Chronicle of 754

The Chronicle of 754 (also called the Mozarabic Chronicle or Continuatio Hispana) is a Latin-language history in 95 sections,[1] written by an anonymous Mozarab (Christian) chronicler in Al-Andalus.[2] The Chronicle contains the earliest known reference in a Latin text to "Europeans" (europenses), whom it describes as having defeated the Saracens at the battle of Tours in 732.[3][4]

Folio 2r of the Chronicle of 754. The text is in the Visigothic script.


Its compiler was an anonymous Mozarab (Christian) chronicler, living under Arab rule in some part of the Iberian peninsula. Since the 16th century, it has been attributed to an otherwise unknown bishop, Isidorus Pacensis but this attribution is now widely accepted as being the result of compounded errors. Henry Wace[5] explained the origin and the phantom history of "Isidorus Pacensis", an otherwise unattested bishop of Pax Julia (modern Beja, Portugal).[6]

There is also some disagreement about the place where the Chronicle was written. Tailhan[7] named Córdoba as the city of origin. Mommsen was the first to champion Toledo. A recent study by Lopez Pereira[8] rejects both these in favour of an unidentified smaller city in present-day south-east Spain.

The workEdit

The Chronicle of 754 covers the years 610 to 754, during which it has few contemporary sources against which to check its veracity. It begins with the accession of Heraclius and is considered an eyewitness account for the Umayyad conquest of Hispania,.[9] Some consider it one of the best sources for post-Visigothic history and for the story of the Arabian conquest of Hispania and Septimania; it provided the basis for Roger Collins, The Arab Conquest of Spain, 711-797, the first modern historian to utilise it so thoroughly.[10] It contains the most detailed account of the Battle of Poitiers-Tours.

The style of the entries resembles the earlier chronicler John of Biclar, similarly covering the topics of rulers, rebellions, wars, the church and plagues (but in greater detail, with a more eccentric prose style that has made the work difficult for modern scholars to decipher). The work has three main focal points, the first two Byzantium and Visigothic Spain it shares in common with the Chronicle of 741, adding a third which is the Ummayad conquest.[9]

The Chronicle survives in three manuscripts, of which the earliest, of the ninth century, is divided between the British Library and the Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid. The other manuscripts are of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.[11]

The Chronicle was first published in its entirety in Pamplona, 1615; it was printed in Migne’s Patr. Lat., vol. 96, p. 1253 sqq. and given a modern critical edition and translated into Spanish by José Eduardo Lopez Pereira.[12] An English translation by Kenneth Baxter Wolf can be found in his volume Conquerors and Chroniclers of Early Medieval Spain (Liverpool, 1990).


  1. ^ In some manuscripts the sections are apportioned into 13 chapters and an appendix. See the edition of Lopez Pereira 2009.
  2. ^ According to Christys p. 2 it was the last Latin chronicle written in al-Andalus.
  3. ^ Kwame Anthony Appiah (2012), "Misunderstanding cultures: Islam and the West", Philosophy and Social Criticism 38(4–5) 425–33.
  4. ^ Evert Van De Poll (2013), Europe and the Gospel: Past Influences, Current Developments, Mission Challenges (Versita), p. 55.
  5. ^ In Smith & Wace 1880.
  6. ^ "Isidorus Pacensis" appears in error as bishop of Badajos in Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) vol. II, s.v. Isidorus, p. 627. Beja plays no role in the Chronicle, as might be expected in a work issued from that city, as Reinhart Dozy pointed out. Neither does Badajoz, because it did not exist at the time of the chronicle; Bishop Prudencio Sandoval of Pamplona, who first published the chronicle in its entirety in 1615, evidently thought Pax Julia was Badajoz, since he refers to "Isidore, bishop of Badajoz" in his title to the work, see Mommsen p. 333.
  7. ^ Tailhan seems to have been the first to reject Isidorus Pacensis as author, but remarkably believed the Chronicle to be a rhymed epic such as the Song of Roland.
  8. ^ p. 58-59.
  9. ^ a b Hartmann, Carmen Cardelle de (2003). "The textual transmission of the Mozarabic Chronicle of 754". Early Medieval Europe. 8 (1): 13–29. doi:10.1111/1468-0254.00037. S2CID 247740699.
  10. ^ H.V. Livermore dismissed it as largely mythological, in The Origins of Spain and Portugal (London: Allen & Unwin, 1971); Collins, conversely, eschewed the later, mythologised Arabic accounts, for which he has been criticised.
  11. ^ C.C. de Hartmann , "The textual transmission of the Mozarabic Chronicle of 754" Early Medieval Europe 8.1, (March 1999:13-29). Two of the manuscripts, though they bear no author's name, were asserted by seventeenth-century scholars to bear the name of "Isidorus Pacensis (Wace 1880).
  12. ^ Firstly as Cronica mozarabe de 754 (Zaragoza, 1980); followed by a revised Latin edition and translation, with numerous essays, in 2009 (see References below)


  • Ann Christys, Christians in Al-Andalus, 711–1000 (Routledge, 2002).
  • Reinhart Dozy, Recherches sur l'histoire et la littérature d'Espagne, 2nd ed. 1860.
  • J. Eduardo Lopez Pereira, Continuatio Isidoriana Hispana Cronica Mozarabe de 754. Fuentes y Estudios de Historia Leonesa 127. León, 2009.
  • T. Mommsen, Continuatio Hispana anno DCCLIV. Monumenta Germaniae Historica auctores antiquissimi XI, Chronica minora saec. IV, V, VI, VII, vol. 2,. Berlin, 1894. Online.
  • William Smith and Henry Wace, A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines (1880: vol. III, s.v. "Isidorus Pacensis" pp 313f).
  • J. Tailhan, Anonyme de Cordoue. Chronique rimée des derniers rois d'Espagne. Paris, 1885.
  • English translation of the Chronicle by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Online