Septimania

From Academic Kids

Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigothic kingdom in 462, when Septimania was ceded to Theodoric II, king of the Visigoths. It corresponded roughly with the modern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon.

The name derives from part of the Roman name of the city of Béziers, Colonia Julia Septimanorum Beaterrae, which in turn alludes to the settlement of veterans of the Roman VII Legion in the city. Another possible origin of the name is a reference to the seven towns of the territory: today's Elne, Agde, Narbonne, Lodève, Béziers, Maguelonne and Nîmes. Septimania extended to a line half-way between the Mediterranean Sea and the Garonne River in the northwest; in the east the Rhône separated it from Provence; to the south its boundary was formed by the Pyrénées. After the Visigothic defeat by the Frankish king Clovis in the Battle of Vouillé (507), the child-king Amalaric was carried for safety into Spain. Aquitania passed into the hands of the Franks, and Septimania, with other Visigothic territories in Gaul, was ruled by the boy's maternal grandfather, Theodoric the Great, who created the first kingdom of Septimania in 509, retaining its traditional capital at Narbonne, and appointing as his regent an Ostrogothic nobleman named Theudis. In 522 the young Amalaric was proclaimed king, and four years later, on Theodoric's death, he assumed full royal power in Spain and Septimania, relinquishing Provence to his cousin Athalaric. He married Clotilda, daughter of Clovis, but found, as other royal husbands of Merovingian princesses found, that the entanglement brought on him the penalty of a Frankish invasion, in which he lost his life in 531, and Arian Visigothic Septimania, the last part of Gaul to remain in Visigothic hands, was officially converted to Catholicism.

The Moors, under Al-Samh ibn Malik the governor-general of al-Andalus, sweeping up the Iberian peninsula, by 719 overran Septimania; al-Samh set up his capital from 720 at Narbonne, which the Moors called Arbuna, offering the still largely Arian inhabitants generous terms and quickly pacifying the other cities. With Narbonne secure, and equally important, its port, for the Arab mariners were masters now of the Western Mediterranean, he swiftly subdued the largely unresisting cities, still controlled by their Visigoth counts: taking Alet and Béziers, Agde, Lodève, Maguelonne and Nîmes [1] (http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199302/the.arabs.in.occitania.htm). By 721 he was reinforced and ready to lay siege to Toulouse, a possession that would open up Aquitaine to him on the same terms as Septimania. But his plans were overthrown in the disastrous Battle of Toulouse (721), with immense losses, in which al-Samh was so seriously wounded that he soon died at Narbonne. Arab forces soundly based in Narbonne and easily resupplied by sea, struck eastwards in the 720s, penetrating as far as Autun (725). But in 731, the Berber wali of Narbonne and the region of Cerdagne, Uthman ibn Naissa, called "Munuza" by the Franks, who was recently linked by marriage to duke Eudes of Aquitaine, revolted against Córdoba, but was defeated and killed. But that is how the relatively small Arab force under Abd er-Rahman encountered Charles Martel between Tours and Poitiers, and was defeated and killed in October 732, the magnified "Battle of Tours" that stopped the Moorish advance.

After the territory round Toulouse was taken by the Franks in 732, Pippin III directed his attention to Narbonne, but the city held firm in 737, defended by its Goths,and Jews under the command of its governor Yusuf, 'Abd er-Rahman's heir. Around 747 the government of the Septimania region (and the Upper Mark, from Pyrénées to Ebro River) was given to Aumar ben Aumar. In 752 the Gothic counts of Nimes, Melguelh, Agde and Beziers refused allegance to the emir at Cordoba and declared their loyalty to the Frankish king— the count of Nimes, Ansemund, having some authority over the remaining counts. The Gothic counts and the Franks then began to besiege Narbonne, where Miló was probably the count (as succesor of the count Gilbert) But Narbonne resisted. In 754 an anti-Frank reaction, led by Ermeniard, killed Ansemund, but the uprising was without success and Radulf was designated new count by the Frankish court. About 755 Abd al-Rahman ben Uqba replaced Aumar ben Aumar. Narbonne capitulated in 759 and the county was granted to Miló, the Gothic count in Muslim times. The region of Rousillon was taken by the Franks in 760. In 767, after the fight against Waifred of Aquitaine, Albi, Rouergue, Gevaudan, and the city of Toulouse were conquered. In 777 the wali of Barcelona, Sulayman al-Arabi, and the wali of Huesca Abu Taur, offered their sumission to Charlemagne and also the sumission of Husayn, wali of Zaragoza. When Charlemagne invaded the Upper Mark in 778, Husayn refused allegance and he had to retire. In the Pyrenees, the Basques defeated themselves in Roncesvalles (August 15, 778).

The Frankish king found Septimania and the borderlands so devastated and depopulated by warfare, with the inhabitants hiding among the mountains, that he made grants of land that were some of the earliest identifiable fiefs to Visigothic and other refugees. Charlemagne also founded several monasteries in Septimania, around which the people gathered for protection. Beyond Septimania to the south Charlemagne established the Spanish Marches in the borderlands of his empire.

The territory passed to Louis, king in Aquitaine, but it was governed by Frankish margraves and then dukes (from 817) of Septimania.

The career of the Frankish noble Bernat, duke of Septimania (beheaded in 844) characterized the turbulent 9th century in Septimania. His appointment as Count of Barcelona in 826 occasioned a general uprising of the Catalan lords at this intrusion of Frankish power. For suppressing Berenguer of Toulouse and the Catalans, Louis the Pious rewarded Bernat with a series of counties, which roughly delimit 9th century Septimania: Narbonne, Béziers, Agde, Magalona, Nimes and Uzés. Rising against Charles the Bald in 843, Bernard was apprehended at Toulouse and beheaded.

Septimania became known as Gothia after the reign of Charlemagne. It retained these two names while it was ruled by the counts of Toulouse during early part of the Middle Ages, but the southern part became more familiar as Roussillon and the west became known as Foix, and the name "Gothia" (along with the older name "Septimania") faded during the 10th century, except as a traditional designation as the region fractured into smaller feudal entities, which sometimes retained Carolingian titles, but lost their Carolingian character, as the culture of Septimania evolved into the culture of Languedoc.

The name was used because the area was populated by a higher concentration of Goths than in surrounding regions. The rulers of this area, when joined with several counties, were titled the Marquesses of Gothia (and, also, the Dukes of Septimania).

Bernat of Gothia (also, Bernat of Septimania) was the ruler of these lands from 826 to 832.

External links

fr:Septimanie

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