Barcelona is the capital and the most populous city of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, with a population of 1,615,908 in 2008.

The foundation of Barcelona is the subject of two different legends. The first attributes the founding of the city to the Greek hero Hercules 400 years before the building of Rome. The second legend attributes the foundation of the city directly to the Carthaginian commander Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino after his family, in the 3rd century BC.

About 15 BC, the Romans redrew the town as a castrum (Roman military camp) centred on the "Mons Taber", a little hill near the contemporary city hall (Plaça de Sant Jaume). Under the Romans, it was a colony with the surname of Faventia. The cathedral, also known as basilica La Seu is said to have been founded in 343. The city was conquered by the Visigoths in the early fifth century, by the Moors in the early eighth century, reconquered in 801 by Charlemagne's son King Louis I of France who made Barcelona the seat of Carolingian "Spanish Marches" (Marca Hispanica), a buffer zone ruled by the Count of Barcelona.

In a much later part of its history, Barcelona was a major bastion of the Twentieth Century Spanish Republicans. After the Republic lost the Battle of the Ebro in late 1938, Barcelona was irretrievably cut off from Madrid. It fell in January 1939 and suffered savage repression at the hands of Francisco Franco's troops; it was a death blow which heralded the end of the Republic.

Barcelona in Agent of Byzantium[]

Barcilo fell to the Franco-Saxons in the autumn of 1314. Basil Argyros approached the city in the summer of 1315, during his investigation of the Franco-Saxon invasion, and was surprised to find it was still garrisoned. He had no alternative but to ride past it and continue to the north-east along the old legionaries coastal road.[1]

Barcelona in The War That Came Early[]

Throughout much of the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona was the headquarters of the Spanish Republicans. When Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia on 1 October 1938, France changed its previous policy and provided the Spanish Republic with a flow of munitions, enabling it to keep the Ebro front open. Barcelona remained in the Republic's hands.

When the Republic won the war in 1944, Manuel Azaña, the President of the Republic, had displaced Czechoslovak sniper Jezek brought to Barcelona. Jezek had killed Nationalist leader Marshal Sanjurjo the previous winter, an act which effectively ended the war.

In Barcelona, Azaña thanked Jezek for not "despairing of the Republic". He also made Jezek a Spanish citizen, captain in the Army of the Republic, and paid Jezek the bounty that had been placed on Sanjurjo's head.[2]


  1. See e.g. Agent of Byzantium, pg. 129, tpb.
  2. Last Orders, pgs. 164-167.