Amaya o los vascos en el siglo VIII

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Amaya o los vascos en el siglo VIII (Amaya, or the Basques in the 8th century) is a Romantic historical novel published in 1879 by Francisco Navarro-Villoslada, a noted novel by a Navarrese author.[1] The story is placed during the invasion of Visigothic Spain by the Moors.

Plot summary[edit]

Mixing history and legend, it presents a situation in which pagan and Christianized Basques unite under the first king of Navarre and ally with Pelayo, the first king of Asturias to defend Catholic Iberia against the invading Muslims.

Amaya is a Christian noblewoman, daughter of a Basque woman and Ranimiro, the ruthless Visigoth general. She is a niece to pagan leader Amagoya, who prefers her other pagan niece as heiress to the secrets of Aitor, the Basque ancestral patriarch. Pacomio is a Jew conspiring in disguise among Muslims, Visigoths and Basques. Eudes, duke of Cantabria, is Pacomio's son, but, by hiding his Jewish origin, has reached a high post in the Visigoth kingdom and aspires to power beyond what his allies and his father would allow.

At the end, the secret of Aitor is revealed, to recommend Christianity, the pagan Basques (except for Amagoya) convert, and Amaya marries the Basque resistance leader, García, becoming the first monarchs of Navarre. The legends of Teodosio de Goñi and San Miguel de Aralar, the Caba Rumía, the Table of Solomon in Toledo, and others are also mentioned in the plot.


The novel is influenced by the works of Walter Scott and Carlism[clarification needed] presenting the Navarrese as the defenders of Spanish monarchy and Christianity. The myth of Aitor as an ancestral Basque patriarch comes from Joseph-Augustine Chaho.

"Amaia" and "Amagoia" (in modern spelling) are used today as Basque female names.

Jesús Guridi's opera Amaya (inspired by the novel) debuted at the Coliseo Albia of Bilbao in 1920.


  1. ^ Saltus y ager vasconum. Cultura y política en Navarra (1870-1960). Sobresale Chapter 3. Thesis by Iñaki Iriarte López, 11 December 1998. Includes a summary and analysis of some aspects of the novel.