Origins of Bailen

The town of Bailen, besides being naturally witnessed great battles from Roman times wider domain, has been a melting pot since the first towns settled by "the mineral wealth, fertility and productivity of their land"Archaeological siteshave been found that prove the existence of villagesof early human communities organizedwho arrivedto the European continent acquiring and transmitting knowledge. That's when live stock and farming as their main way of life for thousands began hundreds of years, through the story.

Escudo-Bailen 72Starting
from the very famous historic town of Bailen, little is known. It begins with the words in the source of the term "Baritto" turdetano word origin who received the existing Phoenician settlement.

When the Greeks colonized our territory, was christened Baikol and Besur, thus constituting the beginning of the triad of the Mediterranean diet composed of wheat, oil and wine, becoming today a benchmark in the hospitality industry of the province of Jaén. Later, when the Romans come to Spain for the purpose of engaging in the Punic Wars against the Carthaginians, they were really fascinated by the large mining, agricultural and cattle wealth of the area, deciding to settle on it and calling it with the names of Baecula-Caecilia and Baecula-Andalusia, placing its population around 800 inhabitants.

Within the context of the Second Punic War (218 BC - 201a.C) that faced the Carthaginian army of Hasdrubal, and by the Roman Scipio "the African" (culminating with the victory of the latter), we have a key fact: the Battle of Baecula (208 BC), confrontation will bring the beginning of the decline of the Carthaginian power in the Mediterranean as well as extraordinary repercussions: the optimal position to continue his campaign Guadalquivir valley domination and thereby facilitating the subsequent favorable "Romanization of Hispania."

At present, yet there is still debate about the location of this battle, we take as our own, not only because of its phonetic similarity, as well as by geographical proximity that we provide the sources as well as the excellent strategic position that today days counting.

To support our hypothesis we have, with the refuted theories like Ruiz Giménez (1879) with reference to his "Notes on the History of the province of Jaén" in his chapter on the origin of the town of Bailen, based on the existence of the city known as Becula, Baecula or Bétula. Their study is based mainly on the analysis of the work of Livy, and the confusion caused by errors of translation and those generated by other copyists of the works of classical authors. These errors have led to the emergence of a variety of names that were identified with various cities according to researchers who treated, such as: Bétulo, Beturia, Baalim, Baezula, Bessul .... all possibly identified with Bailen.

To reinforce this thesis we rely on sources of Latin authors such as Polybius ( X 38 , 7 to 40 ) when it states that " The Carthaginian general then toured the sites of Cástulo , around the city of Becula , not far from its mines silver. Informed of the proximity of the Romans, moved his camp [ ... ] " ( Polybius X 38 , 7 ​​and 8). And Livy, which confirmed this information and added some data more " next Carthaginian army, Hasdrubal was near the city of Becula . Before the camp had cavalry outposts ; the escaramuceadotes , the frontline troops and who were at the head of the column, (referring to the Roman army ) on the fly , and before looking for the camp site , launched an attack against them taking them seriously so little that there was questions about what was the moral one and the other side , the riders were rejected in a hasty escape to the camp , and the Roman ensigns came almost to the gates . That day just fighting spirit flared and Romans encamped " ( Livy XXVII 18 , 1-4 ).

Surely pressured by these actions change Asdrubal camp to a place that Polybius had " [ ... ] a river that flowed behind and in front of the stockade was a plain defended by a rock deep enough to provide protection ; the plain was so wide that it fit in the Carthaginian army formed . Hasdrubal stood on this site ; bet sentries day and night on the reef " ( Polybius X 38 , 8) . And Livy describes it as follows : "At night , Hasdrubal withdrew its troops at a height that was an esplanade on the top. Behind was a river in front and the sides all the way around it clung kind of steep embankment . At the bottom there was another slightly inclined plain , surrounded in turn by an equally hard to climb ledge. When the next day I saw Hasdrubal the Roman army was formed before the camp , brought down to this lower plain these Numidian horsemen and African Balearic and light weapons " ( Livy XXVII 18 , 5-7 ).

Said the geographic references can relate with Rumble Guadiel and rivers and the Jarosa and Navarra hills disappeared today.

Famed archaeologist Schulten would corroborate these theories.

Subsequently Baecula name appears also related to subsequent Civil Wars of Rome. Hirtuyelo, Sertorius's lieutenant, is defeated by Metellus in Baecula-Andalusia. Julius Caesar overnight in this city before the battle of Munda, where he defeated Pompey's sons.

The early Christian Visigoth past and our venerable town little is known only reference a small Visigothic monastery bent (divided by nuns and monks), it treats the registration of a foundation stone in the walls of the old church of San Andres and Santa Gertrudis, early patrons of Bailen, whose drain is in the Archaeological Museum of Madrid, in the absence of the original, which reads:

Abbot ... Locuber founded and built this monastery two choirs in 691, during the reign of the Visigoth king Égica ...

The date would match the 14 May, the day of Bailen.

Almost zero, are the vestiges we have of Andalusian past of our city, except the intuition of the name "Baylen" may well come from the Arab past that precedes us, as it is not mentioned in the sources except on one occasion, when in 1155 Alfonso VII gave the castles of Bathrooms, Segral Baylen and his vassal Abdelaziz in Baeza. This time we just reference the castle and a mosque built between 860 and 880 by Abd al-Rahman I on the old Visigothic monastery.

With the Christian reconquest, Baylen became realengo land, property of the Castilian kings from 1227 and dependent Baeza council and its Jurisdiction, as evidenced by a document of 1331, (the time of Fernando III "The Saint") appearing our villa connected between the parishes belonging to Baeza.

In 1349, the Castilian King Alfonso XI, reward his vassal Pedro Ponce de León, Lord of Marchena, for their assistance in making Gibraltar plaza allows you to shop for the term of Baylen and his castle in the amount of 140000 maravedíes, becoming manor land now.

So Baylen Castle went on to become a key player.

Throughout the fifteenth century we have several news Castillo de Bailen, now disappeared, appearing to related Constable Lucas Iranzo and this when 1459 was going to settle in Jaén, a plague in this city led him to provisionally set Bailen. In Bailen spent nearly eleven months dedicated to organizing parties and hunt in the environment.

In the late fifteenth century begin, territorial disputes with the neighboring city of Baeza, which claimed for itself the land neighboring village of Baylen. The issue was resolved by a judgment of Ferdinand, 1504, by which would Baylen expanded its territory at the expense of an annual tribute payable to Baeza to be maintained until the last third of the nineteenth.







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