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Being Christian in Vandal AfricaThe Politics of Orthodoxy in the Post-Imperial West$
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Robin Whelan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520295957

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520295957.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 21 January 2022

Exiles on Main Street

Exiles on Main Street

Nicene Bishops and the Vandal Court

(p.143) 5 Exiles on Main Street
Being Christian in Vandal Africa

Robin Whelan

University of California Press

This chapter reconsiders the relationship between the Vandal kings and the Nicene Church, which has often been seen as an obstacle to effective Vandal rule. The self-portrayal of Nicene bishops as martyrs suffering in an age of heretical persecution—and the self-portrayal of Hasding dynasts as pious defenders of true (Homoian) Christianity—seems to commit them to mutual antagonism. Yet both parties also had interests in compromises, which are revealed by recurrent interactions between bishops and the court at Carthage. Even as they decried heretical Vandal tyranny, Nicene bishops petitioned their rulers to improve their church’s lot, using obsequious courtly language and the appropriate bureaucratic channels to do so. Vandal kings sometimes granted these petitions; even when refused, the possibility of compromise was retained for as long as possible. The result was tacit or even explicit acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the other parties, whether as rulers or Christian authority figures.

Keywords:   bishops, persecution, Victor of Vita, Eugenius of Carthage, Fulgentius of Ruspe, Huneric, Thrasamund

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