The Vandals invasion of Iberia, coupled with Rome’s own problems in their eastern reaches, forced Rome to invite the Visigoths into Iberia for protection against the Vandals. With Rome in a weakened state, the Visigoths assumed control of Iberia. However, they were little more than maintenance managers, and in most cases, even failed to maintain the infrastructure that Rome had built; rarely improving it.
The years 709 to 712 A.D. saw three incursions from northern Africa into the Iberian peninsula. The first incursion in 709 A.D. was by Julius Yulyan of Cueta, governor/wali of northern Africa. This incursion was the result of the treacherous rape of Yulyan’s daughter Florinda by the newly appointed Visigothic King Roderick.
The second incursion, made by Berbers in 710 A.D. originated as a reconnaissance; ordered by wali Musa ibn Nasayr but carried out by his client Tariq ibn Ziyad. This continued reconnaissance, in 711 A.D., was expanded by 5,000 men. The foray resulted in the rapid defeat of the Visigothic central administration. Toledo was captured and Cordova surrendered to 700 horsemen.
Sensing the vulnerability of the Visigoths wali Musa ibn Nasayr, personally in 712 A.D., led a military invasion of Iberia with 18,000 men. Musa followed up in 713 A.D. with the capture of Seville and laying siege to the last Visigoth stronghold of Merida, Extremadura region.
Tomorrow: “Junds, Fiefdoms and Aldeas“