Roderick


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Roderick

(rŏd`ərĭk), d. 711?, last Visigothic king in Spain (710–711?). After the death of King Witiza, a group of nobles chose Roderick, duke of Baetica, as successor to the king. Having defeated Witiza's son, Roderick established himself on the throne. Little is actually known of his reign, but innumerable legends have developed around it. Most of the legends involve one Julian, governor of Ceuta, who—either for political motives or because his daughter had been violated by Roderick—joined the family of Witiza in requesting the help of the North African Muslims to overthrow Roderick. In any event, the Muslims under Tarik ibn ZiyadTarik ibn Ziyad
, fl. 711, Berber leader of the Muslim invaders of Spain. When the heirs of the Visigothic king, Witiza, requested help from the Moors of N Africa against the usurper Roderick, Tarik, with his Moorish army, crossed (711) from Africa to Gibraltar (originally named
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 crossed (711) the Strait of Gibraltar, and Roderick, campaigning in the north against the Franks and the Basques, hastened south only to be defeated (711) by Tarik near Medina Sidonia. Roderick was probably killed in the battle, but according to some, he continued to resist the Muslim conquest of Spain until he was slain in 713. The colorful legends about this "last of the Goths" gained a permanent place in Spanish literature and passed into English writing, most notably in the works of Washington Irving, Robert Southey, and Walter Savage Landor.
References in classic literature ?
He summoned the old black servant, who had been bred up in his father's house, and was a middle-aged man while Roderick lay in his cradle.
muttered Roderick to himself, as he shook his head, and pressed his hands with a more convulsive force upon his breast, "I feel him still.
Roderick Elliston, who, a little while before, had held himself so scornfully above the common lot of men, now paid full allegiance to this humiliating law.
Roderick, amidst the throng of the street, laid his hand on this man's chest, and looking full into his forbidding face,"How is the snake to-day?
One day he encountered an ambitious statesman, and gravely inquired after the welfare of his boa constrictor; for of that species, Roderick affirmed, this gentleman's serpent must needs be, since its appetite was enormous enough to devour the whole country and constitution.
This man's very heart, if Roderick might be believed, had been changed into a serpent, which would finally torment both him and itself to death.
But nothing seemed to please Roderick better than to lay hold of a person infected with jealousy, which he represented as an enormous green reptile, with an ice-cold length of body, and the sharpest sting of any snake save one.
replied Roderick, with a look of dark intelligence.
And then, as the by-standers afterwards affirmed, a hissing sound was heard, apparently in Roderick Elliston's breast.
Thus making his own actual serpent--if a serpent there actually was in his bosom--the type of each man's fatal error, or hoarded sin, or unquiet conscience, and striking his sting so unremorsefully into the sorest spot, we may well imagine that Roderick became the pest of the city.
His confinement, however, although it contributed not a little to the peace of the town, operated unfavorably upon Roderick himself.
Sometimes, in his moments of rage and bitter hatred against the snake and himself, Roderick determined to be the death of him, even at the expense of his own life.