21 Facts About Gaiseric


Gaiseric ruled over a kingdom he established and played a key role in the decline of the Western Roman Empire during the 5th century.


The illegitimate son of King Godigisel, Gaiseric became king of the Vandals upon the death of his half-brother, Gunderic.


Gaiseric repulsed two major attempts by both halves of the Roman Empire to reclaim North Africa, inflicting devastating defeats on the forces of Majorian in 460 and Basiliscus in 468.


Gaiseric died in Carthage in 477 and was succeeded by Huneric.


Gaiseric was an illegitimate son of King Godigisel and a slave woman.


Gaiseric was a man of deep thought and few words, holding luxury in disdain, furious in his anger, greedy for gain, shrewd in winning over the barbarians and skilled in sowing the seeds of dissension to arouse enmity.


The Vandals had suffered greatly from attacks from the more numerous Visigothic federates, and not long after taking power, Gaiseric decided to leave Hispania to this rival Germanic tribe.


In 429 Gaiseric was attacked by a large force of Suebi under the command of Heremigarius who had managed to take Lusitania.


The Romans were caught unaware, and Gaiseric captured a large part of the western Roman navy docked in the port of Carthage.


The Catholic bishop of the city, Quodvultdeus, was exiled to Naples, since Gaiseric demanded that all his close advisors follow the Arian form of Christianity.


Meanwhile, his new status was that of Proconsularis and as such, Gaiseric made Carthage his new residence.


Gaiseric presided over a mixture of Vandals, Alans, Goths and Romans in Africa, relying on an ad-hoc administration under auspices of the imperial government to legitimize his rule.


Gaiseric besieged Panormus in 440 AD but was repulsed.


In 455, Gaiseric seized the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, and Malta, and his fleet soon came to control much of the western Mediterranean.


Historian Michael Kulikowski notes that unlike Alaric, who besieged Rome as an itinerant barbarian general in "desperate straits," Gaiseric was the king of a flourishing polity and was therefore able to systematically conduct the sack.


Gaiseric agreed and the gates of Rome were thrown open to him and his men.


Gaiseric took with him Empress Eudoxia and her daughters, Eudocia, and Placidia, as well as riches from the city.


In 468, Gaiseric's kingdom was the target of the last concerted effort by the two-halves of the Roman Empire.


Gaiseric sent a fleet of 500 Vandal ships against the Romans, losing 340 ships in the first engagement, but succeeded in destroying 600 Roman ships in the second battle, during which fireships were employed by Gaiseric to devastating effect.


The Romans abandoned the campaign and Gaiseric remained master of the western Mediterranean until his death, ruling from the Strait of Gibraltar all the way to Tripolitania.


In 474, Gaiseric made peace with the Eastern Roman Empire through a treaty negotiated by the Constantinopolitan Senator, Severus, who was acting under Zeno's authority.