, VINDILI, or VANDULI (Οὐανδαλοί, Βανδῆλοι, Βανδίλοι
), a powerful branch of the German nation, which, according to Procopius (Bell. Goth.
1.3), originally occupied the country about the Palus Maeotis, but afterwards inhabited an extensive tract of country on the south coast of the Baltic, between the rivers Vistula and Viadrus, where Pliny (4.28
) mentions the Burgundiones as a tribe of the Vindili.
At a somewhat later period we find them in the country north of Bohemia, about the Riesengebirge,
which derived from them the name of Vandalici Montes (Οὐανδαλικὰ ὄρη; D. C. 55.1
In the great Marcomannian war, they were allied with the Marcomanni, their southern neighbours, and in conjunction with them and the Quadi attacked Pannonia. (Jul. Capitol. M. Aurel.
17; Eutrop. 8.13
; Vopisc. Prob.
18; Dexippus, Exc. de Leg.
In the reign of Constantine they again appear in a different country, having established themselves in Moravia, whence the emperor transplanted them into Pannonia (Jornand. Get.
22), and in the reign of Probus they also appear in Dacia. (Vopisc. Prob.
38.) In A.D. 406, when most of the Roman troops had been withdrawn from Gaul, the Vandals, in conjunction with other German tribes, crossed the Rhine and ravaged Gaul in all directions; and their devastations in that country and afterwards in Spain have made their name synonymous with that of savage destroyers of what is beautiful and venerable. Three years later they established themselves in Spain under their chief Godigisclus. Here again they plundered and ravaged, among many other places, Nova Carthago and Hispalis, together with the Balearian islands.
At last, in A.D. 429, the whole nation, under king Genseric, crossed over into Africa, whither they had been invited by Bonifacius, who hoped to avail himself of their assistance against his calumniators.
But when they were once in Africa, they refused to quit it. They not only defeated Bonifacius, but made themselves masters of the whole province of Africa.
This involved them in war with the Empire, during which Sicily and the coasts of Italy were at times fearfully ravaged. On one occasion, A.D. 455, Genseric and his hordes took possession of Rome, which they plundered and sacked for fourteen days. And not only Rome, but other cities also, such as Capua and Nola, were visited in a similar way by these barbarians.
Afterwards various attempts were made to subdue or expel them, but without success, and the kingdom of the Vandals maintained itself in Africa for a period of 105 years, that is, down to A.D. 534, when Belisarius, the general of the Eastern Empire, succeeded in destroying their power, and recovered Africa for the Empire.
As to the nationality of the Vandals, most German writers claim them for their nation (Zeuss, Die Deutschen,
p. 57; Wilhelm, Germanien,
p. 87); but Dr. Latham (on Tac. Epileg.
p. lxxxviii. foll.) and others prefer regarding them as a Slavonic people, though their arguments are chiefly of an etymological nature, which is not always a safe guide in historical inquiries. (Papencordt, Gesch. der Vandal. Herrschaft in Africa,
Berlin, 1837; Hansen, Wer veranlasste die Berufung der Vandalen nach Africa?
Dorpat, 1843; Friedländer, Die Münzen der Vandalen,