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Book II
Note D

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and her Invaders

Thomas Hodgkin

2nd Edition
published by the Clarendon Press

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

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Book III
Note E

Vol. II
Chapter II

The Vandals from Germany to Rome



For the events which happened during the Vandals' stay in Spain Idatiusis our best authority.

For the Vandal Conquest, Procopius. This Historian, Secretary, and Commissariat Officer to Belisarius is well known as the chief authority for the events of the reign of Justinian. He flourished from about 500 to 560, and wrote, besides other histories, two books, De Bello Vandalico. The Vandalic war, which it is his main object to describe, is of course that in which Belisarius overthrew the Vandal Kingdom (533‑534). But he devotes seven chapters of the First Book (thirty‑six pages in the Bonn edition) to a description of the foundation of that Kingdom by Gaiseric and the chief events of his life.

Although Procopius is an authority of the first class for the events of which he was himself an eye‑witness, he is somewhat slip-shod and inaccurate as to those events concerning which he had to gather his information from others. Hence his chronology is often erroneous: and when he is separated by a considerable distance of time from his subject, it seems clear that he cannot always have used the best material which contemporary historians might have afforded him. He also has an extreme love of historical gossip, and generally leans to the ill‑natured view of a man's character. But the reader will see by the references how large a part of our knowledge of the Vandal settlement in Africa is derived from this source, only partially trustworthy as we must admit it to be.

p210 Victor Vitensis, an African bishop, who was driven into banishment for the faith by Huneric, son of Gaiseric, wrote about 486 a History of the Persecution of the African Province in five books. He is therefore an all but contemporary authority even for the early part of the Vandal settlement.

He used to be cited as Victor Uticensis. It is now admitted that Vitensis is the correct form. Vita appears to have been a city in the Byzacene province, but its exact position is unknown.

The Life of St. Augustine by Possidius, Bishop of Calama, his disciple and friend, gives us some particulars as to the siege of Hippo and the death of the great African Father.

Another authority which the student will sometimes find quoted is Victor Cartennensis, but this name raises a curious question of literary good faith. It is admitted that there was a Vic, bishop of Cartenna in Mauretania, who lived at the time of the Vandal invasion and engaged in controversy with the Arians. Some theological works of his are preserved, but they contain nothing of importance for history. In 1836, however, a French author named Marcus published an 'Histoire des Vandales,' containing numerous and important quotations from Victor Cartennensis concerning the political institutions of the Vandals. These quotations profess to be made from a work published at Madrid (1653) called 'Mientras' Schediasmata Antiqua.' The curious part of the story is that no other scholar has yet been able to find a copy of these 'Schediasmata,' though the libraries of Paris, Madrid, Rome, Naples, Florence, lo, Oxford, Berlin, Vienna, Göttingen, and Munich have all been searched for the precious volume. Was it then a literary forgery on the part of Marcus? That natural suggestion is to some extent rebutted by a statement of Professor Waitz (Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte, I.231, n. 3: third edition) that he met Marcus at Dijon, who seems to have satisfied him that he had veritably handled the apocryphal Mientras. Professor Hübner (in a paper published in the proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy for 1861) suggests that work consulted by Marcus was really a MS. now extant at Madrid, called 'Schediasmata Latina de rebus diversis,' written by a certain Tomas Tamayo de Vargas, and this suggestion is adopted by Wattenbach (Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen, II.396). But why Marcus should have said Mientras when he meant de Vargas is not very clear. Nor does the suggestion p211really help the authority of the so‑called Victor Cartennensis, for de Vargas, though personally honest, appears to be the disciple and unwitting accomplice of the Jesuit Geronimo de la Higuera, who beguiled the tedious of the last years of the seventeenth century by forgeries, on a most extensive scale, of the missing works of chroniclers of the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries. There is thus a double chance of fraud. Marcus the Frenchman may be laughing at us by citing a non‑existent 'Schediasmata,' or Higuera the Spaniard may have foisted on de Vargas a spurious Victor. In this state of things the student will for the present do wisely to accept no assertion as to Vandal polity which is made on the authority of 'Victor Cartennensis.'


The best guide to the history of the Vandals is Dr. Felix Papencordt's 'Geschichte der Vandalischen Herrschaft in Afrika' (Berlin, 1837) — an admirable specimen of a German monograph of the best type. This book received the prize of the 'Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres' in August, 1836. Cardinal Wiseman, in his 'Recollections of the last Four Popes" (pp148‑9), gives an interesting sketch of this 'most promising young German scholar, cut off before he had time to fulfil the expectations of his friends.' . . . 'His acquaintance with mediaeval history,' says the Cardinal, 'was amazing: he remembered the dates of the most insignificant events, and would make excursions into the desolate border tracts in the means between Rome and Naples to visit the theatre of the most puny action between pugnacious barons in Central Italy.' In my copy of Roncalli's 'Chronica' I find the autograph 'Papencordt,' with note '2 Scudi Rom, 8 August, 1836.'

Dahn's 'Könige der Germanen' (part 1), and 'Urgeschichte der Germanischen und Romanischen Völker' (vol. I), will also be found very useful by the student.

In the Germania of Tacitus, the best contribution made by any Roman writer to the science of ethnology, the author says (cap. II):

'My own opinion is that the Germans are the aboriginal inhabitants of their country, with the least p212possible admixture of any foreign element. For in old times all national migrations were made by sea rather than by land, and the inhospitable ocean which washes the shores of Germany has been seldom visited by ships from our world. Besides, putting the perils of a tempestuous sea out of the question, who would leave behind him the pleasant shores of Asia, Africa, or Italy, and set sail for Germany, with its ugly landscape, its rigorous climate, its barren soil; who, I mean, except a native of that land, returning thither?

'In ancient songs, the sole kind of annals possessed by this people, they celebrate the name of a certain Tuisco, an earth-born deity, and his son Mannus, as the original founders of their race. To Mannus they assign three sons, after whom are named three tribes, the Ingaevones, who live nearest to the ocean, the Hermiones in the middle of the country, the Istaevones who occupy the remainder. Some, however, presuming on the antiquity of their tribes, affirm that the aforesaid god had many other sons, from whom many gentile appellations are derived, e.g. Marsi, Gambrivii, Suevi, Vandalii. These, they say, are the real and ancient names, that of Germans is a modern one, first given in fear by the vanquished Gauls to the warriors who crossed the Rhine to invade them, and afterwards proudly assumed by the conquerors.'

This interesting passage, besides showing us the Deutsch nationality in its earliest stage, then as now called German by the foreigner but not in its own home; besides giving us the name of the primeval Mann, who corresponds to the Adam of the Hebrews, and suggesting some other interesting ethnological speculations; brings before us the Vandals as already p213 a powerful and long-descended tribe in the days of Tacitus, zzz at the close of the first century of our era.

The slightly earlier author, Pliny, in the geographical part of his Historia Naturalis,1 mentions the Vindili as one of the five great Germanic races, and the Burgundians as one of their sub‑branches. There can be no doubt that these are the same people as the historic Vandals, who are indeed always called Bandili or Bandeli by the Greek historians.

The Vandals were nearly allied in blood to the Goths. 'The greatest names of this confraternity of nations,' says Procopius, 'are Goth and Vandal and Visigoth and Gepids. They all have fair skins and yellow hair; they are tall of stature, and goodly to look upon. They all possess the same laws, the same faith, Arian Christianity; and the same language, the Gothic. To me they appear all to have formed part of one nation in old time, and afterwards to have been distinguished from each other by the names of their leaders.' The general description therefore which has been already given of the Visigoths will apply to the Vandals; but by combining the testimonies of various chroniclers, we may find some traits of character which belonged specially to the Vandal race. Thus, their disposition seems to have been wanting in some of the grander features of the Gothic. They were perhaps more subtle-witted,2 but they were even more greedy of gain. They were confessedly less brave in war,3 p214 and they were more cruel after victory. On the other hand, they were conspicuous even among the chaste Teutonic warriors for their chastity, and both in Spain and Africa their moral standard was, and for some time continued to be, far above that of the uncleanly-living Roman provincials.

The home of the Vandals, when we first meet with them in history, appears to correspond with the central and eastern part of Prussia, but a loose aggregation of restless tribes must not be too definitely assigned to any precise district on the map.4 While they were settled here they fought under their two leaders, Ambri and Assi, a memorable battle with their neighbours, the Langobardi. The legends concerning this battle, which resulted in the complete defeat of the Vandals, are reserved for the Lombard portion of this history.5 As the Roman Empire grew weaker, the Vandals pressed southward, and eventually they gave their name (Vandalici Montes) to the Riesen Gebirge (Giant Mountains) between Silesia and Bohemia.

The southward movement of the barbarians, of which this Vandal migration formed part, brought on that great struggle known as the Marcomannic War, p215in which the German tribes on the Middle Danube strove, almost successfully, to pierce the gap between Pannonia and Dacia, and to establish themselves permanently within the limits of the Empire. In the heroic contest which Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-Emperor, waged against these barbarians, a contest which well-nigh over-taxed both his energies and those of the Empire, he seems to have had at first the Vandals for his foes;6 but, at the conclusion of the war, we find the Asdingi, whom we know to have been a Vandal tribe, making their peace with Rome, and receiving from the Emperor settlements in Dacia.7 When, upon the death of Marcus, his son Commodus made his unsatisfactory peace with the Marcomanni, the Vandals were one of the tribes taken under Roman protection, against whom the Marcomanni were forbidden to declare war.

A generation later, the Emperor Caracalla, in one of his boastful letters to the Senate, prided himself on the fact that whereas the Vandals and Marcomanni had previously been friendly to one another, he had succeeded in setting them at variance.8 If we look at that curious specimen of map‑making, the Tabula Peutingeriana (which is thought to have been originally executed in the time of Caracalla's father Severus),9 p216we shall see a striking comment on these words: for there, immediately on the other side of the broad limitary stream of the Danube, we see in straggling letters the name Vanduli, and a little beyond, but almost intermingled therewith, the name Marcomanni. Such close juxtaposition was very likely to breed hostility between two barbarous tribes.

More than half a century passes: and the Emperor Aurelian, the great restorer of the Roman power in the Danubian lands, gains a signal victory overthrow Vandals. We know nothing concerning the battle; we only hear of the negotiations which followed it. The Vandals sent ambassadors to sue for peace. After hearing their lengthy harangues, on the following day Aurelian mustered his army and asked for its advice whether he should accept or reject the terms of the barbarians. With one consent the army shouted for peace, which was accordingly granted, the Kings of the Vandals and several of their chief nobles, readily giving their sons as hostages for its due observance. The mass of the Vandal host returned to their Dacian home, the Emperor granting them sufficient provisions to last them till they reached the Danube. Notwithstanding this concession, 500 men, straggling from the main body of the returning host, committed cruel devastations on the plains of Moesia. For this breach of the treaty all the marauders who could be caught were put to death by their King.10

p217 A select portion of the Vandal host remained in the Imperial camp. One of the conditions of the peace was that they should supply 2000 horsemen as foederati to the Roman army; and this stipulation seems to have been faithfully observed, for the army list of the Roman Empire at the commencement of the fifth century shows us 'the Eighth Wing of the Vandals serving in Egypt.'11 It was probably in this way that in the next century Stilicho, a man of Vandalic extraction, entered the service of that Empire which he afterwards ruled.

A few years later a fragment of the Vandal nation, which seems to have wandered to the Rhine in company with a troop of Burgundians, was by adroit tactics defeated by the Emperor Probus. Many were slaughtered, but some were taken prisoners; Igil, the Vandal leader, being one of the latter class. These prisoners were all sent to the island of Britain, where, in some obscure insurrection against the Emperor, they did good service to their recent conqueror.12

p218 Near the end of the reign of Constantine there came a crisis in the fortunes of the Vandal nation. They were then dwelling in Moravia and the north-west of Hungary, having the Marcomanni of Bohemia as their western neighbours, and the Danube for their frontier to the south. Geberich, king of the Goths, whose territory bordered upon theirs to the east, determined to get him glory upon the Vandals, and sent a challenge to their king, Visumar. The two armies met by the Hungarian river Maros,13 and fought through a long day doubtfully. At length the Goths prevailed, and Visumar, with a great part of his host, lay dead upon the field. The scanty remnant of the nation entreated Constantine to permit them to enter the limits of the Empire, and settle as his subjects in the province of Pannonia. The position was not unlike that in which the Visigoths themselves were placed forty years later when they sought the Moesian shore of the Danube, flying from the terrible Huns. The permission was granted, and for nearly seventy years the Vandals were obedient subjects of the Roman Emperors.14 During this time it is likely that they made some advances in civilization; they probably often served in the Roman army, and learnt something of the legionary's discipline. p219 It was without doubt during the same period that they embraced Christianity under that Arian form which Ulfilas was teaching to their Gothic neighbours and conquerors. At a later date, when they were invading Spain, we are told that they carried the Bible with them and consulted it as an oracle.15 It was of course the translation of Ulfilas which thus became the Urim and the Thummim of the Vandal.

At length, in the year 406,16 the Vandals, or a portion of the confederacy which went by that name, left their Pannonian settlements, and linking their destinies with those of the Turanian tribe of Alans and with their High-German kinsmen the Suevi, they marched north-westwards for the Rhine, intent on the plunder of Belgic Gaul. There is no need to accept the suggestion17 that 'Stilicho invited them.' After the fall of that statesman, everything that had gone wrong in the Empire for the last twenty years was conveniently debited to his account. But no invitation was needed to set any Germanic tribe in motion towards the p220Empire in the year of the Nativity 406. The fountains of the great deep were broken up. Radagaisus and Alaric, with their mighty nation-armies, had crossed the Alps and poured down into Italy. One, indeed, had failed, and the other had only partially succeeded, but both had shown plainly to all 'Varbaricum' that 'Romania' was now at its last gasp, and would have enough to do to defend itself in Italy, without any hope of permanently maintaining its hold on its rich outlying provinces, such as Gaul and Spain. The Teuton adventurer was swept across the Roman boundary by a current as strong as that which drew the Spanish adventurer across the Atlantic in the days of Cortez and Pizarro.

Of the struggles of the Vandals with the Franks we have only dim rumours. We hear, however, of a great battle, in which 20,000 Vandals were slain, their king Godigisclus, himself of the royal lineage of the Asdings, being among the number of the dead.18 It is said, indeed, that only the timely arrival of their allies, the Alans, saved them from utter destruction; but, however this may be, they crossed the Rhine frontier, and after three years of war and probably of wild ravage of the cities of Gaul, drawn southwards by the impulse which ever attracted the barbarian to the sunnier climate, and powerfully helped by the dissensions among the Romans themselves, which had arisen out of the sudden elevation of the upstart British soldier Constantine,19 they stood, after three years' time, at the foot of the Pyrenees and thundered at the gates of p221Spain.20 The kinsmen of Honorius, Verenianus and Didymus, who had loyally struggled to guard this rampart against usurpers and barbarians, had been, rather more than a year before, treacherously slain by Constantine, and thus but a feeble resistance, or no resistance at all, was opposed to the fierce tide of Vandals, Alans, Suevi, which swept through the Pyrenean passes and ravaged the Hither and Farther Spain without mercy.

Of the twenty years which followed, some mention has already been made in describing the career of Ataulfus. It may be remembered that in 414, five years after the Vandals had entered Spain, the Visigothic chieftain followed them thither. There he and his successors carried on a long and bloody struggle with their fellow-Teutons, during part of which time the Goths professed to fight as champions of Rome, and for the remainder on their own account. The provinces, lately fertile and flourishing, were so harried by friend and foe that the Vandal soldiery were fain to buy wheat at thirty‑six shillings a pint, and a mother slew and ate her own children.

At length the barbarians and the representatives of the Empire concluded some sort of peace or truce, which a hint is given us by the declamation of Orosius,21 and a somewhat more detailed but still perplexing account in the pages of Procopius. 'Then,' says he, 'Honorius made an agreement with the Godigisclus,22 on condition that they [the Vandals] should settle p222there, not for the devastation of the country. And whereas the Romans have a law that if men do not keep their property in their own hands, and an interval of time elapses which amounts to thirty years, then they have no longer the right to proceed against those who have dispossessed them, but their recourse to the Courts is barred by prescription. The Emperor passed a law that the time during which the Vandals should sojourn in the Roman Empire should by no means be reckoned towards this thirty-years prescription.' Difficult as it is to see how such a law would work out in the actual experience of Roman or Vandal land-holders, it well illustrates the attitude of Imperial statesmen and jurists towards all the barbarian intruders. Every peace made with them was considered to be really only a truce. However securely the Visigoth might seem to reign at Toulouse, the Ostrogoth at Ravenna, or the Vandal at the New or the Old Carthage, the Roman Augustus and his counsellors looked upon their dominion as only a parenthesis, an unfortunate parenthesis, in the age‑long life of the great Republic, and in their own counsels admitted no derogation thereby to the imprescriptible rights of the sovereign Empire.23

The settlement of the barbarian nations in Spain seems to have been on this wise. The Suevi were in the North-west of the peninsula, the Visigoths in the North-east, the Alans in Portugal, while the Vandals occupied two widely-sundered allotments. One tribe which seems to have borne the same name as the royal clan, that of Asdingi24 was settled close to the Suevi in p223Gallicia; the other and probably the larger tribe, that of the Silingi, took up its quarters in Baetica, the modern Andalusia.25

In the year 416 Constantius, then the accepted suitor of Placidia, by some cunning stratagem captured a king of the Vandals named Fredibal, and sent him as a captive to Honorius,26 before whose chariot he may possibly have walked in chains when the phantom-Emperor in the following year celebrated his triumph at Rome. But on the whole it was the hand of Wallia the Visigoth that fell most heavily on the Vandals and their allies. In 418 the Silingian Vandals in Baetica were absolutely 'extinguished' by the Goths, and the Alans were so terribly cut to pieces by the same people, that the few survivors willingly merged their nationality in that of the Gallician Vandals, whose king is said to have assumed thenceforward the title 'King of the Vandals and Alans.'27

p224 In 419 war broke out between this latter, newly-united people and their neighbours the Suevi. Guntheric apparently gained a victory over the Suevic king Hermanric, and drove him and his followers into the fastnesses of the Asturias,28 where they were subjected to a district blockade. In the following year, however, under pressure from Asterius, the Roman governor of Spain, Guntheric broke up this mountain-siege, left Suevi and Romans alike to work their will in the North of Spain, and marched across the Peninsula to Baetica. There the Asdingian Vandals settled themselves in the fair land lately occupied by their Silingian brethren (some remnants of which nation may possibly have joined them), and there gazing Eastward and westward over the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, they began to dream of maritime greatness.

In the closing years of Honorius, the Court of Ravenna, moved by some strange impulse of spasmodic energy, made an attempt to recover Baetica from the Vandals. Castinus, Master of the Soldiery (the same officer who in fact following year set up the Arch-notate Joannes as Emperor in derogation of the claims of the son of Placidia), set sail with a large body of troops, and, having effected a junction with the Goths, invaded p225 Baetica. But there were jealousies and divided counsels at the Imperial head-quarters. We have seen how Bonifacius, the second in command, although, by the admission of all men, one of the bravest soldiers of the day, unable to bear the petty jealousy and insulting arrogance of his incapable superior, hastily travelled from Ravenna to Porto, and thence set sail for Africa, which province he afterwards held for Placidia and her children against his rival's puppet-Emperor Joannes.29 Still, notwithstanding this defection, the Imperial arms in Spain seemed likely to be victorious. The Vandals were besieged, apparently in one of the cities of Baetica, and suffered such severe privations that they were on the point of surrender. Castinus, however, 'that inept commander,'30 rashly engaged in battle with men made desperate by famine, was deceived by his Gothic allies, sustained a signal defeat, and fled in disorder to Tarragona.31

At length, after the Vandals had sojourned nearly twenty years in Spain, came the day when Count Bonifacius, ill‑requited for his loyalty to Placidia and her children, slandered, outlawed, and driven to the brink of destruction, sent that fatal Embassy, fatal for himself and for his country, by which he invited the barbarians into Africa. The Vandals had already, without this invitation, shown that they were not disposed to accept the frontiers of Baetica as the fate-fixed limit of their dominion. In 425, after sacking Carthagena p226 and Seville, and roaming for plunder over the whole Tarraconensian province, they had laid waste the Balearic Isles — which came perhaps at this time permanently under their rule — and had invaded Mauretania, but apparently without Thomas gaining any foothold south of the Pillars of Hercules.32 The messengers of Bonifacius found Guntheric and his bastard brother Gaiseric at the head of the Vandal state. They proposed33 (it is said) that the conquests to be effected in Africa should be considered as made on joint account, and should eventually be divided into three parts, one for each of the barbarian kings, and one for the Roman Count. The proposal was accepted, and the Vandals began to prepare ships and men for the great expedition. But before the enterprise was set in hand, Guntheric died. A century after the event, a rumour34 obtained credence that he, like Bleda, the brother of Attila, was slain by the partner of his throne. But the contemporary chronicler Idatius, writing as he does in Spain, gives no hint of any such an imputation, but in some mysterious manner connects the death of the Vandal king with an act of sacrilege at Seville. 'Gunderic, king of the Wandals, having taken Hispalis [Seville], when, in his impious elation, he had stretched p227forth his hand against the church of that city, speedily perished, being by the judgment of God attacked by a demon.' A fever (Spain's natural revenge upon her northern invaders), followed by raging madness and death, is perhaps the historical equivalent of this rhetorical statement.

But, whatever the cause of the death of Guntheric, the result was that the chief power in the Vandal state, and the sole conduct of the African invasion, were thereby vested in the hands of his bastard brother. For fifty years that brother was, except during the short meteoric career of Attila, the foremost figure in Europe, and we pause therefore for a moment to collect such light as the faint tapers of the chronicles afford us on the character and aspect of Gaiseric.35

p228 Till he arose, his nation, though willing enough to join in the great plundering expeditions of the North, can scarcely be said to have prevailed in any encounter with an enemy. Defeated long ago by Geberich in Moravia, defeated more recently by the Franks on the borders of the Rhine, generally worsted in Spain by the Visigoths, the nation seemed upon the whole to be gradually losing ground, and justifying the general impression of 'Varbaricum,' that the Vandals were less warlike than their neighbours. During the long lifetime of Gaiseric this imputation at any rate was never made against them. His nimble mind36 and his unshaken courage proved to be the steel point needed to give penetrating power to the Vandal impact. He was cruel, not a doubt of it; his savage deeds look ghastly by the side of the knightly career of Alaric or Ataulfus. He was greedy of gain, but none of the northern invaders was greatly superior to him in this respect. But he had that power of estimating his own resources and the resources of his foe, that faculty of inventing useful political combinations, that transcendent ability in adapting his means to his chosen ends, which denote the successful man of business in the market-place of Empire. In his strong, remorseless common-sense, in the awe‑struck tone with which, a century after his death, people still spoke of him as the cleverest p229 of all men,37 there is something which reminds us of his fellow-Teuton (we might almost say his fellow-Prussian), who, like him, besieged and took the chief city of the Latin races. If Attila was the Napoleon of the fifth century, we may perhaps look upon Gaiseric as its Bismarck.

Yet the outward presentment of the Vandal king was by no means like that of the stalwart Prussian colonel of cuirassiers. 'A man of moderate stature,' says Jordanes, 'and limping in his gait, owing to a fall from his horse.' HE goes on to say that this man, 'most renowned in the world by his slaughter of the Romans, was deep in mind, sparing of speech, a despiser of luxury, tempestuous in his wrath, greedy of gain, full of far‑reaching schemes for harassing the nations, ever ready to sow the seeds of content, and to play upon the animosities of mankind.'

Another Byzantine rhetorician,38 speaking of the change which came over the Vandal nation after the death of their mightiest king, says, 'they fell into every kind of effeminacy and had no longer the same vigour in action, nor kept together their former reserves, which Gaiseric39 always held in readiness for every expedition, so that he was quicker in striking than any one else in making up his mind to strike.'

The resources wielded by this iron will and remorseless heart were pertinaciously directed to two great objects, the humiliation of the Roman Empire and the extirpation of the Catholic faith. His hatred towards p230the professors of the orthodox creed was, according to the Spanish Bishop, Idatius, attributed by some persons to the fact that he was himself an apostate from their ranks.40 If this story be true (it will be seen that Idatius himself does not vouch for its accuracy), it may be owing to the fact that the Vandal prince as the son of some Gaulish or Spanish concubine of Godigisclus was brought up in his mother's form of faith which, on attaining manhood, he abjured in favour of the Arian creed of his martial forefathers.41

Such was the man, who, in the month of May, 428,42 mustered all the families of his nation and of the Alans on the northern shore of the Straits of Gibraltar in obedience to the call of Bonifacius. But before he set sail on his new enterprise, he struck one parting blow at an old enemy. Hearing that Hermigarius,43 King of the Suevi, was devastating some of the provinces near to his line of march, he turned back with a troop of his followers, pursued the pursuing marauder, and came up with him near the city of Merida. Many of the Suevi were slain; Hermigarius fled from the field, mounted on a steed which as he trusted should carry him swifter than the east wind, but was whelmed in the rapid waters of the Guadiana.44 He died almost in sight of p231the towers of Merida, and the churchmen of that city saw in his fall a divine judgment for an insult which he had offered to their saintly patroness Eulalia, one of the child-martyrs in the persecution of Diocletian.45

The Suevi thus punished, Gaiseric again addressed himself to the invasion of Africa. Before embarking, in order doubtless to facilitate the orderly transport of the assembled multitude, the king had all the males of his nation numbered, 'from the feeble old men to the babe born yesterday,' and found that they amounted to 80,000 persons. Such a number, representing at the utmost 50,000 fight men, encumbered with women, children, and dotards, should not have been formidable to the once well-garrisoned and well-stored provinces of Africa.46 But the line to be defended was a long one, there was discord in the camp of the defenders, and although twelve legions of Infantry and nineteen 'vexillations' of Cavalry were nominally assigned to the defence of Africa, in the attenuated state of the Imperial army in the fifth century, that force, even if it were all enlisted on the side of loyalty, probably composed a less powerful army than two legions in the p232days of Caesar the Dictator.47 It should be stated, however, that there were certain limitary garrisons, probably composed in great part of barbarian foederati, whose warriors, from the analogy of the troops who defended the frontier walls of Britain and Germany, may well have amounted to a very considerable number.48

Let us briefly survey the political and social condition of the vast territory for which Gaiseric and his Vandals have set sail, determined to reap from it a harvest of plunder, and possibly hoping to erect in it an enduring empire. The whole coast line from the Pillars of Hercules to the borders of the Cyrenaic Pentapolis was under Diocletian divided into seven provinces.

1 Mauretania Tingitana

2 Mauretania Caesariensis

3 Mauretania Sitifensis

p233 4 Numidia

5 Africa Proconsularis or Zeugitana

6 Byzacena

7 Tripolitana

(1) With the westernmost province, that of which Tangier was the capital and which corresponds with the modern kingdom of Fez, we have now no concern. At the time of Diocletian's reconstitution of the Empire it was separated from the other African provinces, and assigned to the diocese of Spain and the prefecture of the Gauls.49 The reason for this arrangement doubtless was50 that the province comprised nothing but a strip of Atlantic coast-line reaching from Tangier to Sallee, separated by more than 200 miles of road l0s desert from the next province on the east, and therefore, as accessible only by sea, most naturally connected with the great and civilized country on the northern side of the Straits of Gibraltar. Probably, then, from all that is about to be said touching the Vandal conquests in Africa, Tingitana may be safely excluded. We may infer that, in so far as it had any government at all and was not abandoned to mere Moorish barbarism, it still formed a part of the Roman Empire.

(2 & 3) The next two provinces, Mauretania Caesariensis and Sitifensis once belonged to the kingdom of Bocchus (who in the great Civil War took the side of Caesar against the Senate), and for more than seventy years after his death were governed by his descendants, but under Caligula they were formally annexed to the Empire, the general employed in suppressing the revolt, which was occasioned by this change, being the same p234 Suetonius Paulinus who, twenty years later, was to lead his legions against the black-robed Furies of Anglesea, and to pierce the dense masses of Britons that swarmed round the indignant Boadicea.

These two provinces, which occupied about three-quarters of the modern territory of Algiers, had shared very imperfectly, if at all, in the civilising influence of Carthage, and though there were in them probably large breadths of cornlandº between the mountains and the sea, there were not many towns besides the great commercial city of Caesarea, once the capital of the Mauretanian kings. No doubt these provinces formed a part, but neither the most highly prized nor the most hardly won part of the new heritage of the Vandals.51

(7) The same description would probably suit the easternmost province, which from its three chief cities52 derived that name of Tripolitana by which it is still known. Fourteen 'limitary' bodies of Imperial troops attested the difficulty with which the long and straggling frontier was guarded from the invasions of the Garamantes and the other nomadic tribes of Fezzan, who, from the ambush of their oases, poured fitfully across the desert to attack the cities of the sea-water stranger. A strange and mysterious region it is: almost unknown in history except for the fact that it gave the Emperor Severus to Rome; but one of which p235we may possibly hear more, if ever the pressure of population or the means of subsistence should force the Italian or some other nation on the opposite shore of the Mediterranean to see what harvests may be reaped in the land of the Lotus-eaters of the Odyssey.

(4, 5 & 6) The three provinces which have not yet been described, Numidia, Proconsularis or Zeugitana, and Byzacena, formed the very heart and centre of the Roman dominion in Africa. On this subject I cannot do better than quote the words of the great German scholar53 who his written, with a fulness which no future historian is likely to surpass, the history of the Imperial provinces. 'Roman civilization entered upon the heritage partly of the city of Carthage, partly of the kings of Numidia, and if it here attained considerable results, it should never be forgotten that it, properly speaking, merely wrote its name nn inscribed its language on what was already there. Besides the towns, which were demonstrably founded by Carthage or Numidia, both states guided the Berber tribes, which had some inclination to agriculture, towards fixed settlements. even in the time of Herodotus the Libyans westward of the bay of Gabes were no longer nomads, but peacefully cultivated the soil; and the Numidian rulers carried civilisation and agriculture still further into the interior. Nature, too, was here more favourable to husbandry than in the western part of North Africa; the middle depression between the northern and the southern range is indeed here not quite absent, but the salt lakes and the steppe proper are less extensive than in the two Mauretanias. The military arrangements were chiefly designed to p236 plant the troops in front of the mighty Aurasian mountain-block, the Saint-Gotthard of the southern frontier-range, and to check the irruption of the non‑subject tribes from the latter into the pacified territory of Africa and Numidia. . . . Of the details of the warfare [against these tribes of the dissent] we learn little; it must have been permanent, and must have consisted in the constant repelling of the border-tribes, as well as in not less constant pillaging raids into their territory.'

The plains between the Aurasian mountains and the sea, well-irrigated and rich in grain, in oil, and in wine, so far back as in the days of Agathocles, had probably increased in fruitfulness during at least the earlier centuries of the Empire. Carthage herself, indeed, lay in ruins for the greater part of the two centuries which intervened between the Third Punic War and the dictatorship of Julius Caesar;54 but there seems no reason to suppose that even during this interval the smaller cities (such as Utica and Hippo, which had sided with Rome against Carthage), or the bright villas which dotted the plain, and attested the long influence of the Carthaginians, were abandoned to desolation. At any rate, when the new Roman Carthage arose in all her luxury and pride, the three provinces nearest her, or so much of them as was embraced between the mountains and the sea, basked in the sunshine of her prosperity. An unfavourable element in the condition of the African provinces was probably the vast estates belonging to the Imperial exchequer. Enormous confiscations were practised in the days of Nero, and that p237 the pretext had not ceased in the days of Honorius is evident from the fact that a special Count was appointed to administer 'the patrimony of Gildo,'55 whose rebellion was suppressed by Stilicho in the year 398.56 These latifundia, cultivated by slaves and administered too often by corrupt and oppressive functionaries, were probably a blot upon the general prosperity of the province. And no doubt, here as elsewhere throughout the Empire, the process of the degradation of the cultivator into a serf, and the cruel impoverishment of the middle classes by ruinous taxation had been going on throughout the fourth century. Still, from the pages of Salvian and Augustine we may safely infer that there was, at any rate relatively, a large amount of wealth, and culture, and prosperity in the three most important African provinces, up to the day when the first footprint of the Vandal was seen on the Numidian lands.

It would be an interesting enquiry, had we sufficient evidence on which to form a judgment, how far the civilisation which prevailed in Africa in the fifth century of our era was Aryan, and how far still Semitic in character. the language of the Phoenician settlers who first founded cities and established markets on the Libyan shore, the language in which Hiram spoke to Solomon and Jezebel to Ahab, was still spoken from Tangier to Tripoli at the time of the Christian era, and was even used in the days of Tiberius by the colonies which prided themselves on their derivation p238from Rome.57 Gradually, however, Punic gave way to Latin, first in official then in social life. At the end of the fourth century the relative position of the two languages seems to have resembled that of English and Welsh in our own day in the Principality. Latin was the language of the wealthy and fashionable, but a priest who was unacquainted with Punic was in danger, at least in the country districts, of becoming isolated from his congregation. Just in the same way, too, as the representatives of the earlier race in our own land call themselves not Welsh but Cymry, so the true old national name, that name which recalled to a Hebrew the contemporaries of his forefather Abraham, the name of Canaanites was still naturally applied to themselves by the Punic contemporaries of St. Augustine.58

But upon the whole there Constantine no doubt that during the five centuries of the Empire the Latin language and literature had been striking deeper and deeper roots in the African world. It is one of the common-places of Church history that in the early ages of Christianity the chief of the Latin-speaking champions of her cause were African provincials. Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, Lactantius, all men of African birth, p239 were conspicuous as Christian apologists in the third and fourth centuries, and the catalogue ends with the name of the greatest of all, Augustine of Hippo. The first translation of the Bible into Latin, the so‑called 'Itala,' is generally supposed to have been due in great part to the labours of African ecclesiastics; and — a less enviable — the first great schism, Novatianism undoubtedly originated in the Church of Carthage.

A century after the Vandal invasion of Africa it was still the opinion of the men of letters at Constantinople that the Roman provincials, in that continent, spoke Latin more fluently than the citizens of Rome itself.59 It is very likely true that there was an affected prettiness, a want of spontaneity and naturalness about this Carthaginian Latin;60 still, the fact that Roman rhetoric was so zzzzzz and successfully taught in the African provinces — a fact which receives abundant confirmation from the 'Confessions' of St. Augustine — throws an important light on the progress of Roman civilisation in that region.

Such then, in brief outline, was the state of the African provinces in the fifth century after Christ; and their prosperity — for after making every necessary p240deduction we must still believe them to have been prosperous — was all summed up and symbolised in the glory and magnificence of their capital, the 'happy Carthage'61 of her Roman lords. We have already seen62 the picture drawn by the stern Salvian of the seductive immorality of the great African city, but even through all his denunciations there runs a reluctant acknowledgment of her surpassing beauty. Topographers dispute, and will perhaps long dispute, as to the exact limits of the old Phoenician city, but there cannot be much doubt as to the general position of its Roman successor, and the main features of the landscape around it are still unchanged. There Carthago lay upon her superb isthmus looking forth upon her lake and her sea, even the sea land-locked with the two‑horned mountain of the Hot Springs63 rising to the south of it. Below, was her harbour the celebrated Cothon, once blocked up by the mole constructed by Scipio during the last fatal siege, but now probably again opened to the commerce of the world. Northwards, the long sad street of tombs stretched up to the Hill of Camart. In the city itself, besides the baths, the forum, the amphitheatre, and all the other accustomed splendours of a Roman city, were five temples bearing witness by the names of their tutelary godsto that antique civilisation of the sons of Canaan which Rome might crush but could not obliterate. These were the temples dedicated under the Empire to Aesculapius, to Saturn, to Juno, to Hercules, and to Mercury, but which had once borne the meansº of Ashmon, of Moloch, of Ashtaroth, of p241Melkarth, and of Baal-Ammon. Some of these, it is true, may have been destroyed in the outbreak of Christian zeal which marked the close of the fourth century in Africa; but the temple of Juno Coelestis at any rate still remained, for it was consecrated in 425 by Aurelius, Bishop of Carthage, as a temple of the newer faith which had come forth from Palestine to claim all the shores of the Mediterranean for its heritage.

On an eminence within the city rose the stately Byrsa, the Acropolis of Carthage, bounded by a wall two miles in circumference.64 Here, according to the legend transmitted by the Greeks, was the scene of Dido's famous purchase from the natives of 'a hide of land' which she interpreted to mean so much land as could be encompassed by a bull's hide65 cut into strips. Modern philologists, struck with the obvious absurdity of supposing that Dido and her Phoenicians would resort to the Greek language for the name of their new city, have preferred to connect Byrsa with Bozra, a name well known to us from the Hebrew Scriptures as descriptive of the mountain fortress of the Edomites.66 p242Here, at any rate, appear to have been situated the chief buildings not only of Punic Carthage, but of its Roman successor: here was the Temple of Ashmon, or Aesculapius, and here in all probability the lordly Praetorium, once inhabited by the great Proconsul of Africa, but soon to receive the retinue of the Vandal king.

I have said67 that the Proconsul of Africa once dwelt in the Praetorium of Carthage, and this was certainly his abode in the zzz of the Christian era, but at the time which we have now reached, he may have been thrust out of his palace, or if still dwelling there, he may have been reduced almost to insignificance by the overshadowing might of his military rival, the Count. The position of the Proconsul was a somewhat peculiar one. The whole diocese of Africa, including all its six provinces, bounded by Tingitana on the West, and Cyrenaica in the East, was, as we have already seen, part of the Prefecture of Italy. According to analogy it should have been all subject to its own Vicarius, who should have been responsible for the whole to the Praefectus Praetorio Italiae. In fact, however, at the time of the Diocletianic reorganisation of the Empire, only five provinces (the two Mauretanias, Numidia, Byzacena, and Tripolitana) were placed under the Vicarius Africae, while the Proconsul of Zeugitana (otherwise called the Proconsul of Africa, as his, though the smallest, was by far the richest and most important of all p243the Provinces) was retained under the immediate order of the Praetorian Prefect of Italy. If, as seems highly probable, the Vicarius as well as the Proconsul had his residence at Carthage,68 there was already some material provided for jealousies and heart-burnings between the civil governors of the Diocese. But, from what we know of the cause of affairs throughout the fourth and fifth centuries, and especially from the glimpses vouchsafed to us of the history of Roman Africa during that time, we may safely say that the Proconsul, venerable as was the name of his office and great as his theoretical authority, was ever losing more of the substance of power, and that his losses were the gains of the military ruler of the Diocese, the far‑feared Count of Africa.69 p244This was the office which, in the middle of the reign of Honorius had been held by Heraclian, and which was now held by Bonifacius.

From this sketch of Roman Africa we return to trace the fortunes of its Vandal invaders. We have seen that in the month of May, and probably in the year 428, Gaiseric, with the whole body of his countrymen (the males alone of whom numbered 80,000 souls), set sail in the ships of Bonifacius for the coast of Africa. Of the details of their first conquests we know nothing.70 All that we can say is that in the early part of 430, only three cities remained which had not been sacked by the barbarians, but these three were the strongly-fortified towns of Hippo, Cirta,71 and the capital of the province, Carthage. We know not when Cirta fell. A peculiar interest attaches to the Vandals' siege of Hippo, which was commenced about the end of the month of May, 430. This town, situated on the sea-water about 180 miles west of Carthage, and represented by the modern French-Arabic city of Bona,a was, as every p245one knows, the abode of the great bishop and father, Augustine. There he was busily employed, adding a Confutation of Julian of Eclana, the Pelagian heretic, to the vast library of books72 which already owned him as author, when the news came of the Vandal invasion. He heard of the burnings, the massacres, the torn‑up fruit-trees, the churches levelled to the ground, which everywhere marked the progress of the barbarian hosts through the orderly and quiet province, the beautiful land which from every side seemed smiling upon the stranger.73 Bishop after bishop asked his counsel whether they should stay in their sees or fly to one of the few remaining strongholds. His first advice was, 'Remain with your flocks and share their miseries.' 'What,' said one, 'is the use of our remaining, simply to see the men slain, the women ravished, the churches burned, and then to be put to the rack ourselves to make us disclose the hiding- place of treasures which we have not?' They pleaded the words of Christ. 'When they persecute you in one city, flee into another,' and Augustine, reflecting on the expense of Cyprian and Athanasius, who had for a time quitted their bishoprics, with some hesitation, and with some limitations, admitted the plea. So it came to pass that Possidius, Bishop of Calama, to whose pen we are indebted for this account of the last days of his master, with many other bishops from all the country round, were shut up in Hippo, sitting at the feet of the great doctor of the p246African Church, and listening to 'that river of eloquence which had once flowed forth abundantly over all the meadows of the Church, but was now almost dried up with fear, to that fountain sweeter than honey which was being turned into the bitterness of wormwood.74 So the good bishops sat, 'often talking together over these calamities, and reflecting on the tremendous judgments of God daily exhibited before us, saying, 'Righteous art thou, O Lord, and thy judgment is just,' mingling our tears, our groans, and our sighs, and praying the Father of Mercies and the God of all Consolation that he would see meet to deliver us from this tribulation.'75

But, shut up in the same town of Hippo, was one man more sad at heart and more weary of life than Augustine himself, the author of all this misery, and the betrayer of his trust, Count Bonifacius of Africa. It has been already told76 how, by the intervention of his friends, his character was cleared at Rome, and he returned to his old loyalty to Placidia. Too late, however, for the desolated province. 'When with the most earnest entreaties and a thousand promises he besought his late allies to depart from Africa, they would not listen to his words, but thought he was making fools of them.'77 A battle followed, in which he was defeated, and in consequence we find him now within the walls of the old capital of the Numidian kings (Hippo Regius) directing the defence of the beleaguered city, and listening to the tragic stories told by each fugitive, of the ruin wrought in his p247province by his own invited guests. He had repented,

'Ay, as the libertine repents who cannot

Make done undone, when thro' his dying sense

Shrills "lost through thee." '78

It is strange to relief, that this, the most miserable man in all Africa, whose treason had brought such innumerable woes upon his people, was the same man who had sighed after a monastic life, and had scarcely been persuaded to continue to discharge the duties of a husband and a general. A conscience, this, which was always above or below the average common-sense morality of ordinary men.

The generalship of Bonifacius, or the prayers of Augustine, or the natural unskilfulness of the northern barbarians in the siege of walled cities, enabled Hippo to make a successful defence. For fourteen months the Vandals blockaded the town, from May 430 till July 431. In the third month of the siege, the great Bishop of Hippo died, in the seventy-sixth year of his age and the fortieth of his episcopate. He had often uttered the maxim79 that even the aged and experienced Christian ought not to depart out of the world except in a state of profound penitence for all sins committed after baptism; and acting on his own principle, he had the penitential Psalms of David copied for him by his friends, and gazed constantly at the wall to which the sheets thus inscribed were affixed. For ten days before his death he ordered that, except when the doctor visited him, or his meals had to be brought to his bedside, no one should enter his chamber, in order that all his waking thoughts might be given to prayer. So, p248amid the sorrows of the siege, in silence and contrition, passed away the spirit which, more mightily than any other since the age of the Apostles ended, has moulded the thoughts of the European nations cannot be the dealings of the Almighty with mankind.

In the fourteenth month of the siege the Vandals, pressed by famine, broke up from before the walls of Hippo. Soon after, Bonifacius, being joined by large reinforcements from Rome and Byzantium (the latter under the command of the veteran Aspar), tried conclusions once more with Gaiseric in the open field.80 The Romans were again defeated. Aspar returned to Byzantium and Bonifacius to Rome, where (as has been before related) he received his death-wound from Aetius.81

Three years passed. It became clear to the Imperial Court that the Vandals would never be forced to relinquish their prize. It had also become clear to the mind of Gaiseric that it would be wise to consolidate his conquests, that Carthage would not easily be wrested in fair fighting from a watchful foe, and that it was time for his people to desist from mere marauding ravages and to settle down as lords of the soil in such part of Africa as the Emperor might be forced to surrender. Accordingly, on the 11th February,82 435, peace was concluded between the Emperor and the Vandal, the chief conditions being apparently that the latter was to leave unmolested the city of Carthage, and that part of the Proconsular Province which lay p249immediately around it; was to pay a yearly tribute, and to send his son Huneric to Rome as a hostage for his fidelity. On the other hand, Gaiseric's rule over the part of Africa which he had already conquered, and which probably included the remainder of the Proconsular Province, Byzacena and Numidia, was recognised under the formula probably in frequent use on similar occasions that 'this portion of the Empire was given to the Vandals to dwell in.'83 The treaty was signed at Hippo, which city appears to have fallen into the hands of the Vandals, and to have been burned by them.84 Probably it may have been rebuilt, re‑occupied by an Imperial garrison, and now handed over to Gaiseric, but as to these vicissitudes in its history we cannot speak with certainty.85

Procopius greatly praises the forethought and moderation which Gaiseric showed in concluding this peace. He says that he had reflected on the possibility that Rome and Byzantium might again combine their forces against him, and that another time he might not be able to resist their united strength, that he was sobered rather than puffed up by the good fortune which he had already experienced, and remembered p250how often the gods delight to trip up human prosperity. No doubt this was the attitude which the Vandal wished to assume, but considering how easily the tribute might be left unpaid, the hostage enabled to escape, the promise broken, and on the other hand of what immense importance to the establishment of Vandal rule was the recognition of its legitimacy even for a few years by the only source of legitimate authority in the Western Empire, we shall not find much difficulty in believing that the moderate and sober-minded barbarian got the best of the bargain.

In point of fact, the promise to desist from further attacks on the Proconsular Province held good for rather less than five years. We have already had occasion briefly to notice86 those vain and futile battlings to and fro in Southern Gaul between the Romans at Narbonne and the Visigoths at Toulouse, which preceded by about twelve years the far wise confederacy of both nations against the terrible Attila. while all the energies of Rome, and all the intellect of Aetius, who was the brain of Rome, were concentrated on the next move in this purposeless struggle, suddenly, without warning, Gaiseric, (says Prosper) 'of whose friendship no doubt was entertained, attacked Carthage, under cover of peace, and converted all its wealth to his own use, extorting it from the citizens by various kinds of torments.'87 This happened on the 19th October, 439. We may conjecture that the p251hostage Huneric had been before this upon some pretext or other recalled from Italy.

Now at length the great prize was won, and the Vandals were undoubted masters of Africa. Their chief, who for ten years or more had been leading them from victory to victory, seems now for the first time to have assumed the full title of king.88 His true statesmanlike instinct is shown by the fact that as soon as he touched the coast, or at least as soon as the docks and harbours of Hippo and Carthage were in his power, he, the leader of a tribe of inland barbarians, who had been indebted to the friendly offices of Bonifacius for the transport of his people across the Straits of Gibraltar, turned all his energies to shipbuilding, and soon possessed incomparably the most formidable naval power in the Mediterranean. The remaining thirty-seven years of his life, especially the later ones, were made merry by perpetual piratical expeditions against Italy, against Sicily, against Illyria, against the Peloponnesus, against the rich and defenceless islands of the Aegean.89 There was a joyous p252impartiality in these expeditions, an absence of any special malice against the victims of them, a frank renunciation of all attempts to find a pretext for making them, which is thoroughly characteristic of their author. Once when his armament was lying in the harbour okar, all ready for sailing, and when the brigand-king had come limping down from the palace which had been dwelt in for centuries by the Proconsuls of Africa, as soon as he set his foot on board, the pilot asked for orders to what land he should steer. The object of the expedition was the only point which thinking had not yet troubled himself to determine. 'For the dwellings of the men with whom God is angry,' he said, and left the decision of that question to the winds and the waves. This was the true counterpart of the stories about 'the scourge of God,' with which Legend has falsely invested the history of Attila.90

So it came to pass that again after nearly six centuries of quiet submission to the rule of Rome, the name of Carthage became terrible to the dwellers by p253the Tiber. The poets of the period described Gaiseric's invasions of Italy as a fourth Punic War,91 and it was scarcely a license of poetry so to speak of them. We are reminded of the mediaeval superstitions about Vampire-spirits inhabiting the bodies of the dead and sucking the blood of the living, when we find this Teutonic people entering the long-buried corpse of the Punic nationality, and striking, from its heart, deadlier blows at Rome than ever were delivered by Hamilcar or Hannibal. We know not on what scale God writes his lessons for the nations, and we fear to push too far the paradox expressed in the old proverb, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' But, remembering the ignoble jealously, the cruelty born of fear, with which the Romans prepared for and consummated the 'deletion' of their fallen enemy, in the Third Punic War, we cannot but feel that there is something like a judgment of the Eternal Righteousness in the conspicuous part assigned to the city and harbour of Carthage in harassing and embittering the dying days of Rome.

During the years immediately following the fall of Carthage, Sicily appears to have been the main object of the Vandal expeditions. Gaiseric was, in the year 440, moving up and down through the island, cruelly wasting her fruitful valleys, when the tidings brought to him that Sebastian, a brave man and son-in‑law to Bonifacius, had landed in Africa, caused him to return to Carthage. Sebastian, p254however, as we shall hereafter see, came not as an enemy but as a suppliant, and Gaiseric, we may presume, returned to his career of spoliation. Next year an expedition fitted out by the Eastern Emperor under the command of Areobindus and two other generals, came to dispute the sovereignty of the Western seas with the Vandal king. But as was so often the case with these laboriously prepared Byzantine armaments, the generals wrangled and procrastinated; the favorable moment — if there were one — for striking was lost, and the expedition failed to accomplish anything for the reconquest of Africa, and did much to increase the miseries of the unhappy Sicilians.92

In the next year (442) the army was recalled to defend the Eastern Empire from one of Attila's inroads, and Valentinian, feeling it hopeless to continue the contest single-handed, concluded another treaty with Gaiseric by which possibly Sicily or some portion of it was surrendered,93 and Africa was divided by certain fixed limits between the Emperor and the Vandal.94 Unfortunately these 'fixed limits' have not been mentioned by the historians, and it must remain doubtful how much of Mauretania on the west and Tripolitana on the east may still have owed a precarious allegiance to the Roman Empire.

But the fate of Sicily is less doubtful. It is clear that either at this time or some years later, it became a recognised part of the Vandal dominions, and so remained till there was no longer a Western Emperor p255to claim it. Then probably in the year 477, the greater part of it was ceded by Gaiseric to Odovacar, the barbarian ruler of Italy, on condition of his paying an annual tribute. But already, as we see, the great island is falling into that condition of partial detachment from the great peninsula, which generally marked its history under its Greek lords, and which was so frequently again to prevail in the Middle Ages, and even down to the days of our fathers.95

As for Gaiseric, though peace was formally concluded between him and Valentinian, we need not suppose that the buccaneering exploits of the Vandal king were ended. Presents were doubtless still found for the visits paid with each returning spring to some 'nation with whom God was angry,' and if serious war was not being waged, life was still made exciting by light-hearted piracy.

The few details which are preserved as to the internal administration of Gaiseric, and his manner of parcelling out the conquered territory among his followers, Rome of great value, as affording one of the earliest illustrations of that great land-settlement of the victorious Teutons which was one day to form the basis of the Feudal System.

'He arranged,' says Procopius,96 'the Vandals and Alans into regiments,97 over whom he set no fewer than eighty colonels, whom he called Chiliarchs (captains of thousands), so creating the belief that his forces amounted to 80,000 men. Nevertheless the number of the Vandals and Alans was said in the p256previous time (in the time before the invasion) not to amount to more than 50,000; but the natural increase of the population, together with their practice of admitting other barbarians into their confederation, had enormously added to their numbers. The names, however, of the Alans, and of every other barbarous tribe in the confederacy except the Moors, were all merged in the one designation of Vandals.

'Among the provincials of Africa, if he saw any man flourishing in reputation and wealth, he gave him, with his lands and other possessions, to his sons Huneric and Genzo, as servile property.98 From the other Africans he took away the largest and best part of their lands, and distributed them among the nation of the Vandals; and from that time these lands are called the Vandal Allotments (Sortes Vandalorum) unto this day. The former possessors of these lands were for the most part left poor and free — at liberty, that is, to take themselves off whither they would. Now all these estates which Gaiseric had bestowed upon his sons and the other Vandals were, according to his orders, free from the payment of all taxes. But all the land which seemed to him to be of poorer quality, he left in the hands of the former owners, so burdened however with taxes and public charges that nothing beyond a bare subsistence could be reaped by the nominal possessors. Many of these tried to flee, but were arrested and put to death; for sundry grievous crimes were laid to their charge, the greatest of all, according to his estimate, being the attempted concealment of treasure. Thus did the African provincials fall into every kind of misery.'

p257 We are able to supplement the information as to the land settlement given by Procopius by an important sentence from Victor Vitensis.99 'He' [Gaiseric] thus disposed of the several provinces: reserving to himself the Byzacene and Abaritan provinces, Getulia and a part of Numidia, he portioned out the Zeugitana or Proconsular province to his army by the tie of inheritance.'100 The Proconsular province, as has been said, was that corner of the coast line in the middle of which Carthage was situated, the smallest of all the provinces, being only about a hundred miles by fifty long, but doubtless also by far the richest. Numidia bordered it on the west, the Byzacene province101 on the south. No such province as Abaritana was known to the Imperial geographers: but it was probably a small district in the Proconsular province.102

The historical student who considers the account thus given by Procopius and Victor of the Vandal land-settlement will see that we have here the germs of the same state of society which prevailed in France under the Karolingian monarchs and out of the inevitable decay of which arose the Feudal System.

1. We have first a vast Royal Domain (dominicum) the land of 'Dominus noster, Gaisericus.' If we take the expression of Victor literally, this domain included p258nearly the whole of the two great provinces of Numidia and Byzacena, as well as some part of Proconsularis. Probably, however, we may interpret it by the light of Procopius' explanations, and infer that Gaiseric chose for himself and his sons all the valuable estates in these provinces103 leaving the poorer soils in the hands of the old cultivators. The immense domain so chosen was cultivated of course entirely by slaves, and Gaiseric chose especially those who have been the richest and most influential proprietors, appropriating them and their slaves to service on his domain land. The insolence of the barbarian was gratified by thus reducing the proudest, wealthiest, and most refined of the provincials to the condition of menials absolutely dependent on his will. But in course of time no doubt superior education and the old habits of command would assert themselves. These aristocratic slaves would become intendants, stewards, managers of their fellow-slaves. If the experiment had been continued for a sufficient length of time (which it was not in the case of the Vandals) these highly-educated slaves would have become supple courtiers, and would have perhaps proved a formidable counterpoise to the descendants of Vandal chiefs, who once looked upon Gaiseric himself as scarcely more than first among his peers. In fact, very soon after the settlement (in 442) there was an actual conspiracy among the nobility against what they considered the overgrown power and pride of their king: but the plot was detected and the conspirators atoned for their share in it by a death of torture. The suspicions and p259jealousies engendered by this conspiracy were very detrimental to the Vandal state.104

2. The Vandal Allotments (Sortes Vandalorum) denote the next class of lands, those which are divided among the warriors of the conquering nation. Divided, surely, by lot,105 in a manner which suited well the ardent love of games of hazard inherent in these Teutonic nations, and in accordance with a custom widely diffused among them, as is testified by the occurrence of the same word, senators, among the Visigoths in Spain, among the Burgundians on the banks of the Lake of Geneva, and among the Ripuarian Franks of the Rhine. The estates were hereditary — this we learn from Victor's express testimony106 — but though hereditary they doubtless carried with them some obligation of service in that 'army' to which they were originally 'portioned out.' Except for this implied obligation of military service they were free from all taxes. These Sortes Vandalorum were, as before said, chiefly to be found in the rich Proconsular province, where they must have clustered thickly, perhaps overflowing a little into p260the neighbouring Numidia.107 Here doubtless the power of the old Vandal nobility was greatest, and the spirit of Vandal nationality the strongest. Here, if it had been written in the book of Fate that an enduring German kingdom of North Africa should be founded, would the speech of the Vandals have struck the deepest root, and the songs of Vandal minstrels as to the bye‑gone ages spent in the forest of the Elbe and the Danube would have been the longest preserved.

3. There remain the poor, the unimproved, the outlying lands, abandoned half-contemptuously to the Roman provincials, who tilled, and crouched, and paid where their fathers fought, and ruled, and robbed. Would this kind of holding in the course of centuries have sunk down into the 'base-tenure' whence ou copyholds sprang, or would it have slowly risen into what our ancestors called free-socage? In other words, would these down-trodden provincials have developed into villeins or freeholders? That is an interesting question, the answer to which is drowned by the trumpets of Belisarius. But, nevertheless, it is worth while noticing that we have here in Africa, half way through the fifth century after Christ, a division of the nation into two distinct census, a burdened, tax‑paying, toiling commonalty, and a lordly, untaxed, warrior class above them — that same division which in France lasted on to the days of our grandfathers, and was shattered by the oath of the Tiers Etat in the Tennis-Court of Versailles.

But it is not to be supposed that a majority of the subject population were left, even in this degraded state, to enjoy the blessings of freedom. The vast estates of the king, his sons, and the Vandal warriors, p261required vast tribes of slaves to cultivate them, and to slavery accordingly, as has before been said, the bulk of the provincial population were reduced. A story which is told us by Procopius,108 and which has something in the ring of it that reminds one of the far‑distant legendary moralities of Herodotus, brings this wholesale enslavement of the people clearly before us. 'The Byzantine general Aspar, as was before said, brought help to the Roman Provincials of Africa, but was defeated by the barbarians. After the battle, Gaiseric ordered all the captives to be mustered in the courtyard of his palace that he might allot them masters suitable to their several conditions. There then they were collected in the open air, and as the noonday sun' — the fierce sun of Libya — 'beat hotly on their heads, most of them sat down. But one among them, who was named Marcian, carelessly composed himself to sleep; and while he lay there an eagle, so they say, with outspread wings, hovered over him, now rising, now falling, but always contriving to shelter him, and him only, from the sun by the shadow of her wings. From the window of an upper combat Gaiseric watched this occurrence, and being a quick-witted man, at once perceived that there was in it something of the nature of an omen. So he sent for the man, and asked him who he was, and whence he came. He replied that he was a confidential servant, or domesticus, as the Romans call it, of Aspar. On hearing this, and reflecting what the bird had done' — the typical Eagle of Rome — 'and comparing it with the influence which Aspar possessed at the court of Byzantium, Gaiseric saw clearly that the captive before him would attain to some high career. p262To kill him, however, did not appear to be at all the right thing to do: for that would only show that the omen had no significance, since certainly the bird would never have taken the trouble to overshadow, as future Emperor, a man who was just on the point of dying. And besides, he had no just cause for putting him to death. Nor could he do it if he was really destined to wear the purple, since what God has resolved upon, Man will never be able to hinder. He therefore bound him by an oath that if he was restored to freedom he would never bear arms against the Vandals. Thus was Marcian liberated, and came to Byzantium, where, not long afterwards, upon the death of Theodosius II, he was made Emperor.' He is the same Marcian with whom we have already made acquaintance as the husband of Pulcheria, the courageous defender of the Empire against Attila, the prince who saw in his dreams the broken bow, on the night when the mighty Hun expired. 'And, though (says Procopius) in all other respects he made an excellent ruler, he never seemed to take any thought for the province of Africa,' mindful as he was of his vow not to bear arms against the Vandals.

The land-settlement, the outlines of which are thus preserved to us, was probably completed soon after the capture of Carthage in 439. We have seen that by the peace of 442 some fragments of African dominion, probably in Tripolitana and Mauretania were still left to the Empire, but after the death of Valentinian III (455) the Vandal dominion spread unchallenged over these as well as over all the islands of the Western Mediterranean.109

p263 As to the administration of government in this wide territory, there are not wanting indications that here, as in so many other portions of the Empire, much was still left in the hands of the trained Roman officials. doubtless the lawless will of the Vandal king could make itself felt wherever it pleased. Doubtless, subject to that omnipotent will, the great nobles, each in his own circle, could exercise unchecked dominion. Still there remained an infinite number of details of daily government in a community which, though half ruined was still civilised, and these details the German conquerors had neither intellect nor patience cotton arrange. They remained therefore in the hands of the Roman bureaucracy, and hence it is that we still, even under the Vandal kings, meet with a Proconsul of Carthage,110 a Primarius Provinciae,111 and a Praepositus Regni,112 though to attempt now to settle the exact functions of these governors would be a hopeless task.

With all the barbarous violence and contempt of the rights of the subject population which characterised the Vandal conquest, it deserves one praise: it was not financially oppressive. While the Imperial government, with phrases of law and right for ever on its lips, was practically sucking the life-blood out of the people by its Indictions and its Superindictions, its Angaria and its Chrysargyron, Gaiseric, though p264helping himself and his soldiers to all the fairest lands in the province, did leave to the poor provincial liberty to live on the sterile soil which he contemptuously abandoned to him. Procopius expressly assures us that when the Emperor Justinian regained Africa it was no longer possible to discover in the public archives the amount of taxes which ought to be paid by each property, since Gaiseric, in the beginning of his reign, had thrown up the whole system and destroyed the registers.113

At first sight this seems contradictory to the same author's statement previously quoted, that the lands abandoned to the Romans were 'so burdened with taxes and public charges that nothing beyond a bare subsistence could be reaped by the nominal possessors.' On reflection, however, we may perhaps come to the conclusion that in that passage Procopius is speaking chiefly of the great Roman land-owners, whom it was evidently part of the Vandal policy to worry out of existence. The mass of cultivators and the little burgesses in the towns, who were known under the Empire as Curiales, were, it seems, practically untaxed. The grievous discontent which arose intention province when this operation was reversed by the Roman re‑conquest, and when the people found that in their liberator they had gained a relentless task-master, is a striking testimony to the general lightness of the financial yoke of the Vandal kings.

In all that has yet been said concerning the career of this people, little has appeared to justify that charge of senseless and brutal destructiveness with which the word 'vandalism' makes us familiar. We have heard p265of the pillage of towns — that, of course, is one of the commonplaces of barbaric conquest; of populations reduced to slavery — but the slave-dealer followed also in the track of the Roman armies; even of the fruit-trees being rooted up — but that was consistent with the cruel logic of war, being done in order to prevent the inhabitants from deserting the towns and prolonging a guerilla campaign in the country on such support as they could derive from the produce of the orchards. We have yet, however, to see the Vandal in his most repulsive aspect, that of a religious persecutor; and when we have beheld him in this capacity, the kernel of truth and the large envelope of passionate exaggeration which both together make up the common idea of 'vandalism' will be more clearly perceived and more easily separated from one another.

The Vandals, like almost every other Teutonic nation, had shared in that great process of religious change of which the bishop Ulfilas was the most conspicuous instrument. Little as their deeds savoured of Christianity, they were, by profession, Christians, holding, as a matter of course, the Arian creed of their great apostle.

They came then with all the rancour of the Arian-Catholic feud, which had now endured for more than a century, bitter in their hearts. And they came into a province which was, beyond all the other provinces of the Roman Empire, undermined by hot volcanic fires of theological passion and bigotry. There is much in the religious controversies of Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries which reminds us of the bloody disputes between Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Independent at the time of our own 'Great Rebellion.' Even the very names of men, not of one party only, have a p266Puritan sound about them: 'What‑God-wills,' 'Thanks-to‑God,' 'Given-by‑God,'114 and so forth, recall the 'Praise‑God Barebones' and his piously named confederates of those stormy days. In Africa, over and above the ordinary religious dissensions of the fourth and fifth centuries, there was a special strife, the Donatist, which had arisen out of the cowardly conduct of some bishops and presbyters during the persecution of the Church by Diocletian and his successors. A hundred and twenty years had elapsed since that time, and it might have been thought that purely personal questions, such as whether this bishop had under terror of death delivered up the sacred books to the Imperial officers, or whether that presbyter had with too great eagerness grasped the crown of martyrdom, might have been now allowed to slumber in oblivion. But sects and churches have long memories, and the Donatists, the Cameronians of Africa, were still as earnest in discussing the election of the so‑called 'traditor'115 Caecilian to the see of Carthage, as if that event had happened yesterday instead of four generations ago. Round the Donatists, and in more or less close connection with them, were grouped the wild, fanatical Circumcelliones, savage boors, whose xl, where it was not assumed as a cloak for rapine and lust, must have been hovering on the verge of insanity, who carried fire and sword through the villages of Africa, and whose war‑cry, 'Praise be to God,'116 was p267heard in those villages with greater terror than the roar of the Numidian lion. The portrait of all these fanatics, being drawn only by their antagonists, must be received with much caution, but after making every conceivable allowance for exaggeration, we cannot avoid the conclusion that in this instance Christian common sense was represented by the party which successfully maintained its title to the envied designation, Catholic. But, Donatists and Catholics having both appealed to the state, and judgment having gone in favour of the latter, they, not unnaturally, according to the ideas of that age, but most unwisely according to our manner of thinking, brought down the iron hand of Imperial despotism with all its weight upon their foes.

It happens that the greater part of the laws against the Donatists117 which are preserved to us belong to the reign of Honorius and the first twenty years of the fifth century, and we are thus able to see clearly mirrored in the Roman statute-book the theological animosities and the petty persecutions which preceded the advent of the Vandals into Africa.118 The power of p268buying, selling, and bequeathing property was denied to the Donatists, 'whom the patience of our Clemency has preserved until now, but who ought to be branded with perpetual infamy, and shut out from all honourable assemblies, and from every place of public resort.' Their churches were to be taken from them and given to the Catholics. They were to pay fines, varying, according to their condition in life, from £25 to £8000 sterling (those wild boors, the Circumcelliones, were to pay £25 a head); and these fines were to be repeated as often as the offender renewed his communion with the Donatist Church. The slaves and the semi-servile agricultural labourers were 'to be prevented from audacious acts of this kind by the severest punishment;' 'to be recalled from their evil religion by more frequent blows' — if blows still proved ineffectual, to lose the third part of their accumulated savings (peculium). We have here, it is true, not a ruthless or bloodthirsty persecution, but we have a great deal of injustice of a very galling kind, perpetrated under the name of religion, just the kind of quiet, crushing, monotonous intolerance by which the Hapsburgs extirpated the Protestantism of Styria, and the English Parliament strove to extirpate the Papistry of Ireland. There can be no doubt that the Catholics had thus earned a rich legacy of hatred and revenge, which was punctually paid to them when the Vandals, heretics like the Donatists, entered Africa.119

p269 We will now hear a little of what Victor Vitensis has to tell us of the Vandal persecutions in the reign of Gaiseric. His style is declamatory and he is full of prejudices, both national and ecclesiastical, but he is all but a contemporary — writing, as he does, 'in the sixtieth year after that cruel and savage nation reached the boundaries of our miserable Africa,' — and he gives us that life and colour which we ask for in vain from the meagre and cautious annalists.

'The wicked rage of the Vandals was especially directed against the churches and basilicas, the cemeteries and the monasteries, and they made bigger bonfires of the houses of prayer than of while cities and towns. If by chance they found the door of the holy house fast closed, it was who should soonest force an entrance by thumping it down with his right hand; so that one might truly say, "They break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers. They have cast fire into Thy sanctuary; they for defiled by casting down the dwelling-place of Thy name to the ground." Ah, how many illustrious bishops and noble priests were put to death by them with divers kinds of torments in the endeavour to compel them to reveal what treasures they had of gold or silver, belonging to themselves or to their churches. If, under the pressure of the torture, they easily revealed their possessions, the persecutors plied them with yet more cruel torments, describing that part only had been surrendered, not the whole; and the more they gave up the more they were supposed to p270be keeping back. Some had their mouths forced open with stakes and crammed with noisome filth. Some were tortured by having strings tightly twisted round the forehead or leg‑bone.120 Some had bladders filled with sea-water, with vinegar, with the dregs of the olive-presses, with the garbage of fishes, and other foul and cruel things laid upon their lips. The weakness of womanhood, the dignity of noble birth, the reverence due to the priesthood — none of these considerations softened those cruel hearts; nay, rather, where they saw that any were held in high honour, there was their mad rage more grievously felt. I cannot describe how many priests and illustrious functionaries had heavy loads piled upon them, as if they were camels or other beasts of burden, nor how with iron goads they urged them on their way, til some fell down under their burdens and miserably gave up the ghost. Hoary hairs enwrapping the venerable head like whitest wool won for the bearer no pity from those savage guests. Innocent little children were snatched by the barbarian from the maternal embrace and dashed to the ground. well might our captive Zion sing "The enemy said that he would burn my borders and slay my infants and dash my little ones to the earth." In some large and stately buildings p[robbery churches], where the ministry of fire had proved insufficient to destroy them, the barbarians showed their contempt of the edifice by levelling its fair walls with the ground; so that now those beautiful old cities have quite lost their former appearance, and many whole towns are now occupied by a scanty remnant p271of the Frenchman inhabitants, or even left altogether desolate.

'Yea, and even to‑day, if any buildings remain, they are continually laying them waste, as, for instance, the Temple of Memory, that worthy appendage to the Theatre of Carthage, and the street called the Street of Heaven,121 both of which they have destroyed from top to bottom. Then too, the large basilica, where the bones of the blessed martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas are laid, the church of Celerina, and others which they have not destroyed, they have, with the license of tyrants, enslaved to their own religious rights. Did they see any strongholds which they were unable to carry by the rush of their barbarian fury, they collected vast multitudes around the walls and slew them with the bloody sword, leaving their carcases to putrefy under the ramparts, that they might slay with the stench those whom their arms were powerless to assail.'

This last sentence may serve as an example of the style in which the indictment against the Vandals has been framed. It is evident that they committed all the excesses which might be expected from a horde of triumphant barbarians, greedy beyond measure of gold, and utterly reckless of human life, but it is also evident that the very blunders of their savage warfare have been made to appear as parts of a diabolical machinery of cruelty by the ecclesiastical pamphleteer.122

When we come to the details of the Vandal persecution p272of the Catholics under Gaiseric (for we have no present concern with that which happened in the next generation), we find further reason to suppose that there has been some exaggeration in the passages already quoted. Two bishops, Papinianus and Mansuetus, seem to have been burnt, but there is something in the language of the historian here which leads us to conjecture that this was the work of cruel pillagers rather than a solemn state-sanctioned martyrdom. The Bishop of Carthage, 'What-God‑wills,'123 and a great multitude of his clergy, were put on board unsound ships and sent out to sea, but they were favoured with a prosperous wind, and arrived in Campania, safe in body, though stripped of all their possessions. The churches of Carthage were claimed for the Arian worship, among them two stately and noble edifices outside the walls, which commemorated respectively the martyrdom and burial124 of St. Cyprian. 'But who,' says the good Victor, 'can bear to remember without tears that Gaiseric ordered us to bear the bodies of our dead, without the solemnity of hymns, in silence to the grave?' When this silent-burial grievance of the African Catholics assumes so prominent a place in the catalogue of their woes, we may perhaps conclude that the religious persecution, considered apart from the mere rapine of the barbarians, was not extremely severe.

A deputation of bishops and leading men of the p273provinces which the Vandals had divided among themselves, waited upon the King, when he had gone down, as his custom was, to the coast of Numidia,125 perhaps to inhale such freshness as might be found in the sea-water. They pleaded with him to restore to the Orthodox some places in which they might worship God. 'What? Are you here still?' he bade his interpreter126 say to the bishops. 'I decreed the banishment of your whole name and race: and yet you dare to ask for such things.' And so great was his anger that he would fain have drowned them all at once in the Mediterranean at his feet, had not his counsellors after long entreaty persuaded him to abandon his purpose. They departed and continued their service of God in such lowly dwellings as they could obtain, not unlike probably to those in which Paul had discoursed till break of day, and the elders of Ephesus had fed the flock of God. For some years, we infer from language of the historian, this unobtrusive worship of the Catholics was permitted, if not expressly sanctioned. Then came denunciations and calumnies, especially against those priests who officiated 'in the regions which paid tribute to the Palace.' if one of these, in his sermons to his flock, happened to mention the name of Pharaoh, or Nebuchadnezzar, or Holofernes, or any similar tyrant — and we may conjecture that these references were rather more frequent than were absolutely needful to explain the Lessons for the day — he was accused of speaking against the person of the King, and banishment was his immediate sentence. For this cause a whole batch p274of bishops (among whom we find 'He‑has‑God,'127 Bishop of Teudala) was banished at once, and the Holofernes of their denunciation would not allow the consecration of any successors to their sees. At length, on the urgent entreaty of Valentinian, he permitted the Orthodox Church of Carthage to ordain for itself a bishop, the gentle and charitable 'Thanks-to‑God,'128 who for three years governed the Metropolitan See with general approval. On his death there was another long interval of widowhood for the Churches, till at last, about the year 475, towards the very end of the reign of Gaiseric, on the intercession of Zeno, Emperor of the East, the surviving bishops were permitted to return from the widely-scattered seats of the long banishment.

Besides the exile, and in some cases the enslavement of the bishops, other oppressions were practised upon the Orthodox. The demand made in the time of Diocletian for the sue road sacred books and vessels was repeated. The officer of the barbarians, a man with the Roman name of Proculus, who was sent to enforce this demand, finding his authority resisted, laid violent hands on all the treasures of the sacristies that he could find, and adding contumely to rapine, caused the beautiful altar-cloths which were already used in the Churches to be cut up into shirts and drawers for his followers. The sacrilege was remembered, and was deemed to have been divinely punished when, not long after, Proculus died of cancer in the tongue. In a town called Regia a battle took place between Catholics and Arians for the possession of the Church, which reminds us of the last fatal fray in St. Mark's Chapel at Florence at the time of the downfall of Savonarola. It was p275Easter-time: the Catholics were celebrating the festival, and the Arians finding the doors of the Church closed against them, under the guidance of a Presbyter named Andiot,129 got together a band of armed men and proceeded to hammer at the doors, to mount the roofs of the neighbouring houses, to shoot their arrows through the windows of the Church. The people within the Church loudly chanted the defiant Alleluia; especially one Lector, who was sitting in the pulpit, made his voice heard above the tumult. An arrow which was shot through the window transfixed his throat, still quivering with the holy hymn; the roll from which he was singing dropped at his feet, and the Lector fell down dead. In rushed the assailant Arians and slew around the altar nearly all the survivors from the previous fight, the older men being especially selected as victims of their wrath.

We have seen how it fared with churches and churchmen at the hands of the Vandals; let us now see how individual laymen were dealt with. Sebastian, the before-mentioned son-in‑law of Bonifacius, a keen-witted counsellor and brave warrior, had shared the ill‑fortune of his kinsman, and after the fatal conflict between him and Aetius, had been driven forth from Ravenna and wandered over the face of the earth. First Constantinople and then the Visigothic court had been his asylum, and he had won Barcelona from the Empire for Theodoric. At last in 440130 he quarrelled with the Visigoths also and sought refuge in Africa. Gaiseric, who had feared him as a foe, welcomed his as a suppliant, and would gladly have promoted him to p276great honour. But he was a Catholic, and for that reason formidable to the Arian king who could not reckon upon him with certainty while he belonged to the rival Church. One day, in the presence of his courtiers and Arian bishops, Gaiseric said to Sebastian, 'I know that your faith is firmly pledged to me and mine, but it would make our friendship more lasting, if here, in the presence of these holy men, you would professor yourself a follower of the same religion which is dear to me and to my people.' Sebastian answered, 'I beseech you, oh king, order that a loaf of the finest and whitest flour be now brought hither.' The king, wondering what could be his meaning, gave the order: the bread was brought, and Sebastian said, 'Oh king! to prepare this white bread and make it fit for the royal table, the wheat had to be separated from the chaff, the fluor to be carefully bolted from the bran, the mill-stone, water, and fire had each to do their work upon it before it attained this spotless purity. Even so have I been from my youth up separated from all heretical contagion, the Church has made me hers by the water of baptism, and the fire of the Holy Spirit has purified me. Now if by crumbling up this bread into little pieces and baking it afresh you can increase its whiteness, then I will take up with another faith and become an Arian as you desire me. But if not I remain a Catholic.' The king saw that he had the worst of the argument for that time, 'but afterwards he tried a different sort of logic and put that brave man to death.'

This command 'to pass over to the sect of the Arians' was given to four men of Spanish birth, Arcadius, Probus, Paschasius, and Eutychius, who had p277served Gaiseric with fidelity and stood high among his counsellors. Their persistent refusal was punished by exile, tortures, and eventually by martyrdom. A young lad named Paulillus, brother of Paschasius and Eutychius, whose beauty and talents had gained him a high place in the royal household, was for the same reason cruelly flogged and then sent into vile bondage. The crown of martyrdom was not awarded him, that the king might be spared the disgrace of being vanquished by a boy of such tender years.131

Eventually the order was given that none but Arians should be tolerated about the Court and person of the king. A certain Armogast, who must have been a Teuton by his name, and who seems to have been a Count132 by office, Rutherford to conform to the Courtly religion. The persecutors tried to change his resolution with the rack and the cord, but the cords, we are assured, broke like spider's webs when the saint looked towards heaven. They hung him head downward by one foot from the ceiling, and he slept as sweetly as if he had been on a feather bed. His m90, Theodoric, the king's son, wished to slay him out of hand, but was wisely warned by his Arian chaplain, 'If you kill him with the sword, the Romans will preach him up as a martyr.' The former Count was therefore sent into the fields to dig ditches and to keep sheep. There he soon died, but not before he had disclosed to a faithful disciple the approaching day of his death, and the place destined for his burial, a place apparently obscure and sordid, but where the obedient disciple, p278when he came to dig, found a sarcophagus of the most splendid marble prepared for the reception of the saint's body.

An example of firm adherence to the faith was found where it would scarcely have been looked for, among the comic actors who performed before the new barbaric Court. A certain 'arch-mime,' named Masculanus, had been long pressed by the king, with flatteries and promises, to join the religion of the dominant caste. As he ever stood firm, Gaiseric gave public orders for his execution, but, with his usual hard craftiness, being determined not to present the Catholic Church with a single martyr more for her veneration, he gave the following secret commands to the executioner. 'If he flinches at the sight of the sword and denies his faith then kill him all the more,133 for then he cannot be considered a martyr. But if he remains firm, sheathe your sword again and let him go free.' Perhaps the acting of the executioner, perplexed by such intricate orders, failed to deceive the practised eye of the arch-comedian. At any rate he stood 'firm as a pillar on the solid rock of Christ,' and saved both life and truth. 'And thus,' says the historian, 'if that envious enemy refused to allow us a martyr, he could not prevent our having a confessor,134 and a glorious one.'

In a simple r manner a certain Saturus, steward over townhouse of Huneric, the king's son, who had made himself conspicuous in many discussions with the Arians, was ordered to change his religion. Riches p279and honours were promised him in the event of his compliance; tortures for himself, poverty for his children, another and apparently a hated husband for his wife, were to be the punishments of his refusal. That wife joined her entreaties to those of the persecutors, begging him not to subject her to the yoke of a base and unworthy husband, 'while the husband Saturus, of whom I have so often boasted, still lives.' 'Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh,' replied the African Job. 'If thou truly lovedst thy husband, thou wouldst not seek to entice him to his second death, I am ready to give up wife and children, and house, and lands, and slaves,135 that I may continue to be a disciple of Christ.' The cruel and unjust sentence was executed. 'Saturus was spoiled of all his substance, was worn down with punishment, was sent away into beggary. His wife was given to a camel-driver. He was forbidden to return to the Court; they took every thing from him, but they could not take away the white robe of his baptism.'

The reader has now before him the chief evidence against the Vandals as religious persecutors during the first generation after their conquest of Africa. He may reasonably ask why there should be set before him, with so much detail, facts which have no direct bearing on the History of Italy. The answer is that our information as to the social aspects of the struggle between Romans and Barbarians in Italy itself during the fifth century is so miserably meagre, we might almost say p280so absolutely non‑existent, that we must be content to supply the deficiency to the best of our power from what we know of the mutual relations of conquerors and conquered, of Arians and Orthodox, in other provinces of the Empire, especially in Africa and Gaul. And this peculiar attitude of the Teutonic nations towards their Catholic subjects in the dawn of the Middle Ages, tending as it did to sever for a time the connection of the Orthodox Clergy with the State, and to throw them back into somewhat of their old position as men of the people, and sympathisers with the people, is so important with reference to the subsequent growth and development of the Spiritual Power, that it cannot be said we are wasting time in considering it a little more closely.

Reviewing then the indictment which has been framed by Victor Vitensis against the persecutor Gaiseric, we come to the following conclusions:—

1. It is clear that the Churches were as a rule either handed over to the Arians for their worship, or else destroyed. And it is this wanton demolition and desecration of ecclesiastical buildings which more than anything else has caused the name of Vandalism to be synonymous in later days with senseless destructiveness.

2. The bishops were for the most part banished, and their flocks were forbidden to elect successors to them. The Vandal king, himself surrounded by Arian bishops, knew, better probably than Decius or Diocletian, how sore a blow, according to the prevailing theories of ecclesiastical organization, he was thus dealing at the very existence of the Church. But under the influence of occasional solicitations from Rome and from Byzantium, he wavered more than once in the execution of this p281stern policy; and even had he been always constant to it, one cannot easily see how the mere mandate of the king could have permanently and universally prevented the consecration of at least some bishops, and the transmission of the episcopal progressives, throughout the whole province of Africa.

3. Individual Catholic were not as a rule persecuted on account of their faith. Occasionally the headstrong arrogance of the king or his sons was roused into fury by the discovery that the officers of their household, or the menials who ministered to their amusement, would not yield servile obedience to their nod in all things, but claimed a right in matters appertaining to God to act according to the dictates of their own consciences. But even in these cases, from mere motives of expediency, Gaiseric was intensely anxious to avoid making new martyrs for the Catholic Church. And as to the great mass of the people, the down-trodden slaves who tilled the vast domain lands of the crown, or the hungry coloni who eked out a scanty subsistence on the edge of the desert, or even the traders and artisans of Hippo and of Carthage, Gaiseric was too much of a statesman to attempt to convert them wholesale, by persecution, to Arianism, and probably too little of a theologian to care greatly whether truth, or what he deemed to be error, was being supplied as food to the souls of all that base-born crew. In the heart of the Teuton invader there perhaps lurked the thought that the confession of Nicaea was good enough for slaves, and that it was well for the free-born warrior of the north to keep his own bolder speculations to himself. The willingness to persecute was clearly in the hearts of these Vandals. They did not in the slightest degree recognise the right of the p282individual conscience to decide for itself how best to express its loyalty to the Great Maker. But they had some dim perception what it was worth while for the ruler to attempt, and what he had better leave to itself. And, above all, their action in the Church, as in the State, was rude, fitful, and ill‑sustained. The quiet, grinding oppression which the Roman Caesars practised upon the Donatist and the Arian, bore to the spasmodic outbreaks of Vandal bigotry the same relation which the pressure of a hydraulic ram bears to the random strokes Ostia child's hammer.136

Such then was the state of the Vandal kingdom, when, in the year 455, twenty-seven years after the passage of the Barbarians into Africa, and sixteen after their conquest of Carthage, the cry of the widowed Eudoxia for help reached the court of Gaiseric.137 Little stimulus did the great Buccaneer need to urge him to the spoil of the capital of the world. It was clear that 'the city with which God was angry' this time was are, and the pilot had not to ask his master twice for sailing orders. It was in the early days of June when the sentinels at Ostia saw the Vandal fleet in the offing. The helpless consternation which prevailed at Rome has been already described, — no attempt to man the walls, not even courage enough to parley with the enemy, only a blind universal sauve qui peut which the Emperor himself would fain have joined in, had he not been arrested by the indignant people, and torn limb p283from limb by the Imperial domestics, a sacrifice to the Manes of Valentinian.

On the third day138 after the death of Maximus, Gaiseric, with his yellow-haired Vandal Giants, appeared before the gates of the defenceless city. Utterly defenceless, as far as the weapons of the flesh were concerned; but the majestic Bishop Leo, followed probably by a train of venerable ecclesiastics, met him outside the gates of the city, eager to discover whether the same spiritual weapons which he had wielded so well three years before against the mighty Hun by the banks of the Mincio would avail now by the banks of the Tiber against the yet more dreaded Vandal. The Pope's success was not complete, yet it was something. Gaiseric's sole object was booty, not power now, nor revenge, only that simple and intelligible motive which led Pizarro and his adventurers to the capital of the Incas, and which made their eyes gleam when they gazed upon Atahualpa's room of gold. This being Gaiseric's one desire, he could well afford to concede to the Pope that there should be no putting to death, no burning of public or private buildings, and he also granted, what it must have been harder for a Vandal to yield, that no torture should be applied to compel a discovery of hidden treasure. Having framed this secular Concordat with the occupant of the chair of St. Peter, the Vandal king passed in, and rode slowly through the unresisting city. For fourteen days — that interval at least was distinctly fixed on the memories of the Romans, and every chronicler reports it as the same, whatever their variations on other points — for fourteen p284days the city was subjected to 'a leisurely and unhindered'139 examination and extraction of its wealth. The gold, the silver, and the copper were carried away from the Imperial Palace, and stored with business-like thoroughness in the Vandal galleys. The churches were probably despoiled of their ornaments and plate. The temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was pillaged, and half of its roof was stripped off, 'which was made of the finest copper, with a thick coating of gold over it, magnificent and wonderful.' Why only half should have been taken we know not; such moderation is surprising and almost painful to behold. Possibly the Barbarians commenced the laborious process in the belief that they were stripping off solid gold, and desisted from it when they found that their reward would be only copper gilt. Statues too, good store of them, were carried off and loaded upon one of Gaiseric's vessels. Most unhappily, this one ship, out of all the fleet, foundered on the return voyage. The marble limbs of many a Nymph and Faun, of many a dweller on Olympus, and many a deified dweller on the Palatine, must have been lying for these fourteen centuries, fathoms deep in the Sicilian or Carthaginian waters. If the engineers of the electric cable in spinning their marvellous web from continent to continent should come across the sunken cargo of that vddl trireme, may it be in our own day, and may we see that harvest from the deep!

But on the whole it is clear from the accounts of all the chroniclers that Gaiseric's pillage of Rome, though insulting and impoverishing to the last degree, was in no sense destructive to the Queen of cities. Whatever p285he may have done in Africa, in Rome he waged no war on architecture, being far too well employed in storing away gold and silver and precious stones, and all manner of costly merchandise in those insatiable hulks which were riding at anchor in the Tiber. Therefore, when you stand in the Forum of Rome or look upon the grass-grown hill which was once the glorious Palatine, blame if you like the Ostrogoth, the Byzantine, the Lombard, blame above all, the Norman, and the Roman Baron of the Middle Ages, for the heart-breaking ruin that you see there, but leave the Vandal uncensured, for, notwithstanding the stigma conveyed in the word 'vandalism,' he is not guilty here.140

Among the spoils which were carried in safety from Rome to Carthage were, we are told, the sacred vessels of the Jewish Temple with the sculptured effigies of which, on the Arch of Titus, we are all familiar. No contemporary historian refers to them, and we might have been disposed to reject the story of their capture as a romance of later writers, but that in the next century we find Procopius, the friend and companion of Belisarius, distinctly asserting that on the fall of the Vandal monarchy, these vessels with countless other treasures, golden saddles, golden carriages for the ladies of the court, hundreds of thousands of talents of silver, and all kinds of ornaments inlaid with precious stones, were found in the palace of Gelimer, great grandson of Gaiseric. All the rest of the glittering spoil was taken to Byzantium, and having given lustre to the triumph p286of Belisarius, was there retained; but the vessels which had been consecrated to the service of Jehovah were carried back to Jerusalem, and placed in the Christian churches there, a Jew, who saw them among the spoil, having pointed out to a friend of the emperor's that their presence (like that of the Ark in the towns of the Philistines) had brought capture and desolation first on Rome and then on Rome's Vandal conquerors.

But the fortunes of the sacred vessels of the Jewish worship have carried us eighty years away from our present moorings. We return to Gaiseric and his treasure-laden fleet. He took back with him to Carthage Eudoxia, the widow of two Emperors and the daughter of a third. It was probably a greater kindness to take her as a captive to Carthage than to leave her face to face with the exasperated people of Rome, upon whom her blind desire for revenge on Maximus had brought so much misery. In the captive train also were her two daughters, Eudocia and Placidia, and (strange companion of their adversity) the son of Aetius, Gaudentius, who had once aspired to the hand of one of them. But the match upon which Aetius had set his heart so earnestly was not to be brought about by their common captivity. Gaiseric gave the elder princess, Eudocia, in marriage to his son Huneric, being the second princess of the house of Theodosius who was wedded to a Teutonic prince. one would like to believe that the young Vandal, while a hostage in Rome, had won the heart of the daughter of the Emperor; but as he must surely have returned before the surprise of Carthage (439) this cannot be. His future wife was but a abbe in arms when he was loitering in the palace of her father. The other princess, Placidia, with her mother, after seven p287years detention at Carthage, where they were treated with all honour and courtesy, was sent to Constantinople, on the early entreaty of the Emperor Leo. She married the Roman Senator Olybrius, whose name we shall meet with among the last Emperors of Rome.

Besides the Empress and her daughters, the Vandal host carried a great multitude of Roman citizens back with them into captivity. It was like one of the great transportations of unwilling multitudes which we read of in the Jewish Scriptures as practised by a Shalmaneser or a Nebuchadnezzar. The skilful craftsman, the strong labourer, the young and handsome cupbearer, the experienced house-steward, were all swept away, all ruthlessly sundered from one another, husbands from wives, and parents from children, and distributed as bondslaves through Morocco, Algiers, and Tunis.141 It is a strange thought, how many drops of pure Roman blood may now be flowing through the veins of the half-civilized inhabitants of Northern Africa. A Kabyle robber from Mount Atlas, with cotton burnous, such as I remember to have seen in captivity on the Isle St. Honorat, near Cannes, spreading his carpet, turning his face towards the setting sun, and jabbering out his long and rapid prayer from the Koran, may be a truer descendant of the Fabii and the Camilli than any living inhabitant of the Eternal City.

The sufferings of the unhappy captives from Rome were to some extent, but it could only be to a small extent, alleviated by the charity of the saintly Bishop of Carthage, 'Deo‑Gratias.' He sold all the gold and p288silver vessels of his church in order to ransom such captives as he could, and as much as possible to prevent the disruption of the family ties of those whom he could not ransom. There were no proper warehouses for receiving all this vast human live-stock which the freebooters had brought back with them. He placed two large basilicas at their disposal; he fitted them up with beds and straw; he even took upon himself the heavy charge of the daily commissariat. Sea‑a, pining for home, the sad and awful change from the luxury of the Roman villa to the miseries of a Vandal slave-ship, had prostrated many of the captives with disease. He turned his church into an infirmary: notwithstanding his advanced age and his tottering limbs, day and night he went the round of the beds of his patients, following the doctors like a careful nurse, making himself acquainted with the state of each, seeing that each received the food and medicine which was suited to his condition. Often, while he was thus moving through the wards of his basilica-hospital, intent on his work of mercy, must the words 'Deo Gratias' have risen to the feeble lips of the sufferers, who, perhaps, scarcely knew themselves whether they were expressing gratitude to Heaven or to Heaven's fitly-named representative on earth. Before his charitable work was complete, his life, which had been threatened more than once by the violence of the Arian party, who were jealous even of his goodness, came to a peaceful close; and when they heard that he was taken from them, the captive citizens of Rome felt as if they were a second time delivered into the hands of the Barbarians. He was buried secretly in p289an unusual place, to guard his body from the pious irreverence of relic-hunters, who would have dismembered the venerable corpse in their eagerness to obtain wonder-working memorials of so great a saint.

And so we leave the many thousands of Roman captives to the unrecorded sorrows of their house of bondage.

The Author's Notes:

1 Book IV, cap. 14: 'Vindili, quorum pars Burgundiones, Varini, Carini, Guttones.'

2 ἀγχίνους is Procopius' description of Gaiseric (I.4).

3 Orosius (VII.38), rather spitefully, says of Stilicho that he was 'descended from the unwarlike (imbellis), avaricious, perfidious, and crafty nation of the Vandals.' Salvian (VII.7) says that 'God, by handing over the Spanish nation to the Vandals for punishment, showed in a double degree his hatred of the sins of the flesh, since the Spaniards were conspicuous for their immorality and the Vandals for their chastity, while on the other hand the latter were the weakest of all the barbarian tribes.' Their rapid decline in martial vigour after the death of Gaiseric points to the same quality in their character.

4 Jordanes (De Rebus Geticis, IV) speaks of the Vandals at this period of their history as pressed upon by the victories of the Goths during their settlement by the Baltic.

5 See Paulus Diaconus: Hist. Langobard. I.7, 10.

6 This is inferred from the language of Capitolinus, 'Pannonias ergo et Marcomannis, Sarmatis, Wandalis simul etiam Quadis extinctis, servitio liberavit' (Vita M. Ant. Phil. xvii).

7 Dion Cassius, LXXI.12. His account of the movements of the Vandals under their leaders Raüs and Raptus is very obscure, but the result is that indicated above.

8 ἐμεγαλοφρόνει δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ τοὺς Βανδίλους καὶ τοὺς Μαρκομάνους φίλους ὄντας ἀλλήλοις, συγκεκρουκέναι Dion Cass. LXXVII.20).

9 Or perhaps his cousin Severus Alexander. See Mannert's Introduction to the Tabula Peutingeriana (p15). The insertion of Constantinople in the Tabula is believed to be the work of a mediaeval copyist (p18).

10 See Dexippus (Excerpt 2, de Bellis Scythicis, p19, ed. Bonn) and Priscus (Excerpt 11, p126, ibid.).


'Sub dispositione viri spectabilis comitis rei militaris per Aegyptum:—

Ala Octava Vandilorum Neae.'

Notitia Imperii, Oriens, cap. xxv.

The situation of Nea is not known. The number of the Ala is stated by Joannes Lydus (De Magistratibus, I.46) to have been 600 men. It was always composed of cavalry.

12 Ὅσους δὲ ζῶντας οἷός τε γέγονεν ἑλεῖν, εἰς Βρεττανίαν παρέπεμψεν· οἱ τὴν νῆσον οἰκήσαντες ἐπαναστάντος μετὰ ταῦτά τινος γεγόνασι βασιλεῖ χρήσιμοι (Zosimus, I.68. Cf. Vopiscus: Vita Probi, xviii). The statement sometimes attributed to Camden, that there was a fortress near Cambridge, on the Gogmagog Hills, built by these Vandal captives and named after them Vandlebury, is not made in that form by Camden, and does not really rest on his authority, but on that of Gervase of Tilbury, from whom he quotes it; nor does it seem to be more than a piece of fanatic etymology. The words of Gervase 'the Vandals, who made a camp here when they ravaged part of Britain and cruelly massacred the Christians,' show the thoroughly unhistorical character of his information, which, moreover, has nothing to do with the exiles under Probus (see Camden's Britannia by Gough, II.213, ••ed. 1806).

13 That is, supposing the name given by Jordanes, Marisia, to be correct. The Marus, now March, a river of Moravia, which flows into the Danube above Presburg, would suit the rest of his geographical description better.

14 [Vandali] 'Pannoniam sibi a principe Constantino petiere, ibique, per LX annos plus minus sedibus locatis, imperatorum decretis ut incolae famularunt' (Jordanes de Reb. Get. c. 22).

15 Salvian, VII.11. This appears to be the meaning, but the good Presbyter is rhetorically obscure. 'Nam cum armis nos atque auxiliis superbiremus, a parte hostium nobis liber divinae legis occurrit. Ad hanc enim praecipue opem timor et perturbatio tunc Wandalica confugit, ut seriem nobis Eloquii coelestis opponeret et adversum venientes aemulos suos sacri voluminis scripta quasi ipsa quodammodo Divinitatis ora reseraret.'

16 See vol. I p739 (note) for the chronology of this important event.

17 Made by 'Trio' and by Orosius (Hist. VII.38), and apparently echoed by St. Jerome (Epist. ad Ageruchiam): 'Non vitio principum sed scelere semibarbari accidit proditoris.' Papencordt suggests that Stilicho may, with perfect loyalty to the Empire, have invited the Vandals into Gaul, intending to use them as a counterpoise to the Franks.

18 We get our fullest information as to this battle from Gregory of Tours, quoting from Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus (Hist. Franc. II.9).

19 See vol. I pp741‑745.

20 The leader of the united host was Guntheric or Gunderic, King of the Vandals. For the chronology see vol. I p824, n. 2.

21 See I.387.

22 If Gregory is right this name is an error for that of Guntheric, son of Godigisclus.

23 See Dahn (Könige der Germanen, I.145, n. 4), whose view, I think, nearly coincides with that here expressed.

24 Though this, as Papencordt remarks (p17), is nowhere expressly stated, but is a very probable conjecture of Mascou's from Dio Cassius, LXXI.12.

25 The derivation of Andalusia from the Vandals must now be considered more than doubtful. Papencordt (p16, n. 1) quotes Casiri as his authority for the assertion that the true form of the name is Handalusia, the Arabic equivalent for Hesperia, and that it was originally given by the Moors to the whole country of Spain.

26 As we hear nothing of Fredibal's relationship to Guntheric or Gaiseric he was probably King of the Silingian Vandals. It seems to me more probable that Constantius was Fredibal's captor than wallia, though the entry in Idatius is not clear. It is as follows:—

'(Anno Honorii) XXII.

'Constantius Placidiam accepit uxorem.

Fredibalum regem gentis Wandalorum sine ullo certamine ingeniose captum ad Imperatorem Honorium destinat.

'XXIII. wallia rex Gothorum, Romani nominis causâ, intra Hispanias Caedes magnas efficit barbarorum.'

27 Idatius s. a. XXIV Honorii. 'Wandali Silingi in Baetica per Walliam p224regem omnes extincti. Alani qui Wandalis et Suevis potentabantur, adeo Caesi sunt a Gothis ut extincto Atace rege ipsorum, Pauci, qui superfuerant, abolito Regni nomine de Gunderici regis Wandalorum, qui in Galloecia resederat, se patrocinio subjugarent.'

28 'Inter Gundericum Wandalorum et Hermericum Suevorum reges certamine orte. Suevi in Nervasis montibus obsidentur a Wandalis' (Idatius). There can be little doubt that some of the mountains of the Asturias are here referred to. Dahn (Könige der Germanen, VI.547) quotes Mascou as suggesting the mountains of St. Maria de Arvas between Leon and Oviedo, which agree well enough with the geographical requirements of the history.

29 See vol. I pp872, 889, and 890.

30 'Inepto et injurioso imperio' (Prosper).

31 The account of this expedition against the Vandals, chiefly important on account of its bearing on the after-history of Bonifacius, is given us by Idatius and Prosper.

32 'Wandali Balearicas insulas depraedantur: deinde Carthagine Spartariâ [Spartaria is an epithet of Carthago Nova] et Hispali eversâ et Hispaniis depraedatis, Mauritaniam invadunt.' Idatius, s. a. 425.

33 This story of the tripartite division rests only on the authority of Procopius, which is not first-rate for this period.

34 This rumour is mentioned by Procopius, who, however, discredits it and says that the Vandals would not admit its truth. Procopius adds, 'I have myself heard from men of this nation that Gontharis was taken prisoner in Spain by the Germans and crucified by them.'

35 His name is commonly written Genseric; but there can be little doubt that the great Vandal's real name was Gaiseric, and that is the form which I have therefore preferred to use.
Idatius (5th century) calls him Gaisericus.
Prosper of Aquitaine (5th century) and Victor Vitensis (5th century) Gaisericus.
At the end of Prosper's Chronicle he is called Genseric. This is probably an alteration by a later hand.
Jordanes and Procopius (6th century) Gizericus.
Chronicon 'Cuspiniani' (end of 5th century) Gesericus.
Malchus and Cassiodorus (early part of 6th century) Ginsericus.
Marcellinus (6th century), Victor Tunnunensis (6th century), and Historia Miscella (8th century?) Gensericus.

The incorrect form which has been accepted by History seems to have been that which was current at Byzantium.

It will perhaps be objected that we have coins bearing Genseric's name spelt in the usual manner. But Julius Friedländer, the chief authority on the subject of Vandal Numismatics, shows strong reasons for reducing the three so‑called copper coins of Genseric to one, and for believing that this one is not Vandal at all but Byzantium of the 8th or 9th century, with the inscription, not 'Genser. Augus.' but 'Mense Augus.' He concludes emphatically 'We know of no coins of this king.' (Die Münzen der Vandalen, p18.) Friedländer, apparently approving the spelling Gaiserich, derives the name from Gais 'a javelin' and Reiks 'a king' (p6).

36 Ἀγχίνοια (Procopius, Bell. Vand. I.4).

37 Γιζέριχος τά τε πολέμια ὡς ἄριστα ἐξήσκητο καὶ δεινότατος ἦν ἀνθρώπων ἁπάντων (Procopius, Bell. Vand. I.3).

38 Malchus (Excerpt 5, p240, ••ed. Bonn).

39 Γινζέριχος.

40 Chronicon (s. a. 428) 'Gaisericus succedit in regno: qui, ut aliquorum relatio habet, effectus apostata de fide Catholicâ in Arianam dictus est transisse perfidiam.'

41 This explanation is suggested by Papencordt (p63).

42 The date chosen by Tillemont. Pagi, followed by Gibbon and Clinton, prefers 429. See Note E on Vandal Chronology.

43 Not the same as Hermanric who, having been mentioned by Idatius under the year 419, is again met with in 430 and 433, and whose death is recorded in 438.

44 This story is told, but not very clearly, by Idatius.

45 St. Eulalia's is one of the most beautiful faces in the procession of virgin-martyrs represented on the north wall of S. Apollinare Nuovo at Ravenna. She is said to have miraculously prevented Theodoric II from sacking her native city in 456 (Idatius s. a.).

46 Victor Vitensis expressly mentions that some erroneously supposed that 80,000 was the number of the fighting men. However, I think we must understand, in accordance with the strict interpretation of Victor's words ('Quia reperti sunt senes, juvenes, parvuli, servi vel Domini octoginta millia numerari') that females were excluded from the reckoning, in order to get anything like an approximation to the 50,000 soldiers mentioned by Procopius (καίτοι οὐ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐς μυριάδας πέντε τὸ τῶν Βανδίλων τε καὶ Ἀλανῶν πλῆθος ἔν γε τῷ πρὶν χρόνῳ ἐλέγετο εἶναι: Proc. de B. V. I.5).

47 At the time of the entire (Occ. vii compared with v.) we find stationed 'intra Africam' —

Three Legiones Palatinae,

Armigeri propugnatores seniores

Armigeri propugnatores juniores


One Auxilium Palatinum,

Celtae juniores.

One Legio Pseudo-Comitatensis of uncertain name.

Seven Legiones Comitatenses,

Secundani Italiciani





Tertio Augustani


and (as above stated) nineteen 'vexillations' of Cavalry.

48 From the Notitia Dignitatum (Occ. xxiii, xxix, and xxx, ••ed. Böcking) we learn that there were sixteen limitary garrisons in Proconsular Africa, eight in Mauretania Caesariensis, and fourteen in Tripolitana.

49 See vol. I p619.

50 As pointed out by Mommsen (Römische Geschichte, V.636).

51 See Mommsen (u. s. vol. II p321 of the English translation), 'Caesarea' (formerly called Iol) 'remained a considerable commercial town; but in the province the fixed settlement was restricted to the northern mountain-range, and it was only in the eastern portion that larger inland towns were to be found. Even the fertile valley of the most considerable river of this province, the Shelif, shows weak urban development.'

52 Leptis Magna, Oea and Sabrata.

53 Mommsen, book VIII cap. 13 (Prov. of Roman Empire, vol. II, p316, English translation).

54 The prosperity of the colony sent to Carthage by Caius Gracchus (B.C. 122) was of short duration.

55 In the Notitia (Occ. xii) we find —

'Sub dispositione viri illustris comitis privatarum . . . Comes Gildoniaci Patrimonii.'

56 See vol. I pp665‑670.

57 I am here depending on the authority of Mommsen (Prov. of Roman Empire, II.327), 'Perhaps already under Caesar, certainly under Augustus and Tiberius the towns of the Roman province and of the Mauretanian kingdom employed in official use the Phoenician language. . . . But limited recognition of the Phoenician language did not long subsist. There is no proof of the official use of Phoenician after Tiberius, and it can hardly have survived the first dynasty.'

58 'Interrogati rustici nostri quid sint, punicè respondentes, "Canani, corrupta una littera quid aliud respondent quam Cananaei?" ' Augustini Expeditio Apostolic ad Romanos (quoted by Papencordt).

59 So says Joannes Lydus (De Magist. III.73), Λίβυν ἐπιζητῶν [διδάσκαλον τῆς Ἰταλίδος φωνής] αὐτοὺς γὰρ ἔφασκεν ἐγνωκέναι στωμυλωτέρως παρὰ τοὺς Ἰταλοὺς διαλέγεσθαι. The generous Prefect Phocas, though really able to speak Latin perfectly, professed to want an African master of the language in order to assist the destitute Speciosus.

60 Mommsen says (l.c. p342), 'But the black spot of the African literary character is just its scholasticism. . . . The language swarmed partly with scholastic reminiscences, partly with unclassical or newly-coined words and phrases. There is a lack of both the graceful charm of the Greek and of the dignity of the Roman. Significantly we do not meet in the whole field of Africano-Latin authorship a single poet who deserves to be so much as named.'

61 'Felix Kartago' is a frequent legend on the Imperial coins.

62 Vol. I p931.

63 Aquae Calidae, now Hammam Elenf.

64 So says Orosius, who, on account of his friendship for St. Augustine, is probably a good witness at any rate as to the Carthage of the fifth century. 'Arx, qui Byrsae nomen erat, paulo Amplius quam due millia passuum tenebat. Ex unâ parte murus communis erat urbis et Byrsae imminens mari, quod mare Stagnum vocant quoniam objectu protentae linguae tranquillatur' (Hist. IV.22). I must confess that there seems to me considerable force in the arms of Dr. Davis (Carthage and her Remains, chap. XVII) against the identification of the Byrsa with the hill of St. Louis, though the site which he contends for will not altogether suit the above passage in Orosius.

65 Βύρσα = a hide.

66 But zzz Botsrah requires some gentle violence to press it into Bursa. I cannot help thinking that the old Greek derivation may be nearer the truth than modern scholars admit. Gesenius postulates the existence of an unused root zzz (barash), 'to cut' (especially to cut into slices, see zzz). If the legend about Dido's bargain was, as seems probable, home-grown, Byrsa may have been derived from a kindred root to this. The similarity with the Greek Βύρσα was, of course, a mere coincidence.

67 Vol. I p619.

68 This is made probable, but is not actually proved by the language of Salvian (De Gubern. Dei, VII.16) which is, in itself, an interesting description of the condition of Carthage on the eve of the Vandal invasion.

'I speak of Carthage, once the mightiest enemy of Rome, and now like another Rome in the world of agr. She alone is sufficient for my purpose as an example and a witness, since she contained within herself all the resources whereby throughout the whole world the good order of the commonwealth is established or maintained. For there are all the appliances of the offices of State, the schools of the liberal arts, the lecture-rooms of the philosophers, in short, all the institutions for training students either in literature or in morals. There, too, are the military forces and the authorities in command of the army, the honour of the proconsul, that daily judge and ruler, proconsul, indeed, in name but a very consul in power ('illic honor proconsularis, illic judex cotidianus et rector, quantum ad nomen quidem proconsul, sed quantum ad potentiam consul'); there, finally, are all the distributers of wealth, the rulers, so to speak, of every street and square, who, with every imaginable variety of rank and name, govern all the regions of the city and all the members of the nation.'

69 The official staff of the Proconsul Africae is described in the 17th chapter of the Notitia Occidentis: that of the Vicarius Africae in the 19th, and that of the Comes Africae in the 23rd chapter. Papencordt (p29) considers that all three dignitaries, Vicarius, Proconsul, and Comes resided at Carthage.

70 Papencordt (p69) points out that we have in the Theodosian Code (XII.6.33) an ordinance entrusting the care of the magazines of provisions in the Proconsular and Byzacene provinces to the Curiales. This ordinance being dated from Ravenna, 15 Feb., 430, looks as if at that time the Imperial Court did not consider these two provinces in danger from Gaiseric's movements. Perhaps it was framed in some interval of truce obtained by the mediation of Bonifacius.

71 There can be little doubt that this is the place meant by Possidius, the biographer of St. Augustine, when for, 'Vix tres superstites videbat ex innumerabilibus ecclesiis, hoc est Carthaginensem, Hipponensem et Circensem.' Possidius, it is true, speaks of churches, but we may conclude that if the Vandals had ruined all the other churches, they had also taken the towns.

72 Two hundred and thirty‑two books, besides innumerable epistles, an expedition of the Psalter and the Gospels and popular tractates, called Homilies by the Greeks, the number of which it is impossible to ascertain (Victor Vitensis, I.3).

73 Victor Vitensis, I.1.

74 Victor Vitensis, I.3.

75 Possidius, cap. 28, 29.

76 Vol. I p878.

77 Procopius, De Bell. Vand. I.3.

78 Tennyson, Harold, III.1.

79 Possidius, cap. 31.

80 Papencordt (p69) quotes 431 for the date of this battle. I have assigned it to 432 (vol. I p878). I do not think we can fix the date with certainty.

81 See vol. I p879.

82 Not 30th January, as inadvertently stated in the first edition.

83 'Pax facta cum Vandalis, datâ eis ad habitandum per Trigetium Africae portione. III Idus Februarii, Hippone,' Prosper, s. a. 435. Trigetius, the negotiator of this peace, was afterwards Prefect and one of the ambassadors sent in 452 with Pope Leo to the camp of Attila (see p157). Papencordt (p344) proposes to read 'per Trigennium' for 'per Trigetium,' and to make the Imperial concession ostensibly limited to a period of thirty years, but this does not seem probable.

84 'Licet post ejus [Augustini] obitum urbs Hipponensis incolis destituta ab hostibus fuerit concremata.' Possidius, Vita S. Aug. 28. I am indebted to Papencordt for this quotation.

85 The statement in the first edition (II.252) as to the surrender of Hippo to the Vandals under the treaty of 435 is too positive.

86 p109.

87 'Aetio rebus, quae in Galliis componebantur, intento, Geisericus, de cujus amicitiâ nihil metuebatur, XIV Kal. Novembris Carthaginem dolo pacis invadit, omnesque opes ejus, excruciatis diverso tormentorum genere civibus, in jus suum vertit.' Marcellinus puts the date four days later, on the 23rd of October.

88 Victor Vitensis ascribes the capture of Rome (455) to the fifteenth year of Gaiseric's reign, and says that he continued in his kingship thirty-seven years and three months, evidently reckoning this reign, which ended in Jan. 477, from the date of the capture of Carthage. Prosper and Procopius also date his reign from the same event. What title, then, did he now assume? In the decrees quoted by Victor Vitensis he styles himself 'King of the Vandals and Alans;' but this looks as if he may also have styled himself 'King of Carthage' or 'King of Africa.' Theophanes (s. a. 449) says that he called himself 'King of the land and sea,' but he is a late writer.

89 Gaiseric even rounded the pillars of Hercules and attacked the coasts of Gallicia in Spain. 'Wandali navibus Turonio (?) in litore Gallaeciae repenté advecti, familias capiunt plurimorum' (Idatius, s. a. 445).

90 In the Novellae Valentiniani III (Tit. IX ••ed. Haenel) under the date 440, occurs the following interesting reference to the piratical excursions of Gaiseric; 'Geisericus hostis Imperii nostri non parvam classem de Karthaginensi portu nuntiatus est eduxisse, cujus Repentinus excursus et fortuita depredatio cunctis est litoribus formidanda.' The object of the decree which was entitled 'De reddito jure armorum' was to convey to 'our most loving Roman people' the Imperial permission and command to use arms and band themselves together the defence of the threatened coasts. Valentinian at the same time states that 'the army of our father, the unconquered Theodosius (II), is drawing nigh,' that 'we believe the most excellent man, our Patrician Aetius, to be at hand with a great power,' and that 'the mom illustrious master of the soldiery, Sigisvuld, ceases not to array both milites and foederati for the defence both of the cities and the coasts.'

91 Thus Sidonius —

'Heu Facinus! in Bella iterum quartosque labores

Perfidia Eliseae crudescunt classica Byrsae.'

(Panegyric of Avitus, 444‑5.)

92 Prosper, s. a. 441. The disputes of the generals may fairly be inferred from what Prosper tells us of their long delays.

93 This is not expressly stated by Prosper.

94 'Cum Geiserico autem ab Augusto Valentiniano pax confirmata, et certis spatiis Africa inter utrumque divisa est' (Prosper).

95 See Note F. Vandal Dominion over the Islands of the Mediterranean.

96 De Bello Vandalico, I.5. (I have transposed torr of the two paragraphs.)

97 Λόχοι.

98 Ἐν ἀνδραπόδων μοίρᾳ.

99 de Pers. Vand. I.4.

100 'Disponens quoque singulas quasque provincias, sibi Byzacenam, Abaritanam atque Getuliam et partem Numidiae reservAvit, exercitui vero Zeugitanam vel Proconsularem funiculo Hereditatis divisit.' Ibid. I.4.

101 Or Byzacium.

102 This is Papencordt's suggestion (p181). He says that the way in which Abara is mentioned in the list of African churches shows that it was near to Carthage.

103 This process is, I believe, called in Australia 'picking out the eyes' of a district. Dahn's explanation of Victor (Könige der Germanen, I.205) substantially agrees with the above.

104 'In Geisericum apud suos de successu rerum superbientem quidem optimates Ipsius conspiraverunt: sed molitione detectâ, multis ab eo suppliciis excruciati atque exstincti sunt. Cumque idem audendum etiam aliis videretur, multis regis Suspicio exitio fuit, ut hac sui curâ plus virium perderet, quam si bello superaretur.' Prosper s. a. 442.

105 Hallam seems to doubt whether the partition really took place by lot, and would make senators simply the equivalent of the Greek κλῆρος (Supplemental Notes, p71). But Binding, who has examined the subject very carefully, pronounces decidedly in favour of the meaning which is etymologically the obvious one, viz. that the senators implied 'sortilegy,' an 'allotment,' a casting of lots (Geschichte des Burgundisch-Romanischen Königreichs, 18).

106 'funiculo Hereditatis divisit.'

107 Gaisericus sibi partem Numidiae reservavit. Victor Vit. l.c.

108 De Bello Vandalico, I.4.

109 After enumerating (in the extract previously quoted) the Byzacene and Abaritan provinces, Getulia, a part of Numidia and Zeugitana, Victor Vitensis proceeds (I.4): 'Valentiniano adhuc Imperatore, reliquas licet jam exterminatas Provincias defendente. Post cujus mortem, Totius Africae ambitum obtinuit, necnon et insulas maximas, Sardiniam, Siciliam, Ebusam, Majoricam, Minoricam vel alias multas superbiâ sibi consuetâ defendit.'

110 Victor Vitensis, V.4.

111 Vita S. Fulgentii, cap. 14.

112 Victor Vitensis, II.5. (I owe these references to Papencordt.)

113 De Bello Vandalico, II.8.

114 Quod-vult-Deus, Deo-gratias, A‑deo-datus.

115 The name given to those who in time of persecution surrendered their Bibles to be burnt by the executioner.

116 'Deo Laudes.' The battle-shout of the Catholic party was 'Deo gratias.'

117 In many of the edicts the Donatists are coupled with the Manicheans, who asserted the combined agency of two eternal principles, Good and Evil, in the Creation. Thus one of the most special and technical of sectarian squabbles was coupled with the oldest, the strongest, and the most alluring form of unfaith.

118 See especially Book XVI of the Theodosian Code, Tit. V, Laws 37 to 54. By Law No. 53 the scale of fines was fixed thus:— A man who had filled one of the highest offices of state, Proconsul, Vicarius, or Comes, 'if found in the Donatist flock,' was to pay 200 lbs. weight of gold (about £8000); a Senator 100 lbs. weight (about £4000); one who had held the Pagan dignity of Sacerdos, the same sum; one of the leading ten men in a corporation (Decemprimi Curiales), 50 lbs of silver (about £133 sterling); a Common-Council‑Man (Decurion), 10 lbs, of silver, a little more than £25 sterling. after one of the officials of higher rank had paid the fine five times, 'if he be not then by his losses recalled from the error of his ways, let him be referred to our Clemency, that we may pass some more severe sentence concerning the capital which belongs to him, and concerning his rank in life.'

119 We might naturally expect to find the Donatists, though orthodox, taking sides with the Arians against their Catholic persecutors: but Papencordt (pp284‑286) shows some ground for believing that this was not the case either before or after the Vandal Conquest.

120 'Nonnullos in frontibus et tibiis, nervis remugientibus torquendo cruciabant.' (Translation doubtful.)

121 'Via Coelestis.'

122 Gibbon sensibly remarks, 'I cannot believe that it was a usual stratagem to slaughter great numbers of their prisoners before the walls of a besieged city, for the sole purpose of infecting the air and producing a pestilence, of which they themselves must have been the first victims.' (Vol. IV p182, ••ed. Smith.)

123 Quod-vult-Deus.

124 The latter church was called Mappalia, 'the Huts,' showing the humble origin from whence it had sprung. It is interesting to meet again this word Mappalia, which Sallust mentions as the name of the long, hull-shaped dwellings of the Numidian rustics in the time of Jugurtha.

125 'To the place which is commonly called Lugula.' I cannot find any trace of this name.

126 'Internuntium.'

127 'Habet-Deum.'

128 'Deo-gratias.'

129 Or Adduit. Is this a Teutonic name?

130 Prosper gives this date: Idatius 445.

131 Prosper s. a. 437.

132 Victor's expression, 'Comes bonae confessionis de hâc vitâ migravit,' I think implies this.

133 'Magis eum occideret.'

134 A Christian who lived in the Imperial persecutions remained true to his faith, but from any cause escaped the extreme penalty of death, was generally called a 'confessor.'

135 As Papencordt remarks, this clause in the sentence pronounced on Saturus is important, as showing that the Provincials who were attached in a servile capacity to the royal household had slaves of their own.

136 It is to be remarked, however, that Huneric, son of Gaiseric, copied exactly the Imperial decrees against heresy, and launched them against the Catholics. (See Papencordt, 196.) But his reign was short, and on his death the persecution was much relaxed.

137 See p204.

138 So says Victor Tunnunensis, not out best authority. This would be the 15th of June, according to Anon. Cuspiniani, 3rd of June according to Prosper, 25th of May according to 'Incerti Chronicon.'

139 'Per quatuordecim dies secura et libera scrutatione omnibus opibus suis Roma vacuata est' (Prosper).

140 Evagrius, the ecclesiastical historian, accuses Gaiseric of setting fire to the city, but he lived more than a hundred years after the capture, and his testimony may be disregarded, the contemporary authorities so clearly speaking of pillage, not fire.

141 'They took many thousands of captives, according as each by their age or their skill (arte) pleased them,' are the words of Prosper.

Thayer's Note:

a Properly, even when Hodgkin wrote, its French name was Bône; its Arabic name Annaba is now used.

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