History 1 Report 3

History 1 Report 3 - Rene Arreola Froese History I The...

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Rene Arreola Froese History I 04/25/2007 The Christian Reconquista of Spain Christianity has had a longstanding presence in Iberia. Early Christian figures like St. Paul spread the Gospel there during Late Antiquity, and St. James the Greater was reportedly buried in Santiago de Compostela after being martyred in Jerusalem. 1 As in any other part of the Roman Empire, Christians were periodically persecuted during this era. Eventually, Spanish Christians no longer had to fear persecution and were ultimately able to flourish. In fact, Hosius, a bishop of Cordoba, served as chief religious advisor to Constantine the Great. 2 It was this emperor that brought Christianity into the mainstream when he converted to Christianity and made it the official religion of the empire. A Spaniard, Theodosius I outlawed paganism within Roman domains. 3 These were impressive feats for Iberian Christianity. The Jews of Iberia are Sephardic Jews. They had been there since the time of Jesus, if not earlier. Paul’s desire to spread the Gospel there in the 1 st century likely stems from the fact that there was an established Jewish presence there at the time. Early on, Jews lived relatively unencumbered, although there were laws in place restricting their liberties and they were subject to periodic persecutions at the hands of Roman authorities. Following the collapse of Imperial hegemony and successive waves 1 1 Peter Pierson, The History of Spain (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 20. 2 2 Ibid. 3 3 Ibid.
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of Germanic invaders, Jews gained some degree of autonomy. Once the Visigoths established some semblance of control in Hispania, however, laws restricting the rights of Jews were soon enacted, and Roman laws that had fallen into disuse were enforced with renewed vigor. 4 In about 1600 BC, the Iberians (for whom the peninsula is named) arrived. 5 Enterprising Phoenicians reached Spanish shores sometime before 1000 BC. 6 Carthage eventually wrested control of Spain away from the Phoenicians. General Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus initiated Roman expansion into Spain when he landed at Ampurias with two Roman legions and 15,000 Roman allies. Rome established a beachhead in Tarragona (near Ampurias), marched into the rest of Spain, and by 206 BC, had driven the Carthaginians out altogether. Roman hegemony in Hispania would ultimately last for nearly 630 years. It came to an end in the 5 th century, though. In 409 AD, Germanic invaders sought to exploit the declining power of Rome, and by 480, the Visigoths had expelled the remaining Roman legions from their redoubts in Catalonia and the Ebro Valley. 7
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