The Chronicle of John of Biclaro: Translation and Commentary
John of Biclaro was an Iberian chronicler and bishop born in the first half of the sixth century CE and lived to some point after 621 CE. He apparently studied in Constantinople for some time before returning to Iberia. He wrote this chronicle while he was an abbot. The chronicle covers a period of around 25 years, running from 565/566-590/591 CE, and it is portrayed as a continuation of a chronicle by the North African bishop Victor of Tunnuna. The chronicle primarily covers Byzantine/Eastern Roman history and Visigothic history in Spain and parts of southern Gaul, and its main value is the detailed year-by-year account it provides of the reign of the Visigothic king Leovigild (/Liuvigild), who greatly expanded Visigothic control of the Iberian Peninsula, most notably through subjugating the kingdom of the Suevi in the west. Moreover, the account covers the early years of the reign of Leovigild’s son Recared, who converted from Arianism to Catholicism, a moment of joy and triumph for the author. The Latin text used for the translation I have made of this chronicle can be found here. I include with my translation accompanying notes.
The Chronicle of John the Abbot of Biclaro, continuing where Victor left off
Previously, Eusebius the bishop of the church of Caesarea,[i] Jerome the presbyter known in the whole world,[ii] Prosperus the religious man,[iii] and Victor the bishop of the church of Tunnuna of Africa[iv] seemed to cover the history of almost all peoples with the utmost brevity and diligence, and carried on the series of years all the way to our age, and transmitted to our knowledge those things that happened in the world. So after all this, we therefore- with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ- have endeavoured to transmit briefly with the pen for the knowledge of posterity those things that have been done in our times: partly this is what we have seen with the trust of our own eyes, and partly this is what we have learned from the report of trustworthy ones.
Therefore in the fifteenth indiction,[v] as has been said, following the death of Justinian, Justinus the younger- his nephew- was made emperor of the Romans.
As the 53rd emperor of the Romans,[vi] Justinus the younger[vii] ruled for 11 years.
In the first year of his rule,[viii] this Justinus did away with those things that had been delineated against the Chalcedonian synod, and he introduced the symbol of the 150 Holy Fathers gathered at Constantinople- something that was laudably received in the Chalcedonian synod- to be celebrated in song in all the Catholic Church, before the Lord’s prayer should be said. The people of the Armenians and the Iberians,[ix] who received the faith of Christ from the preaching of the apostles, were being compelled by Khosrow the emperor of the Persians[x] to worship idols, but they rejected such an impious order, and so handed themselves over with their provinces to the Romans. This matter broke the peace treaties between the Romans and the Persians.
In the second year of the aforementioned leader,[xi] in the royal city, Aetherius and Additus the patricians wanted to bring death upon Justinus by means of poison administered through doctors rather than the sword. However, they were caught and ordered to be punished with the death sentence: the first died after being devoured by beasts, the second after being burned by fires. Justinus, the son of Germanus the patrician and a cousin of the emperor Justinus, was killed in Alexandria in a scheme organised by Sophia Augusta. In these times Athanagild the king of the Goths[xii] came to the end of his life in Spain. Liuva[xiii] was brought forth to rule instead of him.
In the third year of Justinus the emperor,[xiv] the Garamantes[xv] made a demand through envoys, indicating their desire to be joined to the peace of the state[xvi] and to the Christian faith. They immediately got both things. Theodore the prefect of Africa was killed by the Moors. The people of the Mauritans[xvii] received the faith in these times. In the third year of this man’s reign, Leovigild[xviii] the brother of King Liuva was put in place to rule Nearer Spain[xix] while his brother was still alive. He received in marriage Gosuintha the widow of Athanagild, and he remarkably brought back to the former borders the province of the Goths that had already been diminished because of the rebellion of various people.
In the fourth year of the Emperor Justinus (which was the second year of King Leovigild),[xx] Theoctistus the magister militum[xxi] of the African province, overcome in war by the Moors, perished. King Leovigild devastated the places of Bastania and the city of Malaga after driving away the soldiers,[xxii] and he returned as victor to his throne. The Emperor Justinus, made war on the people of the Barbarians in Thrace through Tiberius the comes excubitorum.[xxiii] Tiberius returned to Constantinople as victor. In the province of Galicia, Miro was made king of the Suevi after Theodomir.[xxiv]
In the fifth year of the Emperor Justinus (which was the third year of King Leovigild),[xxv] the Emperor Justinus made Armenia and Iberia Roman provinces after driving away the Persians, and the emperor of the Persians prepared for war through his commanders.[xxvi] Amabilis the magister militiae[xxvii] in Africa was killed by the Moors. King Leovigild occupied the very fortified city of Asinoda[xxviii] by night through the betrayal of a certain Frainidaneus. After the soldiers[xxix] were killed, he brought back the aforementioned city to the jurisdiction of the Goths. Donatus the abbot of the monastery of Servitanum[xxx] was considered a renowned worker of miracles.
In the sixth year of the Emperor Justinus (that is, the fourth year of King Leovigild),[xxxi] the kingdom of the Gepids came to an end, as they were overcome by the Lombards in battle, and their king Cunicmund[xxxii] fell in the field, and his treasures were brought in their entirety by Trasaric the bishop of the Arian sect and Reptila the nephew of Cunicmund to Constantinople while Justinus was emperor. King Leovigild occupied by night the city of Cordoba, which had long been rebelling against the Goths, and he made it his own after slaughtering the enemy. He brought back under the Goths’ dominion many cities and forts after killing a multitude of the rustic people. King Miro of the Suevi made war against the Aragonese. Domnus the bishop of the Helenensian church[xxxiii] was considered renowned.
In the seventh year of the Emperor Justinus (the fifth year of Leovigild),[xxxiv] Alboinus the king of the Lombards was killed by his own men at night in a scheme organised by his wife. His treasures along with the queen herself came under the authority of the Roman state, and the Lombards remained without a king and a treasury. In these days King Luiva came to the end of his life, and all of Spain and Narbonensian Gaul[xxxv] came under the rule and power of King Leovigild. Justinus the emperor was struck by grave infirmity: this infirmity was thought by some to be a disturbance of the brain, by others a vexation of demons. In the royal city the mortality of the inguinalis plague[xxxvi] grew intense, in which we saw that many thousands of men had perished. King Leovigild entered Sabaria[xxxvii] and devastated the Sabi, and subjugated their province under his authority: he appointed his two sons from his deceased wife- Hermenegild and Recared- to be his partners in rule. The ambassadors of the people of the Moors came to Constantinople: they offered elephant teeth and a giraffe to the emperor Justinus as gifts, and entered into friendship arrangements with the Romans. After John, Benedict was ordained bishop of the Roman Church. He was in charge for four years. Mausona the bishop of the church of Mérida was considered renowned in our dogma.
In the eighth year of Justinus, which was the sixth year of Leovigild,[xxxviii] the Persians broke their peace treaties with the Romans. Engaging in a fight, they overcame Dara- the very fortified city- in war.[xxxix] Killing a multitude of the Romans, they entered and plundered the aforementioned city. In these days, King Leovigild entered Cantabria[xl] and killed the invaders of the province. He invaded Amaya, seized their wealth, and brought the province back under his authority. The Emperor Justinus appointed Tiberius (whom we have mentioned earlier as the comes of the excubitors) to be Caesar, and not much later, he carried him forth to the height of imperial rule and designated him emperor of the state. On the first day of this Tiberius Caesar, the inguinalis plague came to an end in the royal city.
In the ninth year of the Emperor Justinian, which was the seventh year of King Leovigild,[xli] Khosrow the emperor of the Persians moved with a very large multitude of his army to devastate the territory of the Romans. Justinianus the commander of the Roman military and the magister militum of the East designated by Tiberius prepared for war against him. He came to blows with him in a brave battle in the fields that are located between Dara and Nezinii,[xlii] and he had with him very brave peoples who are called Hermam in barbarian tongue. He thus overpowered the aforementioned emperor in war. As the latter was put to flight with his army, he invaded the man’s camp. The victorious Justinianus then devastated the territory of the province of Persida, and he sent their spoils to Constantinople for the sake of a triumph, 24 elephants among other things, and they put on a great spectacle for the Romans in the royal city. But the booty from the plunder of the Romans…[xliii]a multitude of the Persians were sold to the public treasury on account of excessive cheapness. King Leovigild entered upon the Aregensians through their mountains.[xliv] He took away Aspidius- the notable of the place- and his wife and children as captives, and he brought his wealth and places under his power. Aramundarus the king of the Saracens came to Constantinople, and with his wreath[xlv] and gifts of Barbaria[xlvi] he met the emperor Tiberius. He was kindly received by Tiberius, endowed with lavish gifts, and permitted to go away to his country.
In the tenth year of the Emperor Justinus which was the eighth year of King Leovigild,[xlvii] Bandarius the son-in-law of the Emperor Justinus was taken prisoner by the Lombards in battle, and not much after he came to the end of his life. The magister militum Romanus the son of Anagastus the patrician captured the king of the people of the Suevi alive: he led him with his treasury, wife and children to Constantinople, and he subjugated their province to the dominion of the Romans.[xlviii] King Leovigild disturbed the territory of the Suevi in Galicia, and after being asked by King Miro through ambassadors, he granted them peace for a small period of time. The Sclavini[xlix] invaded many cities of the Romans in Thrace, which they left empty after plundering them. The Abares besieged the shores of the sea in a deceptive way, and they were rather hostile to the ships sailing the shores of Thrace. After Benedict,[l] Pelagius the younger[li] was ordained bishop of the Roman Church. He was in charge for 11 years.
In the 11th year of his rule, Justinus closed off his last day,[lii] and Tiberius attained sole rule of the empire.
As the 54th emperor of the Romans, Tiberius ruled for six years.[liii]
So in the first year of the reign of Tiberius, which was the ninth year of Leovigild,[liv] the Abares devastated Thrace, and besieged the city far away from the wall. King Leovigild entered Orospeda,[lv] and occupied the cities and forts of the same province, and made it his own province. Soon afterwards, the peasants rebelled there and were crushed by the Goths, and after these events Orospeda was wholly owned by the Goths.
In the second year of the Emperor Tiberius, which was the tenth year of Leovigild,[lvi] Gennadius the magister militum devastated the Moors in Africa. He defeated their very brave king Gasmulis, who had already killed three previously named commanders of the Roman army, and he killed the king by his sword. Tiberius appointed the comes excubitorum Mauricius as magister militiae in the East, and directed him to resist the Persians. The Romans waged a lamentable war against the Lombards in Italy. King Leovigild, after wiping out the tyrants and invaders of Spain everywhere, gained rest and resided with his own people, and founded a city in Celtiberia[lvii] named after his son. It is called Recopolis, which he adorned with wondrous work, walls and suburbs, and he instituted privileges for the people of the new city. John the presbyter of the church in Mérida was considered renowned.
In the third year of the Emperor Tiberius, which was the 11th year of Leovigild,[lviii] the Abares were driven from the territory of Thrace, and they occupied parts of Greece and Pannonia. King Leovigild handed the daughter of Sisebert[lix] the king of the Franks to his son Hermenegild in marriage, and he gave him a part of a province to rule. Therefore, while Leovigild was ruling in peace and quiet, the household rivalry of adversaries threw things into disturbance. For in the same year, his son Hermenegild initiated a coup through the plot of Queen Gosuintha, and after launching a rebellion he was shut in the city of Seville, and he made other cities and forts rebel with him against his father. This cause was a source of greater ruin in the province of Spain to both the Goths and Romans than the invasion of adversaries. Novellus the bishop of Complutum[lx] was considered renowned.
In the fourth year of Tiberius, which was the 12th year of Leovigild,[lxi] Mauricius the magister militum of the East made war on the Persians, and repelling a multitude of the Persians he spent the winter in the East. King Leovigild gathered a synod of bishops of the Arian sect into the city of Toledo, and he amended the old heresy with new error, saying that those converting from the Roman religion to our Catholic faith[lxii] should not be baptised, but only be ‘cleansed’ through the imposition of the hand and order of communion, and give glory to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. So through this misleading, very many of our people, driven more by greed,[lxiii] turned towards the Arian dogma.
In the fifth year of Tiberius, which was the 13th year of Leovigild,[lxiv] the Lombards chose a king for themselves in Italy from their own lineage. He was called Antarich. During his time, the Roman soldiers were entirely slaughtered, and the Lombards occupied Italy’s territory for themselves. The people of the Sclavini devastated Illyricum and the Thracian lands. King Leovigild occupied a part of Vasconia,[lxv] and founded the city that is called Victoriacum. Emperor Tiberius handed over his daughter in marriage to the magister militum of the East.
In the sixth year of Tiberius, which was the 14th year of Leovigild,[lxvi] Tiberius came to the end of his life, and Mauricius was made Emperor of the Romans instead of him. As the 55th emperor of the Romans, Mauricius ruled for 20 years.[lxvii] King Leovigild gathered an army to assault his son the usurper.
So in the first year of the Emperor Mauricius, which was the 15th year of King Leovigild,[lxviii] King Leovigild besieged the city of Seville after he had gathered an army. He shut in his rebellious son with a heavy siege. To provide him help, Miro the King of the Suevi came down to the assault on Seville,[lxix] and there he put a close to his last day. Eburicius his son succeeded him in rule in the province of Galicia. Meanwhile King Leovigild threw the aforementioned city into wholesale turmoil, partly through hunger, partly through the sword, and partly through shutting off the Baetis.
In the second year of Mauricius, which was the 16th year of Leovigild,[lxx] Leovigild restored the walls of the old city of Italica.[lxxi] This matter presented a very great obstacle for the people of Seville. In these days Andeca seized control of the kingdom of the Suevi in Galicia through a coup, and he took up Sifeguntia, the widow of King Miro, as his wife. He deprived Eburicius of rule, and made him a monk of a monastery. King Leovigild entered Seville through an assault while his son Hermenegild was trying to head for the state.[lxxii] He captured the cities and forts that his son had occupied, and soon afterwards he caught his aforementioned son in the city of Cordoba, and deprived him of rule and sent him to Valencia in exile. The Emperor Mauricius mobilised the Franks against the Lombards per a mercenary agreement. This matter brought not small losses for both peoples. Eutropius the abbot of the Servitanian monastery[lxxiii] and disciple of Saint Donatus was considered renowned.
In the third year of Mauricius, which was the 17th year of Leovigild,[lxxiv] Mauricius made war through commanders. King Leovigildus devastated the Galician lands. He captured King Andeca and deprived him of rule. He subjugated the people of the Suevi, their treasury and their homeland under his power, and made their land a province of the Goths. Hermenegild was killed by Sisebert in the city of Tarraco.[lxxv]
The Franks desired to occupy Narbonensian Gaul and entered with their army. Leovigild sent his son Recared to fight them. The army of the Franks was repelled by him, and the province of Galicia[lxxvi] was freed from their infestation. He occupied two forts with a very large multitude of men: one he occupied peacefully, the other by war. The fort that is called Hodierno, was placed with its very strong protection on the bank of the Rhone. King Recared attacked it and gained control of it through a very brave fight, and as victor he returned to his father and his country. As for Andeca who was deprived of rule, he was shorn, and honoured with the honour of a presbyter’s office after rule. No doubt he endured what he had done against his king Eburicius who was the son of the king. He was relegated to exile in the Pacensian city.[lxxvii] Malaric launched a coup in Galicia, as though he wanted to rule. He was immediately suppressed by Leovigild’s commanders and caught, and he was bound and presented to Leovigild. Leander the bishop of the church of Seville was considered renowned.
In the fourth year of the Emperor Mauricius, which was the 18th year of King Leovigild,[lxxviii] Anthane the king of the Lombards emerged victorious after he entered into a fight with the Romans. Having slaughtered a multitude of the soldiers of the Romans, he occupied the territory of Italy. In this year King Leovigild closed off his last day, and his son Recared assumed the sceptres of his rule with tranquillity.
In the fifth year of Mauricius the emperor of the Romans, which was fortunately the first year of King Recared,[lxxix] Mauricius appointed his son Theodosius (born from the daughter of the Emperor Tiberius) to be Caesar. When the younger Pelagius died, Gregorius succeeded as bishop of the Roman Church.[lxxx] He was in charge for 15 years. The Romans devastated the Lombards through the help of the Franks and subjugated a part of the province of Italy under their power. Sisebert the killer of Hermenegild was killed in a most disgraceful death. In the first year of his rule (in the tenth month), Recared became Catholic by God’s help. He assailed the priests of the Arian sect through wise discourse and made them convert to the Catholic faith through reason rather than through power. He called back he people of all the Goths and the Suevi to the unity and peace of the Christian Church. The Arian sects, by divine grace, converted to the Christian dogma. Desiderius the king of the Franks- a leader rather hostile to the Goths[lxxxi]- was defeated by the commanders of King Recared. After a multitude of the Franks were slaughtered, he died in the field. King Recared pleasingly restored the property of other people that had been confiscated by his predecessors for the private treasury. He became a founder and enricher of churches and monasteries.
In the sixth year of Mauricius, which was the second year of Recared,[lxxxii] a certain bishop Sunna of the Arians and Seggo wished to launch a coup with certain people, and they were exposed. Convicted, Sunna was handed over to exile, and Seggo had his own hands amputated and was sent to Galicia in exile. Mauricius appointed his son Theodosius, whom we have mentioned as being Caesar above, to be emperor of the Romans.
In the seventh year of Mauricius, which was the third year of King Recared,[lxxxiii] Uldila the bishop along with Queen Gosuintha were shown to be laying traps against Recared, and it was revealed that they rejected the communion of the Catholic faith which they seemingly took under the guise of being Christian. As this evil was brought to the knowledge of men, Uldila was condemned to exile, while Gosuintha, ever hostile to the Catholics, then came to the end of her life. The army of the Franks sent across by King Gonteranus[lxxxiv] under the commander Boso came into Narbonensian Gaul, and they set up camp next to the city of Carcassonne. Claudius the duke of Lusitania was sent by King Recared and he confronted that army there. He engaged in a fight with them, and the Franks were put to flight. The Franks’ camp was plundered, and the army was slaughtered by the Goths. So in this struggle the divine grace and the Catholic faith that King Recared faithfully took up among the Goths are known to have been at work: because it is not difficult for our God, if victory should be given for a few in one and the same place over many. For Claudius the commander with 300 men is known to have put to flight almost 60,000 Franks, and to have butchered the greatest part of them by the sword. Not without merit is God praised in our times to have been at work in this battle, as similarly many periods of time ago He is known to have wiped out many thousands of Midianites who were hostile to God’s people, using the hand of the commander Gedeon with 1300 men.[lxxxv]
In the eighth year of the Emperor Mauricius, which was the fourth year of Recared,[lxxxvi] a holy synod of the bishops of all of Spain, Gaul and Galicia was gathered in the city of Toledo by the order of the leader Recared.[lxxxvii] The number of the bishops was 62. In this synod participated the aforementioned Recared, who was very Christian. He brought forth for the bishops the order of his conversion and of all the priests, and the confession of the Gothic people written in a volume by his own hand, and he made known all the things that pertain to the profession of the orthodox faith. The holy synod of the bishops decreed to add the order of this volume to the canonical monuments. It should be noted the leadership of the synodal business was in the hands of Saint Leander the bishop of the church of Seville, and the very blessed Eutropius the abbot of the Servitanian monastery. As for the aforementioned King Recared, he participated (as we have said) in the holy council, renewing in our times the fact that the old emperor- Constantine the Great- had illuminated the Nicaean synod with his presence: and indeed Marcianus the very Christian emperor, n whose insistence the decrees of the Chalcedonian synod were formulated. Indeed in the city of Nicaea the Arian heresy both took up a beginning and earned damnation, while the roots were not cut. At Chalcedon, Nestorius and Eutychius together with their patron Dioscorus and their own heresies were condemned. In this holy Toledan synod, the perfidy of Arius, after long slaughters of Catholics and massacres of innocents, was cut at the roots in such a way, per the insistence of the aforementioned leader King Recared, that it no longer sprouts forth, as Catholic peace has been given to the churches everywhere. Therefore this wicked heresy grew through the presbyter Arius, according to what has been written (‘From the house of the Lord, temptation will come out from Alexandria’ etc.), per the revelation of Saint Alexander the bishop of the same city. In the Nicaean synod by the judgement of 318 bishops, in the 20th year of the rule of the elder Constantine, he received damnation along with his own error. This heresy after these events not only stained part of the East and West, but also ensnared with its perfidy the region of the South and the North, and the islands. So from the 20th year of the Emperor Constantine, in which time the Arian heresy took up a beginning, all the way until the eighth year of Mauricius the emperor of the Romans, which was the fourth year of Recared’s rule, there are 266 years,[lxxxviii] during which the Catholic Church toiled because of the infestation of this heresy. But by God’s favour, the church won, because it has been founded over a rock. Therefore in these times in which the omnipotent God, after laying low the poison of the old heresy, restored peace to His Church, the emperor of the Persians took up the faith of Christ, and signed a peace with the Emperor Mauricius. So while the orthodox Recared ruled with a quiet peace, the domestic traps were brought forth to light. For a certain man of his cubiculum- also the duke of a province- who was called Argimund, desired to launch a coup against King Recared, such that, if he could, he should deprive him of both rule and life. But as the machination of his wicked plot was uncovered, he was arrested and brought down in iron chains. After an inquiry was held, his partners admitted their impious machination and were killed in wholly worthy revenge. Argimund himself, who desired to assume rule, was first interrogated with beatings and then shorn bold in disgrace. After these things, his right hand was cut off, and as he sat on an ass in a parade, he provided an example for all in Toledo, and he taught the servants of dominion not to be haughty.
[i] Eusebius of Caesarea: a fourth century Christian bishop who wrote a chronicle.
[ii] Jerome, the well-known translator of the Bible into Latin. He also produced a chronicle.
[iii] Prosper of Aquitaine, who lived in the fourth and fifth centuries CE and continued Jerome’s Chronicle.
[iv] A sixth century bishop and chronicler.
[v] A period of reassessment of taxes.
[vi] Original Latin: “Romanorum LIII.” The only satisfactory rendering of this phrase is the “53rd emperor of the Romans,” not “l’an 53 des Romains.” So likewise for similar instances elsewhere in this text.
[vii] Justin II, Byzantine/Eastern Roman emperor. His reign is generally dated to the period 565-578 CE. In this chronology, it runs from 565-576 CE.
[viii] 565-566 CE.
[ix] Not the people of the Iberian Peninsula but the people of the Iberia region of the Caucasus.
[x] Khosrow I, Sassanid emperor in the period 531-579 CE.
[xi] 566-567 CE.
[xii] Visigothic king of Spain in the period 554-567 CE.
[xiii] Liuva I, Visigothic king of Spain following Athanagild.
[xiv] 567-568 CE.
[xv] A people of Libya (probably Berbers), mention of whom goes back to antiquity (cf. Virgil’s Aeneid Book 6).
[xvi] The Roman Empire (i.e. the Byzantine Empire).
[xvii] Probably a Berber people.
[xviii] Visigothic king of Spain in the period 568-586 CE.
[xix] An old Roman designation for a region of eastern Spain.
[xx] 568-569 CE.
[xxi] A late Roman title used to refer to a supreme military commander.
[xxii] i.e. The Byzantine garrison, since the Byzantines maintained holdings in southern Spain during this period.
[xxiii] An imperial guard unit.
[xxiv] King of the Suevi in Galicia. His reign is generally dated to 570-583 CE.
[xxv] 569-570 CE.
[xxvi] Original Latin: “et bellum Persarum imperator per duces parcit.” It would seem that “parcit” should be corrected to “parat.” The French translation says: “Et prépara la guerre contre les Perses avec ses ducs” (“And he [Justinus] prepared for war against the Persians with his dukes”). But “Persarum” seems to be a genitive going with “imperator” and not “bellum” based on comparisons with the Latin text elsewhere, and so the French translation seems unlikely.
[xxvii] Equivalent to magister militum.
[xxviii] Medina Sidonia in southern Spain.
[xxix] i.e. Byzantine/Roman soldiers.
[xxx] Located in the Castile La Mancha area.
[xxxi] 570-571 CE.
[xxxii] Last king of the Gepids (a Germanic people).
[xxxiii] The church of the locality of Elne in southern France near the border with Spain. Originally called Illiberis, it was renamed after Helena (Constantine the Great’s mother).
[xxxiv] 571-572 CE.
[xxxv] An old Roman province centred around Narbonne in what is now southwest France.
[xxxvi] The Plague of Justinian.
[xxxvii] An independent realm that emerged in northern Spain.
[xxxviii] 572-573 CE.
[xxxix] A locality in northern Mesopotamia.
[xl] A region in northern Spain.
[xli] 573-574 CE.
[xlii] Probably corresponding to the locality of Nusaybin in what is now Turkey.
[xliii] Appears to be a gap in the original text.
[xliv] The Aregensians lived in a mountainous region that has been identified as being located between León and Orense
[xlv] Latin: “cum stemate suo.” To me, “stemate” is a variant spelling of “stemmate” and thus refers to a wreath of some kind. I do not see a basis for translating this as “kin” as the French translation does.
[xlvi] ‘Barbaria’: probably meaning barbarian lands in general.
[xlvii] 574-575 CE.
[xlviii] Here the author is not referring to the Germanic Suevi of western Iberia but probably the ‘Suani’ of the Caucasus region.
[xlix] Referring to the inhabitants of Slavonia.
[l] Pope Benedict I (papacy: 575-579 CE).
[li] Pope Pelagius II (papacy: 579-590 CE).
[lii] 575-576 CE.
[liii] Tiberius II was sole Byzantine/Eastern Roman emperor is generally dated to the period 578-582 CE. In this chronology, it seems to run from 576-582 CE.
[liv] 576-577 CE.
[lv] A region located in southeast Spain to the west of Cartagena.
[lvi] 577-578 CE.
[lvii] A region in north/northeastern Iberia.
[lviii] 578-579 CE.
[lix] Sigebert I. His reign as king of Austrasia is generally dated to 561-575 CE. His daughter who married Hermenegild was Ingund.
[lx] A locality near Madrid.
[lxi] 579-580 CE.
[lxii] The author is presenting Leovigild’s perspective: i.e. for him, Catholicism was the “Roman” religion and Arianism is the true Catholic faith.
[lxiii] Original Latin: “cupiditate potius impulsi.” The French translation renders this as: “plus par choix personnel que par force” (“more by personal choice than force”). This rendering does not seem to be satisfactory in my view.
[lxiv] 580-581 CE.
[lxv] The Basque region.
[lxvi] 581-582 CE.
[lxvii] Byzantine/Eastern Roman emperor. His reign is generally dated to the period 582-602 CE. The chronology of this chronicle matches this timeline.
[lxviii] 582-583 CE.
[lxix] Original Latin: "in cuius solatio Miro Suevorum rex ad expugnandam Hispalim devenit." There are two interpretations of this phrase: one is that Miro came to help Hermenegild and relieve the siege of Seville, the other is that Miro came to help Leovigild. Both interpretations could make sense though I would say that the latter is more likely on the balance of probabilities. It may be that Miro was seeking to help Hermenegild on the basis of a shared Catholic faith. However, this particular account makes no mention of Hermenegild's reputed conversion to Catholicism (mention of which first came in Gregory of Tours account, which also says that Miro came to help Hermenegild [Histories 6.43], and Gregory the Great's Moralia), let alone the idea it was the cause of dissension between him and Leovigild. Rather, this account says that Hermenegild acted with the support of Queen Gosuintha, who, according to the author, was subsequently exposed as conspiring against King Recared following his conversion Catholicism and remained hostile to Catholics till the end of her life. In addition, according to this same chronicle, Miro had also reached some arrangement with Leovigild prior to the siege. Coming to fight Leovigild may have jeopardised the Suevi realm's status, and it could be plausibly be argued he wished to curry favour with Leovigild by assisting him in the bid to take Seville. The notion that Miro came to help Leovigild appears in Isidore of Seville's History of the Kings of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi, and the same claim was copied by Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada in his Historia Hugnorum et al. (Chapter 15), though the latter also mentions Hermenegild's reputed conversion to Catholicism as the reason for the dispute between him and his father Leovigild.
[lxx] 583-584 CE.
[lxxi] Roman-era town located in the Seville region.
[lxxii] Original Latin: “Hermenegildo ad rempublicam commigrante.” The author appears to be referring to the Roman-controlled territory in Iberia. The rendering of the French translation- “Herménégild se fut enfuit pour des raisons politiques” (“Hermenegild fled for political reasons”)- is implausible.
[lxxiii] i.e. The monastery of Servitanum.
[lxxiv] 585-586 CE.
[lxxv] It is not clear who exactly this Sisebert was.
[lxxvi] Appears to be an error in the original Latin. The author probably intended that Narbonensian Gaul was freed from the Franks’ attack.
[lxxvii] Probably referring to Colonia Pacensis in Lusitania (now Beja).
[lxxviii] 586-587 CE.
[lxxix] 587-588 CE.
[lxxx] Pope Gregory I (papacy: 590-604 CE).
[lxxxi] Desiderius was not a king of the Franks but rather a general serving under them.
[lxxxii] 588-589 CE.
[lxxxiii] 589-590 CE.
[lxxxiv] Frankish king who ruled the realm of Orléans in the period 561-592 CE.
[lxxxv] Cf. Judges 7, where Gideon reputedly had 300 men with him to overcome the Midianites.
[lxxxvi] 590-591 CE.
[lxxxvii] The Third Council of Toledo.
[lxxxviii] i.e. 324/325-590/591 CE.