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Hilderic

Hilderic, King of the Vandals and Alans (reigned 523-530) was the next-to-last ruler of the north African Kingdom of the Vandals. Although dead by the time the Vandal kingdom was overthrown in 534, he nevertheless played a key role in that event.

Hilderic was a grandson of the legendary King Geiseric, who founded the Vandal kingdom in Africa. His father was Geiseric's son Huneric, and his mother was Eudocia[?], the daughter of the Roman emperor Valentinian III. Despite his famous bloodline, he was violently unpopular with many of his subjects. Most of the Vandals practiced Arianism, a form of Christianity, and were fervently devoted to it. However, Hilderic favored the Catholicism of his mother, and his accession to the throne was controversial from the start. He was also homosexual, another Vandal taboo.

Hilderic's reign was noteworthy for the kingdom's excellent relations with the Byzantine Empire, as the emperors Justin I and Justinian I approved of his support of Catholicism and his familial ties with the old Roman Empire. He allowed a new Catholic bishop to take office in the Vandal capital of Carthage, and many Vandals began to convert to Catholicism. This alarmed the Vandal nobility.

He was quite old by the time he assumed the crown, well into his fifties at least, and probably over 60 years old. For this reason, he was disinterested in the military operations of the Vandals and left them to other family members, yet another thing which was disapproved of.

After seven years on the throne, Hilderic fell victim to a revolt led by his cousin Gelimer, an Arian who got the people to rise in rebellion in the name of religion. Gelimer then became King of the Vandals and Alans and restored Arianism as the official religion of the kingdom. He imprisoned Hilderic but did not kill him.

Justinian, an ally of Hilderic, protested against Gelimer's actions and demanded that Gelimer return the kingdom to Hilderic. When Gelimer refused, he declared war on the Vandals in 533. Gelimer then had Hilderic murdered.



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