Hilderic

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Hilderic (460s – 533) was the pentultimate king of the Vandals and Alans in North Africa in Late Antiquity (523–530). 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, founder of 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 and Licinia Eudoxia. Despite his bloodline, he was deeply unpopular with many of his subjects.[citation needed] Most of the Vandals were Arians and had persecuted Catholics, but Hilderic favored it as the religion of his mother, making his accession to the throne controversial. Soon after becoming king, Hilderic had his predecessor's widow, Amalafrida, imprisoned; he escaped war with her brother, the Gothic king Theodoric the Great, only by the latter's death in 526.

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 for 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, to the alarm of the Vandal nobility.

He was quite old, at least into his fifties, by the time he assumed the crown, and probably over 60 years old. For this reason, he was uninterested in the military operations of the Vandals and left them to other family members, which created further dislike.

After seven years on the throne, Hilderic fell victim to a revolt led by his cousin Gelimer, an Arian, who led the people in a religious rebellion. 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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