bishop from the emperor Justinian in 548/9, had by then been Christians for a considerable time.

The history of the dissemination of Gothic Arian Christianity can only be painted in broad strokes. It spread in both the West and the East. In 408, the Visigoths moved westwards and, as federates of the Western Roman empire, settled in Aquitania in 418. Subsequently they extended their sphere of power as far as the river Loire and across substantial parts of Spain. Their bond with the empire was broken off in 475. They passed on their Arian Christianity to several other Germanic peoples living in the West.

The first of these were the Vandals. Having invaded the Roman empire in 406/7, they spent the period of 409-29 in southern Spain, before crossing to North Africa in 429. In the north of what is now eastern Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, they established an independent Vandal kingdom, but, while still in Spain, they had adopted Gothic Arian Christianity.

The Burgundians, another Germanic nation, had settled in the upper Rhine area during the early fifth century. After suffering disastrous defeat there at the hands of the Huns in 436, they were settled as Roman federates in Savoy several years later, and subsequently managed to extend their dominance into what was to become Burgundy. Although they had been exposed to Catholic influences at an early stage, they became Arians around the mid-fifth century. This conversion to Gothic Arianism was probably connected with the reestablishment by King Gundiok of a Burgundian kingship, since an older royal dynasty expired in consequence of the defeat of 436. Gundiok was descended from Visigothic nobility and thus was an Arian.

Around the year 450, the Suevi (who invaded Spain in 408 and settled in Galicia in 411 as federates) already had a Catholic king in the person of Rechiar, but from 466 they came again under Visigoth influence and Gothic Arian Christianity was adopted.

As the last example shows, there was probably an active missionary policy on the part of the Arian Visigoths, aiming at the establishment of a commonwealth of Germanic Arian Christianities. However, this policy was not universally successful. For example, in the late fifth century the Visigoths signally failed in their attempt to win over the aspiring Frankish king Clovis. In 507, Aquitania was conquered by the Franks. The Visigoths and their Arian church were driven back into Spain and the remaining Arian communities in Aquitania were assimilated into the Catholic Church.

Sixth-century Ostrogothic tradition claims that the Visigoths transmitted their version of Christianity to the Ostrogoths and the Gepids, another Gothic people, for reasons of ethnic closeness. This, however, is obviously not correct:

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