The Story of Wamba: Julian of Toledo's 'Historia Wambae Regis.'

By Collins, Roger | The Catholic Historical Review, July 2006 | Go to article overview

The Story of Wamba: Julian of Toledo's 'Historia Wambae Regis.'


Collins, Roger, The Catholic Historical Review


The Story of Wamba: Julian of Toledo's 'Historia Wambae regis.' Translated with introduction and notes by Joaquin Martínez Pizarro. (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. 2005. Pp. xviii, 262. $64.95.)

The Historia Wambae, an account of the suppression of the revolts in the provinces of Narbonensis and Tarraconensis against the new king Wamba in 672-673, together with three related legal or rhetorical documents, is the only historical work produced in Visigothic Spain between the mid 620's and the Arab conquest of 711. It is also the only early medieval historiographical text to devote itself in such detail to so short a period and so confined a topic. It is all the more surprising, therefore, that it has never previously been rendered into English, despite the existence of several recent useful anthologies of such translations. In fact the first Spanish version appeared less than five years ago. In part its uniqueness and also the difficulty of the questions of its nature, purpose, and compositional history may explain its relative neglect. However, this only makes the appearance of this careful and accurate translation all the more welcome. Its lack of inclusion in a previous anthology gives Professor Martínez Pizarro the opportunity to devote the rest of his book to lengthy historical and literary introductions to the text and to substantial notes on the texts.As these make frequent reference to the Latin original, it is perhaps regrettable that he did not go so far as to re-edit the text, or alternatively reprint the Wilhelm Levison edition of 1910 for the MGH. …

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