The Vandals were a Germanic tribe who are first mentioned in Roman history in the Natural History of Pliny the Elder (77 CE). The Roman historian Tacitus also mentions them in his Germania (c. 98 CE), though he also refers to them as the "Lugi". Their name may mean "the wanderers" and was given by both Pliny and Tacitus as "Vandilii". The name "vandal" has now become synonymous with careless destruction owing to the accounts by Roman writers describing their violent behavior generally and their sack of Rome in 455 CE specifically.

The historian Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen, among others, has observed that this identification of wanton destruction with the Vandals is unfortunate. Jacobsen writes:

Despite the negative connotation their name now carries, the Vandals conducted themselves much better during the sack of Rome than did many other invading barbarians. (52)

Among the many other Germanic tribes, the Vandals were a part of the movement which historians call "The Wandering of the Nations," which took place roughly between 376-476 CE (though this is generally thought to have begun earlier and lasted later), in which large-scale migrations took place (often due to incursions by the Huns), bringing Germanic tribes into closer contact with the Roman Empire and other cultures.

The Vandals breached the Roman frontier in c. 270 CE and became a part of Rome's history from that point on until the Battle of Tricamarum in North Africa in 534 CE, in which the Vandal king Gelimer (r. 530-534 CE) was defeated by the Roman general Belisarius (l. 505-565 CE) and, after this, the Vandals ceased to exist as a cohesive entity.

Early History

The Vandals are believed to have originated in Scandinavia and migrated to the region of Silesia c. 130 BCE. They have been identified with the Iron Age Przeworsk Culture of Poland, though, like the early identification of the Goths with the Wielbark Culture of Poland, this has been contested. Jacobsen, in his work, A History of the Vandals, writes:

To attempt to trace the origin of the Vandals, we must combine archeological and historical sources, which are shaky and contradictory at best. The difficult and scanty sources mean that each statement about the early history of the Vandals should be preceded with, "We believe that possibly...," and end with, "...but we have little or no real evidence of it. (3)

It is not even known if "Vandal" was their original name, as Tacitus refers to them as both Vandals and Lugi, and historians are uncertain as to whether the Vandals were a dominant tribe of which the Lugi were a sub-group or if the entire tribe was simply referred to by two names. Whichever the case, it seems clear from Tacitus' work that there were a number of distinct Germanic tribes who called "Vandals" by the Roman writers. At some point, the tribe divided into separate units (or may have been separate all along and only decided to part ways), and two of these tribes, the Silingi and the Hasdingi, migrated south.

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Rome was forced to ask for peace and to reINstate the treaty of 442 CE, allowing the Vandals to do whatever they wanted whenever they pleased.

The Silingi Vandals did not go far and remained in Silesia (roughly modern Poland), while the Hasdingi inhabited the region of the Sudeten mountain range. The Hasdingi were invited into Dacia by the Romans as allies during the Marcommanic Wars of 166-180 CE but, during and after the conflict, they seem to have caused more problems for Rome than provide assistance.

The "difficult and scanty sources" Jacobsen writes about come into play here as, according to The History by Peter the Patrician, the Vandals were the allies of Marcus Aurelius while, according to Eutropius, they were his adversaries. The historian Cassius Dio (l. 155-235 CE) reports that they were neither but were simply farmers and federates of Rome who, in 171 CE, were allowed to live in Dacia under the rule of their kings Raus and Raptus. While it therefore remains unclear exactly what their relationship with Rome was early on, they gradually engaged in hostilities with Rome.

War With Rome

At that time they dwelt in the land where the Gepidae now live, near the rivers Marisia, Miliare, Gilpil, and the Grisia, which exceeds in size all previously mentioned. They then had on the east the Goths, on the west the Marcommani, on the north the Hermunduli and on the south the Hister, which is also called the Danube. At the time when the Vandals were dwelling in this region, war was begun against them by Geberich, king of the Goths, on the shore of the river Marisia which I have mentioned. Here the battle raged for a little while on equal terms. But soon Visimar himself, the king of the Vandals, was overthrown, together with the greater part of his people. When Geberich, the famous leader of the Goths, had conquered and spoiled the Vandals, he returned to his own place whence he had come. Then the remnant of the Vandals who had escaped, collecting a band of their unwarlike folk, left their ill-fated country and asked the Emperor Constantine for Pannonia. Here they made their home for about sixty years and obeyed the commands of the emperors like subjects. (83-84)

The Vandals were primarily farmers who laid out their lands, usually in river valleys, so as to form a circular village. They made a living from tending crops and raising animals for slaughter and also through trade. Jacobsen writes, "The houses were one or two rooms, with walls of wood, or wicker covered by clay...The Vandals were also craftsmen. Among the crafts, weapon smithing was highly respected" (6). They were also skilled in making jewelry, in ceramics, and in weaving. They were ruled by a king (or two kings who probably wielded equal power) and seem to have had an upper class of nobility. Jacobsen notes that they were famous for their skill in horsemanship and that "an important role was tending horses for warfare" (6).

The Vandals are described by the ancient sources as tall, blonde, and good-looking and, though mention is certainly made of their domestic life and social structure, the main emphasis is often on their brutality in waging war. The Roman emperor Probus (r. 276-282 CE) defeated them twice in 277/278 CE and killed many either because they would not behave according to the peace treaty or because they would not stop fighting. Those who survived, and submitted, were incorporated into the Roman army and sent to Roman Britain.

Constantine the Great (r. 324-337 CE) secured the Vandals in Pannonia in 330 CE, and they co-existed with their Roman neighbors except in terms of religion. The Vandals were Arian Christians, while the Romans were Trinitarian (or Nicean) Christians. Religious differences caused problems between the Vandals and the Romans, but these were forgotten, temporarily, in the invasion of the region by the Huns.

In 376 CE, when the Goths under Fritigern (d. 380 CE) were fleeing from the Huns, they were allowed entrance into the empire and, of course, those Roman citizens living in Pannonia were allowed in as well; the Vandals, and many other tribes, were not. The Hunnic invasions continued until, in 406 CE, there was a large population of barbarian tribes gathered along the Roman border of the far bank of the Rhine River seeking safety within the borders of the empire. The Roman general Stilicho (l. 359-408 CE) had reduced the garrison guarding the border because he needed as many men as he could muster to fight off Alaric I (r. 395-410 CE) and his Gothic army.

One winter night in 406 CE, the Vandals crossed the frozen river and poured into the empire. They ravaged Gaul and proceeded on to Hispania, settling their people in both regions. Hostilities between the Vandals, the Franks, the Romans, and other tribes continued until c. 420 CE, when the Vandals captured many of the most important ports in Hispania and were able to build a navy to defend them from Rome.

At this time Gunderic (l. 379-428 CE) was king of both the Vandals and the Alans and was able to effectively keep the Romans at bay. He was less successful, however, against the Visigoths of Hispania who already inhabited the region when the Vandals arrived. Gunderic died in 428 CE and was succeeded by his half brother, Gaiseric (r. 428-478 CE, also known as Genseric), who would become the greatest Vandal king and one of the most effective monarchs of the ancient world.

The Reign of Gaiseric

While the Vandals were consolidating their power in Spain and fighting off the Visigoths, the Roman Empire was suffering its usual problems with court intrigue. The emperor in the west was Valentinian III (r. 425-455 CE), who was only a child, and actual power lay with his mother, Galla Placidia (l. 392-450 CE) and the general Flavius Aetius (l. 391-454 CE). Romans generally favored either Aetius or Galla, and the two were almost constantly at work trying to devise plans to thwart the hopes of the other.

In c. 428 CE, Aetius devised a scheme whereby a rival of his, Boniface (who ruled in North Africa, d. 432 CE), was charged with treason against Valentinian III and Galla Placidia. Aetius requested that Galla send for Boniface to come from North Africa and answer the charges while, at the same time, sending word to Boniface that Galla was planning to execute him when he arrived. When Boniface sent word to Galla that he would not come, Aetius declared this was proof of his treason.

At this point, the historian Procopius claims, Boniface invited the Vandals of Spain to North Africa as allies against a Roman invasion. Boniface, as Galla would soon recognize, was innocent of the charges and, as he controlled six provinces in North Africa and the military might to defend them, would have had no need for an agreement with the Vandals. Still, as Aetius and Galla were formidable enemies, Boniface could have sent the invitation to Gaiseric in order to muster as many men as he could.

Another account of the Vandals' invasion of North Africa suggests that Gaiseric had been injured in a fall from a horse and was lame and so decided to henceforth wage war by sea, which led him to invade in order to establish a naval base at Carthage. Historians have argued for and against both of these claims and continue to do so. Most likely, Gaiseric simply wanted a homeland for his people that was rich in resources and free of Visigoths and so took advantage of the confused situation of the Romans and invaded when he felt Boniface could do nothing about it (or, simply accepted Boniface's invitation with a plan in mind to take the province). North Africa was the major grain supplier for the Roman Empire, and if Gaiseric controlled it, he would be able to effectively negotiate with the Romans to his advantage.

Whatever his reasons, Gaiseric led 80,000 of his people from Spain to North Africa in 429 CE. Historians continue to debate whether the number was 80,000 or 20,000, but scholar Walter A. Goffart (following earlier historians) notes:

That Geiseric led 80,000 Vandals and associated peoples from Spain to Africa in 429 has been called the one piece of certain information we have about the size of barbarian groups in the age of the invasions. The certainty arises from its being vouched for by apparently independent informants, one Latin, the other Greek. (231)

Once in Africa, if the claim that Boniface invited him is accepted, he turned on his host and led his forces against the imperial army. He took the city of Hippo (where St. Augustine was bishop at the time) after a siege of fourteen months and, a few years after this, took Carthage. He continued on with a string of victories, conquering cities until he was master of North Africa and the Vandals had their own homeland, much to the dismay of Rome. Scholar Roger Collins writes, "The determination to regain Africa dominated western imperial policy for the next fifteen years" (90). The Romans would be unsuccessful in this, however, until after Gaiseric's death.

The Sack of Rome

From their port at Carthage, the Vandals now launched their fleet at will and controlled the Mediterranean Sea, which formerly had been Rome's. Gaiseric's navy plundered whatever ships crossed its path and raided coastlines. Plans and attempts by the Romans to drive Gaiseric and his people from North Africa came to nothing, and so, in 442 CE, the Romans acknowledged the Vandal kingdom as a legitimate political entity and a treaty was signed between Gaiseric and Valentinian III.

In 455 CE, Valentinian assassinated Aetius and was then murdered shortly afterwards by Petronius Maximus. Gaiseric claimed that this nullified the treaty of 442 CE, which had been only valid between himself and Valentinian. He sailed for Italy with his fleet, landed unopposed at Ostia, and marched on Rome. The Romans recognized that their military force was inadequate to meet the Vandals and so put their trust in the diplomatic skills of Pope Leo I (served 440-461 CE) and sent him out to meet Gaiseric and plead for mercy.

Leo told Gaiseric he was free to plunder the city but asked him not to destroy it nor harm the inhabitants - and Gaiseric agreed. This was greatly to Gaiseric's advantage on many points, but mainly because Italy was suffering a famine and, when he landed at Ostia, Gaiseric recognized that his army would be unable to affect a prolonged siege of the city because they would have nothing to eat and Rome's walls were formidable. His assent to Leo's request, then, was more an act of expediency and prudence than mercy.

Anything of value, from personal treasures to ornaments on buildings and statues, was taken by the Vandals, but they did not destroy the city and few people were harmed other than Petronius Maximus, who was killed by a Roman mob when he tried to flee and was caught outside the walls. The Vandals looted the city and then marched back to their ships and sailed home, taking with them a number of high-profile hostages including Valentinian III's widow and her daughters. Collins writes:

The sack of Rome of 455 had the immediate effect of making the Vandal threat to Italy seem far more menacing than [other threats]. Despite the Vandals immediately returning to Africa with their loot, the whole episode brought home in a day that seems not to have been previously appreciated just how vulnerable Italy, and Rome in particular, was to sea-borne raiding. (88)

Realizing they could no longer afford to tolerate the Vandals in North Africa, the Romans gathered their strength and launched an attack in 460 CE. Gaiseric, who was always vigilant of Roman military movements, launched a pre-emptive strike and destroyed or captured most of the Roman fleet. In 468 CE the eastern and western halves of the empire united against the Vandals and sent the whole of their fleet against them. Gaiseric surprised the Romans and defeated them, destroying 600 of their ships and capturing others. Rome was forced to ask for peace, and the present emperor, Ricimer, had to accept Gaiseric's terms, which were simply a restatement of the treaty of 442 CE, allowing the Vandals to do whatever they wanted whenever they pleased.

Gaiseric's Death & Conflict with Rome

Gaiseric died peacefully of natural causes in 478 CE. As long as he had ruled, the Vandals were secure but, after his death, the Vandal kingdom began to decline. He was succeeded by his son Huneric (r. 478-484 CE), who spent more time and energy persecuting the Trinitarian Christians in his realm than doing anything else. When he died in 484 CE, he was succeeded by his nephew Gunthamund (r. 484-496 CE), who ended the persecutions of Trinitarians by Arian Christians and recalled the Catholic bishops and clergy who had gone into exile. Gunthamund died in 496 CE and was succeeded by Thrasamund (r. 496-523 CE), who ruled effectively until 523 CE when he died and was succeeded by Huneric's son Hilderic (r. 523-530 CE).

Gaiseric had organized a system of succession whereby the oldest male of a family would ascend to rule on the death of the king. He hoped that this would prevent succession problems, which it did, but it also guaranteed that kings would be taking the throne at more and more advanced ages. Hilderic was in his mid-sixties when he became king, and those who followed him were in the same age range. The historian Guy Halsall writes, "The age of the later Vandal kings doubtless explains their lack of vigour in dealing with the problems that beset their realm" (295).

The Moors rose against the Vandal kingdoms of the north and defeated Hilderic's forces at some point toward the end of his reign (the date is not known). Thrasamund's nephew, Gelimer, grew tired of Hilderic's inept handling of the kingdom and had him imprisoned, along with his family, following this defeat by the Moors. It was not only Hilderic's lack of military skill which bothered Gelimer, however, but his adoption of Trinitarian Christianity. Gelimer, like Gaiseric and the majority of the Vandals, was an Arian Christian. Gelimer took the throne and began reinstating the persecutions of Trinitarian Christians from Huneric's time.

His anti-Trinitarian policies angered the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I (r. 527-565 CE), who sent him a harshly worded letter requesting that he stop the persecutions immediately and protesting the treatment of Hilderic. Gelimer replied that "nothing was more desirable than that a monarch should mind his own business" and continued to rule as he pleased. Justinian, who was a devout Trinitarian and enemy of the Arian belief, saw in Gelimer's reply an excuse to invade North Africa and finally drive the Vandals out: he would mount a crusade, of sorts, to save the Trinitarians in North Africa from Gelimer's persecutions (though this claim is disputed and some scholars note that Justinian I only wanted to recapture lost Roman ports on the coast). Historian J.F.C. Fuller writes:

An insatiable worker and centralizer, Justinian was called "the emperor who never sleeps". He looked upon himself not only as heir of the Caesars, but also as the supreme head of the Church, and throughout his reign he held two fixed ideas: the one was the restoration of the Western Empire, and the other the suppression of the Arian heresy. Hence all his western wars took on the character of crusades, for he felt that his mission was to lead the heathen peoples into the Christian fold...A good judge of men, he selected Belisarius, a young officer of his body-guard, to command the Eastern Army. (307)

The Final Battle with Rome

Belisarius landed in North Africa with a fleet of 500 ships, 20,000 sailors, 10,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 92 smaller warships rowed by 2,000 slaves. Gelimer, meanwhile, was unaware that the army had even left Constantinople. When he heard the Byzantine army was ten miles from Carthage, at the defile of Ad Decium, he had Hilderic and his family, and any of Hilderic's friends and supporters he could find, executed so the former king could not be restored to the throne. Gelimer then decided upon a three-pronged attack which would destroy the invading army. Fuller writes:

Gelimer's plan of operations was an over-complicated one: he decided, once his enemy had entered the Ad Decium defile, to launch a combined attack on him from three directions. While [his brother] Ammatus sallied forth from Carthage and engaged the Byzantine van, he himself with the main body was to fall upon the rear of the enemy's main body, and at the same time his nephew, Gibamund, was to move over the hills from the west and to attack the enemy's left flank. Procopius expresses his astonishment that Belisarius's army should have escaped destruction. But, because correct timing was the prerequisite of success, in a clockless age it would have been a fluke had the three columns engaged simultaneously. (312)

Ammatus struck before the other two forces were in position and was killed. After he fell, his troops fled in a panic and were cut down by the Byzantine army. Gibamund then attacked the left flank and was quickly routed by Belisarius' Hun cavalry. Gelimer arrived late and completely missed the enemy's rear, finding only the body-strewn battlefield and his dead brother. His forces still far outnumbered those of Belisarius, however, and if he had gone in pursuit of the Byzantines at that moment, he may have won the war. As it was, however, he was so distraught over the death of Ammatus that he refused to move his army forward until he had given him a proper burial with all rites. This delay allowed Belisarius to reach Carthage and take it without effort.

Gelimer marched on Carthage with an enormous army and lay siege. They destroyed the aqueduct and cut off the water supply to the city, and so Belisarius, though vastly outnumbered, felt he had no choice but to march out and meet Gelimer's forces in the field. They met at Tricameron, in December 533 CE, and Belisarius was careful in the placement of his troops to conceal his fewer numbers. He ordered the battle to commence with a cavalry charge, which broke the Vandal lines and scattered them in an hour.

As the cavalry cut down the fleeing Vandals, Belisarius moved his infantry up, and Gelimer, according to Procopius, looked upon the Byzantine forces marching toward him and "without saying a word or giving a command, leaped upon his horse and was off in flight on the road leading to Numidia" (IV.iii. 20). As their king fled the field, the Vandal army erupted in panic, broke ranks, and tried to save themselves however they could.

When the Byzantine army reached the Vandal camp, it was deserted, and they broke ranks and began to plunder it. Procopius observes that, had Gelimer only given the matter some thought, "or had an ounce of courage", he would have simply withdrawn his army beyond the camp, left it as bait for the enemy, and "once they had fallen upon it he would have fallen upon them and regained his camp and his kingdom." This is the tactic that Belisarius feared Gelimer was, in fact, employing and tried to organize his men in case a surprise attack came in the night. No attack came, however, and the next day Belisarius sent his men in pursuit of Gelimer, who was finally caught in March 534 CE and brought back in chains to Constantinople as part of Belisarius' triumph.

The End of the Vandals

The Vandal kingdom of North Africa had fallen and, with it, the Vandals were dispersed. Many Romans had married Vandal women and brought them back to Constantinople, many other Vandals were killed in the battles of Ad Decium and Tricameron, and still others were killed by the Moors. The conflicts between the Trinitarian Christians and the Arian Christians flared again after Gelimer's defeat and Belisarius' return to Constantinople, and with no firm government in place, the two groups killed each other until the Moors, seeing an opportunity, attacked from the south and destroyed great swaths of the population.

Justinian had defeated the Vandals and brought North Africa back into the Roman fold but, as Fuller observes, "five millions of Africans were consumed by the wars and government of the emperor Justinian" (316). Those Vandals who survived continued to live under Roman rule in North Africa or migrated to Europe but never formed a cohesive ethnic group again.

Vandal Kingdom

The Vandal Kingdom (Latin: Regnum Vandalum) or Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans (Latin: Regnum Vandalorum et Alanorum) was established by the Germanic Vandal people under Gaiseric. It ruled in North Africa and the Mediterranean 435–534 CE.

In 429 CE, the Vandals, estimated to number 80,000 people, had crossed by boat from Hispania to North Africa. They advanced eastward, conquering the coastal regions of what is now Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. In 435, the Roman Empire, then ruling North Africa, allowed the Vandals to settle in the provinces of Numidia and Mauretania when it became clear that the Vandal army could not be defeated by Roman military forces. In 439 the Vandals renewed their advance eastward and captured Carthage, the most important city of North Africa. The fledgling kingdom then conquered the Roman-ruled islands of Mallorca, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica in the western Mediterranean. In the 460s, the Romans launched two unsuccessful military expeditions by sea in an attempt to overthrow the Vandals and reclaim North Africa. The conquest of North Africa by the Vandals was a blow to the beleaguered Western Roman Empire as North Africa was a major source of revenue and a supplier of grain (mostly wheat) to the city of Rome.

Although primarily remembered for the sack of Rome in 455 and their persecution of Nicene Christians in favor of Arian Christianity, the Vandals were also patrons of learning. Grand building projects continued, schools flourished, and North Africa fostered many of the most innovative writers and natural scientists of the late Latin-speaking Western Roman Empire. [5]

The Vandal Kingdom ended in 534, when it was conquered by Belisarius in the Vandalic War and incorporated into the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine Empire). The surviving Vandals either assimilated into the indigenous African population or were dispersed among the Byzantine territories. [6]

The vandals of history

IF THEY LEARN nothing else, James Loewen's students at the University of Vermont get clear on one thing: America's history is nothing to brag about.

Why was the United States able to grow from a few colonies clinging precariously to the Atlantic coast into the most powerful, prosperous, and democratic republic the world has known? Because its founders were statesmen of exceptional character and insight? Because American culture prized freedom and entrepreneurship? Because this was the first nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal?

James Loewen trashes America's history

In US history as Loewen teaches it, Abraham Lincoln is a racist, Patrick Henry is a hypocrite, and Thomas Jefferson is both. The Louisiana Purchase is a looters' pact, Woodrow Wilson is a roaring segregationist, and the settlers at Jamestown are cannibals. "What the United States has gotten itself into is American exceptionalism, the idea that we're different from other countries," Loewen snorts. But "all that amounts to is . . . American ethnocentrism, because our history is just as bloody as Russia's or Britain's.

Mind you, says Loewen, pausing in his bashing of America, "I'm not saying we should bash America." Of course not.

In US history as Loewen teaches it, Abraham Lincoln is a racist, Patrick Henry is a hypocrite, and Thomas Jefferson is both. The Louisiana Purchase is a looters' pact, Woodrow Wilson is a roaring segregationist, and the settlers at Jamestown are cannibals. "What the United States has gotten itself into is American exceptionalism, the idea that we're different from other countries," Loewen snorts. But "all that amounts to is . . . American ethnocentrism, because our history is just as bloody as Russia's or Britain's.

Revisionists like Loewen are everywhere these days, vandals of history pasting an indictment of America's sins over each page of the American story. Loewen may fancy himself a revolutionary, but his leave-no-image-unsullied approach to teaching history isn't new. It's hackneyed, the prevailing dogma in countless history departments and academic associations.

Richard Bernstein, an accomplished journalist, describes in his recent book Dictatorship of Virtue what he found at the 1987 convention of the American Historical Association. "The unvarying underlying themes were the repressiveness inherent in American life and the sufferings of groups claiming to be victims of that repressiveness.. . . The history of the United States was the history of suffering for all but the white establishment."

A case in point, well documented by Bernstein, is the job the history vandals did on Christopher Columbus. By the time they finished preparing for the 1992 quincentennial of Columbus' landing, nothing was left of the brave Admiral of the Ocean Sea. He had been transformed into a genocidal, slavetrading monster.

This frenzy to bust icons, to spotlight the injustices of Western civilization, to teach the past as a litany of persecuted minorities and oppressed women, runs through the recently issued National Standards for US and World History. These standards see fit to refer 19 times to Joseph McCarthy and 17 times to the Ku Klux Klan, but not once to Paul Revere, Thomas Edison, or the Gettysburg Address. The theme of "diversity" surfaces eight times in the US history standards the theme of "liberty," zero times. "Science" exists only as a career from which women were exluded. And so forth.

For true lovers of history, this is all a bit infuriating.

Will Fitzhugh, editor of the esteemed Concord Review, writes that the revisionists "seem to have as their mission making white male youth feel guilty about racism, homophobia, and descending from Europeans. Yes, there is plenty of guilt and shame to spread among all of the groups and individuals on earth. There is also much to be proud of." But that notion -- that ours is a history to inspire pride -- is just what Loewen and the revisionists reject.

"I wonder if they have ever considered the story they tell their own children about their own past. Or the histories all peoples tell about their past. Do they think African village headmen fill their stories with the shameful, embarrassing, and foolish things done by their ancestors? Do they think fathers should regale their children with tales of their faults, misjudgments, and instances of cowardice or dishonesty?

"Of course history books are incomplete. Of course they are written by people who want to emphasize the accomplishments of those who have gone before and who are worth remembering. We cannot study the individual histories of all persons who ever lived, however triumphantly revisionist that might make us feel. Students should be encouraged to realize that every people has sinned and that the building of any institution whatever is difficult, and that peace and good government do not come to anyone without sacrifice and surprising effort."

The damage revisionists do, Fitzhugh writes, "is in encouraging students to think that if they arm themselves with a few guiding putdowns -- about racism, sexism, ethnocentrism -- they really don't need to know much history at all."

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe.)

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The Vandals were an Eastern Germanic tribe. They were prominent in the 5th century CE, including sacking Rome in 455 CE. They probably originated in southern Scandinavia, and crossed the Baltic to mainland Europe. They crossed the frozen River Rhine at the end of AD 407, along with other barbarian peoples. Allied to a Sarmatian tribe called the Alans, they swept through Gaul (modern France) and the Iberian Peninsula. They seized Roman ships and in 427 crossed to North Africa under their formidable leader, Gaiseric. North African grain was the lifeblood of the (Western) Roman Empire, and the Vandal seizure of this best agricultural land, and their piracy/raiding in the Mediterranean, had a devastating effect. The Eastern Roman Empire fought a terrible war to regain North Africa, which succeeded, but at great cost.

Andalusia in Spain is named after them, as from a Moorish/Arabic perspective it was ‘Al Andalus’: the Land of the Vandals (the invaders having crossed from there to Africa).

The modern term of vandal, along with the word vandalism, is named after this tribe.


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Gaiseric, also spelled Genseric, (died 477), king of the Vandals and the Alani (428–477) who conquered a large part of Roman Africa and in 455 sacked Rome.

Gaiseric succeeded his brother Gunderic at a time when the Vandals were settled in Baetica (modern Andalusia, Spain). In May 428 Gaiseric transported all his people, purported by him to number 80,000, to Africa. Evidently he was invited to Africa by the governor, Count Bonifacius, who wished to use the military strength of the Vandals in his struggle against the imperial government.

Gaiseric caused great devastation as he moved eastward from the Strait of Gibraltar across Africa. He turned on Bonifacius, defeated his army in 430, and then crushed the joint forces of the Eastern and Western empires that had been sent against him. In 435 Gaiseric concluded a treaty with the Romans under which the Vandals retained Mauretania and part of Numidia and became foederati (allies under special treaty) of Rome.

In a surprise move on Oct. 19, 439, Gaiseric captured Carthage, thus throwing off Roman overlordship and striking a devastating blow at imperial power. In a 442 treaty with Rome the Vandals were recognized as the masters of proconsular Africa, Byzacena, and part of Numidia. Gaiseric’s fleet soon came to control much of the western Mediterranean, and he annexed the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily.

His most famous exploit, however, was the capture and plundering of Rome, June 455. Subsequently the King defeated two major efforts of the Romans to overthrow him, that of the emperor Majorian in 460 and that led by Basiliscus in 468. He was succeeded by his son Huneric.

Anglo-Saxons and Britain Vandals in Spain (407 to 429 AD)

One group of people with Eastern Germanic heritage were called the Vandals. These people were originally from Jutland, and they settled in areas between the Vistula and Oder rivers during the first century AD where it is listed on the Biblical Timeline with World History. Based on historians, these people had wagons as their home, and they travelled from one pasture to another. When they remained in the Danube region, they provided troops and military reinforcements for the Romans. They also adopted Arianism or the heretical form of Christianity.

Key Facts about the Vandals and Anglo-Saxons

Tacitus first used the word Vandilii to describe this group of Germanic people that were from the ancestry of East Germans. During the Marcomannic War of 166 AD, these people decided to live in a place that is now referred to as Silesia. By the third century, or the time when the Roman Empire was experiencing great crisis due to invasions from its opponents, the Vandals joined forces with the Samaritans to conquer the frontier of the Roman Empire along the upper areas of the Rhine River.

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The Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, were people who remained in Great Britain since the fifth century. They also included a few other groups from Germanic tribes who stayed on the southern portion of the island along with their descendants.

The early parts of the Anglo-Saxon era included medieval Britain’s history from the end of the Roman’s reign. This period was also considered as the migration period because of massive human migration throughout Europe beginning 400 AD. These migrants included those with Germanic ancestry including the Anglos, Saxons, Suebi, Goths, Franks, and Lombards. However, these people were eventually defeated by the Slavs, Huns, Avars, Alans and Bulgars.

Vandals Joined Forces with Other Tribes

In 406, the Vandals decided to join forces with some of the freed slaves from Pannonia, as well as with a few other barbarian tribes. These people included some Goths, Suevi and nomadic Alans that bravely overcame the frozen Rhine into the Roman Gaul. Their reason for following this route was to save themselves from the attack of the Huns.

After these people have conquered France, they decided to remain in the southern part of Spain after crossing the Pyrenees. The Vandals also lived in the countryside, yet it left several towns with their native population. These people also seized the Roman ships, and they succeeded in piratical raids to the coasts of Greece and various parts of the Mediterranean.

Downfall of the Empire

By 409 AD, the Roman empire began to fall apart because of a lack of control from its emperor. It was at this time that some of Emperor Constantine’s army were in Spain, and that made it difficult for his army to reach Gaul quickly. Eventually, the Germans residing at the western part of the Rhine river revolted against him, and a number of invaders from the eastern portion of the river finally reached Gaul. At that time, Britain no longer had any form of protection or troops after it had succumbed to massive raids by the Saxons from 408 to 409 AD.


Coming from Jutland, which is modern-day Denmark, the Vandals were one of the strongest Germanic tribes that were a threat to the Roman Empire. After departing their homeland, they set forth to the Valley of Odra River, in the 5th century BC. By the 2nd century AD, the Vandals started settling along the coast of the Danube River. This was also the time when they began their attempts of invading Rome.

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Conquest of Spain and Other Nations

In 409 AD where it is located on the Bible Timeline Chart, aggressive and powerful Vandals invaded a huge portion of Spain. They also looted various cities to obtain necessary resources for survival. They arrived in Spain after crossing the Rhine River in 406 AD. However, the Vandals faced great pressure from the Romans residing in that area and the Visigoths also caused them to flee eventually from Spain and head off to the African province. While in North Africa, the Vandals elected a leader to rule over them. Gaiseric, who was a crippled man and son of a slave, was noted as their new ruler. Despite his physical condition, he was a brilliant person who was a skilled conspirator. He also possessed an extraordinary ability in politics. For half a century, Gaiseric was able to foil the plans of various Germanic kings and Roman diplomats all because of his ingenious treaties that led to the success of the Vandals.

Under the Leadership of Gaiseric

During the year 429 AD, Gaiseric successfully brought his people to the African coast after crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. Slowly, the Roman cities soon fell into the hands of the aggressive Vandals as numerous places were looted and sacked by this powerful tribe. The locals are residing at Hippo, the city invaded by the Vandals, fled to obtain refuge and support from Augustine, their bishop. However, the bishop soon died in his beloved city during the Vandal’s invasion that lasted for 14 months. It did not take long before Hippo finally surrendered and succumbed to the barbarian conquerors.

While cleaning up of the city was still being undertaken, Gaiseric decided to start another project. He aimed to construct a fleet that would propel him to his great dream of sailing to the Mediterranean Sea and discovering more lands to invade. The Vandals decided to settle in Hippo and live among the locals of the city. Meanwhile, they assigned Roman bureaucrats to handle intricate administrative tasks. The relationship between the Arian Vandals and the Romans were hardly any better. Gaiseric was also unable to check for any animosity, and violence broke out because of his successors’ prejudicial acts. Thus, the Vandals persecuted a majority of the Romans. This resulted in scores of martyrs of the Catholic Church, who died because of their refusal to denounce their faith.

Cruelty and destruction were only one of the reasons for the degeneration of the Vandals after the reign of Gaiseric. The armies became more and more disorganized as they were lured by luxuries produced by their rich land. They have also become more corrupt, and they failed to lead the people in an organized manner. Hence, the Vandals quickly succumbed to the Eastern Roman Empire’s army during the battle in 533. After their defeat, the Vandals no longer became a distinct tribe, and they joined with a diverse local population and lived a common life. They did not leave any significant legacy to the world, and they remained bitter and hungry for justice.

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Teens Destroy 320,000,000 Years Of History In A Few Seconds, And The Way It Looks Now Infuriates Everyone

Rokas Laurinavičius
BoredPanda staff

Wind, rain, and ice have been sculpting the Brimham Rocks for the last 320 million years. It has even become a National Trust landmark and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, drawing visitors to admire the outdoors of North Yorkshire, England. Earlier this month, however, some vandals have damaged it in a few mindless seconds.

&ldquoAt around 8.45pm on Friday, 1 June a group of five young people were seen pushing a rock at the top of one of the crags,&rdquo North Yorkshire Police said. &ldquoThis resulted in the rock falling from the crag causing damage to the crag face. The damage this has caused is irreplaceable and it is now in a potentially dangerous condition.&rdquo

&ldquoThe incident has not only caused considerable damage to both the rock and the crag face, but those responsible also put themselves in danger and have created a potential hazard for other visitors to Brimham Rocks.&rdquo

Helen Clarke, from the National Trust, added: &ldquoIt might have been fun for some people. Actually, it is just completely pointless and needless.&rdquo


The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe. They entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals may have given their name to the region of Andalusia, which according to one of several theories of its etymology was originally called Vandalusia or land of the Vandals. This would be the source of Al-Andalus — the Arabic name of Iberian Peninsula, [1] in the south of present-day Spain, where they settled before pushing on to create a Vandal Kingdom in North Africa.

The Goth Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths and regent of the Visigoths, was allied by marriage with the Vandals, as well as with the Burgundians and the Franks under Clovis I.

Byzantine Empire forces under Justinian I conquered the Vandalic African kingdom in 534.

The Vandals

One of the enduring bands on the SoCal punk scene, the Vandals have made a career out of being the jokers in the deck. Unapologetically devoted to silly and/or tasteless humor along with crunchy guitars, aggressive but hook-infused tunes, and revved-up rhythms, the Vandals have been together since 1980, and despite personnel changes and occasional downtime, they've continued to crank out tight and snarky punk rock for almost 40 years. They also managed to do so on their own terms, building a sizable following without dealing with major labels and releasing much of their material on their own Kung Fu Records imprint. After establishing their creative template on 1990's Fear of a Punk Planet and cutting fan favorites like 1998's Hitler Bad, Vandals Good and 2000's Look What I Almost Stepped In . , the Vandals have rarely gone out of their way to break new ground, but they can slip into metal and punk styles when they feel like it, and their catalog includes detours into fractured country music (1989's Slippery When Ill, later reworked into The Vandals Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes) and Christmas carols (1996's Christmas with the Vandals: Oi to the World).

The Vandals were founded in Huntington Beach, California -- also home to the Crowd and T.S.O.L. -- by guitarist Jan Nils Ackerman in 1980. Their inaugural lineup was completed by vocalist Stevo, bassist Steve Pfauter, and drummer Joe Escalante. Their riotous early shows around Orange County got them banned from several venues, but also worked up enough buzz that their 1982 debut EP, Peace Thru Vandalism, was released by Bad Religion's Epitaph label. It featured signature early numbers like "Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)," the local radio hit "Urban Struggle," and "The Legend of Pat Brown," about a real-life roommate of Escalante's who went after some undercover cops with his car at a Vandals show in Costa Mesa. The following year they appeared as themselves in director Penelope Spheeris' punk drama Suburbia.

The Vandals continued to play around Orange County when they could over the next few years, including a tongue-in-cheek benefit show for the Young Republicans in 1984. The following year they issued their first full-length LP, When in Rome Do as the Vandals, on the small National Trust label it featured new bass player Chalmer Lumary, as well as the local radio hits "Lady Killer" and "Mohawk Town." Substantial personnel shifts ensued over the next few years ex-Fallen Idols singer Dave Quackenbush joined up later in 1985, and Escalante switched from drums to bass. More members came and went guitarist Warren Fitzgerald came on board in 1987, and drummer Josh Freese joined in 1989, completing a new Vandals lineup that would endure for over a decade.

The album Slippery When Ill, a snarky piss-take on country music that was later reissued under the title The Vandals Play Really Bad Original Country Tunes, was released in 1989. The group subsequently signed with punk indie Triple X, with which they made their first big splash via 1991's Fear of a Punk Planet. With their back catalog out of print, the Vandals next re-recorded much of the band's early material on the 1994 live album Sweatin' to the Oldies. In the meantime, Fitzgerald moonlighted as the guitarist for Oingo Boingo until that group's dissolution in late 1995. Freese also began to branch out with recording sessions for Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves by the late '90s, he had become an accomplished session drummer for a wide variety of pop and alt-rock acts, and also served stints in Guns N' Roses (the inactive, studio-bound incarnation) and Maynard James Keenan's prog-metal side project A Perfect Circle.

With the California punk revival in full swing by 1994, the Vandals switched over to the Offspring's new imprint, Nitro Records, for which they cut two albums -- 1995's Live Fast Diarrhea and 1996's The Quickening. Later in 1996, Escalante and Fitzgerald formed their own label, Kung Fu, which was designed to ensure the band's financial independence in the wake of their growing cult popularity on the punk scene. They inaugurated the label at the end of the year with the holiday album Christmas with the Vandals, and soon set about signing other acts as well. The Vandals returned to Nitro for the 1998 set Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, and completed their contract with 2000's Look What I Almost Stepped In. Having built up Kung Fu into a viable enterprise, they subsequently left Nitro to stick with their own label. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald embarked on another side gig, playing lead guitar with the newly electrified Tenacious D on their 2001 debut album. Freese's session career was also booming by this time, and although he remained a studio regular, he was often replaced during live gigs by a rotating cast of four to five drummers, the most prominent of whom was Brooks Wackerman (later of Bad Religion).

Now firmly committed to Kung Fu, the Vandals returned in 2002 with Internet Dating Superstuds, and showed off their skills on stage with 2004's Live at the House of Blues. That same year, the group also presented fans with a new studio album, Hollywood Potato Chip. The album caused legal troubles for the band shortly after its release when the original cover, which included a Vandals logo which resembled the logo for the celebrated Hollywood trade paper Variety, led to Variety filing suit against the band. The Vandals soon reworked the cover with a different logo and settled the case, but Variety sued them again in 2010 after third party sources continued to post the old cover on line despite the group's efforts. Escalante, who is a lawyer, represented the Vandals in court, and after Variety finally settled with the band and dropped their suit in 2012, he told a reporter the experience was "the worst thing that's ever happened to me, and to the band, and the hardest thing I've ever done. However, the crash course in federal court litigation made me a better lawyer."

While the Vandals continued to tour and do festival dates on a regular basis, following the Hollywood Potato Chip lawsuits, the band didn't release any new material, though Kung Fu did issue The Japanese Remix Album in 2005, which featured electronic remixes of Vandals tracks by producer and DJ Shingo Asari. In 2008, the group released a digital collection titled BBC Sessions and Other Polished Turds, which gathered together seven tracks cut for U.K. radio sessions and ten covers and rarities. The BBC Sessions album would be issued on CD in 2009, and in 2019, Kung Fu re-released it in CD, LP, and digital formats.

Watch the video: Η Περιπολία Αυτοκινήτων Τα Περιπολικά και οι Βάνδαλοι -Αυτοκινητούπολη Κινούμενα Σχέδια Παιδιά (January 2022).