Vandals 3: The Sacking of Rome

A treaty was established between the Romans and the Vandals in 435, which gave the Vandals control of coastal Numidia. However, King Genseric decided to break the treaty in 439 after his invasion of the province of Africa Proconsularis. He also laid siege to Carthage, which was captured without any hassle. In this article, you will learn about their influence on the Roman Empire.

The Vandals made their move to enter Carthage while the majority of the residents were enjoying the races at the hippodrome. Carthage became the capital of Genseric’s lands. He then went on to conquer Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic Islands. This allowed his kingdom to grow into an impressive state. Historic accounts suggest that the Vandals taking over Carthage and North Africa caused friction and destruction of the regions they took over. However, some historians note that the street pattern and some public buildings had remained the same or were renovated despite areas being destroyed.

In 440, the Vandals raided Sicily, but at the time, the Western Roman Empire was warring with Gaul and could not direct their attention to the advancements of the Vandals. It was Theodosius II (the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire) that finally sent out representatives to address the Vandals in 441. Their efforts only reached Sicily. Valentinian III, who ruled the Western Empire, was successful in establishing peace with the Vandals in 442. The treaty gave the Vandals Byzacena, Tripolutania, and part of Numidia. Also, their control in Proconsular Africa was recognized.

The Sacking of Rome

Genseric was in charge of a large fleet that he took full advantage of for decades , looting the coasts of the Eastern and Western Empires. However, once one of the biggest threats to the Romans (Attila the Hun) died, they were able to direct their efforts towards the Vandals. At this time, the Vandals were controlling some of the wealthiest lands of their former empire.

Valentinian III was interested in incorporating the Vandals with his empire. In an attempt to establish a treaty, Valentinian offered to marry his daughter to Genseric’s son. Yet, his plans were foiled because of the growing political changes at the time. Petronius Maximus usurped the throne and killed Valentinian so that he could gain control of the Empire. This caused a rift between the two groups. The Empress Licinia Eudoxia wrote a letter to Genseric’s son. She begged that he save her and in 455, the Vandals took Rome. They also took away the Empress Licinia Eudoxia and her daughters.