Alternative History

The Wambid Dynasty is a European royal house of Spanish origin. It is Europe's oldest and most influential dynasty, with branches of the family having ruled in Spain, Italy, Aquitaine, Africa, Romania, Albion, Lyonesse and Bohemia.

It rose to prominence in AD 636 when its first known member, Chintila, was elected King of the Visigoths. His grandson Wamba, for whom the dynasty is named, became king in 672 and Roman Emperor in the West in 674 after defeating the Emperor Gregorius. Wamba was overthrown in 687 by his nephew and son-in-law Egica, but the throne passed peacefully to Egica's son (and Wamba's grandson) Ardo in 701.

Ardo died in 721, and in his will he divided his lands among his four children. His eldest son Tulga received Hispania and the imperial dignity; his second son Agila received northern Italy and the city of Rome; his third son Euric received Africa, Sicily and southern Italy; and his daughter Amalasuntha and her husband received Burgundy. The three younger branches of the family continued to owe allegiance to the descendents of Tulga, but over generations they asserted their independence more and more.

The Spanish Line

Tulga's descendents, known as the House of Barcelona, continued to rule Spain for centuries to come. Sometimes they waged fierce civil wars amongst themselves, and sometimes they were challenged by ambitious generals, but they always bounced back.

The Spanish Wambids often intermarried with the royal and noble families of their vassals and allies, tying them closely with Lyonesse, Burgundy, Alemannia and the British kingdoms of Armorica and Albion. In future centuries this would become the basis for the Arvorian conquest of Prydain, as well as the later British rule over Spain.

The Tarragonids, who replaced the Barcelonids on the throne in 885 after the extinction of the family's primary branch, were descended from the latter in the female line.

The Italian Line

Agila's line, known as the House of Florence, did not last long. In 735 his son and successor, Reccared, was killed during a freak storm along with almost all his family and most of the other great nobles of the realm. The sole survivor was Reccared's seventh son, also called Agila, who happened to have been elected Pope two years previously under the name of Stephen II, and so it was he who came to the throne.

Pope-King Stephen grew old without any children to succeed him. In 757 therefore he transferred his kingdom permanently into the possession of the papacy, thus creating what would later be known as the Papal Kingdom.

The African Line

Euric's line, which became known as the House of Utica, prospered in Africa. By controlling the ancient grain-fields and the trade routes between the eastern and western Mediterranean, his kingdom quickly became very wealthy and powerful indeed.

In the 860s King Theodemar formed an alliance with the eastern empire, in the court of which he had spent several years as a child. In 864 Emperor Michael I called upon Africa for urgent assistance against the Bulgars, who had ravaged Anatolia and were now drawing near to the capital of Antioch. Though Theodemar was eager to help, by the time he had mustered his army and arrived in the east Antioch had already been sacked and Michael was dead.

However, Theodemar stayed in the region anyway, and in 865 decisively defeated the Bulgars at the Battle of Heliopolis. For the next two years he continued to campaign, eventually driving the Bulgars out of Anatolia, and when he returned to Antioch he was treated as a conquering hero and made Emperor by the Senate.

Theodemar took the name Basil to appease his new Greek subjects, and within a generation his family had become thoroughly Hellenised. Soon Africa was being treated as a province like any other, rather than a separate kingdom with its own history, and this was used as propaganda by the separatist movements of the 16th century which tried to restore African independence.

The main line of the House of Utica became extinct in 1056, and it was succeeded as the imperial family by the Komnenian dynasty. However, several cadet branches survived in Africa and in the east. The Misratans of Africa and the Memphites of Egypt are descended from them, as was the House of Melissenos of the 17th century.

The Burgundian Line

Amalasuntha, daughter of Ardo, married Childebert the Burgundian. Their descendents ruled Burgundy until 794, when they were defeated in battle by Charlemagne and forced to swear allegiance to him.

At first they were allowed to continue ruling Burgundy in Charlemagne's name. But in 814-815 they rebelled against the Franks, were defeated, Burgundy was annexed and the surviving members of the family were sent into exile in Saxony.

In later generations, some of their descendents would again achieve prominence - several Dukes of Saxony were married to Burgundian Wambids, and a Wambid was the chancellor to Emperor Henry II from 1002-1020 - but never again would they rule independently. The family finally died out in the male line in 1322.