Slavery and Identíty in Mozarabic Toledo: 1201-1320
Ryan, Michael A.
Medievalia, 12 (1995) 13-32
Spain has always occupied a unique place in the West. It is through its geography that Spain’s culture and history are, in many ways, defined. The wes- ternmost point of the Eurasian landmass, the Iberian península has an área of roughly 581,000 square kilometers1. The interior of the península, dry and extensive, is a central meseta, about 600 meters above sea level, and consriru- tes almost half of the peninsular área2. Because of its arid climate and moun- tainous terraín, separating the interior of the península from its coast, Iberian population centers were focused on the penínsulas five great river basins: the Ebro, the Duero, che Tagus, the Guadiana, and the Guadalquivir.
Iberia itself was populated as far back into the Paleolithíc period, and those people «had been overlaid in part and in turn by Phoenician, by Carthaginian, by Greek, and by Celt. Although civilization, and substantial development, was brought by these peoples, true unity was not achieved until Rome ap- peared upon the scene. Beginning with the Second Punic War, from 218-201 BC, Rome had gradually established its control over the Iberian populace. For Rome, Híspaniawas the westernmost point of its empire. Assuch, Rome considered Hispania merdy as «a coüection of Román provinces politically”, far from the cerner of activity of the Med¡terranean world.