Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall

Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall

Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall

Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall

The Vandals are best known for their sack of Rome and for giving their name to acts of pointless destruction, but as this history makes clear, they were actually one of the more successful invaders during the last days of the Western Roman Empire, and played a major part in the fall of Rome. It was perfectly possible for a single Vandal to have taken part in the crossing of the Rhine in 406, the campaigns in Gaul, the successful settlement in Spain and the invasion of Africa in 429. The Vandals then managed to maintain a powerful kingdom in Africa for a century, defeating one of the Western Empires last major military expeditions, and even sacking Rome in 455, but eventually they were conquered by the Eastern Empire's great general Belisarius, and rapidly disappeared.

We start with a look at the obscure origins of the Vandals, including an examination of who they actually were, who they allied with before crossing the Rhine, and how they originally fought. The crossing of the Rhine of 406 is put more firmly into context than is often the case, taking place during one of the many Roman civil wars, and taking advantage of a temporary weakness of the Rhine defences. After that Spain was an easy target, but crossing into North Africa was a major gamble, and one that fatally weakened the Western Empire, first by stripping away some of its richest provinces, and then by defeating one of the last major military efforts of the West in a great naval battle off the African coast.

MacDowall has done a good job of producing a coherent account from some often rather difficult sources. The Vandals didn't produce a historian of their own, so their story can only be told using sources written by their enemies - Roman or Barbarian - and of course these don't always agree on events. The result is a useful study of one of the more obscure but important conquerors of the Western Empire.

Chapters
1 - Germania
2 - In the Bleak Midwinter
3 - A Spanish Interlude
4 - Into Africa
5 - Mare Nostrum
6 - The Next Generation
7 - The Empire Strikes Back
8 - Moors and Mutineers

Author: Simon MacDowall
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2016



Conquerors of the Roman Empire: The Goths

In the late 4th century, pressure from the Huns forced the Goths to cross the Danube into the Roman Empire. The resultant Battle of Adrianople in 378 was one of Rome’s greatest defeats. Both western (Visigoth) and eastern (Ostrogoth) branches of the Goths had a complex relationship with the Romans, sometimes fighting as their allies against other ‘barbarian’ interlopers but carving out their own kingdoms in the process. Under Alaric the Visigoths sacked Rome itself in 410 and went on to establish a kingdom in Gaul (France). They helped the Romans defeat the Hunnic invasion of Gaul at Chalons in 451 but continued to expand at Roman expense. Defeated by the Franks they then took Spain from the Vandals. The Ostrogoths had a similar relationship with the Eastern Roman Empire before eventually conquering Italy. Adrianople, the events of 410 and the Ostrogoths’ long war with Belisarius, including the Siege of Rome, are among the campaigns and battles Simon MacDowall narrates in detail. He analyses the arms and contrasting fighting styles of the Ostro- and Visi- Goths and evaluates their effectiveness against the Romans.


Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall - History

Simon MacDowall examines how this relatively small group of Germans came to be overlords of all of the former Roman province of Gaul, giving their name to France in the process. From their earliest incursions into the Empire, down to the Battle of Casilinum (554), their last battle against Romans, he studies the Frankish way of warfare and assesses its effectiveness. The size and composition of their armies, their weapons (including the characteristic Francisca axe), equipment and tactics are discussed.

In this tumultuous period, the Franks had a complex relationship with the Romans, being by turns invaders, recruits to the legions and independent allies. Accordingly, this book also covers the Franks&rsquo role in defending the Rhine frontier against subsequent invasions by the Vandals, Alans, Suebi and the Huns. Their success in defending their new homeland against all comers allowed them, under the leadership of the Merovingian dynasty of Clovis, to establish the Frankish kingdom as one of the most enduring of the &lsquobarbarian&rsquo successors to the power of Rome.

About The Author

Simon MacDowall was born in England but from the age of 10 grew up in Canada. He joined the Canadian army, was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Dragoons and saw active service with the UN in Honduras and Nicuragua and with NATO in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. In 1994 he was the UN spokesman in Sarajevo. He later worked for NATO as a civilian before joining the UK civil service, where he was the Communications Director for several departments, including the Ministry of Defence and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. In his spare time he is a keen wargamer and military historian, with eight previous books to his name, including two previous volumes in this series: The Vandals and The Goths.

REVIEWS

"Maps and a 16-page section of color photos of artifacts, places and people in period dress illustrate this Frank history."

- Toy Soldier & Model Figure

The Vandals

On 31 December AD 406, a group of German tribes crossed the Rhine, pierced the Roman defensive lines, and began a rampage across Roman Gaul, sacking cities such as Metz, Arras, and Strasbourg. Foremost amongst them were the Vandals, and their search for a new homeland took them on the most remarkable odyssey. The Romans were unable to stop them and their closest allies, the Alans, marching the breadth of Gaul, crossing the Pyrenees, and making themselves masters of Spain.

However, this kingdom of the Vandals and Alans soon came under intense pressure from Rome’s Visigothic allies. In 429, under their new king, Gaiseric, they crossed the straits of Gibraltar to North Africa. They quickly overran this rich Roman province and established a stable kingdom. Taking to the seas, they soon dominated the Western Mediterranean and raided Italy, famously sacking Rome itself in 455. Eventually, however, they were utterly conquered by Belisarius in 533 and vanished from history. Simon MacDowall narrates and analyzes these events, with particular focus on the evolution of Vandal armies and warfare.


CONQUERORS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE: THE FRANKS

Simon MacDowall examines how this relatively small group of Germans came to be overlords of all of the former Roman province of Gaul, giving their name to France in the process. From their earliest incursions into the Empire, down to the Battle of Casilinum (554), their last battle against Romans, he studies the Frankish way of warfare and assesses its effectiveness. The size and composition of their armies, their weapons (including the characteristic Francisca axe), equipment and tactics are discussed.

In this tumultuous period, the Franks had a complex relationship with the Romans, being by turns invaders, recruits to the legions and independent allies. Accordingly, this book also covers the Franks&rsquo role in defending the Rhine frontier against subsequent invasions by the Vandals, Alans, Suebi and the Huns. Their success in defending their new homeland against all comers allowed them, under the leadership of the Merovingian dynasty of Clovis, to establish the Frankish kingdom as one of the most enduring of the &lsquobarbarian&rsquo successors to the power of Rome.


Conquerors of the Roman Empire: The Franks

Simon MacDowall examines how this relatively small group of Germans came to be overlords of all of the former Roman province of Gaul, giving their name to France in the process. From their earliest incursions into the Empire, down to the Battle of Casilinum (554), their last battle against Romans, he studies the Frankish way of warfare and assesses its effectiveness. The s Simon MacDowall examines how this relatively small group of Germans came to be overlords of all of the former Roman province of Gaul, giving their name to France in the process. From their earliest incursions into the Empire, down to the Battle of Casilinum (554), their last battle against Romans, he studies the Frankish way of warfare and assesses its effectiveness. The size and composition of their armies, their weapons (including the characteristic Francisca axe), equipment and tactics are discussed.

In this tumultuous period, the Franks had a complex relationship with the Romans, being by turns invaders, recruits to the legions and independent allies. Accordingly, this book also covers the Franks' role in defending the Rhine frontier against subsequent invasions by the Vandals, Alans, Suebi and the Huns. Their success in defending their new homeland against all comers allowed them, under the leadership of the Merovingian dynasty of Clovis, to establish the Frankish kingdom as one of the most enduring of the 'barbarian' successors to the power of Rome. . more


Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall - History

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Overview

In the late 4th century, pressure from the Huns forced the Goths to cross the Danube into the Roman Empire. The resultant Battle of Adrianople in 378 was one of Rome&rsquos greatest defeats. Both western (Visigoth) and eastern (Ostrogoth) branches of the Goths had a complex relationship with the Romans, sometimes fighting as their allies against other &lsquobarbarian&rsquo interlopers but carving out their own kingdoms in the process. Under Alaric the Visigoths sacked Rome itself in 410 and went on to establish a kingdom in Gaul (France). They helped the Romans defeat the Hunnic invasion of Gaul at Chalons in 451 but continued to expand at Roman expense. Defeated by the Franks they then took Spain from the Vandals. The Ostrogoths had a similar relationship with the Eastern Roman Empire before eventually conquering Italy. Adrianople, the events of 410 and the Ostrogoths&rsquo long war with Belisarius, including the Siege of Rome, are among the campaigns and battles Simon MacDowall narrates in detail. He analyses the arms and contrasting fighting styles of the Ostro- and Visi- Goths and evaluates their effectiveness against the Romans.


Contents

The ethnonym is attested as Wandali and Wendilenses by Saxo, as Vendill in Old Norse, and as Wend(e)las in Old English, all going back to a Proto-Germanic form reconstructed as *Wanđilaz. [9] [10] The etymology of the name remains unclear. According to linguist Vladimir Orel, it may stem from the adjective *wanđaz ('turned, twisted'), itself derived from the verb *wenđanan or winđanan, meaning 'to wind'. [10] Alternatively, it has been derived from a root *wanđ-, meaning 'water', based on the idea that the tribe was originally located near the Limfjord (a sea inlet in Denmark). [9] The name can also be found in Old High German wentilsēo and Old English wendelsǣ ('Mediterranean Sea'), both literally meaning 'Vandal-sea'. [9] [11]

The Germanic mythological figure of Aurvandill has been interpreted by Rudolf Much to mean 'Shining Vandal'. Much forwarded the theory that the tribal name Vandal reflects worship of Aurvandil or the Divine Twins, possibly involving an origin myth that the Vandalic kings were descended from Aurvandil (comparable to the case of many other Germanic tribal names). [12]

Some medieval authors equated two classical ethnonyms, "Vandals" and Veneti, and applied both to West Slavs, leading to the term Wends, which has been used for various Slavic-speaking groups and is still used for Lusatians. However, modern scholars derive "Wend" from "Veneti", and do not equate the Veneti and Vandals. [13] [14] [15] [16]

The name of the Vandals has been connected to that of Vendel, the name of a province in Uppland, Sweden, which is also eponymous of the Vendel Period of Swedish prehistory, corresponding to the late Germanic Iron Age leading up to the Viking Age. The connection would be that Vendel is the original homeland of the Vandals prior to the Migration Period, and retains their tribal name as a toponym. Further possible homelands of the Vandals in Scandinavia are Vendsyssel in Denmark and Hallingdal in Norway. [ citation needed ]

As the Vandals eventually came to live outside of Germania, they were not considered Germani by ancient Roman authors. Neither another East Germanic-speaking group, the Goths, nor Norsemen (early Scandinavians), were counted among the Germani by the Romans. [17]

Since the Vandals spoke a Germanic language and belonged to early Germanic culture, they are classified as a Germanic people by modern scholars. [18]

Origins

Early classical sources

The earliest mention of the Vandals is from Pliny the Elder, who used the term Vandili in a broad way to define one of the major groupings of all Germanic peoples. Tribes within this category who he mentions are the Burgundiones, Varini, Carini (otherwise unknown), and the Gutones. [19]

Tacitus mentioned the Vandilii, but only in a passage explaining legends about the origins of the Germanic peoples. He names them as one of the groups sometimes thought to be one of the oldest divisions of these peoples, along with the Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi but does not say where they live, or which peoples are within this category. On the other hand, Tacitus and Ptolemy give information about the position of Varini, Burgundians, and Gutones in this period, and these indications suggest that the Vandals in this period lived between the Oder and Vistula rivers. [20]

Ptolemy furthermore mentioned the Silingi who were later counted as Vandals, as living south of the Semnones, who were Suebians living on the Elbe, and stretching to the Oder. [21]

The Hasdingi, who later led the invasion of Carthage, do not appear in written records until the second century and the time of the Marcomannic wars. [22] The Lacringi appear in 3rd century records. [23]

Lugii

The Lugii, who were also mentioned in early classical sources in the same region, are likely to have been the same people as the Vandals. [5] [24] [25] [26] The Lugii are mentioned by Strabo, Tacitus and Ptolemy as a large group of tribes between the Vistula and the Oder. Strabo and Ptolemy do not mention the Vandals at all, only the Lugii, Tacitus mentions them in a passage about the ancestry of the Germanic peoples without saying where they lived, and Pliny the Elder in contrast mentions the Vandals but not the Lugii. [20] Herwig Wolfram notes that "In all likelihood the Lugians and the Vandals were one cultic community that lived in the same region of the Oder in Silesia, where it was first under Celtic and then under Germanic domination." [25]

Walter Pohl and Walter Goffart have noted that Ptolemy seems to distinguish the Silingi from the Lugii, and in the second century the Hasdings, when they appear in the Roman record, are also distinguished from the Lugii. [27]

Przeworsk culture

In archaeology, the Vandals are associated with the Przeworsk culture, but the culture probably extended over several central and eastern European peoples. Their origin, ethnicity and linguistic affiliation are heavily debated. [5] [28] [29] [30] The bearers of the Przeworsk culture mainly practiced cremation and occasionally inhumation. [30]

Language

Very little is known about the Vandalic language itself, but it is believed of the East Germanic linguistic branch, like Gothic. The Goths have left behind the only text corpus of the East Germanic language type, especially a 4th-century translation of the Gospels. [31]

Introduction into the Roman Empire

In the 2nd century, two or three distinct Vandal peoples came to the attention of Roman authors, the Silingi, the Hasdingi, and possibly the Lacringi, who appear together with the Hasdingi. Only the Silingi had been mentioned in early Roman works, and are associated with Silesia.

These peoples appeared during the Marcomannic Wars, which resulted in widespread destruction and the first invasion of Italy in the Roman Empire period. [32] During the Marcomannic Wars (166–180) the Hasdingi (or Astingi), led by the kings Raus and Rapt (or Rhaus and Raptus) moved south, entering Dacia as allies of Rome. [33] However they eventually caused problems in Dacia and moved further south, towards the lower Danube area. Together with the Hasdingi were the Lacringi, who were possibly also Vandals. [34] [35]

In about 271 AD the Roman Emperor Aurelian was obliged to protect the middle course of the Danube against Vandals. They made peace and stayed on the eastern bank of the Danube. [33]

In 278, Zosimus (1.67) reported that emperor Probus defeated Vandals and Burgundians near a river (sometimes proposed to be the Lech, and sent many of them to Britain. During this same period, the 11th panegyric to Maximian delivered in 291, reported two different conflicts outside the empire wherein Burgundians were associated with Alamanni, and other Vandals, probably Hasdingi in the Carpathian region, were associated with Gepids.

According to Jordanes' Getica, the Hasdingi came into conflict with the Goths around the time of Constantine the Great. At the time, these Vandals were living in lands later inhabited by the Gepids, where they were surrounded "on the east [by] the Goths, on the west [by] the Marcomanni, on the north [by] the Hermanduri and on the south [by] the Hister (Danube)." The Vandals were attacked by the Gothic king Geberic, and their king Visimar was killed. [36] The Vandals then migrated to neighbouring Pannonia, where, after Constantine the Great (in about 330) granted them lands on the right bank of the Danube, they lived for the next sixty years. [36] [37]

In the late fourth century and early fifth, the famous magister militum Stilicho (died 408), the chief minister of the Emperor Honorius, was described as being of Vandal descent. Vandals raided the Roman province of Raetia in the winter of 401/402. From this, historian Peter Heather concludes that at this time the Vandals were located in the region around the Middle and Upper Danube. [38] It is possible that such Middle Danubian Vandals were part of the Gothic king Radagaisus' invasion of Italy in 405–406 AD. [39]

While the Hasdingian Vandals were already established in the Middle Danube for centuries, it is less clear where the Silingian Vandals had been living. [40]

In Gaul

In 405 the Vandals advanced from Pannonia travelling west along the Danube without much difficulty, but when they reached the Rhine, they met resistance from the Franks, who populated and controlled Romanized regions in northern Gaul. Twenty thousand Vandals, including Godigisel himself, died in the resulting battle, but then with the help of the Alans they managed to defeat the Franks, and on December 31, 405 [41] the Vandals crossed the Rhine, probably while it was frozen, to invade Gaul, which they devastated terribly. Under Godigisel's son Gunderic, the Vandals plundered their way westward and southward through Aquitaine. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Vandals". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

In Hispania

On October 13, 409 they crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian peninsula. There, the Hasdingi received land from the Romans, as foederati, in Asturia (Northwest) and the Silingi in Hispania Baetica (South), while the Alans got lands in Lusitania (West) and the region around Carthago Nova. [42] The Suebi also controlled part of Gallaecia. The Visigoths, who invaded Iberia on the orders of the Romans before receiving lands in Septimania (Southern France), crushed the Silingi Vandals in 417 and the Alans in 418, killing the western Alan king Attaces. [43] The remainder of his people and the remnants of the Silingi, who were nearly wiped out, subsequently appealed to the Vandal king Gunderic to accept the Alan crown. Later Vandal kings in North Africa styled themselves Rex Wandalorum et Alanorum ("King of the Vandals and Alans"). In 419 AD the Hasdingi Vandals were defeated by a joint Roman-Suebi coalition. Gunderic fled to Baetica, where he was also proclaimed king of the Silingi Vandals. [5] In 422 Gunderic decisively defeated a Roman-Suebi-Gothic coalition led by the Roman patrician Castinus at the Battle of Tarraco. [44] [45] It is likely that many Roman and Gothic troops deserted to Gunderic following the battle. [45] For the next five years, according to Hydatius, Gunderic created widespread havoc in the western Mediterranean. [45] In 425, the Vandals pillaged the Balearic Islands, Hispania and Mauritania, sacking Carthago Spartaria (Cartagena) and Hispalis (Seville) in 425. [45] The capture of the maritime city of Carthago Spartaria enabled the Vandals to engage in widespread naval activities. [45] In 428 Gunderic captured Hispalis for a second time but died while laying siege to the city's church. [45] He was succeeded by his half-brother Genseric, who although he was illegitimate (his mother was a slave) had held a prominent position at the Vandal court, rising to the throne unchallenged. [46] In 429 The Vandals departed Spain which remained almost totally in Roman hands until 439, when the Sueves, confined to Gallaecia moved south and captured Emerita Augusta (Mérida), the see city of Roman administration for the whole peninsula. [47]

Genseric is often regarded by historians as the most able barbarian leader of the Migration Period. [48] Michael Frassetto writes that he probably contributed more to the destruction of Rome than any of his contemporaries. [48] Although the barbarians controlled Hispania, they still comprised a tiny minority among a much larger Hispano-Roman population, approximately 200,000 out of 6,000,000. [42] Shortly after seizing the throne, Genseric was attacked from the rear by a large force of Suebi under the command of Heremigarius who had managed to take Lusitania. [49] This Suebi army was defeated near Mérida and its leader Hermigarius drowned in the Guadiana River while trying to flee. [49]

It is possible that the name Al-Andalus (and its derivative Andalusia) is derived from the Arabic adoption of the name of the Vandals. [50] [51]

Kingdom in North Africa

Establishment

The Vandals under Genseric (also known as Geiseric) crossed to Africa in 429. [53] Although numbers are unknown and some historians debate the validity of estimates, based on Procopius' assertion that the Vandals and Alans numbered 80,000 when they moved to North Africa, [54] Peter Heather estimates that they could have fielded an army of around 15,000–20,000. [55]

According to Procopius, the Vandals came to Africa at the request of Bonifacius, the military ruler of the region. [56] Seeking to establish himself as an independent ruler in Africa or even become Roman Emperor, Bonifacius had defeated several Roman attempts to subdue him, until he was mastered by the newly appointed Gothic count of Africa, Sigisvult, who captured both Hippo Regius and Carthage. [48] It is possible that Bonifacius had sought Genseric as an ally against Sigisvult, promising him a part of Africa in return. [48]

Advancing eastwards along the coast, the Vandals were confronted on the Numidian border in May–June 430 by Bonifacius. Negotiations broke down, and Bonifacius was soundly defeated. [57] [58] Bonifacius subsequently barricaded himself inside Hippo Regius with the Vandals besieging the city. [53] Inside, Saint Augustine and his priests prayed for relief from the invaders, knowing full well that the fall of the city would spell conversion or death for many Roman Christians. [ citation needed ]

On 28 August 430, three months into the siege, St. Augustine (who was 75 years old) died, [59] perhaps from starvation or stress, as the wheat fields outside the city lay dormant and unharvested. The death of Augustine shocked the Regent of the Western Roman Empire, Galla Placidia, who feared the consequences if her realm lost its most important source of grain. [58] She raised a new army in Italy and convinced her nephew in Constantinople, the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II, to send an army to North Africa led by Aspar. [58]

Around July–August 431, Genseric raised the siege of Hippo Regius, [57] which enabled Bonifacius to retreat from Hippo Regius to Carthage, where he was joined by Aspar's army. Some time in the summer of 432, Genseric soundly defeated the joint forces of both Bonifacius and Aspar, which enabled him to seize Hippo Regius unopposed. [58] Genseric and Aspar subsequently negotiated a peace treaty of some sorts. [57] Upon seizing Hippo Regius, Genseric made it the first capital of the Vandal kingdom. [60]

The Romans and the Vandals concluded a treaty in 435 giving the Vandals control of the Mauretania and the western half of Numidia. Genseric chose to break the treaty in 439 when he invaded the province of Africa Proconsularis and seized Carthage on October 19. [61] The city was captured without a fight the Vandals entered the city while most of the inhabitants were attending the races at the hippodrome. Genseric made it his capital, and styled himself the King of the Vandals and Alans, to denote the inclusion of the Alans of northern Africa into his alliance. [ citation needed ] His forces occupied Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Islands, he built his kingdom into a powerful state. His siege of Palermo in 440 was a failure as was the second attempt to invade Sicily near Agrigento in 442 (the Vandals occupied the island from 468–476 when it was ceded to Odovacer). [62] Historian Cameron suggests that the new Vandal rule may not have been unwelcomed by the population of North Africa as the great landowners were generally unpopular. [63]

The impression given by ancient sources such as Victor of Vita, Quodvultdeus, and Fulgentius of Ruspe was that the Vandal take-over of Carthage and North Africa led to widespread destruction. However, recent archaeological investigations have challenged this assertion. Although Carthage's Odeon was destroyed, the street pattern remained the same and some public buildings were renovated. The political centre of Carthage was the Byrsa Hill. New industrial centres emerged within towns during this period. [64] Historian Andy Merrills uses the large amounts of African Red Slip ware discovered across the Mediterranean dating from the Vandal period of North Africa to challenge the assumption that the Vandal rule of North Africa was a time of economic instability. [65] When the Vandals raided Sicily in 440, the Western Roman Empire was too preoccupied with war with Gaul to react. Theodosius II, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, dispatched an expedition to deal with the Vandals in 441 however, it only progressed as far as Sicily. The Western Empire under Valentinian III secured peace with the Vandals in 442. [66] Under the treaty the Vandals gained Byzacena, Tripolitania, and the eastern half of Numidia, and were confirmed in control of Proconsular Africa [67] as well as the Vandal Kingdom as the first barbarian state officially recognized as an independent kingdom in former Roman territory instead of foederati. [68] The Empire retained western Numidia and the two Mauretanian provinces until 455.

Sack of Rome

During the next thirty-five years, with a large fleet, Genseric looted the coasts of the Eastern and Western Empires. Vandal activity in the Mediterranean was so substantial that the sea's name in Old English was Wendelsæ (i. e. Sea of the Vandals). [69] After Attila the Hun's death, however, the Romans could afford to turn their attention back to the Vandals, who were in control of some of the richest lands of their former empire.

In an effort to bring the Vandals into the fold of the Empire, Valentinian III offered his daughter's hand in marriage to Genseric's son. Before this treaty could be carried out, however, politics again played a crucial part in the blunders of Rome. Petronius Maximus killed Valentinian III and claimed the Western throne. Diplomacy between the two factions broke down, and in 455 with a letter from the Empress Licinia Eudoxia, begging Genseric's son to rescue her, the Vandals took Rome, along with the Empress and her daughters Eudocia and Placidia.

The chronicler Prosper of Aquitaine [70] offers the only fifth-century report that, on 2 June 455, Pope Leo the Great received Genseric and implored him to abstain from murder and destruction by fire, and to be satisfied with pillage. Whether the pope's influence saved Rome is, however, questioned. The Vandals departed with countless valuables. Eudoxia and her daughter Eudocia were taken to North Africa. [67]

Consolidation

In 456 a Vandal fleet of 60 ships threatening both Gaul and Italy was ambushed and defeated at Agrigentum and Corsica by the Western Roman general Ricimer. [71] In 457 a mixed Vandal-Berber army returning with loot from a raid in Campania were soundly defeated in a surprise attack by Western Emperor Majorian at the mouth of the Garigliano river. [72]

As a result of the Vandal sack of Rome and piracy in the Mediterranean, it became important to the Roman Empire to destroy the Vandal kingdom. In 460, Majorian launched an expedition against the Vandals, but was defeated at the Battle of Cartagena. In 468 the Western and Eastern Roman empires launched an enormous expedition against the Vandals under the command of Basiliscus, which reportedly was composed of 100,000 soldiers and 1,000 ships. The Vandals defeated the invaders at the Battle of Cap Bon, capturing the Western fleet, and destroying the Eastern through the use of fire ships. [66] Following up the attack, the Vandals tried to invade the Peloponnese, but were driven back by the Maniots at Kenipolis with heavy losses. [73] In retaliation, the Vandals took 500 hostages at Zakynthos, hacked them to pieces and threw the pieces overboard on the way to Carthage. [73] In 469 the Vandals gained control of Sicily but were forced by Odoacer to relinquish it in 447 except for the western port of Lilybaeum (lost in 491 after a failed attempt on their part to re-take the island). [74]

In the 470s, the Romans abandoned their policy of war against the Vandals. The Western general Ricimer reached a treaty with them, [66] and in 476 Genseric was able to conclude a "perpetual peace" with Constantinople. Relations between the two states assumed a veneer of normality. [75] From 477 onwards, the Vandals produced their own coinage, restricted to bronze and silver low-denomination coins. The high-denomination imperial money was retained, demonstrating in the words of Merrills "reluctance to usurp the imperial prerogative". [76]

Although the Vandals had fended off attacks from the Romans and established hegemony over the islands of the western Mediterranean, they were less successful in their conflict with the Berbers. Situated south of the Vandal kingdom, the Berbers inflicted two major defeats on the Vandals in the period 496–530. [66]

Domestic religious tensions

Differences between the Arian Vandals and their Trinitarian subjects (including both Catholics and Donatists) were a constant source of tension in their African state. Catholic bishops were exiled or killed by Genseric and laymen were excluded from office and frequently suffered confiscation of their property. [77] He protected his Catholic subjects when his relations with Rome and Constantinople were friendly, as during the years 454–57, when the Catholic community at Carthage, being without a head, elected Deogratias bishop. The same was also the case during the years 476–477 when Bishop Victor of Cartenna sent him, during a period of peace, a sharp refutation of Arianism and suffered no punishment. [ citation needed ] Huneric, Genseric's successor, issued edicts against Catholics in 483 and 484 in an effort to marginalise them and make Arianism the primary religion in North Africa. [78] Generally most Vandal kings, except Hilderic, persecuted Trinitarian Christians to a greater or lesser extent, banning conversion for Vandals, exiling bishops and generally making life difficult for Trinitarians. [ citation needed ]

Decline

According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia: "Genseric, one of the most powerful personalities of the "era of the Migrations", died on 25 January 477, at the great age of around 88 years. According to the law of succession which he had promulgated, the oldest male member of the royal house was to succeed. Thus he was succeeded by his son Huneric (477–484), who at first tolerated Catholics, owing to his fear of Constantinople, but after 482 began to persecute Manichaeans and Catholics." [79]

Gunthamund (484–496), his cousin and successor, sought internal peace with the Catholics and ceased persecution once more. Externally, the Vandal power had been declining since Genseric's death, and Gunthamund lost early in his reign all but a small wedge of western Sicily to the Ostrogoths which was lost in 491 and had to withstand increasing pressure from the autochthonous Moors.

According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia: "While Thrasamund (496–523), owing to his religious fanaticism, was hostile to Catholics, he contented himself with bloodless persecutions". [79]

Turbulent end

Hilderic (523–530) was the Vandal king most tolerant towards the Catholic Church. He granted it religious freedom consequently Catholic synods were once more held in North Africa. However, he had little interest in war, and left it to a family member, Hoamer. When Hoamer suffered a defeat against the Moors, the Arian faction within the royal family led a revolt, raising the banner of national Arianism, and his cousin Gelimer (530–533) became king. Hilderic, Hoamer and their relatives were thrown into prison. [80]

Byzantine Emperor Justinian I declared war, with the stated intention of restoring Hilderic to the Vandal throne. The deposed Hilderic was murdered in 533 on Gelimer's orders. [80] While an expedition was en route, a large part of the Vandal army and navy was led by Tzazo, Gelimer's brother, to Sardinia to deal with a rebellion. As a result, the armies of the Byzantine Empire commanded by Belisarius were able to land unopposed 10 miles (16 km) from Carthage. Gelimer quickly assembled an army, [81] and met Belisarius at the Battle of Ad Decimum the Vandals were winning the battle until Gelimer's brother Ammatas and nephew Gibamund fell in battle. Gelimer then lost heart and fled. Belisarius quickly took Carthage while the surviving Vandals fought on. [82]

On December 15, 533, Gelimer and Belisarius clashed again at the Battle of Tricamarum, some 20 miles (32 km) from Carthage. Again, the Vandals fought well but broke, this time when Gelimer's brother Tzazo fell in battle. Belisarius quickly advanced to Hippo, second city of the Vandal Kingdom, and in 534 Gelimer surrendered to the Byzantine conqueror, ending the Kingdom of the Vandals.

North Africa, comprising north Tunisia and eastern Algeria in the Vandal period, became a Roman province again, from which the Vandals were expelled. Many Vandals went to Saldae (today called Béjaïa in north Algeria) where they integrated themselves with the Berbers. Many others were put into imperial service or fled to the two Gothic kingdoms (Ostrogothic Kingdom and Visigothic Kingdom). Some Vandal women married Byzantine soldiers and settled in north Algeria and Tunisia. The choicest Vandal warriors were formed into five cavalry regiments, known as Vandali Iustiniani, stationed on the Persian frontier. Some entered the private service of Belisarius. [83] The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia states that "Gelimer was honourably treated and received large estates in Galatia. He was also offered the rank of a patrician but had to refuse it because he was not willing to change his Arian faith". [79] In the words of historian Roger Collins: "The remaining Vandals were then shipped back to Constantinople to be absorbed into the imperial army. As a distinct ethnic unit they disappeared". [81] Some of the few Vandals remained at North Africa while more migrated back to Spain. [6] In 546 the Vandalic Dux of Numidia, Guntarith, defected from the Byzantines and raised a rebellion with Moorish support. He was able to capture Carthage, but was assassinated by the Byzantines shortly afterwards.

The 6th-century Byzantine historian Procopius wrote that the Vandals were tall with light hair:

For they all have white bodies and fair hair, and are tall and handsome to look upon. [84]


Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall - History

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Simon MacDowall examines how this relatively small group of Germans came to be overlords of all of the former Roman province of Gaul, giving their name to France in the process. From their earliest incursions into the Empire, down to the Battle of Casilinum (554), their last battle against Romans, he studies the Frankish way of warfare and assesses its effectiveness. The size and composition of their armies, their weapons (including the characteristic Francisca axe), equipment and tactics are discussed.

In this tumultuous period, the Franks had a complex relationship with the Romans, being by turns invaders, recruits to the legions and independent allies. Accordingly, this book also covers the Franks&rsquo role in defending the Rhine frontier against subsequent invasions by the Vandals, Alans, Suebi and the Huns. Their success in defending their new homeland against all comers allowed them, under the leadership of the Merovingian dynasty of Clovis, to establish the Frankish kingdom as one of the most enduring of the &lsquobarbarian&rsquo successors to the power of Rome.

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For anyone is interested in the late Roman, early medieval period, this book is a great read, I found it is easy but very informative read. The maps and chronologies where fantastic and I can see myself referring to them again and again.

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Medieval Sword School, Jason Hulott

Not one for the casual readers but for students of Rome an interesting look at how the Franks filled the power vacuum that Rome left behind.

The Armourer, January 2018

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BBC Radio Suffolk, 6th September 2018 with presenter Graham Barnard

About Simon Macdowall

Simon MacDowall was born in England but from the age of 10 grew up in Canada. He joined the Canadian army, was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Dragoons and saw active service with the UN in Honduras and Nicuragua and with NATO in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. In 1994 he was the UN spokesman in Sarajevo. He later worked for NATO as a civilian before joining the UK civil service, where he was the Communications Director for several departments, including the MOD and HMRC. In his spare time he is a keen wargamer and military historian, with six previous books to his name.


Conquerors of the Roman Empire - The Vandals, Simon MacDowall - History

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In the late 4th century, pressure from the Huns forced the Goths to cross the Danube into the Roman Empire. The resultant Battle of Adrianople in 378 was one of Rome&rsquos greatest defeats. Both western (Visigoth) and eastern (Ostrogoth) branches of the Goths had a complex relationship with the Romans, sometimes fighting as their allies against other &lsquobarbarian&rsquo interlopers but carving out their own kingdoms in the process. Under Alaric the Visigoths sacked Rome itself in 410 and went on to establish a kingdom in Gaul (France). They helped the Romans defeat the Hunnic invasion of Gaul at Chalons in 451 but continued to expand at Roman expense. Defeated by the Franks they then took Spain from the Vandals. The Ostrogoths had a similar relationship with the Eastern Roman Empire before eventually conquering Italy. Adrianople, the events of 410 and the Ostrogoths&rsquo long war with Belisarius, including the Siege of Rome, are among the campaigns and battles Simon MacDowall narrates in detail. He analyses the arms and contrasting fighting styles of the Ostro- and Visi- Goths and evaluates their effectiveness against the Romans.

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Wargames Illustrated, May 2018

The author tells this story with hindsight and in depth while analyzing the origins of this people and the differences that will gradually appear between Visigoths and Ostrogoths. This book is a good complement to the Vandals book by the same author.

VaeVictis, January – February 2018

Adrianople, the events of 410AD and the Ostrogoths' long war with Belisarius, are among the campaigns and battles Simon MacDowall narrates in detail.

The Armourer, February 2018

At the time, the Roman empire and its army must have seemed invincible. The Goths were a race that simply would not accept defeat, and in this fascinating account of their history, author Simon MacDowall opens our eyes to their strengths and weaknesses, and looks at the various campaigns that built them into the fearsome fighting machine they ultimately became.

Books Monthly

About Simon Macdowall

Simon MacDowall was born in England but from the age of 10 grew up in Canada. He joined the Canadian army, was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Dragoons and saw active service with the UN in Honduras and Nicuragua and with NATO in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. In 1994 he was the UN spokesman in Sarajevo. He later worked for NATO as a civilian before joining the UK civil service, where he was the Communications Director for several departments, including the MOD and HMRC. In his spare time he is a keen wargamer and military historian, with six previous books to his name.