Vandals Invade Sicily


With a narrow base in the Andalusia area of the Iberian penninsula, the Vandals were an unlikely candidate for domination of the central Mediteranean. Nonetheless, in 428, with the cooperation of a disaffected Roman viceroy, the vandals launched an 11-year campaign leading to the capture and occupation of all the Roman Empire's provinces in North African. The conquests, however, did not satisfy the ambitions of their leader Gaiseric. Following his final victories in North Africa in 439, Gaiseric promptly launched an invasion of nearby Sicily.

[Location map to be added here]The Roman forces occupying Sicily were no more effective in their defense than those in North Africa had been. Soon Gaiseric had added the largest island of the Mediterranean to his burgeoning empire.

Despite his obvious appetite for expansion, Gaiseric seems to have been a pragmatic realist as well: in 476 he bought peace with his Italian neighbors to the north through a canny compromise over Sicily.

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1999-2000 C. I. Gable