The Vandals

Who were the Vandals?

The Vandals were Germanic barbarians who originally settled between Elbe and Vistula. At the time of the War of Marcomanni, they had lived in what is now Silesia. Peace was made between them and the Romans in 435, but was broken by Genseric in 439. By 462 the Vandal Kingdom included Africa and the islands of the Mediterranean, but like other Germanic kingdoms on Roman soil, their kingdom started to decay due to lack of unity of religion and of race among two populations.

What did they Do?

The word "Vandal" reflects to the dread and hostility the tribe precipitated in other people. These people included the Romans, they feared the vandals as they would loot and pillage many of the villages they conquered. They were barbarians who moved from village to village, raiding everything in sight. They conquered much of Spain before being put under pressure from the expanding Visigoths and the Romans. This caused them to move to the rich provinces of Roman North Africa. In 429, Gaiseric, their elected king, ferried all of his people across the Strait of Gibraltar and led them east along the African coast. The Vandal conquest of North Africa took a decade to complete.

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This map shows the Invasion of the Roman Empire by the different barbarians. The Vandals are the blue arrows.

Vandal Wars/Battles

  • Many Germanic tribes such as the Gepids and Rugians were being overran and defeated by the Huns. The Vandals began to stir, worrying they would be next. By the early fifth century the Vandals and other Germanic tribes began to go on the move. There was a large number of barbarians that waited across the river of Rhine in 406 and they surprised the Romans when they breached the Frontier at Mainz. The Roman defenses could not hold that many barbarians at once. While the Roman frontier was breached, hundreds of thousands of barbarians began to settle in Gaul. They eventually fled to Spain after being harassed by the Visigoths and defeated by the Franks. After two years in Spain, they began to move on to Northern Africa.
  • In 440, a vast fleet of Vandals, Alans, Goths, Romano-Barbarians, and Moores set out from Carthage for Sicily. All of their coastal towns were looted as the powerful eastern imperial fleet responded by sailing into Sicilian waters in 441, taking the vandals by surprise. After this, Gaiseric allowed his fleets to continue plundering throughout the western Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Battle of Ticameron was fought on the 15th of December in 533. Belisarius places Roman cavalry in the first line and the infantry formed in the second line. Immediately after that the Roman cavalry charged three times into the thick of the Vandal's ranks. The Vandals lines began to retreat in a route. Gelimer fled back into Numidia and his army followed after. The battle had ended and the Vandals lost 3000, killed or taken prisoner.

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This image above shows a Vandal Barbarian in his uniform for battle.

Vandal Kings

  • The Vandals had many kings during their reign. Huneric Ruled from 477-484. He succeeded Gaiseric, but would not keep the kingdom together.He had much problems with the different churches as the Moors revolted. At the request of emperor Zeno, he allowed the election of a Catholic Bishop in Carthage in 481.
  • Gunthamund was king from 484-496. He succeeded Huneric, his nephew, and under his reign, the Catholics were free from the harsh treatment of the government.
  • Thrasamund was king from 496-523. He favored the Catholics once more and granted them religious freedom. He recalled the exiled bishops but only 60 could be regained. The church underwent a process of reorganization over the next seven years. There was even a revolution to try and get Catholics under persecution again but it had failed. His cousin Gelimer had won several victories against the Moors and was supported by much of the Vandal nobility so he took the throne for himself.
  • Hilderich ruled from 523-530. He restored great threat and torture against Catholics. He had deported 120 bishops to Sardinia and feared invasion by Theodoric, the Ostrogoth King who ruled Italy,

The Final King

Gelimer was the last king for the Vandals and ruled from 530-534. He was led into the Hippodrome by the cheers of Roman citizens where he saw the emperor seated at the end of the Hippodrome.He refused the Patrician rank for which he would have to abandon his Arian faith. However, he accepted Justinian's offer of rich estates in Galatia where he would spend the rest of his and his family's life safely. As for the rest of the Vandal prisoners, they were sent to fight for Justinian's empire and to survive the best they could.

Below are the sources i used to get the pictures and information used for this flyer.