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The Vandals

ISBN: 978-1-4051-6068-1
368 pages
February 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
The Vandals (1405160683) cover image


The Vandals is the first book available in the English Language dedicated to exploring the sudden rise and dramatic fall of this complex North African Kingdom. This complete history provides a full account of the Vandals and re-evaluates key aspects of the society including:
  • Political and economic structures  such as the complex foreign policy which combined diplomatic alliances and marriages with brutal raiding
  • The extraordinary cultural development of secular learning, and the religious struggles that threatened to tear the state apart
  • The nature of Vandal identity from a social and gender perspective.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Preface ix

List of Abbreviations xii

1 The Vandals in History 1

2 From the Danube to Africa 27

3 Ruling the Vandal Kingdom ad 435–534 56

4 Identity and Ethnicity in the Vandal Kingdom 83

5 The Vandal Kingdom and the Wider World, ad 439–534 109

6 The Economy of Vandal Africa 141

7 Religion and the Vandal Kingdom 177

8 Cultural Life Under the Vandals 204

9 Justinian and the End of the Vandal Kingdom 228

Notes 256

Pre-1800 Sources 306

Works Post 1800 313

Index 341

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Author Information

Andy Merrills is an RCUK Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester. His work has focused largely upon the history of late Antique North Africa and upon geographical thought within the classical and medieval worlds. He is author of History and Geography in Late Antiquity (2005) and editor of Vandals, Romans and Berbers: New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa (2004).

Richard Miles is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney.  His research has centred primarily upon the history and archaeology of Punic, Roman and late Antique North Africa.  He is author of African Hercules: The Rise and Fall of Carthage (2009), and editor of Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity (1999).

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“…Andy Merrills and Richard Miles have done us a great service with this clear, erudite, and engaging study.”  (Melbourne Historical Journal, 1 December 2012)



“This is the fresh historical overview of the Vandals and the Vandal state in Africa for which we have long been looking. Both the ethnic group and their historical role in Mediterranean history have been the subject of much recent revisionist work, all of it crying out for a new general summa. Merrills and Miles have provided it, and admirably so.”
Brent D. Shaw, Princeton University

“At the turn of the fifth century North Africa was a rebellious island of the Roman West, the scene of religious discontent and social unrest, both so troubling to the Roman throne. Into this mess burst the Vandals, who interrupted the ‘rhythm’ of Roman life for over a century. Merrills and Miles examine every aspect of this drama with infectious enthusiasm and great sympathy for the participants. This is an amazing book.”
Frank M. Clover, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"At last, a major reappraisal of the Vandals, combining the latest research and new critical judgements on the supposedly archetypal barbarian despoilers of Classical civilisation - this book is a superb addition to the Blackwell Peoples series."
David Mattingly, University of Leicester

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