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Christian Power and the Visigoth Rule
304 - 711

 History of Valencia: the VisigothsIn 304 AD a major event in the Valencian history occured. In the times of religious repression young Christian deacon Vicente was captured by the city authorities during his visit to preach in Valentia. He was jailed and tortured but refused to give up his faith. All kinds of torture methods were used on him, and the more he resisted, the more risk he posed for the reputation of the governor. Finally, he died and the Romans threw his body to wild animals, to deny him a proper Christian burial. The animals did not touch him, so his body was thrown into the sea with a stone wheel around his neck (which is why he is always painted with a stone wheel), and later found ashore by a Christian woman.

San Vicente Martyr is now the patron Saint of Valencian Community, and there is a crypt that tells his story.

Just 9 years later Christianity became an official religion of the Roman Empire. Galvanized by the cult of San Vicente the Martyr, the Christian community of Valentia took advantage of the power vacuum in the decadent city and eventually took over the Senate. A huge episcopal complex was built in the centre.

Throughout the 5th century AD the Roman Empire kept shrinking (until its final collapse in 476 AD) and Valentia came under control of the nordic Visigoth monarchy of Toledo. The Dark Ages were more or less uneventful. The Visigoths turned out to be just about the worst administrators the city has ever had. High taxes and poor economy drove much of the Valetian population out of the city walls into the countryside. The feudal Visigoth empire was crumbling when the Muslims began their expansion from North Africa into the Iberian peninsula in 625 AD.

It appears that when they reached Valentia in 711 AD, they met no formiddable resistance.

 History of Valencia: the Visigoths  History of Valencia: the Visigoths  History of Valencia: the Visigoths

Sights from the period: Crypt of San Vicente Martir
Map: Location of Roman Valencia


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