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Additional resources for A Miscellany of Britain: People, Places, History, Culture, Customs, Sport

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Their arrival in Spain and presence in Toledo dated back to pre-Christian times, and was largely usurped when Toledo began to acquire importance as the focus of the Visigothic monarchy. In 694, a newly discovered conspiracy of Jews and conversos altered the Visigothic ruler Egica’s tolerant attitude. A plot was discovered to usurp his throne, and it was believed that the Jews had been in cahoots with the Arabs in the invasion that took place seventeen years later in 711. Religious conversion is crucial to another telling addition to the Refundición, Roderick’s invented marriage to Eilata, the daughter of the king of Tunis.

The rape of Helen of Troy by Paris enraged Menelaus and provoked the Trojan war as recounted by Homer; the rape of Lucretia by Sextus Tarquinus aroused the indignation of both father and husband, and her public denunciation and suicide brought about the elimination of the Roman monarchy and the rise of the Republic of Rome; the rape of La Cava brought about the fall of the Visigothic kingdom. 21 The motifs of rape and the treacherous counselor therefore form part of a number of narratives recounting the loss of empire or kingdom.

35 While many of the additions and amendments to the story of Roderick and La Cava reinforce the view that the author dramatized and developed the legend in a subtle and exciting way, certain of these reworkings also point to a latent social and political agenda, both personal and universal, which relates specifically to the Jewish race and to Toledo. Combined pride in Toledo as the original Jewish settlement, together with a presentation of Roderick as blameless for his sexual passion could be seen as an attempt to discount Jewish involvement or guilt in relation to the conquest of Spain and attribute it to the usurpatory and dissolute Visigothic royal line, of which Roderick was not a direct descendant.

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