Egilona, Visigoth queen consort

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Egilona Umm 'Assim

Also Known As: "Egilo", "Aylū", "Exilona", "Elyata", "Egilona Balthes"
Death: 718 (58-60)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of NN and NN
Wife of Rodrigo, rey de los visigodos and 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Musa al-Bekir, valí de al-Andalus
Mother of Egilom Umm Hashim Balthes and 'A'isha ibn Abdul Aziz

Occupation: Viuda de don Rodrigo, rey de Hispania.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Egilona, Visigoth queen consort

Either Queen Consort or Princess of the Spanish Visigoths


Egilona (or Egilo) was a Visigothic noblewoman and the last known queen of the Visigoths. She was the wife first of Roderic, the Visigothic king (710–11), and then of ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Muslim governor (wālī) of al-Andalus (714–16). Her name is rendered Aylū by Arabic writers, who also give her the kunya Umm ʿAṣim ("mother of ʿAṣim").[1] She was independently wealthy.[2]

Egilona may have been related to Kings Egica and Wittiza. Since the succession of 710 was contested, Roderic may have married Egilona to strengthen his position. Their marriage did not last long, as he died at the Battle of the Guadalete the following year.[3]

The date of Egilona's second marriage is uncertain. She may have married ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz before he became governor, when he was still merely the son of the conquering general, Mūsā bin Nuṣayr, who had overthrown the Visigothic kingdom.[2] There is no reference in the sources to Egilona converting to Islam, and scholars are divided on whether it is likely that she did.[4] Although both Arabic and Latin sources depict Egilona and her second husband as communicating directly, it is not clear whether they could have done so directly, since Egilona would have spoken a vulgar Latin dialect and did not likely have time or reason to learn Arabic quickly. Likewise, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz could have had little reason to learn Latin, although he was criticised for certain foreign (ʿajamī) practices.[2]

Both Christian and Muslims sources make her responsible for the governor's assassination, and there is no reason to doubt the general portrayal of her role.[5] The Christian Chronicle of 754 records that "on the advice of Queen Egilona, wife of the late king Roderic, whom he had joined to himself, [Abd al-Aziz] tried to throw off the Arab yoke from his neck and retain the conquered kingdom of Iberia for himself."[1] The ninth-century Muslim historian ʿAbd al-Ḥakam, on the other hand, says that he ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz was killed because Egilona "had made him a Christian". This seems unlikely, since he took refuge in a mosque and recited from the Koran when attacked. Al-Ḥakam does corroborate the Chronicle of 754's claim that Egilona stoked his royal ambitions, urging him to act so as to attain the respect her first husband had.[2] The Akhbār majmūʿa of 858 even claims that Egilona had a crown made out of her own jewels and forced her husband to wear it on the grounds that "a king without a crown is a king without a kingdom".[4] She also tried to have his men perform acts of obeisance to him in Seville.[5]

Egilona's life and legend have been given dramatic treatment several times in the modern era. In 1760, Cándido María Trigueros published the play La Egilona, viuda del rey don Rodrigo. In 1785, Antontio Valladares de Sotomayor staged a similar play that has been called by the same title, La Egilona, viuda del rey don Rodrigo. In 1788, an anonymous play entitled La Egilona, drama heroica en prosa was put on during the coronation ceremonies of Charles IV.[6] In 1845, the Cuban playwright Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda published a play titled Egilona.[7]

February 715—Musa ibn Nusair, Governor of Ifriqiya, entered Damascus with the Visigoth kings and princes and for the first time hundreds of western royalty and thousands of European captives were seen offering homage to the commander of the Muslims in Damascus. Musa the Conqueror of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula died in Hejaz, while performing the Hajj. His son Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa was announced first Amir of Andalus and married the widow of King Roderick, Egilona Balthes. Seville became the Capital.


SPAIN: VANDALS, SUEVI & VISIGOTHS". Retrieved 2023-01-11

Theodofredo & his wife had [four] children:

i) RODRIGO (Córdoba [688/90]-killed in battle Guadalete [20] Jul 711). … He was elected to succeed in 710 as RODRIGO King of the Visigoths in Spain. m as her first husband, EGILONA [Eilo], daughter of ---. She married secondly Abd al-Aziz, Governor of Seville. … From a chronological point of view, it appears impossible that she was “la mère d´Açim (Oumm-Açim)”: it is suggested that this text refers to her own change of name after marriage, which appears corroborated by the next source. Ibn-el Kouthya records that Abd el-Aziz married "une femme de la nation des Goths…Oumm-Aasim", which was deeply unpopular[322]. According to Arab sources, she persuaded her second husband to wear a crown, seen as un-Islamic by his colleagues, who assassinated him in 715[323].


  1. Simon Barton, Conquerors, Brides, and Concubines: Interfaith Relations and Social Power in Medieval Iberia (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 15–16.
  2. Richard Hitchcock, Mozarabs in Medieval and Early Modern Spain: Identities and Influences (Routledge, 2016), 13–14.
  3. Luis A. García Moreno, "Prosopography, Nomenclature, and Royal Succession in the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo", Journal of Late Antiquity 1, 1 (2008), 142–156, at 155.
  4. José Orlandis Rovira, "La reina en la monarquía visigoda", Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español 27–8 (1957–58), 123–24.
  5. Roger Collins, The Arab Conquest of Spain, 710–797 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), pp. 37–38.
  6. Elizabeth Drayson, The King and the Whore: King Roderick and La Cava (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 110.
  7. Elizabeth Drayson, "Reinventing the Legend of King Roderick: Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Egilona", Romance Studies 32, 4 (2014).