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The Vandal Conquest of North Africa: The Origins of a Historiographical Persona

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2017

Department of History, West Chester University, 415 Wayne Hall, West Chester, Pa 19383, USA; e-mail:


A close reading of sources documenting the Vandal conquest (429–39 ce) reveals that contemporary authors did not present the event as a persecution. To be sure, they insisted on the devastation that the Vandals caused, the typical woes of war, but not on its religious motivation. The article argues that it was Augustine who, in his ep. ccxxviii, first presented a theological interpretation of the event that allowed later sources writing within the Augustinian tradition to frame the conquest retroactively as a persecution.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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1 Courtois, C., Victor de Vita et son oeuvre: étude critique, Algiers 1954 Google Scholar; cf. É. Fournier, ‘Victor of Vita and the Vandal “persecution”: interpreting exile in late antiquity’, unpubl. PhD diss. Santa Barbara 2008, and Howe, T., Vandalen, Barbaren und Arianer bei Victor von Vita, Frankfurt am Main 2007, esp. pp. 3860 Google Scholar, for the date (488), on which see also Lancel, S., Victor de Vita: Histoire de la persecution vandale en Afrique, Paris 2002, 9ffGoogle Scholar. (after 487). For the expression ‘the traditional “bad boys” of this period’ see Ward-Perkins, B., The fall of Rome and the end of civilization, Oxford 2005, 52 Google Scholar.

2 HP i.3–4. On terminology issues see Whelan, R., ‘African controversy: the inheritance of the Donatist schism in Vandal Africa’, this Journal lxv (2014), 504–21 at p. 506 n. 6Google Scholar; cf. Ward-Perkins: ‘For more detail, we are often dependent on moralizing tracts, written with a clear purpose in mind, in which accounts of atrocities have been tailored to fit the overall argument’: Fall of Rome, 21.

3 HP i.5–11.

4 Even an early critic of Victor such as Marcus, L. concluded that Vandals were ‘animés d'une passion qu'ils n'avaient pas connue auparavant, celle du fanatisme religieux’: Histoire des Wandales, Paris 1836, iii. 140Google Scholar; cf. Holme, L. R., The extinction of the Christian Churches in North Africa, Cambridge 1898, 76 Google Scholar; Lancel, S., ‘Victor de Vita, témoin et chroniqueur des années noires de l'Afrique romaine au ve siècle’, Comptes-rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres iv (2000), 1199–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Moorhead, J., The Roman empire divided, 400–700, Harlow 2001, 54 Google Scholar; and Van Slyke, D., Quodvultdeus of Carthage: the apocalyptic theology of a Roman African in exile, Strathfield 2003, 196 Google Scholar.

5 Merrills, A. (ed.), Vandals, Romans, and Berbers: new perspectives on late antique North Africa, Aldershot 2004 Google Scholar; Miles, R., ‘The Anthologia Latina and the creation of secular space in Vandal Carthage’, Antiquité Tardive xiii (2005), 305–20Google Scholar; Berndt, G., Konflikt und Anpassung: Studien zu Migration und Ethnogenese der Vandalen, Husum 2007 Google Scholar; von Rummel, P., Habitus barbarus: Kleidung und Repräsentation spätantiker Eliten im 4. und 5. Jahrhundert, Berlin 2007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Castritius, H., Die Vandalen, Stuttgart 2007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Howe, Vandalen; Leone, A., Changing townscapes in North Africa from late antiquity to the Arab conquest, Bari 2007 Google Scholar; Berndt, G. and Steinacher, R. (eds), Das Reich der Vandalen und seine (vor-)Geschichten, Vienna 2008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Merrills, A. and Miles, R., The Vandals, Chichester 2010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Conant, J., Staying Roman: conquest and identity in Africa and the Mediterranean, 439–700, Cambridge 2012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bockmann, R., Capital continuous: a study of Vandal Carthage and central north Africa from an archaeological perspective, Wiesbaden 2013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Modéran, Y., Les Vandales et l'Empire Romain, ed. Perrin, M.-Y., Arles 2014 Google Scholar; Aiello, V. (ed.), Guerrieri, mercanti e profughi nel Mare dei Vandali, Messina 2014 Google Scholar; Vössing, K., Das Königreich der Vandalen: Geiserichs Herrschaft und das Imperium Romanum, Darmstadt 2014 Google Scholar; Wolff, É. (ed.), Littérature, politique et religion en Afrique vandale, Paris 2015 Google Scholar; Steinacher, R., Die Vandalen: Aufstieg und Fall eines Barbarenreichs, Stuttgart 2016 Google Scholar.

6 Courtois, C., Victor de Vita and Les Vandales et l'Afrique (1955), Darmstadt 1964 Google Scholar.

7 ‘Ce qui me paraît ressortir de cette revue des textes, c'est que les détails se précisent et se multiplient à mesure qu'on s’éloigne des événements eux-mêmes’: idem, Les Vandales, 168; cf. Staying Roman, 171. In a telling parallel, Modéran showed how the sources attributed religious violence to Vandals in Gaul with increasing details and ferocity: Les Vandales, 72–5.

8 ‘Mais, ni dans la lettre de S. Augustin, ni dans les documents immédiatement contemporains de l'invasion, je ne vois aucune indication qui permette de dénoncer autre chose que les malheurs habituels de la guerre’: Courtois, Les Vandales, 165 (emphasis added). See also (p. 167): on ne voit point que les Vandales aient dépassé le niveau moyen de l'atrocité courante à leur époque’; cf. Schmidt, L., Geschichte der Wandalen, Leipzig 1901, 61–8Google Scholar; Ward-Perkins, Fall of Rome, 23; and Heather, P., The fall of the Roman Empire: a new history of Rome and the barbarians, Oxford 2006, 267 Google Scholar.

9 For earlier events in Gaul see Courtois, Les Vandales, 62, and Courcelle's, P. explanation: ‘Cet acharnement particulier s'explique à la fois par les trésors d'orfèvrerie que recélaient les églises et par la force de résistance morale que représentait le clergé’: Histoire littéraire des grandes invasions germaniques, 3rd edn, Paris 1964, 118 Google Scholar; cf. Lancel, Victor, 274 n. 15 (equating destruction of churches with a religious war), and Modéran, Y., ‘L'Afrique et la persécution vandale’, in Pietri, C. and others (eds), Histoire du christianisme, iii, Paris 1998, 237–78Google Scholar, and Une Guerre de religion: les deux églises d'Afrique à l’époque vandale’, Antiquité Tardive xi (2003), 2144 Google Scholar.

10 Heather, The fall of the Roman Empire, 267; Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 177; Conant, Staying Roman, 171; cf. Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 133f., and Van Slyke, Quodvultdeus, 177f.

11 Heather, P., ‘Christianity and the Vandals in the reign of Geiseric’, in Drinkwater, J. and Salway, B. (eds), Wolf Liebeschuetz reflected: essays presented by colleagues, friends, & pupils, London 2007, 137–46Google Scholar; Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 177–92; Conant, Staying Roman, 159–86.

12 While Yves Modéran seems at first sight to have adopted Courtois's distinction between ‘the violence of the invasion’ and ‘the repression that followed’ (‘l'auteur, changeant de perspective, passe des violences de l'invasion à la répression dans le royaume constitué’: Les Vandales, 123), he later (pp. 128ff.) argues that the Vandals waged a war against the Nicene Church.

13 ‘amissis iam ecclesiis et rebus occurrere uisi sunt supplicantes ut ad consolandum populum dei saltem habitandi facultas Wandalis iam dominantibus concederetur’ (‘these people were seen coming to beseech him that, the churches and goods having been already lost, he give the people of God some comfort by allowing them at any rate the right to reside where the Vandals now held power’): HP i.17 (emphasis added); trans. Moorhead, J., Victor of Vita: history of the Vandal persecution, Liverpool 1992, 9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 ‘Recedentes illi tristitia et maerore confecti coeperunt qualiter poterant et ubi poterant ablates ecclesiis diuina mysteria celebrare’ (‘They went away consumed with sorrow and grief, and began to celebrate the divine mysteries in ways open to them and places where it was possible, their churches having been taken away’): HP i. 18; trans. Moorhead, Victor of Vita, 9). For Victor's apologetic strategies see Fournier, É., ‘Éléments apologétiques chez Victor de Vita: exemple d'un genre littéraire en transition’, in Greatrex, G. and Elton, H. (eds), Shifting literary and material genres in late antiquity, Burlington, Vt 2015, 105–17Google Scholar.

15 Lancel, Victor, 105 n. 50. For this distinction in Constantine's religious policy cf. Shepardson, C., Controlling contested places: late antique Antioch and the spatial politics of religious controversy, Berkeley 2014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and É. Fournier, Constantine and episcopal banishment: continuity and change in the settlement of Christian disputes’, in Hillner, J., Enberg, J. and Ulrich, J. (eds), Clerical exile in late antiquity, Frankfurt 2016, 4765 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 Codex Theodosianus xvi.6.2, ed. T. Mommsen and P. M. Meyer, Berlin 1904, 880; ‘non illa quae sub nomine ecclesiae non debent ab haereticis possideri, sed quorumque priuata’ (‘I refer to private possessions, not those under the name of the Church, which should not be owned by heretics’): Augustine, Contra Cresconium iii.50.55, ed. M. Petschenig, CSEL lii, Vienna 1909, 462; epp. lxxxviii.3; cv.9, ed. A. Goldbacher, CSEL xxxiv, Vienna 1898, 408f., 601f.; Contra litteras Petilliani ii.92.205, CSEL lii. 129f.; cf. Shaw, B. D., Sacred violence: African Christians and sectarian hatred in the age of Augustine, Cambridge 2011, 118fCrossRefGoogle Scholar., with Eusebius, Vita Constantini iii.65.1, ed. Winkelmann, F., in Eusebius Werke, i/1, 2nd edn, Berlin 1991, 118–19Google Scholar, and Kahlos, M., Forbearance and compulsion: the rhetoric of religious tolerance and intolerance in late antiquity, London 2009, 63 Google Scholar. For the ‘Roman’ aspects of Vandal policies see Wickham, C., The inheritance of Rome: illuminating the dark ages, 400–1000, London 2009, 76ffGoogle Scholar.

17 Cf. Modéran, Y., ‘Les Vandales et la chute de Carthage’, in Briand, C. and Crogiez, S. (eds), L'Afrique du Nord antique et médiévale: mémoire, identité et imaginaire, Rouen 2002, 97132 Google Scholar, and Les Vandales, 119–30.

18 Cf. Elm, S., ‘Historiographic identities: Julian, Gregory of Nazianzus and the forging of Orthodoxy’, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity vii (2002), 249–66Google Scholar, esp. pp. 249f. For analyses of the modern popular fashioning of the Vandals see Merrills, A., ‘The origins of “vandalism”’, International Journal of the Classical Tradition xvi (2009), 155–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Jiménez, D. A., ‘Vándalos y vandalismo’, Revista de Historiografia viii (2008), 112–22Google Scholar.

19 Cf. Merrills, A., ‘Kingdoms of North Africa’, in Maas, M. (ed.), The Cambridge companion to the age of Attila, Cambridge 2015, 264–81 at p. 272Google Scholar, and Hermanowicz, E., Possidius of Calama: a study of the North African episcopate, Oxford 2008, 61fCrossRefGoogle Scholar. On the ‘Donatist’ conflict alluded to here see Shaw, Sacred violence. See n. 2 above for terminology issues.

20 Exile: Prosper, Epitoma Chronicon, ed. Mommsen, T., MGH, Auctores antiquissimi, ix, Berlin 1892, 1327 Google Scholar.

21 Victor wrote in 484 at the earliest, half a century after the events. Lancel thinks that he was born c. 440–5: Victor, 3, cf. pp. 19–22 on his literary sources for the conquest (Augustine, Possidius and Quodvultdeus).

22 The most recent account is Steinacher, Die Vandalen, 92–102.

23 See Conant, Staying Roman, 131f.

24 Leo, ep. xii.8, 11, PL xiv. 653ff. For the wider context see Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 54; Ward-Perkins, Fall of Rome, 13, 23; and Wessel, S., Leo the Great and the spiritual rebuilding of a universal Rome, Leiden 2008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On warfare violence, and rape specifically see Le Bohec, Y., ‘Le Visage de la guerre pour les civils dans l'antiquité: Victor de Vita et les Vandales’, Rivista Storica dell'Antichità xxxvii (2007), 153–66Google Scholar.

25 Le Bohec, ‘Le Visage de la guerre’, 159f.

26 For the argument that Priscillianism had its origins in the ‘Arian’ controversy of the fourth century see Escribano, V., ‘Heresy and orthodoxy in fourth-century Hispania: Arianism and Priscillianism’, in Bowes, K. and Kulikowski, M. (eds), Hispania in late antiquity: current perspectives, Leiden 2005, 121–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

27 Cf. Heather, ‘Christianity and the Vandals’, 138–43.

28 See Gaddis, M., There is no crime for those who have Christ: religious violence in the Christian Roman empire, Berkeley 2005, esp. p. 10 Google Scholar, citing Lincoln, B., Authority: construction and corrosion, Chicago 1994, 7489 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; cf. Baslez, M.-F. (ed.), Chrétiens persécuteurs: destructions, exclusions, violences religieuses au IVe siècle, Paris 2014 Google Scholar.

29 On the larger context of the conquest see Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 52ff; Modéran, Les Vandales, 93–114; Diesner, H. J., ‘Die Lage der nordafrikanischen Bevölkerung im Zeitpunkt der Vandaleninvasion’, Historia xi (1962), 97111 Google Scholar; and Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 115–39.

30 Augustine ep. ccxxviii.1, ed. A. Goldbacher, CSEL lvii, Vienna 1911, 484. The problems of identifying the two Quodvultdei as the same person are firstly, already a bishop, it was illegal to be transferred to another see (Carthage), and secondly, the need to posit that the partisan of fleeing became the staunch leader of the resistance: PCA, s.v. ‘Quodvultdeus 5’, 947ff. and ‘Quodvultdeus 14’, 952; Courtois, Victor, 61 n. 305, and Les Vandales, 163 n. 1; R. G. Kalkman, ‘Two sermons: de tempore barbarico’, unpubl. PhD diss. Catholic University of America 1963, 31ff; contra Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 126f. with n. 7.

31 ‘Recolimus enim uerba dicentis: “Cum autem persequentur uos in ciuitate ista, fugite in aliam” [Matt. x. 23]’: Augustine ep. ccxxviii.2, trans. Teske, in The works of Saint Augustine: a translation for the 21st century: letters, ii/4, Hyde Park, NY 2001, 106 Google Scholar (all citations to Augustine's letters will be from this edition unless otherwise stated); cf. Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 119ff.

32 ‘Ut sine hoc eam non oporteat remanere, dicamus domino: “Esto nobis in deum protectorem et in locum munitum” [Psalm xxxi. 3]’: Augustine ep. ccxxviii.1, Letters, ii/4, 106.

33 See Clarke, G. W., The letters of St Cyprian of Carthage, I: Letters 1–27, Ramsey, NJ 1984, 208 Google Scholar, with references, and Nicholson, O., ‘Flight from persecution as imitation of Christ: LactantiusDivine institutions, iv.18, 1–2’, JTS xl (1989), 4865 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; cf. A. Pettersen, ‘To flee or not to flee: an assessment of Athanasius’ De fuga sua’, in W. J. Sheils (ed.), Persecution and toleration (Studies in Church History xxi, 1984), 29–47, and Bowersock, G. W., Martyrdom and Rome, Cambridge 1995, 54 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

34 Augustine, Contra Gaudentium i.17.17, ed. M. Petschenig, CSEL liii, Vienna 1910, 211f. The irony is noted in Brown, P., Augustine of Hippo: a new edition with an epilogue, Berkeley 2000, 429 n. 1Google Scholar.

35 PCA, s.v. ‘Honoratus 16’, 570. Honoratus had been ordained by Augustine: Lancel, S., Saint Augustin, Paris 1999, 323, 664Google Scholar.

36 On this exchange see especially González-Salinero, R., Poder y conflicto religioso en el norte de África: Quodvultdeus de Cartago y los vándalos, Madrid 2002, 81–5Google Scholar.

37 Cf. Lancel, Saint Augustin, 664, 736 n. 25.

38 ‘Unde illud, quod episcopum quemdam dixisse audiuimus: “Si dominus nobis imperauit fugam in eis persecutionibus, ubi potest fructus esse martyrii, quanto magis debemus fugere steriles passiones, quando est barbaricus et hostilis incursus!”’: Augustine, ep. ccxxviii.4, Letters, ii/4, 107.

39 ‘Ita quidam sancti episcopi de Hispania profugerunt, prius plebibus partim fugal apsis, partim peremptis, partim obsidione consumptis, partim captivitate disperses: sed multo plures, illic manentibus propter quos manerent, sub eorundem periculorum densitate manserunt’: idem, ep. ccxxviii.5, ibid.

40 ‘Dicis enim: “Si in ecclesiis persistendum est, quid simus nobis uel populo profuturi, non uideo, nisi ut ante oculos nostros uiri cadant, feminae constuprentur, incendantur ecclesiae, nos ipsi tormentis deficiamus, cum de nobis quaeritur, quod non habemus”’: idem, ep. ccxxviii.5, ibid. (slightly adapted).

41 ‘Nec ideo tamen propter ista, quae incerta sunt, debet esse nostri officii certa desertio, sine quo est plebi certa pernicies non in rebus uitae huius sed alterius incomparabiliter diligentius sollicitiusque curandae’: ibid. (emphasis added).

42 ‘Nam qui clades hostiles ideo non fugit, cum posset effugere, ne deserat ministerium Christi, sine quo non possunt homines uel fieri uel uiuere Christiani, maiorem caritatis inuenit fructum, quam qui non propter fratres, sed propter se ipsum fugiens atque comprehensus non negat Christum suscipitque martyrium’: Augustine, ep. ccxxviii.4, ibid. (emphasis added).

43 On the religion of the Vandals see Whelan, R., ‘Arianism in Africa’, in Berndt, G. M. and Steinacher, R. (eds), Arianism: Roman heresy and barbarian creed, Farnham 2014, 239–56Google Scholar, and other relevant essays therein.

44 Vita di Cipriano; Vita di Ambrogio; Vita di Agostino, ed. Bastiaensen, A. A. R., Milan 1989, 440 n. 74Google Scholar.

45 Castelli, E. A., Martyrdom and memory: early Christian culture making, New York 2004, 34 Google Scholar.

46 See Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 454, and S. A. Reid, ‘“The first dispensation of Christ is medicinal”: Augustine and Roman medical culture’, unpubl. PhD diss. University of British Columbia 2008, 272–86.

47 Le Bohec, ‘Le Visage de la guerre’, 161f, citing Augustine, Civitatis dei i.1 (‘belli ius’), i.6 (‘more bellorum’), i.7 (‘consuetudo bellorum’) and i.24 (‘mos ac ius belli’).

48 As already seen by Howe, Vandalen, 328–31. A good discussion of this concept can be found in O'Daly, G., Augustine's City of God: a reader's guide, Oxford 1999, 5366 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49 ‘Et hanc ferocissimam hostium grassationem et vastationem, ille Dei homo et factam fuisse et fieri, non ut ceteri hominum sentiebat et cogitabat’: Possidius, Vita Augustini xxviii.6, Vita di Cipriano; Vita di Ambrogio; Vita di Agostino.

50 Augustine, ep. ccxxviii.7–9.

51 ‘sed altius ac profundius ea considerans, et his animarum praecipue uel pericula uel mortes peruidens, solito amplius’ (‘But considering these matters more deeply and profoundly and perceiving in them above all the dangers and the death of souls’): Possidius, Vita Augustini xxviii.6; trans. Weiskotten, H. T., Sancti Augustini vita scripta a Possidio episcopo, Princeton 1919, 113 Google Scholar.

52 ‘Veniet enim lupus, non homo sed diabolus, qui plerumque fideles apostatas esse persuasit, quibus cotidianum ministerium dominici corporis defuit, “et peribit infirmus in tua” non “scientia” sed ignorantia “frater, propter quem Christus mortuus est”’: Augustine, ep. ccxxviii.6, Letters, ii/4, 108.

53 Idem, ep. ccxxviii.6, 10.

54 ‘Ecclesiae … Catholica fides … aduersus Arrianos haereticos ore illius et amore defensa est’: idem, ep. ccxxviii.10, Letters, ii/4, 108.

55 ‘At omnis hac tempestate viae aditus praeclusus est. Etenim effuse hostium multitude, et ingens ubique provinciarum vastatio, quae incolis partim exstinctis, partim in fugam actis, miseram desolationis speciem, quoquoversum longe lateque porrigitur, oculis offert, promptam illam veniendi facultatem reprimit’: Capreolus, ep. i, PL liii.845B; cf. Audollent, A., Carthage romaine, 146 avant Jésus-Christ–698 après Jésus-Christ, Paris 1901, 541ff.Google Scholar; Courtois, Les Vandales, 165; and Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 180. See PCA, s.v. ‘Capriolus’, 189f.

56 PCA, s.v. ‘Capriolus’, 190.

57 PCA, s.v. ‘Bessula’, 143ff.

58 ‘lettre désespérée’: Modéran, ‘Une Guerre de religion’, 24 n. 22. He is more balanced in Les Vandales, 128f.

59 ‘numerus nominis eius DCLXVI, id est Antichristus. In mutato enim nomine ueniet et duo sibi nomina inponet Antemus Graece et Gensericus Gotice, scilicet ut multas gentes seducat’ (‘the number of his name is 666, that is the Antichrist. Indeed, he will come with his name changed, and he will give himself two names, Anthemius the Greek and Genseric the Goth, undoubtedly so that he can lead many peoples astray’): Liber genealogus 616 (Florentini), ed. T. Mommsen, MGH, Auctores antiquissimi ix, Berlin 1892, 194f.

60 Dearn, A., ‘Persecution and Donatist identity in the Liber genealogus ’, in Amirav, H. and Romeny, B. H. (eds), From Rome to Constantinople: studies in honour of Averil Cameron, Leuven 2007, 127–35Google Scholar; cf. Clover, F. M., ‘Carthage and the Vandals’, in Humphrey, J. H. (ed.), Excavations at Carthage, 1978, Ann Arbor 1982, 7, 122 Google Scholar (= The late Roman West and the Vandals, Aldershot 1993, vi) at p. 4, and Isola, A., I cristiani dell'Africa vandalica nei Sermones del tempo (429–534), Milan 1990, 33 Google Scholar. For the argument that some entries might be the work of an ‘Arianising’ author see Conant, J., ‘Donatism in the fifth and sixth centuries’, in Miles, R. (ed.), The Donatist schism: controversy and contexts, Liverpool 2016, 345–61Google Scholar.

61 Dearn, ‘Persecution and donatist identity’, 133. For the suggestion that it targeted the Arian general Aspar see B. Pottier, ‘Les Donatistes, l'arianisme et le royaume vandale’, in Wolff, Littérature, politique et religion, 109–25 at p. 114.

62 For a balanced overview see Conant, ‘Donatism’; cf. Lenski, N., Constantine and the cities: imperial authority and civic politics, Philadelphia 2016, 246fCrossRefGoogle Scholar.

63 The terminus ante quem is provided by Possidius, ‘Vix tres superstites ex innumerabilibus ecclesiis, hoc est Carthaginensem’ (‘Of the innumerable churches he saw only three survive, namely those of Carthage’): Vita Augustini xxviii.10; trans. Weiskotten, Sancti Augustini vita, 115. See Hermanowicz, Possidius of Calama, 17–63, and p. 20 for the date.

64 For the citation see Hermanowicz, Possidius of Calama, 62; cf. Courtois, Les Vandales, 165.

65 ‘Uerum breui consequenti tempore diuina uoluntate et potestate prouenit’ (‘But a short time after this it came about, in accordance with the divine will and command’): Possidius, Vita Augustini xxviii.4; trans. Weiskotten, Sancti Augustini vita, 111; cf. Lambert, D., ‘The barbarians in Salvian's “De gubernatione dei”’, in Mitchell, S. and Greatrex, G. (eds), Ethnicity and culture in late antiquity, London 2000, 103–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

66 ep. ccxxviii thus presents two different textual traditions: Bastiaensen, Vita, 438 n. 11, supporting Goldbacher, CSEL lviii. pp. xi–xii, 57, 484; contra Hamilton, L. I., ‘Possidius’ Augustine and post-Augustinian Africa’, JECS xii (2004), 85105 Google Scholar. Hamilton claims (pp. 90, 96) that the letter inserted by Possidius is ‘otherwise unpreserved’.

67 Lancel, Victor, 19f. ‘Diversis telis armata et bellis exercitata, inmanium hostium Vandalorum; 5: saeviens atrocitate et crudelitate, cuncta quae potuit spoliatione, caedibus diversisque tormentis, incendiis, aliisque innumerabilibus et infandis malis depolutata est: nulli sexui, nulli parcens aetati, nec ipsis Dei sacerdotibus vel ministris, nec ipsis ecclesiarum ornamentis seu instrumentis vel aedificiis; 7: Videbat enim ille homo [Augustinus] civitates excidio perditas pariterque <cives> cum aedificiis villarum habitatores alios hostili nece exstinctos, alios effugatos atque dispersos: ecclesias sacerdotibus ac ministris destitutas, virginesque sacras et quosque continentes ubique dissipatos; et in his alios tormentis defecisse, alios gladio interempos esse, alios in captivitate, perdita animi et corporis integritate ac fide, malo more et duro hostibus deservire’ (‘great host of savage foes, Vandals …; raging with cruelty and barbarity, they completely devastated everything they could by their pillage, murder and varied tortures, conflagrations and other innumerable and unspeakable crimes, sparing neither sex nor age, nor even the priests or ministers of God, nor yet the ornaments or vessels of the churches nor even the buildings … For he [Augustine] saw cities overthrown in destruction, and the resident citizens, together with the buildings on their lands, partly annihilated by the enemy's slaughter and others driven into flight and dispersed. He saw churches stripped of priests and ministers, and holy virgins and all the monastics scattered in every direction. Here he saw some succumb to torture and others slain by the sword, while still others in captivity, losing their innocency and faith both in soul and body, received from their foes the harsh and evil treatment of slaves’): Possidius, Vita Augustini xxviii.4; trans. Weiskotten, Sancti Augustini vita, 111ff.

68 ‘Ipsosque ecclesiarum praepositos et clericos, qui forte Dei beneficio vel eos non incurrerunt, vel incurrentes evaserunt, rebus omnibus ad omnia quibus fulciendi essent subveniri posse’: ibid. xxviii.9.

69 Cf. Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 118.

70 ‘Interea reticendum minime est, cum memorati impenderent hostes’: Possidius, Vita Augustini xxx.1 (emphasis added); trans. Weiskotten, Sancti Augustini vita, 119.

71 ‘ut eos priuatos iure basilicarum suarum etiam ciuitatibus pelleret’ (‘to the extent that he deprived them of their right to their churches and even drove them from their cities’): Prosper, Epitoma Chronicon 1327; trans. Murray, A. C., From Roman to Merovingian Gaul: a reader, Peterborough 2000, 70 Google Scholar; cf HP i.15. It is also an intriguing possibility that Possidius might have exaggerated the violence of the events that he described in order to deflect blame from himself for not having followed Augustine's advice to stay with his flock: Courtois, Les Vandales, 165f.

72 Theodoret of Cyrus, epp. xxix–xxxvi, lii–iii, lxx, ed. Y. Azéma, SC lxxxviii, Paris 1955, 86–101, 128–31, 152–5. Contrast his description of the persecution of Christians in the Persian Empire: ep. lxxvii–iii, SC lxxxviii. 166–83; cf. Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 134f. J. Moorhead's interpretation should be especially noted: it may be that some of the Africans were driven not by persecution but by ambition, as the young Augustine had been’: Theoderic in Italy, Oxford 1992, 170 Google Scholar. For a prosopographical approach to Theodoret's letters see Conant, Staying Roman, 70–4, 80ff.

73 ‘Βαρβαρικὸς … πόλεμος’: Theodoret of Cyrus, ep. xxxiii, SC lxxxviii. 94, line 14.

74 ‘Ταῦτα λογιζόμενος, τὰ τῆς Λιβύης κακὰ κέρδος ὑπολαμβάνω κοινόν. Πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ τὴν προτέραν ἐκείνων ἐνθυμούμενος εὐπραξίαν, καὶ βλέτων τὴν ἀθρόαν μεταβολήν, ὁρῶ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων τὰς ἀγχιστρόϕους τροπάς, καὶ διδάσκομαι μήτε ταῖς εὐημερίαις ὡς διαρκέσι θαρρεῖν, μήτε τὰς δυσκληρίας ὡς χαλεπὰς δυσχεραίνειν’ (‘In view of these considerations I look on the trouble of Africa as a general advantage. In the first place when I bear in mind their former prosperity and now look on their sudden overthrow, I see how variable are all human affairs, and learn a twofold lesson –not to rejoice in felicity as though it would never come to an end, nor be distressed at calamities as hard to bear’: idem, ep. lii, SC lxxxviii. 128, lines 10–6; trans. Jackson, B., Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers, second series, iii, London 1892, 267 Google Scholar.

75 ‘διὰ τήν τῶν βαρβάρων ὠμότητα’: idem, ep. lii, SC lxxxviii. 128, line 3.

76 Orosius, Historiae contra paganos iii.20.5–6, in Orose, Histoires (Contre les païens), ed. M.-P. Arnaud-Lindet, Paris 1990; cf. Matthews, J. F., Western aristocracies and imperial court, A. D. 364–425, Oxford 1975, 308 Google Scholar.

77 PCA, s.v. ‘Possidius 1’, 895f.

78 Praesertim in ecclesiis basilicisque sanctorum … sceleratius saeuiebant’: HP i.4 (emphasis added).

79 J.-P. Bouhot argues that Augustine's library was transferred to Rome after 442 and that Prosper read Augustine's works while he sojourned in Rome between about 440 and 455: ‘La Transmission d'Hippone à Rome des oeuvres de saint Augustin’, in Guarda, D. Nebbiai-Della and Genest, J.-F. (eds), Du Copiste au collectionneur: mélanges d'histoire des textes et des bibliothèques en l'honneur d'André Vernet, Turnhout 1999, 23–33 at pp. 26–9Google Scholar.

80 Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 127, 138f. This is accepted by Isola: ‘Quodvultdeus la prima anima della ‘resistance’ all'invasore’: Cristiani dell'Africa, 34. Therefore, this cannot be the same person as the deacon mentioned in ep. ccxxviii, nor the dedicatee of De haeresibus. See n. 30 above.

81 See Braun, R., Opera Quodvultdeo Carthaginiensi episcopo tributa, CCSL lx, Turnhout 1976, 654 Google Scholar, s.v. ‘persecutor’. On the historiographical relation between them see Inglebert, H., ‘Un Exemple historiographique au ve siècle: la conception de l'histoire chez Quodvultdeus de Carthage et ses relations avec la Cité de Dieu ’, Revue des études augustiniennes xxxvii (1991), 307–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

82 For a survey see Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 126–39. On the conquest see Modéran, ‘Les Vandales et la chute de Carthage’, and Les Vandales, 119–30.

83 Ibid. For a prosopographical study of all known displaced individuals see Conant, Staying Roman, 67–129.

84 See, for example, Quodvultdeus, De quarta feria siue de cultura agri dominici sermo 7.9, ed. R. Braun, CSEL lx. 294; cf. Clover, F. M., ‘The symbiosis of Romans and Vandals in Africa’, in Chrysos, E. and Schwarz, A. (eds), Die Reich und die Barbaren, Vienna 1989, 5773 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Miles, ‘The Anthologia Latina’; Hen, Y., Roman barbarians: the royal court and culture in the early medieval West, New York 2007, 63–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 83–108; and Conant, Staying Roman, 132–59. For a contrary view see Van Slyke, Quodvultdeus, 179ff.

85 Eno, R. B., ‘Christian reactions to the barbarian invasions and the sermons of Quodvultdeus’, in Hunter, D. G. (ed.), Preaching in the patristic age: studies in honor of Walter J. Burghardt, S. J., Mahwah, NJ 1989, 139–61Google Scholar; Inglebert, H., Les Romains chrétiens face à l'histoire de Rome: histoire, christianisme et romanités et Occident dans l'antiquité tardive (IIIe–Ve siècles), Paris 1996, 618–22Google Scholar; Van Slyke, Quodvultdeus, 115–45.

86 See especially Quodvultdeus, De tempore barbarico II 1.2; 5.4–13, ed. R. Braun, CCSL lx. 473, 476f.

87 Orosius, Historiae vii.41.2; cf. Courtois, Les Vandales, 165, and Le Bohec, ‘Le Visage de la guerre’, 159f.

88 ‘Matres familias captiuas abductas, praegnantes abscisas, nutrices euulsis e minibus paruulis atque in uia seiuiuis proiectis’: Quodvultdeus, De tempore barbarico II 5.8; trans. Kalkman, ‘Two sermons’, 164; cf. ‘Sed etiam paruulos ab uberibus maternis rapiens, barbarus furor insontem infantiam elidebat ad terram; aliis e regione pedes tenentes a meatu prorsus naturali usque ad arcem capitis dissipabant’ (‘Indeed in their barbaric frenzy they even snatched children from their mothers’ breasts and dashed the guiltless infants to the ground. They held others by the feet, upside down, and cut them in two from their bottoms to the tops of their heads’): HP i. 7; trans. Moorhead, Victor of Vita. Noted by Lancel, Victor, 100, n. 21.

89 Sermo de SS. Perpetua et Felicitate, ed. Dekkers, E., Clavis patrum latinorum, 3rd edn, Steenbrugge 1995, 415 Google Scholar; cf. Quodvultdeus, De tempore barbarico I 5.3–4. trans. Kalkman, ‘Two sermons’, 147: ‘[Perpetuae et Felicitatis] Vna earum erat praegnans, alia lactans. Felicitas parturiebat, Perpetua lactabat. Sed tamdiu haec Perpetua lactauit, quamdiu acciperet ab illo pastore simul et patre buccellam lactis: qua accepta dulcedo felicitates perpetuae eam fecit contemnere filium, spernere patrem, non inhaerere mundo, perdere animam pro Christo. Felicitas uero, quae sociam habebat Perpetuam, parturiebat et dolebat; abiecta bestiis gaudebat potius quam timebat. Quae uirtus in feminis!’ (One of them was pregnant, the other was suckling. Felicity was the pregnant one, Perpetua the one giving suck. But this Perpetua gave milk so long as she received a ration of milk from the great shepherd and at the same time father; once this was received, the sweetness of perpetual felicity enabled her to contemn her son, despise her father, to let go the world and to lose her life for Christ. Felicity, however, who had Perpetua as her companion, was in the pains of labor, and after she was thrown to the wild beasts, was joyful rather than fearful. What strength there is in women!’); cf. Salzman, Michele R., ‘Apocalypse then? Jerome and the fall of Rome in 410 ce ’, in Harvey, Paul B. Jr and Conybeare, C. (eds), Maxima debetur magistro reverential: essays on Rome and the Roman tradition in honor of Russel T. Scott, Como 2009, 175–92, esp. pp. 181ffGoogle Scholar.

90 É. Fournier, Rebaptism as a ritual of cultural integration in Vandal Africa’, in Brakke, D., Deliyannis, D. and Watts, E. (eds), Shifting cultural frontiers in late antiquity, Burlington 2012, 243–54Google Scholar, and ‘“Conquis par l'Afrique”: l'importance des Donatistes pour comprendre l'Afrique vandale’, Karthago xxix (2014–15), forthcoming; cf. Whelan, ‘African controversy’, and Conant, ‘Donatism’.

91 Quodvultdeus, De accedentibus ad gratiam I 12, ed. Braun, CCSL lx. 450f.; De tempore barbarico I 2, 6, 8. See Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 127–32.

92 ‘Ubi est Africa, quae toto mundo fuit uelut hortus deliciarum? Vbi tot regions? Vbi tantae splendidissimae ciuitates? Nonne tanto haec acerbius castigata est, quanto aliis prouinciis emendates ista corrigendo noluit suscipere disciplinam?’: Quodvultdeus, De tempore barbarico II 5.4; trans. Kalkman, ‘Two sermons’, 164. This is the central theme of De tempore barbarico II: see esp. 1.1–2, 2.1, and 5.4–8. Such a conception of the invasion as a divine punishment leads him to a contradiction, however, when he later describes the Vandals as creatures of the Devil who persecute both the just and the unjust indiscriminately. See esp. Quodvultdeus, De tempore barbarico II 10.3–4.

93 ‘Cauete, dilectissimi, arrianam pestem; non uos separent a Christo terrena promittendo’: Quodvultdeus, De tempore barbarico I 8.7; trans. Kalkman, ‘Two sermons’, 156.

94 ‘Arrianos quos nunc uidemus multos seducere aut potentia temporali aut industria mali ingenii aut certe abstinentia parcitatis uel quorumlibet signorum deceptione’: Liber promissionum et praedictorum dei, Dimidium temporis in signis Antichristi 5.7, ed. Braun, CCSL lx. 194.

95 Conant, Staying Roman, 170.

96 Liber promissionum ii.6.10; D.5.7, 10.18. See Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 138f.; Fredriksen, P., ‘Apocalypse and redemption in early Christianity, from John of Patmos to Augustine of Hippo’, Vigiliae Christianae xlv (1991), 151–83Google Scholar, and Landes, R., ‘Lest the millennium be fulfilled: apocalyptic expectations and the pattern of western chronography, 100–800 ce ’, in Verbeke, W. D. F., Verhelst, D. and Welkenhuisen, A. (eds), The use and abuse of eschatology in the Middle Ages, Leuven 1988, 137211 Google Scholar, esp. pp. 156–60 on Augustine and Quodvultdeus.

97 ‘In Africa Gisiricus rex Wandalorum, intra habitationis suae limites volens catholicam fidem Arriana impetate subvertere, quosdam nostrorum episcopos, quorum Posidius et Novatus ac Severianus clariores errant, eatenus persecutes est, ut eos privatos iure basilicarum suarum etiam civitatibus pelleret, cum ipsorum constantia nullis superbissimi regis terroribus cederet’ and ‘Per idem tempus quattuor Hispani viri Arcadius Paschasius Probus et Eutycianus dudum apud Gisiricum merito sapientiae et fidelis obsequie cari clarique habebantur. Quos rex ut dilectiores sibi faceret, in Arrianam perfidiam transire praecepit. Sed illi hoc facinus constantissime respuentes excitato in rabidissimam iram barbaro primum proscripti, deinde in exilium acti, tum atrocissimis suppliciis excruciati, ad postremum diversis mortibus interempti inlustri martyrio mirabiliter occubuerunt’: Prosper, Epitoma Chronicon, 1327, 1329, a. 437, trans. in Murray, A. C., From Roman to Merovingian Gaul: a reader, Scarborough 2000, 69fGoogle Scholar.

98 On Prosper and his ties to Augustine see Hwang, A. Y., Intrepid lover of perfect grace: the life and thought of Prosper of Aquitaine, Washington, DC 2009 Google Scholar.

99 Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 60f., 180.

100 As noted by Courtois, Les Vandales, 170.

101 Antonius Honoratus, Epistula Consolatoria ad Arcadium, PL i.567–70. See PCA, s.v. ‘Honoratus Antoninus 4’, 75.

102 Gennadius, De uiris illustribus 96, ed. Richardson, E. C., Leipzig 1896, 95 Google Scholar. The infrequency of the name Arcadius in North Africa strengthens the case for identification: PCA, s.v. ‘Arcadius’, ‘Archadius 1’, ‘Archadius 2’, 89ff.

103 Conant, Staying Roman, 162.

104 Cf. A. Rodolfi who observes that ‘the king's persecution has here a specific political aim’: A difficult co-existence in Vandal Africa: King Geiseric and the Catholics’, in Young, F., Edwards, M. and Parvis, P. (eds), Studia Patristica xxxix, Leuven 2006, 117–24 at p. 119Google Scholar.

105 HP i.2; cf. Hen, Royal court, 64; Modéran, Les Vandales, 96; and Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 54.

106 Berndt, Konflikt und Anpassung, 175–257, esp. pp. 215–25; cf. Conant, Staying Roman, 180–6, and Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 83–108.

107 Martindale, J. R. (ed.), Prosopography of the later Roman Empire, II: A. D. 395–527, Cambridge 1980 Google Scholar, s.v. ‘Arcadius 2’, ‘Eutychius 2’, ‘Paschasius 1’, ‘Probus 3’, at pp. 130, 440, 835, 910.

108 ‘[XIIII kal. Nov. Geisiricus] Carthaginem dolo pacis inuadit omnesque opes eius excruciatis diuerso tormentorum genere ciuibus in ius suum uertit, nec ab ecclesiarum despoliatione abstinens, quas et sacris uasis exinanitas et sacerdotum administratione priuatas non iam diuini cultus loca, sed suorum esse iussit habitacula, in uniuersum captiui populi ordinem saeuus, sed praecipue nobilitati et religioni infensus, ut non discerneretur, hominibus magis an deo bellum intulisset’: Epitoma Chronicon 1339, a. 439 (emphasis added); trans. Murray, From Roman to Merovingian Gaul, 71; cf. HP i.4.

109 On the date see Merrills and Miles, Vandals, 41–7, 252 n. 57; cf. Carr, K. E., Vandals to Visigoths: rural settlement patterns in early medieval Spain, Ann Arbor 2002, 128 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Arce, J., Barbaros y Romanos en Hispania (400–507 A. D.), Madrid 2005, 102–24Google Scholar, and Los Vándalos en Hispania (409–429 A. D.)’, Antiquité Tardive x (2002), 7585 Google Scholar; and Modéran, Les Vandales, 76–91.

110 The Chronicle of Hydatius and the Consularia Constantinopolitana: two contemporary accounts of the final years of the Roman Empire, ed. and trans. Burgess, R. W., Oxford 1993, 36 Google Scholar. All references and translations are to this edition unless otherwise stated.

111 Hydace, Chronique, ed. and trans. Tranoy, A., SC ccxviii, Paris 1974, 42 Google Scholar.

112 ‘Ecclesiastici ordinis statum creationibus indiscretis, honestae libertatis interitum et uniuerse propemodum in diuina disciplina religionis occasum ex furentium dominatione permixta iniquarum perturbatione nationum’: Hydatius, Chronicon, pref. 6, at pp. 74–5.

113 See Augustine ep. 11*, ed. J. Divjak, CSEL lxxxviii, Vienna 1981, 51–70, along with La Bonnardière, A.-M., ‘Du Nouveau sur le priscillianisme’, in Les Lettres de Saint Augustin découvertes par Johannes Divjak, Paris 1983, 205–14Google Scholar; Van Dam, R., ‘“Sheep in wolves’ clothing”: the letters of Consentius to Augustine’, this Journal xxxvii (1985), 515–53Google Scholar; and Kulikowski, M., ‘Fronto, the bishops, and the crowd: episcopal justice and communal violence in fifth-century Tarraconensis’, Early Medieval Europe xi (2002), 295320 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. There are further references in Escribano, ‘Heresy and orthodoxy’.

114 ‘communicate in eodem concilio Ortigio episcopo qui Caelenis fuerat ordinatus sed agentibus Priscillianistis pro fide catholica pulsus factionibus exulabat’: Hydatius, Chronicon, 25. See also Tranoy's comments at Hydace, Chronique, 30.

115 ‘Barbari [34: Alani et Vandali et Sueui] qui in Hispanias ingressi fuerant caede depredantur hostili’: Hydatius, Chronicon, 38.

116 ‘Debaccantibus per Hispanias barbaris et seuiente nihilominus pestilentiae malo opes et conditam in urbibus substantiam tyrannicus exactor diripit et milites exauriunt’: ibid 39–40; cf. Hydace, Chronique, ii. 38–9.

117 Hydatius, Chronicon, 40. Topos: Olympiodorus, fragment 29.2, ed. Blockley, R. C., in The fragmentary classicising historians of the later Roman Empire: Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus, and Malchus, Liverpool 1981–3Google Scholar, ii.192; Kulikowski, M., Late Roman Spain and its cities, Baltimore 2004, 364 n. 55Google Scholar; Stramaglia, A., ‘Cannibali a scuola : i « Cadaueribus pasti » dello pseudo-Quintiliano: (« Declamazioni maggiori », 12)’, Primum legere ii (2003), 113–23Google Scholar; Curchin, L. A., ‘Cannibalism in Spain and the ancient world’, in Angeles, M. and others (eds), Homenaje al profesor Montenegro: estudios de historia antigua, Valladolid 1999, 269–74Google Scholar; Mcgowan, A., ‘Eating people: accusations of cannibalism against Christians in the second century’, JECS ii (1994), 413–42Google Scholar; Rankin, D., ‘Eating people is right: Petronius 141 and a topos’, Hermes xcvii (1969), 381–4Google Scholar.

118 ‘Subuersis memorata plagarum crassatione Hispaniae prouinciis barbari ad pacem ineundam domino miserante conuersi, sorte ad inhabitandum sibi prouinciarum diuidunt regiones’: Hydatius, Chronicon, 41; cf. Hydace, Chronique, ii. 39, and Ward-Perkins, Fall of Rome, 63.

119 Arnaud-Lindet, Orose, i.xxiv; cf. Orosius: seven books of history against the pagans, trans. Fear, A. T., Liverpool 2010, 6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For the wider implications of Orosius’ text see van Nuffelen, P., Orosius and the rhetoric of history, Oxford 2012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

120 ‘ubi actis aliquamdiu magnis cruentisque discursibus, post graues rerum atque hominum uastationes de quibus ipsos quoque modo paenitet, habita sorte et distributa usque ad nunc possessione consistent’ (‘After indulging for a time there in great and bloody raids and causing destruction of both life and property, things for which they too now have some regret, they drew lots to divide up their gains and settled in those parts which they hold to this day’): Orosius, Historiae vii.40.10; trans. Fear, Orosius, 406. See the discussion in Modéran, Les Vandales, 80–5.

121 ‘Inruptae sunt Hispaniae, caedes uastationesque passae sunt: nihil quidem nouum, hoc enim nunc per biennium illud quo hostilis gladius saeuiit, sustinuere a barbaris, quod per ducentos quondam annos passae fuerant a Romanis, quod etiam sub Gallieno imperatore per annos propemodum duodecim Germanis euertentibus exceperunt’ (‘The Spanish provinces were invaded and suffered devastation and slaughter. But this is nothing new. For during these two years while the enemy's sword raged, they endured from barbarians what they had suffered at the hands of the Romans for some 200 years and what, indeed, they had received at the hands of rampaging Germans for nearly twelve years in the reign of the emperor Gallienus’): Orosius, Historiae vii.41.2; trans. Fear, Orosius, 406.

122 ‘Quamquam et post hoc quoque continuo barbari exsecrati gladios suos ad aratra conuersi sunt residuosque Romanos ut socios modo et amicos fouent, ut inueniantur iam inter eos quidam Romani qui malint inter barbaros pauperem libertatem quam inter Romanos tributariam sollicitudinem sustinere’: ibid. vii.41.7.

123 For Orosius see Fear, A. T., ‘The Christian optimism of Paulus Orosius’, in Hook, D. (ed.), From Orosius to the Historia Silense: four essays on the late antique and early medieval historiography of the Iberian peninsula, Bristol 2005, 116 Google Scholar.

124 ‘Gundericus rex Vandalorum capta Hispali cum impie elatus manus in ecclesiam ciuitatis ipsius extendisset, mox dei iudicio demone correptus interiit’: Hydatius, Chronicon, 79. See the comments of Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 116; cf. Thompson, Edward A., Romans and barbarians: the decline of the western empire, Madison 1982, 217 Google Scholar.

125 Courtois, Les Vandales, 56 n. 4, accepted by Tranoy, Hydace, Chronique, ii.61. Courtois's argument, however, is weakened by his reliance on the much later text of Isidore of Seville; cf. the statement of Merrills and Miles: ‘However, initially at least, Geiseric and the Vandals targeted the African Nicene Church because of its wealth, and not because of any particular religious fervour’: Vandals, 181. I take this statement to be programmatic of the Vandal religious policy until at least the conquest of Carthage (439 ce).

126 Hydatius, Chronicon, 25, 32, 101–2, 113, 201, 207. For the interpretation of some of these passages see Hydace, Chronique, 44–5; ii.30.

127 At this point in his narrative Hydatius inserts a comment to the effect that Geiseric, originally a Nicene Christian, converted to the Homoian faith: Chronicon, 79. While this episode could explain the absence of references to a Vandal persecution in Spain, most scholars have dismissed this story as unfounded because it is not confirmed by any other source: Courtois, Les Vandales, 63 n. 3. Modéran concludes that Vandals were already Homoian under Gunderic, and that, if Geiseric converted, it was in order to become their king: Les Vandales, 88ff; cf. Conan, Staying Roman, 185.

128 ‘Gaisericus rex de Beticae prouinciae litore cum Vandalis omnibus eorumque familiis mense Maio ad Mauritaniam et Africam relictis transit Hispaniis; qui priusquam pertransiret, admonitus Heremigarium Sueuum uicinas in transitu suo prouincias depraedari, recursu cum aliquantis suis facto predantem in Lusitania consequitur; qui aud procul de Emerita, quam cum sanctae martyris Eulaliae iniuria spreuerat, maledictis per Gaisericum caesis ex his quos secum habebat, arrepto, ut putauit, euro uelocius fugae subsidio in flumine Ana diuino brachio precipitatus interiit; quo ita extincto mox quo caeperat Gaisericus enauigauit’ (‘In the month of May, King Gaiseric abandoned Spain and with all the Vandals and their families crossed over from the shores of the province of Baetica to Mauritania and Africa. Before crossing, he was warned that the Sueve Heremigarius was passing through the neighbouring provinces and pillaging them as he went. Gaiseric therefore doubled back with some of his men and followed the Sueve as he plundered in Lusitania. Not far from Emerita, which Heremigarius had scorned, thereby causing an affront to the holy martyr Eulalia, Gaiseric slaughtered the accursed soldiers who were with the Sueve, but Heremigarius, who thought that he had saved himself by turning to flight more swiftly than the wind, was cast headlong into the river Ana by the hand of God and died. Thus perished Heremigarius. Soon afterwards Gaiseric sailed off to his original destination’): Hydatius, Chronicon, 80; trans. Burgess, Chronicle of Hydatius, 9; cf. Courtois, Les Vandales, 56 n. 5, 157; Hydace, Chronique, 62 (with references to Prudentius, Peristephanon iii.131–210); and Moretus, H., ‘Les Saintes Eulalie’, Revue des questions historiques lxxxix (1911), 85119 Google Scholar.

129 Hydatius, Chronicon, 167, 179.

130 ‘Aiax natione Galata effectus apostata et senior Arrianus inter Sueuos regis sui auxilio hostis catholicae fidei et diuinae trinitatis emergit. De Gallicana Gothorum habitatione hoc pestiferum inimici hominis uirus aduectum’: ibid. 228; trans. Burgess, Chronicle of Hydatius, 119. On Hydatius’ attitude toward the Suevi see Thompson, Romans and barbarians, 210f.

131 Cf. HP i.19, 33, 43, 45–8; ii.10, 23, 28, 31; iii.21, 29, 45–9.

132 Contrast Hydatius, Chronicon, 107: ‘Carthagine magna fraude decept die XIIII kl. Nouembris omnem Africam rex Gaisericus inuadit’ (‘After taking Carthage by a great stratagem on 19 October, King Gaiseric invaded all of Africa’: trans. Burgess, Chronicle of Hydatius), with 110: ‘Gaisericus rex elatus inpie episcopum clerumque Carthaginis depellit ex ea et iuxta prophetiam Danihelis demutatis ministeriis sanctorum ecclesias catholicas tradidit Arrianis’ (‘With overweening impiety King G[e]iseric drove the bishop and clergy of Carthage from that city and, as was prophesied by Daniel, corrupted the ministries of the holy places and handed over the orthodox churches to the Arians’: trans. Burgess, Chronicle of Hydatius, 95).

133 ‘Gaisericus Siciliam depredatus Panormum diu obsedit; qui damnati a catholicis episcopis Maximini apud Siciliam Arrianorum ducis aduersum catholicos precipitatur instinctu ut eos quoquo pacto in impietatem cogeret Arrianam. Nonnullis declinantibus aliquanti durantes in catholica fide consummauere martyrium’: Hydatius, Chronicon, 112. On the role of Maximinus in this episode see Mathisen, R. W., ‘Sigisvult the patrician, Maximinus the Arian, and political stratagems in the western Roman empire, c. 425–440’, Early Medieval Europe viii (1999), 173–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. pp. 185f. See also Nicolaye, C., ‘Sicily as pawn in Vandal foreign policy’, in Engels, D., Geis, L. and Kleu, M. (eds), Zwischen Ideal und Wirklichkeit: Herrschaft auf Sizilien von der Antike bis zum Spätmittelalter, Stuttgart 2010, 175–88Google Scholar.

134 Gillett, A., Envoys and political communication in the late antique West, 411–533, Cambridge 2003, 38 CrossRefGoogle Scholar n. 4; Muhlberger, S., The fifth-century chroniclers: Prosper, Hydatius, and the Gallic Chronicler of 452, Liverpool 1990, 204–12Google Scholar; R. W. Burgess, ‘Hydatius: a late Roman chronicler in post-Roman Spain: an historiographical study and new critical edition of the Chronicle’, unpubl. DPhil. diss. Oxford 1988, 33–72; Hydace, Chronique. 50–5; Thompson, Romans and barbarians, 142–50.

135 For an independent example of the same phenomenon see Gregory of Tours, Decem historiarum libri ii.2, ed. B. Kush and W. Levison, MGH, Scriptorum Rerum Merovingicarum i/1, Hanover 1951, 39f., with Dearn, A., ‘Miracles, martyrs, and Arians: Gregory of Tours’ sources for his account of the Vandal kingdom’, Vigiliae Christianae lix (2005), 412–37Google Scholar. However Dearn's suggestion of a hypothetical Historia is unconvincing in the absence of evidence. For a later inscription see Courcelle, Histoire littéraire, 116 n. 2.

136 ‘Augustinus Hipponeregiensis episcopus habetur insignis; inter cuius studia magnifica Donatistas ab eo Dei adiutorio superatos probata fides demonstrat actorum’ (‘Augustine, the bishop of Hippo Regius, was famous. Amongst his magnificent works the proven and trustworthy acts <of the Collatio at Carthage> reveal that he defeated the Donatists with the assistance of God’): Hydatius, Chronicon, 45 (53); trans. Burgess, Chronicle of Hydatius, 83–5. This suggests that Hydatius had read either the Collatio of the conference, or the breuiculum, or both; cf. Hydace, Chronique, ii.44. On the ecclesiastical contacts between the two areas see n. 113 above.

137 See further B. D. Shaw, ‘War and violence’, in Brown, P., Bowersock, G. W. and Grabar, O. (eds), Late antiquity: a guide to the postclassical world, London 1999, 130–69, esp. p 133Google Scholar, where he states that ‘any full understanding of the actions of armies has to confront the cruel fact that a great deal of the violence consisted of attacks that were deliberately planned to terrorize civilian populations’, and ‘to these planned atrocities must be added the normal pillaging and looting that followed most successful forays – actions that threatened to transform an army from a hierarchically controlled unit under the command of officers to an anarchical mob’.