees as well.
The later Arabic historians universally credit their religion for the victory. Al-Maqqarī, in The Breath of Perfumes, places in the mouth of Ṭāriq a morale-boosting address to his soldiers on the eve of battle, which closes with this exhortation to kill Roderic:
|“||Remember that I place myself in the front of this glorious charge which I exhort you to make. At the moment when the two armies meet hand to hand, you will see me, never doubt it, seeking out this Roderick, tyrant of his people, challenging him to combat, if God is willing. If I perish after this, I will have had at least the satisfaction of delivering you, and you will easily find among you an experienced hero, to whom you can confidently give the task of directing you. But should I fall before I reach to Roderick, redouble your ardor, force yourselves to the attack and achieve the conquest of this country, in depriving him of life. With him dead, his soldiers will no longer defy you.||”|
According to later traditions, indigenous Iberian Jews, progressively disenfranchised under the rule of Christian monarchs and bishops, provided fighters to augment the Moorish forces. Kawlah al-Yahudi distinguished himself in the battle at the head of a mixed contingent of Jews and Berbers, according to the compiler of the Akhbar Majmu'ah. In the aftermath of victory, the Jews reputedly took several cities and were even commissioned to garrison Seville, Córdoba, and Toledo itself. Thompson remarks that "whatever the reason for the [Goths'] persecution [of the Jews], it may have contributed to the utter destruction of those who initiated and enforced it." Despite all this, the participation of Jews on the side of the Muslims is not recorded in the Chronicle of 754.
The traditional explanation for the rapid fall of the Visigothic kingdom has been decadence. The late ninth-century Chronica Prophetica indeed blames the Goths' defeat on their lack of penance for their sins: "The city of Toledo, victor of all peoples, succombed as a victim to the triumphant Ishmaelites, and deserved to be subjected to them. Thus Spain was ruined for its disgusting sins, in the 380th year of the Goths." This is not accepted by specialists today, though it still exerts heavy influence through tertiary accounts, especially in Spanish-language historiography.
Among the legends which have accrued to the history of the battle, the most prominent is that of Count Julian, who, in revenge for the rape of (or affair with) his daughter Florinda (the later Cava Rumía or Doña Cava) by Roderic while the youth was being raised at the palace school, supposedly lent Ṭāriq the necessary ships for launching an invasion. That the Arabs already possessed sufficient naval forces in the western Mediterranean is attested by their activities against the Balearic Islands. While the rape (and the name of his daughter) are universally disregarded, the Count Julian of the Arabic histories has been identified with a Berber Catholic named Urban who appears in the Chronicle of 754. This Urban accompanied Mūsā across the straits. Urban may be the Julian of legend, but more likely Julian is the legend of Urban. According to one interpretation of the Urban-Julian legend, he was a Byzantine governor of Ceuta who joined with the Arabs to raid the southern coasts of Iberia in 710 with Ṭārif. Glick has suggested that Ṭārif is an invention designed to explain the etymology of Tarifa, the ancient Julia Traducta, of which "Julian" was probably the (unnamed) Gothic count (comes julianus).
The "sons of Wittiza" that figure so prominently in later Christian sources, are likewise unhistorical. Wittiza, who is praised by the Chronicle of 754, is almost universally vilified in subsequent works, beginning with the Chronicle of Moissac around 818. The outrageousness of the accusations is proportional to the chronological distance of the narrative. Thus, Lucas de Tuy, writing in the late thirteenth century, portrays a monster, while Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, rectifying the disparate accounts, shows Wittiza commencing his reign with promise and evolving into an tyrant. The Monk of Silos around 1115 recorded that the sons of Wittiza fled from Roderic to Julian and enlisted his aid.
Among the other legends surrounding the battle is that of Roderic's arrival at the field in a chariot drawn by eight white mules. Concerning the conquest are the legends of the sealed chamber in Toledo ("la maison fermée de Tolède") and the table (or carpet, depending on the translation) of Solomon that ʻAbd al-Ḥakam alleges was also discovered in Toledo. Roderic's golden sandal was allegedly recovered from the Guadalete river. The nineteenth-century American military history writer Henry Coppée penned a history of the conquest which incorporates and retells many of the legends.
- Roger Collins (1989), The Arab Conquest of Spain, 710–97 (London: Blackwell Publishing), 26–27, argues for its Toledan provenance, but others have suggested Córdoba or even Syria. A full study of the Mozarabic Chronicle is given in Carmen Cardelle de Hartmann (1999), "The Textual Transmission of the Mozarabic Chronicle of 754", Early Medieval Europe, 8 (1), 13–29.
- Paul, VI.xlvi, only adds the fact that the "Saracens" came to Hispania from Ceuta.
- In the nineteenth century, Reinhart Dozy compared them to the Thousand and One Nights. More recently, Collins (1989), has compared them to the Chanson de Roland for French history (p. 34) or the Lebor na Cert and Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh for Irish history (p. 5), in terms of historical value.
- Charles Cutler Torrey, trans. (1922), The History of the Conquest of Egypt, North Africa and Spain: Known as the Futūh Miṣr of Ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥakam (Yale University Press); also John Harris Jones, trans. (1858), History of the Conquest of Spain (Göttingen: W. Fr. Kaestner), pp. 18-22 excerpted at Ibn Abd-el-Hakem: The Islamic Conquest of Spain from Medieval Sourcebook.
- For an assessment of the value of these sources for the period of the conquest of Gothic Hispania, see Collins (1989), 1–5.
- Collins (1989), 3.
- Collins (1989), 2 note 3 and 3 note 5 summarises some debate concerning the Arab sources.
- Bernard F. Reilly (1993), The Medieval Spains (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 49–50.
- Collins (1989), 28, and (2004), Visigothic Spain, 409–711 (London: Blackwell Publishing), 130–2, provides a summary of the disputed succession.
- Collins (2004), 139.
- "Taric Abuzara" and "others" come from the Chronicle of 754, see Collins (1989), 30. Ṭāriq, which means "chief", is considered an etymological invention by Joaquín Vallvé (1989), "Nuevas ideas sobre la conquista árabe de España: Toponimia y onomástica", Al-Qantara, 10:1, 51–150. For the others that accompanied Ṭāriq—Abdelmelic, Alcama, and Mugheith— see Dykes Shaw (1906), "The Fall of the Visigothic Power in Spain", The English Historical Review, 21:82 (April), 222.
- Ignacio Olagüe (2004 ), La Revolución islámica en occidente (Editorial Plurabelle), 274–75. On this view, Ṭāriq was a Christian (initially). A response to Olagüe can be found in Dolores Bramon (2001), "Dispatares sobre el Islam en España", WebIslam, Opinión, No. 117.
- Norman Roth (1976), "The Jews and the Muslim Conquest of Spain," Jewish Social Studies, 38 (2), 146–148.
- Georges Bohas, "Tariq ibn Ziyad," Encyclopædia Universalis, accessed 18 October 2009.
- E. A. Thompson (1969), The Goths in Spain (Oxford: Clarendon Press), 250–51.
- Thomas F. Glick (1979), Islamic and Christian Spain in the Early Middle Ages: Comparative Perspectives on Social and Cultural Formation (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 32. Ṭāriq landed on 28 April 711.
- Collins (2004), 134.
- In The Buildings of Justinian of Procopius the term Gaditanum fretum is synonymous with Straits of Gibraltar and need not imply that Mūsā landed at Cádiz (ancient Gades) itself.
- Later Arabic sources state that Mūsā only went to Hispania after news of Ṭāriq's success reached him. He flogged his subordinate in front of his soldiers and then the two together completed the conquest of the peninsula before Mūsā was recalled by the Caliph to Damascus, a fact confirmed by the Mozarabic Chronicle. Mūsā took with him Ṭāriq and many Visigothic prisoners from the taking of Toledo (Collins , 29–31).
- Roger Collins (1986), The Basques (Londong: Blackwell Publishing), 97. The most specific accounts place Roderic in the vicinity of Pamplona (Shaw, 223).
- Bernard S. Bachrach (1973), "A Reassessment of Visigothic Jewish Policy, 589–711", The American Historical Review, 78:1 (February), 32. This theory is predicated on a certain understanding of the identity of the mysterious Count Julian (see "Legend" below). Thompson, 250, is explicit that nothing is known of the context of these Byzantine raids.
- Kenneth Baxter Wolf, ed. (2008). Chronica Prophetica. Medieval Texts in Translation.
- Collins (2004), 135.
- Bachrach (1973), 32.
- Glick, 32. Some accounts say the battle began on the 19th and lasted one week. Shaw, 224, suspects that many skirmishes preceded the definitive battle (probably on the 25th or 26th).
- David Levering Lewis (2008), God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570–1215 (W.W. Norton & Co.), 123–24.
- For this, see Glick, 31.
- For the theory that Guadabeca became Guadaleca and finally Guadalete, see Shaw, 223.
- As in William E. Watson (1993), "The Battle of Tours-Poitiers Revisited", Providence: Studies in Western Civilization, 2.
- Collins (1989), 28.
- Thomas Hodgkin (1887), "Visigothic Spain", The English Historical Review, 2:6 (April), 233. Rodrigo states that the battle took place ad fluvium qui Guadalete dicitur, prope Assidonam quae nunc Xeres dicitur: at the river called Guadalete, beside Sidonia, now called Xeres (quoted in Shaw, 223 n42). "Sidonia", probably the Roman Caesaris Asidona became Xeres-Sidonia to the Arabs and thence Jerez de la Frontera.
- Glick, 32.
- Other estimates include 60,000 and 90,000; Ibn Khaldūn gives the low figure of 40,000. These troops massed on the plain of Secunda on the western bank of the Guadalquivir opposite Córdoba, later called the Campo de la Verdad (Field of Truth).
- Glick, 32, notes that an army of 10–15,000 would have required more than three months to ferry across the straits, thus explaining the delay between Ṭāriq's reported landing and his march north in the traditional accounts.
- Collins (2004), 141.
- Herwig Wolfram (2005), Gotische Studien: Volk und Herrschaft im frühen Mittelalter (Munich: Beck).
- David Lewis, 123–24.
- Pedro de Palol and Gisela Ripoll (1988), Los Godos en el occidente europeo: ostrogodos y visigodos en los siglos V-VIII (Ediciones Encuentro).
- According to Rafael Altamira y Crevea, the "connexion between the Muslims and the sons of Wittiza is confirmed by all the chroniclers, and forms a trustworthy starting-point for the history of the invasion," cited in Bachrach (1973), 33n86, who finds it tempting to place the Muslims, the native Jewry, and Achila II, whom he reckons a son of Wittza, in a tripartite alliance against Roderic. Collins (2004), 137–38, rejects any attempt to salvage the historicity of the sons of Wittiza from contradictions in the primary source. Thompson, 251, records "presumably he was opposed by another member of the aristocracy or by a relative of Wittiza".
- For a general discussion of military arrangements in late Visigothic and post-Visigothic Spain until the Carolingian reconquest, see Joaquín Vallvé (1978), "España en el siglo VIII: ejército y sociedad", Al-Andalus, 43(1), pp. 51–112.
- Collins (2004), 135 and 139; Collins (1989), 1–6 and 31.
- Taken from Al Maggari: Tarik's Address to His Soldiers, 711 CE, from The Breath of Perfumes at Medieval Sourcebook, edited in Charles F. Horne (1917), The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East: Volume VI, Medieval Arabia (New York: Parke, Austin, and Lipscomb), 241–42. On p. 238 Horne explains that the "speech does not, however, preserve the actual words" of Ṭāriq and is the work more of a poet than of a historian.
- Wolfram Drews (2002), "Jews as Pagans? Polemical Definitions of Identity in Visigothic Spain", Early Medieval Europe, 11 (3), 189–207, provides a good overview of the treatment of the Jews in Spain. For the involvement of the Church, and especially of Julian of Toledo, in the Jewish persecutions of the late seventh century, see Francis X. Murphy (1952), "Julian of Toledo and the Fall of the Visigothic Kingdom in Spain", Speculum, 27 (1), 1–27. Bernard S. Bachrach (1977), Early Medieval Jewish policy in Western Europe (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), 23–25, deduces reasons from later medieval Christian chroniclers for believing Roderic's predecessor Wittiza to have been mild in his policies towards the Jews, thus provoking opposition.
- Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v. "Kaula al-Yahudi".
- Arie Schippers (1994), "The Jews in Muslim Spain", Spanish Hebrew Poetry and the Arabic Literary Tradition: Arabic Themes in Hebrew Andalusian Poetry, 43.
- Thompson, 316; Bachrach (1977), 26, agrees.
- This view was influentially expounded in English by the Presbyterian Reverend Dykes Shaw (1906), "The Fall of the Visigothic Power in Spain", The English Historical Review, 21:82 (April), 209–228.
- Shaw, 221, writing in 1906, rejects this as legend from the late ninth- and tenth-century Arabic histories. The first Latin chronicler to pick it up was the Monk of Silo in 1110. It blossomed under Pedro del Corral (who in the fifteenth century invented "Floresinda", an authentic Gothic name) and Miguel de Luna (who in the sixteenth turned her into a meretrix).
- Ibn Khaldūn calls him a Christian Berber, loyal follower (fidelis) of Wittiza, and finally emir of the Gūmara tribe. Sánchez-Albornoz agreed (Glick, 32n36).
- The passage mentioning Urban is quoted in Shaw, 221 note 38: Quod ille consilio nobilissimi viri Urbani, Africanae Regionis sub dogmate Catholicae fidei exorti [or exarci], qui cum eo cunctas Hispaniae adventaverat patrias.
- Collins (1989), 36.
- Glick, 32. Tarīfa means "point" in Arabic, a reference to its place as the southern tip of Hispania. According to Vallvé, based on a theoretical confusion in the Arabic source between the bay of Cádiz and that of Algeciras, "Julian", a Goth, was the governor of Cádiz. Vallvé's ideas are not widely accepted.
- Hodgkin, 234, who quotes extensively from Felix Dahn, Könige der Germanen, VI, 2nd ed. Both appear sceptical of the later (post-eighth century) sources.
- Shaw, 222.
- History of the Conquest of Spain by the Arab-Moors: With a Sketch of the Civilization which They Achieved and Imparted to Europe (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1881).