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Germanic nations. But there is no real proof of this.6 Only the Gothic liturgy and the Gothic Bible - the only properly Germanic elements in so-called Germanic Arianism - could be cited as evidence for a Germanic acculturation of Arian Christianity. These, however, should not be interpreted as conscious responses to the needs of a Germanic cultural context, but must rather be understood as a characteristic consequence of the linguistic pluralism of the Eastern churches. After some time, Latin seems to have established itself alongside the Gothic language in the Arian church service, as is indicated by Gothic-Latin manuscripts of biblical texts and the adaptation of a Latin evangelistary according to a Gothic model.

The commonwealth of Germanic Arian Christianities did not enjoy a long history. Its demise, like its rise, is closely linked to the realities of late antique powerpolitics. The Vandals and the Ostrogoths lost theirpolitical existence and consequently also their ethnic identity in 534 and 553, respectively, when the Byzantines re-conquered North Africa and Italy. The Gepids suffered the same fate in 567 with the advance of the pagan Avars. As a consequence, the Arian Christianities of the Vandals and the Gepids disappeared. In Italy, on the other hand, a certain continuity linking Ostrogothic and Lombard Arianism can be assumed.

In the case of the Burgundians, Arian Christianity was extinguished in 517 following the accession to power of King Sigismund, who was already a Catholic. In the Spanish Suevic kingdom, the conversion of King Chararich in 555 set in motion the transition to the Catholic faith. In the Visigoth kingdom, King Rekkared converted to Catholicism in 587, and the general conversion was carried out at the Third Council of Toledo in 589 by representatives of the ruling classes, among them several Arian bishops.

Catholic influences had begun to accompany Lombard Arianism at a very early stage. Lombard Arianism's decline during the course of the seventh century stretched over a considerable period and was completed during the time of King Percatrit (671-88). At the end of the sixth and the beginning ofthe seventh century, Queen Theodolinda, who was descended from the Bavarian ducal dynasty and was thus Catholic, was married first to King Authari and then to King Agilulf. She and the so-called Bavarian dynasty of the Lombard kings who can be traced back to her did much to hasten the erosion of Lombard Arianism. Although the political conditions under which the rejection of Arianism took place in the individual kingdoms varied considerably, the commonbackground

6 Forideologicallymotivatedviews on GothicArianism, cf. Hanns ChristofBrennecke,'Der sog. germanische Arianismus als, arteigenes' Christentum'.

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