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The Vandals

ISBN: 978-1-4443-1808-1
368 pages
December 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Vandals (144431808X) 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 a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester. 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 teaches ancient history at the University of Sydney. As well as having directed archaeological excavations in Carthage, he has written widely on ancient North Africa including Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Mediterranean Superpower (2010).

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“Merrills and Miles have produced an outstanding piece of scholarship that makes a genuine contribution to the field, and that will reward the close attention both of scholars and of educated laypeople interested in the transformation of the ancient Mediterranean into the world of the early Middle Ages.” (Speculum, April 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 judgments on the supposedly archetypal barbarian despoilers of Classical civilization - this book is a superb addition to the Blackwell Peoples series."
David Mattingly, University of Leicester

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