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Gaiseric (Hardback)

The Vandal Who Destroyed Rome

Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces Military

By Ian Hughes
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 278
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781781590188
Published: 19th September 2017



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While Gaiseric has not become a household name like other 'barbarian' leaders such as Attila or Genghis Khan, his sack of Rome in AD455 has made his tribe, the Vandals, synonymous with mindless destruction. Gaiseric, however, was no moronic thug, proving himself a highly skilful political and military leader and was one of the dominant forces in Western Mediterranean region for almost half a century.

The book starts with a concise history of the Vandals before Gaiseric's reign and analyses the tactics and weaponry with which they carved a path across the Western Roman Empire to Spain. It was in Spain that Gaiseric became their king and he that led the Vandals across the straits of Gibraltar to seize a new home in North Africa, depriving Rome of one of its most important remaining provinces and a key source of grain. Roman attempts at reconquest were defeated and the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia were all added to Gaiseric's kingdom. His son, Huneric, was even betrothed to Eudoxia, daughter of the Emperor Valentinian III and it was her appeal for help after her father's murder that led Gaiseric to invade and sack Rome. He took Eudoxia and the other imperial ladies back to Africa with him, subsequently defeating further attempts by the Eastern Roman Empire to recapture the vital North African territory.

Ian Hughes' anaylsis of the Gaiseric as king and general reveals him as the barbarian who did more than anyone else to bring down the Western Roman Empire, but also as a great leader in his own right and one of the most significant men of his age.

Hughes has given us one of the best accounts of the final age of the Western Empire, well worth a read by anyone with even the slightest interest in the subject.

Israel Book Review

Hughes makes a very good case his subtitle – ‘the vandal who destroyed Rome’. Gaiseric’s actions bankrupted the Empire, his victories destroyed one of the last great army of the Western Empire and repelled the Eastern Empire, and his sack of Rome was significantly more dangerous than the more famous sack of 410. By the time of his death the last western Empire had been deposed, and the Western Empire was no more.

Read the full review here

History of War

...in Gaiseric, Hughes has given us one of the best accounts of the final age of the Western Empire, well worth a read by anyone with even the slightest interest in the subject.

Read the complete review online here.

Strategy Page- Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor
 Ian Hughes

About Ian Hughes

A full-time author, Ian Hughes specializes in the military history of the late Roman Empire. He is the author of Belisarius: The Last Roman General (2009); Stilicho: the Vandal who saved Rome (2010); Aetius: Attila's Nemesis (2012); Imperial Brothers: Valentinian, Valens and the Disaster at Adrianople (2013); Patricians and Emperors (2015); Gaiseric: The Vandal Who Sacked Rome (2017) and Attila the Hun (2018). In his spare time he builds or restores electric guitars, plays football and historical wargames. He lives in South Yorkshire.

Perfect Partner

Constantius III Rome's Lost Hope (Hardback)

Constantius is an important, but almost forgotten, figure. He came to the fore in or around 410 when he was appointed Magister Militum (Master of Troops) to Honorius, the young Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. His predecessor, Stilicho, had been murdered by his own troops and much of Gaul and Hispania had been overrun by barbarians or usurpers. One by one Constantius eliminated the usurpers and defeated or came to terms with the various invading groups. Most notoriously, he allowed the Visigoths to settle in Gaul in return for their help in defeating the Vandals and Alans who had seized parts…

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