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A History of the Vandals (Paperback)


By Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen
Imprint: Westholme
Pages: 376
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781594163319
Published: 30th July 2022


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The fifth century was a time of great change in the Mediterranean world. In the early 400's, the Roman Empire ranged from the lowlands of Scotland to the Upper Nile and from Portugal to the Caucasus. It was almost at its widest extent, although ruled by two emperors, one in the West and one in the East. One hundred years later, Roman control of Western Europe and western North Africa had been lost. In its place, a number of Germanic tribes established successor states, with hundreds of thousands of Germanic and other peoples settling permanently inside the former borders of the Western Roman Empire. One of the most fascinating of these tribes were the Vandals, who over a period of six hundred years, had migrated from the woodland regions of Scandinavia, sacked Rome in 455, and ultimately established a kingdom in western North Africa. In A History of the Vandals, the first monograph in English covering the entire saga of the Vandals from their emergence to the end of their kingdom, historian Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen pieces together what we know about the Vandals, sifting fact from fiction. The Vandals, who pro- fessed Arianism, a form of Christianity considered heretical by the Roman emperor, were one of the deciding factors in the downfall of the Western Roman Empire. Later Christian historians sensationalized their destruction of Rome and persecution of Catholics, giving us the term “vandalism.”

In the mid-sixth century, the Vandal kingdom in North Africa was the first target of Byzantine Emperor Justinian’s ambitious plan to reconquer the lost territories of the Western Empire. In less than four months, the Vandals had been defeated by a small Roman army led by the general Belisarius, marking the end of the Germanic presence in North Africa, and in many ways the end of the Arian heresy of Christianity.

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About Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen

TORSTEN CUMBERLAND JACOBSEN is a former curator of the Danish Royal Arsenal Museum. He is the author of a num- ber of books, including The Gothic War: Justinian’s Campaign to Reclaim Italy (Westholme 2009).

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