Kingdom of Asturias
Overview
 
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

 after Islamic conquest of Hispania
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

. In 722, Pelagius subsequently defeated the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

, in what is usually regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

. The kingdom lasted until 925, when Fruela II
Fruela II of León
Fruela II was the King of Asturias from the death of his father, Alfonso III of Asturias, in 910 to his own death. When his father died, the kingdom was divided, with the third son, Fruela, taking the original portion ; the second, Ordoño, taking Galicia; and the eldest, García, taking León...

 became King of León.
The birthplace of the Asturian kingdom was the western and central territory of the Cantabrian Mountains
Cantabrian Mountains
The Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain.They extend for more than approximately 180 miles across northern Spain, from the western limit of the Pyrenees to the edges of the Galician Massif close to Galicia, along the coast of the...

, particularly the Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa is a range of mountains 20 km inland from the northern coast of Spain, located in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains...

 and the central area of Asturias.
Encyclopedia
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

 after Islamic conquest of Hispania
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

. In 722, Pelagius subsequently defeated the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

, in what is usually regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

. The kingdom lasted until 925, when Fruela II
Fruela II of León
Fruela II was the King of Asturias from the death of his father, Alfonso III of Asturias, in 910 to his own death. When his father died, the kingdom was divided, with the third son, Fruela, taking the original portion ; the second, Ordoño, taking Galicia; and the eldest, García, taking León...

 became King of León.

Indigenous background

The birthplace of the Asturian kingdom was the western and central territory of the Cantabrian Mountains
Cantabrian Mountains
The Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain.They extend for more than approximately 180 miles across northern Spain, from the western limit of the Pyrenees to the edges of the Galician Massif close to Galicia, along the coast of the...

, particularly the Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa is a range of mountains 20 km inland from the northern coast of Spain, located in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains...

 and the central area of Asturias. The main political and military events during the first decades of the kingdom's existence took place in this region. According to the descriptions of Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 and other Graeco-Roman geographers, the lands of Asturias were inhabited in the beginning of the Christian era by several peoples, amongst whom the more important were: From the Cantabrians, the Vadinienses, who inhabited the Picos de Europa region and whose settlement gradually expanded southward during the first centuries of the modern era; the Orgenomesci, who dwelled along the Asturian eastern coast; and from the Astures, the Saelini, whose settlement extended through the Sella valley; the Luggones, who had their capital in Lucus Asturum and whose territories stretched between the rivers Sella and Nalón; the Astures (in the strictest sense), who dwelled in inner Asturias, between the current councils of Piloña
Piloña
Piloña is a municipality in the province and autonomous community of Asturias, northwestern Spain. Its capital is the town of Infiesto. Piloña is bounded to the north by Villaviciosa and Colunga, to the east by Parres, to the west by Nava and Cabranes, and to the south by Ponga, Caso and Sobrescobio...

 and Cangas del Narcea
Cangas del Narcea
Cangas del Narcea is the oldest municipality in the Principality of Asturias in Spain. It is also the largest municipality in Asturias. It is in the southwest of Asturias, on the Asturian border with León...

; and the Paesici, who had settled along the coast of Western Asturias, between the mouth of the Navia river and the modern city of Gijón
Gijón
Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

.

Classical geographers give conflicting views of the ethnic description of the above mentioned peoples: Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 says that the Astures extended along the central area of current Asturias, between the Navia and Sella rivers, fixing the latter river as the boundary with the Cantabrian territory. However, other geographers placed the frontier between the Astures and the Cantabri
Cantabri
The Cantabri were a pre-Roman Celtic people which lived in the northern Atlantic coastal region of ancient Hispania, from the 4th to late 1st centuries BC.-Origins:...

 more eastwards: Julius Honorius
Julius Honorius
Julius Honorius, also known as Julius Orator, a teacher of geography during the Dark Ages .He is known only by a single work, Cosmographia, which is a set of notes he had written down by one of his students while he lectured about a world map , and by references to this work by later writers such...

 stated in his Cosmographia that the springs of Ebro river were located in the land of the Astures (sub asturibus). In any case, ethnic borders in the Cantabrian mountains were not so important after that time, as the clans divisions that permeated the pre-roman societies of all the peoples of Northern Iberia fell under similar political administrative culture impossed on them by the Romans.

This situation started to change during the Late Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, when an Asturian identity started to develop gradually: The centuries-old fight among Visigoths or Suebians
Suebic Kingdom of Galicia
The Suebic Kingdom of Galicia was the first independent barbarian Christian kingdom of Western Europe and the first to separate from the Roman Empire, as well as the first one to mint coins. Based in Gallaecia, it was established in 410 and lasted as independent state until 584, after a century of...

 nobles may have helped to forge a distinct identity among the peoples of the Cantabrian districts. Several archaeological digs in the castro of La Carisa (municipality of Lena) have found remnants of a defensive line whose main purpose was to protect the valleys of central Asturias from invaders who came from the Meseta through the Pajares pass: the construction of these fortifications reveals a high degree of organization and cooperation between the several Asturian communities, in order to defend themselves from the southern invaders. Carbon-14
Carbon-14
Carbon-14, 14C, or radiocarbon, is a radioactive isotope of carbon with a nucleus containing 6 protons and 8 neutrons. Its presence in organic materials is the basis of the radiocarbon dating method pioneered by Willard Libby and colleagues , to date archaeological, geological, and hydrogeological...

 tests have found that the wall dates from the period 675-725 AD, when two armed expeditions against the Asturians took place: One of them, headed by Visigothic king Wamba; the other by Muslim governor Musa bin Nusair
Musa bin Nusair
Musa bin Nusayr al-Balawi was a balawi who served as a governor and general under the Umayad caliph Al-Walid I. He had ruled over the Muslim provinces of North Africa , and directed the islamic opening of the Visigothic kingdom in Hispania....

, during the Islamic conquest of Iberia who settled garrisons over its territory.

The Asturian identity that was gradually forming led to the creation of the Kingdom of Asturias after Pelayo
Pelayo of Asturias
Pelagius was a Visigothic nobleman who founded the Kingdom of Asturias, ruling it from 718 until his death. Through his victory at the Battle of Covadonga, he is credited with beginning the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Moors, insofar as he established an...

's coronation and the victory over the Muslim garrisons in Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

. The Chronica Albeldense, in narrating the happenings of Covadonga, stated that "Divine providence brings forth the King of Asturias".

Islamic occupation and Asturian revolt

The kingdom was established by the Visigothic nobleman Pelayo , who had returned to his country after the Battle of Guadalete
Battle of Guadalete
The Battle of Guadalete was fought in 711 or 712 at an unidentified location between the Christian Visigoths of Hispania under their king, Roderic, and an invading force of Muslim Arabs and Berbers under Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad. The battle was significant as the culmination of a series of Arab-Berber...

 where, in the Gothic tradition of Theias
Teia
Teia , also known as Teja, Theia, Thila, Thela, Teias, was the last Ostrogothic king in Italy.Apparently a military officer serving under Totila, Teia was chosen as successor and raised over a shield after Totila was slain in the Battle of Taginae in July 552...

, he was elected by the other nobles as leader of the Astures, and founded the Kingdom of Asturias. However, Pelayo's kingdom was initially little more than a rallying banner for existing guerilla forces.

In the progress of the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the main cities and administrative centers fell in the hands of Muslim troops. Control of the central and southern regions, such as the Guadalquivir and Ebro valleys, presented few problems for the newcomers, who used the existing Visigothic administrative structures, ultimately of Roman origin. However, in the northern mountains, urban centers (such as Gigia) were practically nonexistent and the submission of the country had to be achieved valley by valley. Muslim troops often resorted to the taking of hostages to ensure the pacification of the newly conquered territory.

After the first incursion of Tarik, who reached Toledo in 711, the Yemeni viceroy of Ifriqiya
Ifriqiya
In medieval history, Ifriqiya or Ifriqiyah was the area comprising the coastal regions of what are today western Libya, Tunisia, and eastern Algeria. This area included what had been the Roman province of Africa, whose name it inherited....

, Musa ibn Nusair, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar the following year and carried out a massive operation of conquest that would lead to the capture of Mérida, Toledo, Zaragoza and Lerida, among other cities. During the last phase of his military campaign, he reached the northwest of the Peninsula, where he gained control of the localities of Lugo
Lugo
Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain, in the autonomous community of Galicia. It is the capital of the province of Lugo. The municipality had a population of 97,635 in 2010, which makes is the fourth most populated city in Galicia.-Population:...

 and Gijon
Gijón
Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

. In the latter city he placed a small Berber detachment under a governor, Munuza
Munuza
Uthman ibn Naissa better known as Munuza was the Moorish governor of northern Iberia in the early 8th century. He was subject to the Wāli of Al-Andalus, Anbasa ibn Suhaym Al-Kalbi. He was defeated in the Battle of Covadonga and killed by Pelayo of Asturias at the beginning of the Reconquista...

, whose mission was to consolidate Muslim control over Asturias. As guarantee of the submission of the region, some nobles – some argue that Pelayo was among them, although his origin is unknown – had to surrender hostages from Asturias to Cordoba. The legend says that his sister was asked for, and a marriage alliance sought with the local Berber leader. Later on, Munuza would try to do the same at another mountain post in the Pyrenees, where he rebelled against his Cordoban Arab superiors. The Berbers had been converted to Islam barely a generation earlier, and were considered second rank to Arabs and Syrians.

But, as is told in the Rotensian Chronicle (chronicle of Alfonso III of Leon
Alfonso III of León
Alfonso III , called the Great, was the king of León, Galicia and Asturias from 866 until his death. He was the son and successor of Ordoño I. In later sources he is the earliest to be called "Emperor of Spain"...

 in which Pelayo is considered the successor of the kings of Toledo, with clear goals of political legitimacy) as well as in that of Al-Maqqari (a Moroccan historian of the 16th century who died in Cairo, Egypt, and who could have used the Rotensian Chronicle and rewrite it eight centuries later, making it useless as a historical document), Pelayo escaped from that city during the governorship of Al Hurr (717-718) and his return to Asturias triggered a revolt against the Muslim authorities of Gijon
Gijón
Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

. The identity of Pelayo, however, is still an open subject, and this is only one of the theories. The leader of the Astures, whose origin is debated by historians, had at that time his home in Bres (in the district of Piloña) and Munuza sent his troops there under officer Al-Qama. After receiving word of the arrival of the Muslims, Pelayo and his companions hurriedly crossed the Piloña River and headed toward the narrow, easily defended valley of Auseva mountain, and took refuge in one of its caves, Covadonga
Covadonga
Covadonga is a village and one of 11 parishes in Cangas de Onís, a municipality within the province and autonomous community of Asturias, in northwestern Spain...

. After an attempt at siege was abandoned due to the weather and the exposed position of the deep valley gorge, the troops are said to have taken to exit through the high ports to the south, in order to continue in the search and destroy action against other rebels. There the locals were able to ambush the Muslim detachment, which was annihilated. The rest of its survivors continued south to the plains of Leon
León, Spain
León is the capital of the province of León in the autonomous community of Castile and León, situated in the northwest of Spain. Its city population of 136,985 makes it the largest municipality in the province, accounting for more than one quarter of the province's population...

, leaving the maritime districts of Asturias exposed and weakened of defenders. The most commonly accepted hypothesis for this battle (epic as described by Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 chronicles, but a mere skirmish in Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 texts) is that the Moorish column was attacked from the cliffs and then fell back through the valleys towards present day Gijón
Gijón
Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

, but was attacked whilst in retreat by the retinue and nearly destroyed.

The victory - relatively small, as only a few Berber soldiers were involved — resulted in great prestige for Pelayo and provoked a massive insurrection by other nobles in Galicia and Asturias
Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

 who immediately rallied around Pelayo, electing him King or military Dux.

Under Pelayo's leadership, the attacks on the Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 increased. Munuza, feeling isolated in a region increasingly hostile, decided to abandon Gijon
Gijón
Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

 and headed for the Plateau (Meseta) through the Mesa Trail. However, he was intercepted and killed by Astures at Olalíes (in the current district of Grado). Once he had expelled the Moors from the eastern valleys of Asturias, Pelayo attacked León
León, Spain
León is the capital of the province of León in the autonomous community of Castile and León, situated in the northwest of Spain. Its city population of 136,985 makes it the largest municipality in the province, accounting for more than one quarter of the province's population...

, the main city in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula and secured the mountain passes, isolating the region from Moorish attack. Pelayo continued attacking those Berbers who remained north of the Asturian-Galician Mountains until they withdrew, but mostly deserted their garrisons at the wider rebellion against Arab control from Cordoba. He then married his daughter, Ermesinda to Alfonso, the son of Peter of Cantabria, the leading noble at the still-independent Visigothic dukedom of Cantabria
Cantabria
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

. His son Favila was married to Froiliuba.

Recent archaeological excavations have found fortifications in Mount Homon and La Carisa (near the Huerna and Pajares valleys) dated between the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth centuries. These Berber fortifications included watchtowers and moats of almost two meters, in whose construction and defense many hundreds may have participated. This would have required a high degree of organization and firm leadership, probably by Pelayo himself. For this reason, experts consider that it is probable that the construction of the defensive line was intended to prevent the reentry of Moors into Asturias through the mountain passes of Mesa and Pajares.

After Pelayo's victory over the Moorish detachment at the Battle of Covadonga, a small territorial independent entity was established in the Asturian mountains that was the origin of the kingdom of Asturias. Pelayo's leadership was not comparable to that of the Visigothic kings. The first kings of Asturias referred to themselves as "princeps" (prince) and later as "rex" (king), but the later title was not firmly established until the period of Alphonse II. The title of "princeps
Princeps
Princeps is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person."...

" had been used by the indigenous peoples of Northern Spain and its use appears in Galician and Cantabrian inscriptions, in which expressions like "Nícer, Príncipe de los Albiones" (on an inscription found in the district of Coaña) and "princeps cantabrorum" (over a gravestone of the municipality of Cistierna, in Leon). In fact, the Kingdom of Asturias originated as a focus of leadership over other peoples of the Cantabrian Coast that had resisted the Romans as well as the Visigoths and that were not willing to subject themselves to the dictates of the Umayyad Caliphate. Immigrants from the south, fleeing from Al-Andalus, brought a Gothic influence to the Asturian kingdom. However, at the beginning of the 9th century, Alphonse II's will cursed the Visigoths, blaming them for the loss of Hispania. The chronicles on which knowledge of this period is based, written all during the reign of Alphonse III when there was great Gothic ideological influence, are the Sebastianensian Chronicle (Crónica Sebastianense), the Albeldensian Chronicle (Crónica Albeldense) and the Rotensian Chronicle (Crónica Rotense).

During the first decades ,the Asturian dominion over the different areas of the kingdom was still lax, and for this reason it had to be continually strengthened through matrimonial alliances with other powerful families from the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Thus, Ermesinda, Pelayo's daughter, was married to Alfonso
Alfonso I of Asturias
Alfonso I , called the Catholic , was the King of Asturias from 739 to his death in 757.He was son of Duke Peter of Cantabria and held many lands in that region. He may have been the hereditary chief of the Basques, but this is uncertain...

, Dux Peter of Cantabria
Duchy of Cantabria
The Duchy of Cantabria was a march created by the Visigoths in northern Spain to watch their border with the Cantabrians and Basques. Its precise extension is unclear but seems likely that it included Cantabria, parts of Northern Castile and La Rioja....

's son. Alphonse's son Fruela
Fruela I of Asturias
Fruela I , called the Cruel, was the King of Asturias from 757 until his death, when he was assassinated. He was the eldest son of Alfonso I and continued the work of his father....

 married Munia, a Basque princess from Alava, while his daughter Adosinda married Silo, a local chief from the area of Flavionavia, Pravia.

After Pelayo's death in 737, his son Favila
Favila of Asturias
Fafila, Favila, or Favilac was the second King of Asturias from 737 until his death. He was the only son and successor of Pelagius, the first Asturian monarch. In 737 he founded the church of Santa Cruz, probably in his capital of Cangas de Onís, but aside from this, nothing else about his reign...

 (or "Fafila") was elected king. Fafila, according to the chronicles, was unexpectedly killed by a bear while hunting in one of the trials of courage normally required of the nobility in that era. But there is no other such incident known from the long history of monarchs and others at the sport, and the case is suspiciously similar to the Roman legend of their first king, Romulus
Romulus
- People:* Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome* Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor* Valerius Romulus , deified son of the Roman emperor Maxentius* Romulus , son of the Western Roman emperor Anthemius...

, taken by a sudden storm. The immediate consequence was that the rule of the Asturians passed to his brother-in-law, ruler of the neighboring independent domain, through a marriage alliance to Fafila's sister. The female ties and rights of inheritance were still respected, and in later cases would allow the regency or crown for their husbands too.

Pelayo founded a dynasty in Asturias that survived for decades and gradually expanded the kingdom's boundaries, until all of northwest Iberia was included by ca. 775. The reign of Alfonso II
Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II , called the Chaste, was the king of Asturias from 791 to his death, the son of Fruela I and the Basque Munia.He was born in Oviedo in 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosinda after his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of...

 from 791-842 saw further expansion of the kingdom to the south, almost as far as Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

.

Initial expansion

Favila was succeeded by Alphonse I
Alfonso I of Asturias
Alfonso I , called the Catholic , was the King of Asturias from 739 to his death in 757.He was son of Duke Peter of Cantabria and held many lands in that region. He may have been the hereditary chief of the Basques, but this is uncertain...

, who inherited the throne of Asturias thanks to his marriage to Pelayo's daughter, Ermesinda. The Albeldensian Chronicle narrated how Alphonse arrived in the kingdom some time after the battle of Covadonga to marry Ermesinda. Favila's death made his access to the throne possible as well as the rise to power of one of the most powerful families in the Kingdom of Asturias: the House of Cantabria
Cantabria
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

. Initially only Alphonse moved to the court in Cangas
Cangas
Cangas do Morrazo is a municipality in Galicia, Spain in the province of Pontevedra.-External links:**...

, but after the progressive depopulation of the Plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 and the Middle Valley of the Ebro
Ebro
The Ebro or Ebre is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the biggest river by discharge volume in Spain.The Ebro flows through the following cities:*Reinosa in Cantabria.*Miranda de Ebro in Castile and León....

, where the main strongholds of the Duchy of Cantabria such as Amaya, Tricio and City of Cantabria were located, the descendants of Duke Peter withdrew from Rioja towards the Cantabrian area and in time controlled the destiny of the Kingdom of Asturias.

Alphonse began the territorial expansion of the small Christian kingdom from its first seat in the Peaks of Europe, advancing toward the west to Galicia and toward the south with continuous incursions in the Duero valley, taking cities and towns and moving their inhabitants to the safer northern zones. This eventually led to the strategic depopulation of the plateau, creating the Desert of the Duero as a protection against future Moorish attacks.

This depopulation, defended by Claudio Sanchez-Albornoz
Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz y Menduiña
Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz y Menduiña was an eminent Spanish medieval historian, statesman, and a leader of the Spanish Republican government in Exile during the rule of Francisco Franco.- Education and Early Career :...

, is doubted today, at least concerning its magnitude. Two main arguments are used to refute it. First, the minor toponymy was preserved in multiple districts. Second, there are biological and cultural differences between the inhabitants of the Cantabrian zone and those of the central Plateau. What is true is that in the first half of the eighth century there was a process of rural growth that led to the abandonment of urban life and the organization of the population in small communities of shepherds. Several causes explain this process: The definitive breakdown of the production system based on slavery in existence from the time of the late Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, the continuous propagation of epidemics in the area, and the abandonment of Al Andalus by the Berber regiments after the revolt of 740-741. All this made possible the emergence of a sparsely populated and ill-organized area that isolated the Asturian kingdom from the Moorish assaults and allowed its progressive strengthening.

The campaigns of kings Alphonse I and Fruela in the Duero valley were probably not very different from the raids that the Astures made in the same area in the pre-Roman era. The initial Asturian expansion is carried out mainly through Cantabrian territory (from Galicia to Vizcaya
Biscay
Biscay is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Biscay. Its capital city is Bilbao...

) and it will be necessary to wait until the reigns of Ordoño I and Alphonse III
Alfonso III of León
Alfonso III , called the Great, was the king of León, Galicia and Asturias from 866 until his death. He was the son and successor of Ordoño I. In later sources he is the earliest to be called "Emperor of Spain"...

 for the Kingdom of Asturias to take effective possession of the territories located south of the Cantabrian Mountains
Cantabrian Mountains
The Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain.They extend for more than approximately 180 miles across northern Spain, from the western limit of the Pyrenees to the edges of the Galician Massif close to Galicia, along the coast of the...

.

Fruela I, Alphonse I's son, consolidated and expanded his father's domains. He was assassinated by members of the nobility associated with the House of Cantabria.

Social and political transformations

Written sources are concise concerning the reigns of Aurelio
Aurelius of Asturias
Aurelius was the King of Asturias from 768 to his death.Born in León, he was the son of Fruela and nephew of Alfonso I of Asturias. He was thus a cousin of his predecessor Fruela the Cruel...

, Silo
Silo of Asturias
Silo was the king of Asturias from 774 to 783. He succeeded Aurelius, having married Adosinda, daughter of Alfonso I.He transferred the capital from Cangas de Onís to the village of Pravia, which was closer to the centre of the kingdom. He was a local magnate of the region around Pravia...

, Mauregato and Bermudo I. Generally this period, with a duration of twenty-three years (768-791), has been considered as a long stage of obscurity and retreat of the kingdom of Asturias. This vision, defended by some historians, who even named this phase of the history of the Asturian kingdom as that of the "lazy kings," originated because it appears that in that moment there were no important military actions against Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

. However, during those years there were relevant and decisive internal transformations in the Asturian kingdom. They all prepared and provided a foundation, in all respects, for the strengthening and the expansion of Asturias.

First, the first internal rebellion, led by Mauregato (783-788), occurred during those years. The rebellion removed Alphonse II from the throne (although he became king again later, from 791 to 842), and initiated a series of rebellions whose principal leaders were members of ascending aristocratic palace groups and landowners who, based on the growing economic development of the area, tried to displace from power of the reigning family of Don Pelayo. The important rebellions of Nepociano, Aldroito and Piniolo, during the reign of Ramiro I (842-50), are part of this process of economic, social, political and cultural transformation of the Asturian kingdom that occurred during the eighth and ninth centuries.

Second, neighboring rebellions by Basques and Galicians failed, aborted by Asturian kings. These rebellions, in turn, took advantage of the internal rebellions of the central and Eastern part of Asturias, and, on occasions, provided help to one or another contender of the Asturian aristocracy: refuge to Alphonse II in lands of Alava
Álava
Álava is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Álava. Its capital city is Vitoria-Gasteiz which is also the capital of the autonomous community...

, after his flight; the support to Nepociano's rebellion in some Asturian areas or the adherence of Galicians to the cause of Ramiro I.

Finally, other evidence suggests important internal transformations of the Asturian kingdom during this time. Rebellions of freedmen (serbi, servilis orico and libertini, according to the Chronicles) occurred during the reign of Aurelio I. The property relationship between master and slave broke down progressively. This fact, together with the growing role of the individual and the restricted family in detriment of the role that until that time had fulfilled the extended family, is another indication that a new society was emerging in Asturias at the end of the eighth and beginning of the ninth centuries.

Fruela I (757-68) is succeeded by Aurelio
Aurelius of Asturias
Aurelius was the King of Asturias from 768 to his death.Born in León, he was the son of Fruela and nephew of Alfonso I of Asturias. He was thus a cousin of his predecessor Fruela the Cruel...

 (768-74), Peter of Cantabria's grandson, who will establish the court in lands of what is today the district of San Martin del Rey Aurelio, which previously belonged to Langreo, between the years of his reign. Silo
Silo of Asturias
Silo was the king of Asturias from 774 to 783. He succeeded Aurelius, having married Adosinda, daughter of Alfonso I.He transferred the capital from Cangas de Onís to the village of Pravia, which was closer to the centre of the kingdom. He was a local magnate of the region around Pravia...

 (774-83) succeeded Aurelio after his death, and transfers the court to Pravia
Pravia
Pravia is a municipality in the Autonomous Community of the Principality of Asturias. It is bordered on the north by Cudillero and Muros de Nalón, on the east by Candamo and Soto del Barco, on the west by Cudillero and Salas, and on the south by Candamo and Salas.Since 774, when King Silo...

. Silo was married to Adosinda
Adosinda
Adosinda was the queen of Asturias during the reign of her husband, Silo, from 774 to 783. She was a daughter of Alfonso I and Ermesinda, daughter of the first Asturian king, Pelayo. She was a sister of Fruela I....

, one of the daughters of Alphonse I (and therefore, Pelayo's granddaughter).

Alphonse II was elected king after Silo's death, but Mauregato organized a strong opposition and forced the new king to withdraw to lands in Alava (his mother, Munia, was Basque), obtaining the Asturian throne. This king, despite the bad reputation attributed by history, had good relations with Beato de Liebana
Beatus of Liébana
Saint Beatus of Liébana was a monk, theologian and geographer from the Kingdom of Asturias, in modern northern Spain, who worked and lived in the Picos de Europa mountains of the region of Liébana, in what is now Cantabria and his feast day is February 19.-Biography:He created an important...

, perhaps the most important cultural figure of the kingdom, and supported him in his fight against adoptionism. Legend says that Mauregato was Alphonse I's bastard son with a Moorish woman, and attributes to him the tribute of a hundred maidens. He was succeeded by Bermudo I, Aurelio's brother. He was called the deacon, although he probably only received minor vows. Bermudo abdicated after a military defeat, ending his life in a monastery.

Recognition

It was not until King Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II , called the Chaste, was the king of Asturias from 791 to his death, the son of Fruela I and the Basque Munia.He was born in Oviedo in 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosinda after his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of...

 (791-842) that the kingdom was firmly established with Alfonso's recognition as king of Asturias by Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 and the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

. He conquered Galicia and the Basques
Basque Country (historical territory)
The Basque Country is the name given to the home of the Basque people in the western Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast....

. During his reign, the holy bones of St. James the Great were declared to be found in Galicia, at Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

 (from Latin campus stellae, literally "the field of the star"). Pilgrims from all over Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 opened a way of communication between the isolated Asturias and the Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 lands and beyond.

The first capital city was Cangas de Onís
Cangas de Onis
Cangas de Onís is a municipality in the eastern part of the province and autonomous community of Asturias in the northwest of Spain. The capital of the municipality is also Cangas de Onís....

. Then, in Silo's
Silo of Asturias
Silo was the king of Asturias from 774 to 783. He succeeded Aurelius, having married Adosinda, daughter of Alfonso I.He transferred the capital from Cangas de Onís to the village of Pravia, which was closer to the centre of the kingdom. He was a local magnate of the region around Pravia...

 time, it was moved to Pravia
Pravia
Pravia is a municipality in the Autonomous Community of the Principality of Asturias. It is bordered on the north by Cudillero and Muros de Nalón, on the east by Candamo and Soto del Barco, on the west by Cudillero and Salas, and on the south by Candamo and Salas.Since 774, when King Silo...

. Alfonso II chose Oviedo
Oviedo
Oviedo is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain. It is also the name of the municipality that contains the city....

 as the definite capital of the Kingdom. The kingdom was known as Asturias until 924, when it became the Kingdom of León
Kingdom of León
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León...

. It continued under that name until incorporated into the Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 in 1230, after Ferdinand III
Ferdinand III of Castile
Saint Ferdinand III, T.O.S.F., was the King of Castile from 1217 and León from 1230. He was the son of Alfonso IX of León and Berenguela of Castile. Through his second marriage he was also Count of Aumale. He finished the work done by his maternal grandfather Alfonso VIII and consolidated the...

 became joint king of the two kingdoms.

Remnants of Megalithic and Celtic paganism

Although the earliest evidence of Christian worship in Asturias date from the 5th century, evangelisation did not make any substantial progress until the middle of the 6th century, when hermits like Santo Turibius of Liébana
Turibius of Liébana
Saint Turibius of Liébana , also known as Turbius the Monk , was an early Benedictine monk. He was born probably in Turieno and spent most of his life in the region of Liébana. He received a letter full of praise from Bishop Montanus of Toledo in 527...

 and monks of the Saint Fructuoso order gradually settled in the lands of the Cantabrian mountains and began preaching the Christian doctrine to the locals.

Christianisation went slowly in Asturias without supplanting the ancient pagan divinities. As elsewhere in Europe, the new religion coexisted syncretically with features of the ancient beliefs. Still in the 6th Century, bishop San Martín de Braga complained in his work De correctione rusticorum about the attachment of the Galician peasants to the pre-Christian cults: "Many demons, who were expelled from the heavens, settled in the sea, in the rivers, fountains and forests, and have come to be worshipped as gods by ignorant people. To them they do their sacrifices: in the sea they invoke Neptune, in the rivers the Lamias; in the fountains the Nymphs, and in the forests Diana."

In the middle of the Sella valley (where Cangas de Onís
Cangas de Onis
Cangas de Onís is a municipality in the eastern part of the province and autonomous community of Asturias in the northwest of Spain. The capital of the municipality is also Cangas de Onís....

 is located) there was a dolmen area, which dated back to the megalithic era
Megalith
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.The word 'megalith' comes from the Ancient...

, and was built probably in the period 4,000 - 2,000 BC. In this place, particularly in Santa Cruz Dolmen, the ritual burials of the surrounding regions' chieftains were performed. Such practices survived the Roman and Visigothic conquests to a point that even in the 8th century king Favila was buried there, in the same place were the corpses of ancient tribal leaders had their final rest. Although the Asturian monarchy fostered the Christianization of this site (ordering the edification of a church), there are still today Pagan traditions linked with the Santa Cruz dolmen: It is said that xanas (Asturian fairies) appear to visitors, and magical properties are ascribed to the soil of the place.

According to a inscription found in the Santa Cruz church, its consecration took place in year 738 and was presided by a vates
Vates
The earliest Latin writers used vātēs to denote "prophets" and soothsayers in general; the word fell into disuse in Latin until it was revived by Virgil...

called Asterio. The word vates is uncommon in Catholic documents and epitaphs, where the word presbyterus (for Christian priests) is preferred. On the other hand, vates was used in Latin to denote a poet with clairvoyance powers and according to the Ancient Greek writers Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

, and Poseidonius, the vates (ουατεις) were also one of three classes of Celtic priesthood, the other two being the druids and the bards. Some historians think that Asterio held a religious office which combined elements of the pagan and Christian religions, while others think he may be linked to the Brythonic refugees that settled in Britonia
Britonia
Britonia is the historical name of a settlement in Galicia which was settled in the late 5th and early 6th centuries AD by Romano-Britons escaping the advancing Anglo-Saxons who were conquering Britain at the time...

 (Galicia) in the 6th century: The Parrochiale Suevorum (an administrative document of the Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

 Kingdom) tells that the lands of Asturias belonged to the Britonian see, and it is a fact that some features of the Celtic Christianity
Celtic Christianity
Celtic Christianity or Insular Christianity refers broadly to certain features of Christianity that were common, or held to be common, across the Celtic-speaking world during the Early Middle Ages...

 penetrated in Northern Spain, like the Celtic tonsure
Tonsure
Tonsure is the traditional practice of Christian churches of cutting or shaving the hair from the scalp of clerics, monastics, and, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all baptized members...

 which was condemned by the Visigoth bishops who assisted to the Fourth Council of Toledo
Fourth Council of Toledo
The Fourth Council of Toledo occurred in 633. It was held at the church of Saint Leocadia in Toledo.Probably under the presidency of the noted Isidore of Seville, the council regulated many matters of discipline, decreed uniformity of liturgy throughout the Visigothic kingdom and took stringent...

.

Still today there remain in Galician legends related to monks who travelled by sea to the Paradise Islands, like those of Saint Amaro
Saint Amaro
According to Christian tradition, Saint Amaro or Amarus the Pilgrim was an abbot and sailor who it was claimed sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to an earthly paradise. There are two historical figures who may have provided the basis for this legend. The first was a French penitent of the same...

, Trezenzonio
Trezenzonio
Trezenzonio was a Galician monk who lived in times of the Asturian monarchy. Tradition attributes the deed of seeing and even visiting one of the islands of Paradise to him...

 or Ero de Armenteira. These stories have many parallels with that of Saint Brendan the navigator, Saint Maclovius of Wales, and the stories of the Irish immram
Immram
An immram is a class of Old Irish tales concerning a hero's sea journey to the Otherworld . Written in the Christian era and essentially Christian in aspect, they preserve elements of Irish mythology....

a.

Christianization was fostered by the Asturian kings, who did not base their power in the indigenous religious traditions (unlike other medieval European kings, like Penda of Mercia
Penda of Mercia
Penda was a 7th-century King of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is today the English Midlands. A pagan at a time when Christianity was taking hold in many of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Penda took over the Severn Valley in 628 following the Battle of Cirencester before participating in the...

 or Widukind
Widukind
Widukind was a pagan Saxon leader and the chief opponent of Charlemagne during the Saxon Wars. Widukind was the leader of the Saxons against the Frankish king Charlemagne...

), but in the texts of the Christian Sacred Scriptures (particularly, the books of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

, Ezekiel
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

 and Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

) and the Fathers of the Church, which furnished the new monarchy with its foundational myths.

Adoptionism

The foundations of Asturian culture and that of Christian Spain in the High Middle Ages were laid during the reigns of Silo
Silo of Asturias
Silo was the king of Asturias from 774 to 783. He succeeded Aurelius, having married Adosinda, daughter of Alfonso I.He transferred the capital from Cangas de Onís to the village of Pravia, which was closer to the centre of the kingdom. He was a local magnate of the region around Pravia...

 and Mauregato, when the Asturian kings submitted to the authority of the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 emirs of the Caliphate of Córdoba
Caliphate of Córdoba
The Caliphate of Córdoba ruled the Iberian peninsula and part of North Africa, from the city of Córdoba, from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by remarkable success in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Iberia were constructed in this period, including the famous...

. The most prominent Christian scholar in the Kingdom of Asturias of this period was Beatus of Liébana
Beatus of Liébana
Saint Beatus of Liébana was a monk, theologian and geographer from the Kingdom of Asturias, in modern northern Spain, who worked and lived in the Picos de Europa mountains of the region of Liébana, in what is now Cantabria and his feast day is February 19.-Biography:He created an important...

, whose works left an indelible mark in the Christian culture of the Reconquista.

Beatus was directly involved in the debate surrounding adoptionism
Adoptionism
Adoptionism, sometimes called dynamic monarchianism, is a minority Christian belief that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his baptism...

, which argued that Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 was born a man, and was adopted by God and acquired a divine dimension only after his passion
Passion (Christianity)
The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

 and resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

. Beatus refuted this theological position, championed by such figures as Elipandus, bishop of Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

.

The adoptionist theology had its roots in Gothic Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, which denied the divinity of Jesus, and in Greco-Roman paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, with examples of heroes like Herakles who, after their death attained the apotheosis
Apotheosis
Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature...

. Likewise, as Elipandus's bishopric of Toledo was at the time within the Muslim Caliphate of Cordoba, Islamic beliefs which acknowledged Jesus as a Prophet, but not as the Son of God, influenced the formation of adoptionism. However, the adoptionist theology opposed strongly by Beatus from his abbey in Santo Toribio de Liébana. At the same time, Beatus strengthened the links between Asturias, Rome
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, and the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

, and was supported in his theological struggle by the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 and by his friend Alcuin of York, an Anglo-Saxon scholar who had settled among the Carolingian court in Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

.

Millennialism

The most transcendental works of Beatus were his Commentaries to Apocalypse, which were copied in later centuries in manuscripts called beati, about which the Italian writer Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose , an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...

 said: "Their splendid images gave birth to the most relevant iconographic happening in the History of Mankind". Beatus develops in them a personal interpretation of the book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

, accompanied by quotes from the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 and fascinating illustrations.

In these Commentaries a new interpretation of the apocalyptic accounts is given: Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 no longer represents the city of Rome, but Córdoba, seat of the Ummayad emirs of Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

; the Beast, once a symbol of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, now stands for the Islamic invaders who in this time threatened to destroy Western Christianity and who made raids on the territories of the Asturian Kingdom.

In the prologue to the second book of the Commentaries is found one of the best examples of a Mappae Mundi
Beatus map
The Beatus Map or Beatine Map is one of the most relevant cartographic works of the European High Middle Ages: It was originally drawn by the Spanish monk Beatus of Liébana, based on the accounts given by Saint Isidore of Seville, Ptolemy and the Holy Bible...

 of the high medieval culture. The aim of this map was not to represent the world cartographically, but to serve as an illustration of the Apostles Diaspora in the first decades of Christianity. Beatus took data from the works of Saint Isidore of Seville, Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 and the Holy Scripture
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. The world was represented as a land disc surrounded by the Ocean and divided in three parts: Asia (upper semicircle), Europe (lower left quadrant) and Africa (lower right quadrant). The Mediterranean Sea (Europe-Africa), the Nile River (Africa-Asia) and the Aegean Sea and the Bosphorus (Europa-Asia) were set as boundaries between the different continental masses.

. Beatus was persuaded that the Apocalypse
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

 described in the book of Revelation was imminent, which would be followed by 1,290 years of domination by the Antichrist
Antichrist
The term or title antichrist, in Christian theology, refers to a leader who fulfills Biblical prophecies concerning an adversary of Christ, while resembling him in a deceptive manner...

. Beatus followed the views of Saint Augustine whose work, The City of God, influenced the Commentaries which followed the premise that the History of the World was structured in six ages: the first five ones extended between the creation of Adam, and the Passion of Jesus, while the sixth, subsequent to Christ and contemporary to us, had to end with the unleashing of the happenings prophesied by the book of Revelation.

Millennialist movements were very common in Europe at that time: between 760 and 780 a series of cosmic phenomena caused panic among the population of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

; John, a visionary monk, predicted the coming of the Last Judgement during the reign of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

. In this time appeared the Apocalypse of Daniel, a Syriac text redacted during the rule of the empress Irene of Byzantium
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 wherein wars between the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s, the Byzantines and the Northern peoples were prophesied. These wars would end with the coming of the Antichrist.

Events taking place in Hispania (Islamic rule, the adoptionist heresy, the gradual assimilation of the Mozarabic people...) were, for Beatus, signals of the imminent apocalyptic aeon
Aeon
The word aeon, also spelled eon or æon , originally means "life", and/or "being", though it then tended to mean "age", "forever" or "for eternity". It is a Latin transliteration from the koine Greek word , from the archaic . In Homer it typically refers to life or lifespan...

. As Elipandus describes in his Letter from the bishops of Spania to their brothers in Gaul, the abbot of Santo Toribio went so far as to announce to his countrymen the coming of the End of Time in the Easter of the year 800. On the dawn of that day, hundreds of peasants met around the abbey of Santo Toribio, waiting terrified for the fulfilling of the prophecy. They remained in that place, without having had a bite to eat, during a day and half, until one of them, named Ordonius, exclaimed: "Let us eat and drink, so that if the End of the World comes we are full!".

The prophetic and millennialist visions of Beatus produced an enduring mark in the development of the Kingdom of Asturias: the Chronica Prophetica, which was composed circa 880 AD, predicted the final fall of the Emirate of Córdoba, and the conquest and redemption of the entire Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 by king Alfonso III
Alfonso III of León
Alfonso III , called the Great, was the king of León, Galicia and Asturias from 866 until his death. He was the son and successor of Ordoño I. In later sources he is the earliest to be called "Emperor of Spain"...

. Millennialist imagery is also reflected throughout the kingdom in the Cruz de la Victoria
Victory Cross
The Victory Cross is an early 10th century Asturian Christian ornamented processional cross, which was, as an inscription says, made in 908 in the Castle of Gauzón . It is a crux gemmata or jewelled cross, given by King Alfonso III of Asturias, who reigned from 848 to 910, to Cathedral of San...

 icon - the major emblem of the Asturian kingdom - has its origins in a passage of the Revelation book in which Saint John
John of Patmos
John of Patmos is the name given, in the Book of Revelation, as the author of the apocalyptic text that is traditionally cannonized in the New Testament...

 relates the following vision of the Parusia: He sees Jesus Christ seated in his Majesty, surrounded by clouds and affirming: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty". It is true that usage of the labarum
Labarum
The labarum was a vexillum that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol ☧, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" — Chi and Rho . It was used by the Roman emperor Constantine I...

 was not restricted to Asturias, and, moreover, dates back to the time of Constantine the Great (who used this symbol during the battle of Battle of the Milvian Bridge). But it was in Asturias where the Cruz de la Victoria attained a general use: In nearly every Pre-romanesque church this icon is engraved, often accompanied with the expression "Hoc signo tuetur pius, in hoc signo vincitur inimicus", that became the royal motto of the Asturian monarchs.

El Camino de Santiago

Another of the major spiritual legacies of the Asturian Kingdom is the creation of one of the most important ways of cultural transmission in European history: The Way of St. James
Way of St. James
The Way of St. James or St. James' Way is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried....

. The first text which mentions St. James' preaching in Spain is the Breviarius de Hyerosolima, a 6th-century document which stated that the Apostle was buried in an enigmatical place called Aca Marmarica. Saint Isidore of Seville supported this theory in his work De ortu et obitu patrium. One hundred fifty years later, in times of Mauregato, the hymn O Dei Verbum rendered St. James as "the golden head of Spain, our protector and national patron" and a mention is made of his preaching in the Iberian Peninsula during the first decades of Christianity. Some attribute this hymn to Beatus, although this is still discussed by historians.

The legend of St. James gained support during the reign of Alfonso II
Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II , called the Chaste, was the king of Asturias from 791 to his death, the son of Fruela I and the Basque Munia.He was born in Oviedo in 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosinda after his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of...

 when the Galician hermit Pelayo claimed to observe mysterious brightness during several nights over the wood of Libredón, in Iria Flavia diocese. Angelic songs accompanied the lights. Impressed by this phenomenon, Pelayo appeared before the bishop of Iria Flavia, Teodomirus, who – after having heard the hermit – visited the location with his retinue. In the depths of the forest was found a stone sepulcre with three corpses, which were identified with those of St. James, son of Zebedee, and his two disciples, Theodorus and Atanasius. According to the legend, king Alfonso was the first pilgrim who had come to see the Apostle: During the travel he was guided at night by the Milky Way
Milky Way
The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Solar System. This name derives from its appearance as a dim un-resolved "milky" glowing band arching across the night sky...

, which from then on acquired in Spanish the name Camino de Santiago.

The founding of St. James tomb was a formidable political success for the Kingdom of Asturias: Now Asturias could claim the honour of having a corpse of one of the apostles of Jesus, a privilege shared only with Asia (Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

) where Saint John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

 was buried, and Rome, where the corpses of Saint Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 and Saint Paul rested. From this moment on, Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

 became one of the three sacred cities of Christianity, together with Rome and Jerusalem. In later centuries, many Central European cultural influences travelled to Iberia through the Way of St. James, from the Gothic and Romanesque styles, to the Occitan lyric poetry.

However, the story of the "discovery" of the remains of the Apostle shows some enigmatic features. The tomb was found in a place used as a necropolis
Necropolis
A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

 since the Late Roman Empire, so it is possible that the corpse belonged to a prominent person of the area: British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 historian Henry Chadwick
Henry Chadwick (theologian)
Henry Chadwick KBE was a British academic and Church of England clergyman. A former Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford — and as such also head of Christ Church, Oxford — he also served as Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, becoming the first person in four centuries to have headed a college at...

 hypothesized the tomb of Compostela actually hold the remains of Priscillian
Priscillian
Priscillian was bishop of Ávila and a theologian from Roman Gallaecia , the first person in the history of Christianity to be executed for heresy . He founded an ascetic group that, in spite of persecution, continued to subsist in Hispania and Gaul until the later 6th century...

. Other scholars, like Constantino Cabal, highlighted the fact that several Galician places, such as Pico Sacro, Pedra da Barca (Muxía) or San Andrés de Teixido, were already in Pre-Roman times draws for Pagan pilgrimage. Pagan beliefs held these places as the End of the World, and as entrances to the Celtic Otherworld
Otherworld
Otherworld, or the Celtic Otherworld, is a concept in Celtic mythology that refers to the home of the deities or spirits, or a realm of the dead.Otherworld may also refer to:In film and television:...

. After the discovery of Saint James' tomb, the gradual Christianization of those routes of pilgrimage began.

Mythology

Since the Chronicles of the Asturian kingdom were written a century and a half after the battle of Covadonga, there are many aspects of the first Asturian kings that remain shrouded in myth and legend.

Although the historicity of Pelayo is beyond doubt, the historical narrative describing him includes many folktales and legends. One of them asserts that prior to the Muslim invasion, Pelayo went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the sacred city of Christianity. However, there is no extant evidence of this.

Likewise, it is also said that the Cruz de la Victoria was at first carved in an oak's log by a lightning strike. The core of this story contains two elements of major importance in the Asturian folklore: On one hand, lightning was the ancient symbol of the Astur
Astur
The Astures were the Hispano-Celtic Gallaecian inhabitants of the northwest area of Hispania that now comprises almost the entire modern autonomous community of Asturias and the modern provinces León, and northern Zamora , and east of Trás os Montes in Portugal...

 (and Celtic
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

) god Taranis
Taranis
In Celtic mythology Taranis was the god of thunder worshipped essentially in Gaul, the British Isles, but also in the Rhineland and Danube regions amongst others, and mentioned, along with Esus and Toutatis as part of a sacred triad, by the Roman poet Lucan in his epic poem Pharsalia as a Celtic...

, and in Asturian mythology was thought to be forged by the Nuberu
Nuberu
The Nuberu or Nubeiro is a character of Asturian, Cantabrian or Galician mythology. He is known by the two names respectively depending on the mythology...

, lord of clouds, rain and wind. On the other hand, the oak tree is the symbol of the Asturian royalty and in reliefs of the Abamia Church (where Pelayo was buried) leaves of that tree are shown.

In one of the caves in Kyffhäuser
Kyffhäuser
The Kyffhäuser is a range of hills located on the border of the German state of Thuringia with Saxony-Anhalt. It stands on the southern edge of the Harz. The range has a length of and a width of . It reaches its highest point at the Kulpenberg , situated in Thuringia...

 mountain, lives Frederick Barbarossa surrounded by his cavaliers, somewhat similar to those of Fruela
Fruela I of Asturias
Fruela I , called the Cruel, was the King of Asturias from 757 until his death, when he was assassinated. He was the eldest son of Alfonso I and continued the work of his father....

 and Bernardo del Carpio
Bernardo del Carpio
Bernald del Carpio, also Bernaldo del Carpio and Bernardo del Carpio, is a legendary hero of medieval Kingdom of Asturias, comparable to other legendary medieval Iberian heroes like El Cid.-The story:...

. The Covadonga area is also rich with astonishing stories, such as the one which is said to have happened in a shepherd village where today Enol and Ercina lakes are situated. The Virgin Mary, disguised as a pilgrim, is said to have visited that village and asked for food and shelter from every house of that village. She was rudely rejected by every person, except for a shepherd who gave her refuge and warmly shared everything he had. On the following day, as punishment for their lack of hospitality, a flood of divine origin devastated the village, which completely covered everything except the cottage of the good shepherd. In front of him, the mysterious guest started to cry, and her tears became flowers when they reached the floor. Then the shepherd realized that the pilgrim was actually the Virgin Mary.

This is a Pan-celtic myth which is also found in other countries of the Atlantic Arch. In Galicia it is said that in the bottom of the Antela lake there are remnants of the ancient population of Antiochia, which vanished off the face of earth by a night deluge, in punishment for the sins of its inhabitants. On the other coast of the Biscay Bay, in Brittany, there are traditions related with the city of Ker-Ys
Ys
Ys , also spelled Is or Kêr-Is in Breton, and Ker-Ys in French , is a mythical city that was built on the coast of Brittany and later swallowed by the ocean...

, situated in the Douarnenez gulf, in lands claimed from the sea and protected by a dam
Dam
A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. Hydropower and pumped-storage hydroelectricity are...

. The daughter of the king, Dahud, gave the keys of the city to Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

, who had disguised himself as a beautiful prince: This resulted in the flooding of Ys
Ys
Ys , also spelled Is or Kêr-Is in Breton, and Ker-Ys in French , is a mythical city that was built on the coast of Brittany and later swallowed by the ocean...

 by the waters of the Ocean.

There are also myths about the Asturian Monarchy that are rooted in Jewish and Christian traditions rather than Pagan ones: the Chronica ad Sebastianum tells of an extraordinary event that happened when king Alfonso I
Alfonso I of Asturias
Alfonso I , called the Catholic , was the King of Asturias from 739 to his death in 757.He was son of Duke Peter of Cantabria and held many lands in that region. He may have been the hereditary chief of the Basques, but this is uncertain...

 died. While the noblemen were holding a wake for him, there could be heard celestial canticles sung by angels. They recited the following text of the Book of Isaiah (which happens to be the same that was read by the Mozarabic priests during the Vigil
Vigil
A vigil is a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance...

 of the Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday , sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter...

):
This canticle was recited by Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

, king of Judah, after his recovery from a serious illness. In these verses, the King regretted with distress his departure to sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

, the Jewish Underworld, a shady place where he would not see God nor men any more.

Asturias also has examples of the Sleeping Hero
King in the mountain
A king in the mountain, king under the mountain or sleeping hero is a prominent motif in folklore and mythology that is found in many folktales and legends...

 myth. According to the tradition, it is still today possible to see king Fruela
Fruela I of Asturias
Fruela I , called the Cruel, was the King of Asturias from 757 until his death, when he was assassinated. He was the eldest son of Alfonso I and continued the work of his father....

 walking around the Jardín de los Reyes Caudillos (a part of the Oviedo Cathedral), and it is said that his grandson, the famous cavalier Bernardo del Carpio
Bernardo del Carpio
Bernald del Carpio, also Bernaldo del Carpio and Bernardo del Carpio, is a legendary hero of medieval Kingdom of Asturias, comparable to other legendary medieval Iberian heroes like El Cid.-The story:...

, sleeps in a cave in the Asturian mountains. The story tells that one day a peasant went into a certain cave to retrieve his lost cow, and heard a strong voice who declared to be Bernardo del Carpio, winner over the Franks in Roncevaux
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
The Battle of Roncevaux Pass was a battle in 778 in which Roland, prefect of the Breton March and commander of the rear guard of Charlemagne's army, was defeated by the Basques...

. After saying he had lived alone for centuries in that cave, he told the peasant: "Give me your hand, so that I can see how strong are men today". The shepherd, scared, gave him the horn of the cow, which, when seized by the giant man, was immediately broken. The poor villager ran away terrified, but not without hearing Bernardo say: "Current men are not like those who helped me to kill Frenchmen in Roncevaux".

There are evident parallels between these stories and those which surround another medieval characters like Barbarossa
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

 or King Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

. It is said that Barbarossa did not die, but retired to a cave in the Kyffhäuser
Kyffhäuser
The Kyffhäuser is a range of hills located on the border of the German state of Thuringia with Saxony-Anhalt. It stands on the southern edge of the Harz. The range has a length of and a width of . It reaches its highest point at the Kulpenberg , situated in Thuringia...

 mountain, and that one day, when the ravens no long fly around the mountain, he will awake and restore Germany to its ancient greatness. King Arthur, according to many traditions, lives in many hills and caves of the island of Great Britain. His most famous dwelling is the Eildon Hill in Scotland, where he took refuge after the battle of Camlann
Battle of Camlann
The Battle of Camlann is best known as the final battle of King Arthur, where he either died in battle, or was fatally wounded fighting his enemy Mordred.-Historicity:...

.

Legacy

The Kingdom of Asturias was, in its infancy, an indigenous reaction of Astur
Astur
The Astures were the Hispano-Celtic Gallaecian inhabitants of the northwest area of Hispania that now comprises almost the entire modern autonomous community of Asturias and the modern provinces León, and northern Zamora , and east of Trás os Montes in Portugal...

es and Cantabri
Cantabri
The Cantabri were a pre-Roman Celtic people which lived in the northern Atlantic coastal region of ancient Hispania, from the 4th to late 1st centuries BC.-Origins:...

 peoples to a foreign invasion. These people had fought the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 in the Cantabrian Wars
Cantabrian Wars
The Cantabrian Wars occurred during the Roman conquest of the modern provinces of Cantabria, Asturias and León, against the Asturs and the Cantabri. They were the final stage of the conquest of Hispania.-Antecedents:...

, and initially resisted Romanisation. Although they preserved many characteristics of their pre-Roman culture, their Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 were later lost in favor of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

This kingdom is the birthplace of an influential European medieval architectural style
Medieval architecture
Medieval architecture is a term used to represent various forms of architecture common in Medieval Europe.-Characteristics:-Religious architecture:...

: Asturian Preromanesque. This style of architecture was founded during the reign of Ramiro I
Ramiro I of Asturias
Ramiro I was King of Asturias from 842 until his death. Son of Bermudo I, he succeeded Alfonso II.First, he had to deal with the usurper Nepocian, defeating him at the Battle of the Bridge of Cornellana, by the river Narcea. Ramiro then removed the system of election which allowed his family to be...

.

This small kingdom was a milestone in the fight against Adoptionist heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, with Beatus of Liébana
Beatus of Liébana
Saint Beatus of Liébana was a monk, theologian and geographer from the Kingdom of Asturias, in modern northern Spain, who worked and lived in the Picos de Europa mountains of the region of Liébana, in what is now Cantabria and his feast day is February 19.-Biography:He created an important...

 as a major figure. In the time of Alfonso II
Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II , called the Chaste, was the king of Asturias from 791 to his death, the son of Fruela I and the Basque Munia.He was born in Oviedo in 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosinda after his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of...

, the shrine of Santiago
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

 was "found." The pilgrimage to Santiago, Camino de Santiago, was a major nexus within Europe, and many pilgrims (and their money) passed through Asturias on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

See also


  • List of Asturian monarchs
  • Asturian art
    Asturian art
    Pre-Romanesque architecture in Asturias is framed between the years 711 and 910, the period of the rise, extension and disappearance of the kingdom of Asturias.-Historical introduction:...

  • Reconquista
    Reconquista
    The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

  • History of Spain
    History of Spain
    The history of Spain involves all the other peoples and nations within the Iberian peninsula formerly known as Hispania, and includes still today the nations of Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain...

  • History of Portugal
    History of Portugal
    The history of Portugal, a European and an Atlantic nation, dates back to the Early Middle Ages. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it ascended to the status of a world power during Europe's "Age of Discovery" as it built up a vast empire including possessions in South America, Africa, Asia and...

  • Timeline of the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula
  • Timeline of Portuguese history
    Timeline of Portuguese history
    This is a historical timeline of Portugal.*Timeline of Iberian prehistory*Pre-Roman Iberia *Roman Lusitania and Gallaecia *Germanic Kingdoms...

    • Al' Garb Al'Andalus and the beginning of the Reconquista (8th to 9th century)
      Timeline of Portuguese history (Reconquista)
      This is a historical timeline of Portugal.-8th Century:*711, March 15 – Muslim Umayyads This is a historical timeline of Portugal.-8th Century:*711, March 15 – Muslim Umayyads This is a historical timeline of Portugal.-8th Century:*711, March 15 – Muslim Umayyads (Moors: mainly Berber with some...

    • First County of Portugal (9th to 11th Century)
      Timeline of Portuguese history (First County)
      -9th century:*868 - Establishment of the 1st County of Portugal, a fiefdom of the Kingdom of Asturias, by count Vímara Peres, after the reconquest from the Moors of the region between the Minho and Douro Rivers...

  • Autonomous community of Asturias
    Asturias
    The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

    .




External links

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