The End of Roman Spain

The End of Roman Spain

By Michael Kulikowski

PhD Dissertation, University of Toronto, 1997

Abstract: ‘The End of Roman Spain’ narrates the history of the last years in which the Iberian peninsula formed part of the Roman empire and argues that the lapse of Roman control came around the year AD 460, much later than the traditional date of 409. The first chapter sets the scene and discusses Spain in the fourth-century. The second, ‘The Defence of Roman Spain’, presents an analysis of the confused sources for the late Roman army in Spain and is linked to an appendix on the ‘ Notitia Dignitatum’ which argues that that document was in origin a single base text, composed at the eastern court around 394.

The third chapter revises the traditional chronology of usurpation and barbarian invasion in Gaul between 405 and 413, in the course of which events Roman authority in Spain was first challenged by barbarian invaders. The fourth chapter traces the history of the peninsula between 425 and 455, examining the effects on Roman control of a barbarian presence in the Spanish provinces. Chapter five looks at the Goths, whose role in the end of Roman Spain is crucial, and argues that their initial settlement in Gaul in 418 was designed by the central imperial authorities to prevent their provincial Roman subjects from supporting further usurpations.

Chapter six, finally, examines the careers of the last two emperors to take an interest in Spain, showing how they maintained their authority in the peninsula by using the Goths as their instruments. It argues that after Majorian left the peninsula in 460, having failed to mount a campaign against the Vandals in Africa, Roman Spain ended, because the structure of imperial office-holding in Spain disappeared.

Click here to read/download this thesis from the University of Toronto (PDF file)

Sign up to get a Weekly Email from

* indicates required

medievalverse magazine
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons