[University of Salamanca]

Sources and historiography of the Suevi kingdom. A rereading

The history of the Swabian kingdom of Gallaecia it is marked by the nature of its sources. Most of them had a somewhat 'denialist' perspective. Even being the first entity constituted as a kingdom within the Roman Empire, our main informant, the chronicler Hydatius, is reluctant to recognize how kingdom the political entity with which it lives. He doesn't do it until 456, when he announces his disappearance at the hands of Theodoric's troops. Only at the end of his chronicle and his life does Hydatius seem to agree that the Suevi constituted a political reality that must be taken into account, they are no longer the faithless nations, as he still remembers in 460, if not a kingdom that is not legitimate due to its origins, how much less it formed an entity that can in no way deny. Hydacio barely knows anything about what the internal structures of that monarchy might be, only the effect they cause around him, the rejection they cause and also the seduction to which they subject other sectors of the population, to a part of the aristocracy willing to seek collaboration, to build a new territorial reality.

That collaborative perspective seems to have been imposed in the period between 469 and 550, when there was a collusion of interests against Goth aggressiveness. The figure of Martín de Braga, thanks to his own and a historiography dedicated to exalting his task as the factotum of the conversion to Catholicism and organizer of his Church, obscured what had probably been part of a long process of negotiation between the Swabian warrior elite and the aristocracies, be they Roman or indigenous, lay or ecclesiastical, that Hydacio was threshing in his Chronicle. The correspondence between Pope Vixilio and Bishop Profuturo of Braga, dated in the year 538, is a text that gives an account of the normalization of relations within Galician society, a normalization that makes understandable a process of confluence towards Catholicism that the sources focused on Martín . Without doubting his role as a missionary, the Swabian monarchy should not be seen as an obscure appendix of post-imperial history, it is undoubted that it has the recognition of the Merovingian monarchs (Gregory of Tours is the first to speak of a The Kingdom of Gallienus) and most likely from the court of Constantinople.

to identification Kingdom of the Suevi - Gallic Kingdom was undoubtedly effective, the persistence of the Gallaecia as a differentiable part in the subsequent constitution of the Visigothic kingdom, it probably comes from this period, from the sixth century in which the court of Braga was widely recognized. However, Visigothic historiography once again denied the Swabian past. Only a few news of Xoán Biclarense and Isidoro de Sevilla, related to the conquest, remained as a memory of their peninsular neighbors. After the violence exercised during the annexation and that which undoubtedly accompanied the conversion and which is barely remembered in the minutes of the III Council of Toledo, the Suevian kingdom of Gallaecia disappeared from the sources. The immense weight that Gothicism was going to impose on the historical constructions of the kingdoms of Asturias, León, Castile and then Spain, was going to erase the Suave memory of the vast majority of the chronicles, in any case no one seemed to show any interest in linking their present with the past of some defeated, even though they had contributed significantly to the formation of their post-Roman territorial identity.

Pablo C. Díaz Martínez

Professor of Ancient History at the University of Salamanca, he focused his research on the Late Ancient period. The processes of institutional adaptability of the Suevi and Visigoths, the continuity or break in the forms of exploitation of the territory, the social and institutional role of the different forms of peninsular monasticism, or the response of the peasant communities to the dominant forms in the environment occupied his researches more recent Coordinator of the Recognized Research Group Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages in Hispania (ATAHEMIS), participated in numerous Research projects that focused their attention on the Iberian northwest. Among them: Northern Hispania in Late Antiquity: integration and resistance against the dominant social and political structures; Collapse and regeneration in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. The case of the peninsular northwest; Formation and dynamics of communal livestock spaces in the northwest of the medieval Iberian Peninsula: landscapes and social identities in comparative perspective. The result of that work are numerous studies in relation to the Gallaecia late-old, among the most recent: «Bárbaros, Romans and the conformation of provincial identities in the V siglo: the case of Gallaecia», In Tommaso Gnoli, Valerio Neri (eds.), Regional identities in the late antique empire, Milano 2019, p. 99-137; «Toribio de Astorga and his correspondents. Dogmatic arguments and hierarchical control”, Gerion 39-2 (2021), 631-646. As joint work cite The Suebian kingdom (411-585), Madrid 2011, 302 pp.