My plan today is to get to the origin of the ‘Italian Takeover’ of Spain. My research tells me that this goes back before Piza Houses, before Spain signed the treaty of ‘Rome’ in 1985, before the Church in Rome organised armies to expel the Moors from 710 to 1492, and even before Roman armies backed the Byzantine in 586. The root of Spain being run by the capital of Italy was in 220 B.C. when the expanding Roman empire began a process that would eventually take the whole Iberian Peninsula.
So today I travelled in my boat from the position in front of the Yaramar. The fields and hills are green, the land further back has been farmed and each of the 5 rivers has some settlement. The Rio Real is a huge inlet that goes in as far as the position of the current Palacio de la Paz at the end of the Feria Ground. Further in there are pathways and I follow these to the tower where the Castle would soon be built.
In a long hall beside the tower a meeting is taking place between the tribal elders of Sylas and the Italian gentlemen representing the newly installed power in Malaga. A contubernium or eight Legionaries accompanied them and a centuria of one hundred more waited outside the town accompanied by two hundred armed foriegn conscript soldiers responsible for logistics and keeping the Legionaries armour shining.
In the great hall about a hundred or so locals had come to hear the ‘news that would affect their future’. Of course they had heard the rumours from passing sailors, the invasion 2 years earlier, the battles where untrained farmers were sent to face the world’s mightiest army. They knew that the fighting had ended long before they got to Malaga which had been adopted as their main port, they had heard stories from refugees of the way they had dealt with opposition.
The chief Italian diplomat addressed the translator.
Let’s not waste time, he said, we got an offer that you can’t refuse, so listen carefully or you could spend the rest of your lives rowing a galley?
We are from a place called Rome which is becoming the largest empire the world has yet seen. As part of our territorial expansion we have realised the strategic value of the Iberian Peninsula and are willing to let all of its inhabitants stay alive, in return for committed allegiance to Rome.
“Your particular location is suited to our strategic plans. We aim to create a road along the coast that will carry armies and goods to and from our country. We will be sailing the Coastal route and the mouth of the river will be rebuilt as a port. We have discovered marble in these hills, it’s our favourite building material and will be making a port on the 4th river down from here. We will also build a finca for the trade secretary to collect money on our behalf on all products and especially before the marble leaves the river. And, because it sounds cool Italian and trendy, we’re gonna call it Suel. As our 2 great countries become 1, this town of yours will bear fruit for thousands of years, the Font upon which our Castle will be built will be known throughout the world for thousands of years.”
Following a few more kind words, I decided I had heard enough and left, the rest, as they say,’ is history’, which I hope you will revisit with me in this column over the coming year…..
When I arrived back in my time travelling boat at the front of Hotel Yaramar Playa, someone looked at me, like he recognised me and said, buenas tardes, I greeted him cautiously and thought, how would he know about a tardis?
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