The Vandals, an East Germanic tribe or group of tribes, first appear in history as inhabiting present-day southern Poland, but later moved around Europe, successively establishing kingdoms in Spain and in North Africa in the 5th century.
Scholars believe that the Vandals migrated from southern Scandinavia to the area between the lower Oder and Vistula rivers during the 2nd century BC and settled in Silesia from around 120 BC. They are associated with the Przeworsk culture and were possibly the same people as the Lugii. Expanding into Dacia during the Marcomannic Wars and to Pannonia during the Crisis of the Third Century, the Vandals were confined to Pannonia by the Goths around 330 AD, where they received permission to settle from Constantine the Great. Around 400, raids by the Huns forced many Germanic tribes to migrate into the territory of the Roman Empire, and fearing that they might be targeted next the Vandals were pushed westwards, crossing the Rhine into Gaul along with other tribes in 406. In 409 the Vandals crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, where their main groups, the Hasdingi and the Silingi, settled in Gallaecia (northwest Iberia) and Baetica (south-central Iberia) respectively.
After the Visigoths invaded Iberia in 418, the Iranian Alans and Silingi Vandals voluntarily subjected themselves to the rule of Hasdingian leader Gunderic, who was pushed from Gallaecia to Baetica by a Roman-Suebi coalition in 419. In 429, under king Genseric (reigned 428-477), the Vandals entered North Africa. By 439 they established a kingdom which included the Roman province of Africa as well as Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and the Balearic Islands. They fended off several Roman attempts to recapture the African province, and sacked the city of Rome in 455. Their kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War of 533–4, in which Emperor Justinian I's forces managed to reconquer the province for the Eastern Roman Empire.
Renaissance and early-modern writers characterized the Vandals as barbarians, "sacking and looting" Rome. This led to the use of the term "vandalism" to describe any senseless destruction, particularly the "barbarian" defacing of artwork. However, modern historians tend to regard the Vandals during the transitional period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages as perpetuators, not destroyers, of Roman culture.
References[edit | edit source]
- "Vandal". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/622890/Vandal. Retrieved on 8 March 2014.
- "Germanic peoples". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/231063/Germanic-peoples/Vandal. Retrieved on 8 March 2014.
- "History of Europe: Barbarian migrations and invasions: The Germans and Huns". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/195896/history-of-Europe/58257/Barbarian-migrations-and-invasions. Retrieved on 8 March 2014.
- Waldman & Mason 2006, pp. 821–825
- Brian, Adam. "History of the Vandals". Roman Empire. https://web.archive.org/web/20170623155644/http://www.roman-empire.net/articles/article-016.html. Retrieved on May 21, 2017.
- "Spain: Visigothic Spain to c. 500". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/557573/Spain/70357/Visigothic-Spain-to-c-500#ref587098. Retrieved on 8 March 2014.
- Contrasting articles in Frank M. Clover and R.S. Humphreys, eds, Tradition and Innovation in Late Antiquity (University of Wisconsin Press) 1989, highlight the Vandals' role as continuators: Frank Clover stresses continuities in North African Roman mosaics and coinage and literature, whereas Averil Cameron, drawing upon archaeology, documents how swift were the social, religious and linguistic changes once the area was conquered by Byzantium and then by Islam.