New Association Book: LIBORIO DE RODAS
3 December, 2019
A while ago, in an exhibition of Andalusian painting of the nineteenth century, I was intrigued by a painting, Liborio’s Despair, which represented a Roman soldier, dressed up but dirty and with the face of hunger, who, sitting in a chair of scissors in a landscape of olive trees and mountains, stared at me with red eyes showing extreme tiredness, despair, fear and hatred of the world, all together This man is having a hard time! I thought.
My girlfriend at the time, Monica, told me that the soldier was not Roman, but Byzantine, because of the curved sword placed on the ground, next to a dented helmet. For a while I couldn’t get rid of the image until I decided to investigate…
In Constantinople, in January 581, Leandro, archbishop of Spalis, Seville, was received in audience with the emperor Tiberius II, to whom he transmitted a request for help from Hermenegildus, who has converted to Catholicism and rebelled against his father, Leovigildo, has proclaimed himself king of Betica and Lusitania with the title of King John. Days later, Leandro explained the situation in detail to Tiberius, who promised to send one of his best generals, Liborio Rodio, to the front of a small cavalry troop, more as a symbolic gesture of support than as an effective aid.
(From here the text is written by Liborio Rodio himself)
At the beginning of June I arrived in Malaka and met with the prefect of our province of Spania, Balbino Balbo, who informed me that, in the absence of Bishop Leandro, the most important character of Spalis is his brother Isidoro, provisional administrator of the diocese. Both are the great-uncles of Hermenegildo, a 17-year-old boy and, together with Hermenegildo’s wife, Ingunda, 14, and the elderly bishop Massona, from Emerita, Mérida, are the architects of his conversion to Catholicism.
Accompanied by my assistant Nikolaos Cretense and at the head of a camp of two centuries of cavalry provided by the prefect Balbo, I traveled to Spalis, where I remained with the kings and the main characters of the kingdom, unraveling the entanglement of the rebellion and its consequences, hoping that, as happened the following spring, Leovigildo decided to end it by force. Emeritus gave himself up without a fight, Leovigildo bribed the Swabians of King Miro of Galicia who had come to the aid of Hermenegildo and went to Hyperspalis, taking Italy, but decided to winter there and in Emerita and postpone the final offensive until spring.
Shortly before the final offensive, Prefect Balbo told me that Leovigildo had bribed the Empire with thirty thousand solid gold to abandon Hermenegildo. Then I ordered the withdrawal of my troops to Malaka, taking with me the king’s wife and son to bring them to safety, but I decided to stay with King John and share his uncertain fate