Publication Date

Spring 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




John W. Bernhardt


Gaul, Late Antiquity, Medieval, Roman, Spain, Visigoths

Subject Areas

History; Medieval History, Ancient


This thesis examines primary sources in fifth- and sixth-century Gaul and Spain and finds a surprising lack of concern for ethnicity. Authors in the fifth century expressed concern for the sanctity and safety of the church, their patria, and themselves, but seldom mention any issues that could be related to ethnicity. Even the Arian Christianity of the Goths seems to be of little or no concern. This changes in the middle of the sixth century, when Arian Christianity becomes an overarching issue in Visigothic history. The sources portray nearly every political concern in the second half of the sixth century as one of Arian versus Catholic. Contrary to the idea of a Spain in which Roman- Gothic relations were very important, no other mention of ethnic differentiation appears in the sources even at this time.