Meritxell Perez Martinez

Being Roman under Visigothic Rule: Space and Identity in the Northeastern Territories of the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania Tarraconensis) 

(*En Portugués aquí; En Español aquí; En français ici)

Abstract:

The chronicles place the Visigothic capture of Tarraco by the armies of rex Euric in the last third of the fifth century (AD 472), thus allowing him to exert control on the entire Roman province. According to the traditional view, historiography interpreted these events as being a real break, as well as the beginning of an irreversible period of decline that would have resulted in an almost complete loss of its former competences as capital city of Roman Tarraconensis, both civilian and ecclesiastical. The most recent studies about Tarraco have emphasized the leading role of these territories in the fighting for the survival of the Roman Empire as a power structure in the West for most of the fifth century. The character of the city as a center of irradiation, representation and legitimacy of Romanity in the Peninsula would have survived far beyond the capturing of the provincial capital by the armies of Euric. Both textual and archaeological sources leave no room for doubt about the perpetuation of Roman identity in the area, also visible in the use and transformation of space. Indeed, studying the written sources, from a current perspective, reveals a limited impact of the initial episodes of conquest, together with a significant preservation of the previous social fabric for most of the sixth century. The results coming from the archaeological study deserve special attention in order to overcome former interpretations, while endorsing a significant continuity of the dynamics of urban transformation which started earlier in the Late Roman city.

 

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