The Vandals - The History and Legacy of Antiquity's Most Famous Barbarians
- United States
More informationToday, most people are familiar with the term “vandalism”, but are ignorant as to the word’s etymology. Yes, vandalism refers to the wanton destruction of property in the modern world, but the word’s origin is much more complex, as it was originally the name of an important Germanic tribe that flourished in Europe and North Africa in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. As the Vandals rampaged throughout Western Europe and later into North Africa, they left a swath of destruction in their wake, which is how the term "vandalism" became associated with destruction.. The Vandals were a truly ferocious band of people who used the art of war to achieve its goals in ways that seem cruel and barbaric to modern sensibilities, but it was just one of many groups of people at the time who employed these tactics to seize power and land throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region. An examination of the Vandals through a combination of Latin language Catholic Church sources and Byzantine chroniclers, combined with studies by modern historians, reveals that the Vandals were much more than blood thirsty barbarians whose primary goal was the destruction of Rome.
It is true that the Vandals sacked Rome in 455 AD, but even that act was a unique historical accomplishment in itself as they were only the third people to inflict such destruction on one of the world’s greatest cities. Despite living on the lawless marchlands of the Roman Empire, the Vandals were able to establish two different kingdoms, and introduce a fairly complicated code of royal succession, that gave stability to their people for some time. The Vandals also proved to be an extremely clever people in their use of violence and war, as they rarely engaged in violence for its own sake. They also often employed clever tactics on the battlefield to defeat the larger and more sophisticated armies of the Romans, and later, the Byzantines. The examination will also reveal that the Vandals were as adept at the arts of diplomacy and statecraft as they were with warfare. If