▷  Vandals!

The Ancient History Group began 2021 with a group of Vandals! After exchanging news about those of us who were lucky to be in the age group to have their vaccinations already we focused on life before the year nought, when the feared Vandals are supposed to have ravaged various parts of Europe. It turns out that the word ‘vandal’ comes from wandering or wandern in German. All it means is that these people were wanderers or nomads moving from place to place. Their story appears to look more like those of other nomad tribes that make their way across European lands for various reasons, not least searching for land or food sources. Mark reported on their history up until their entry into Africa after crossing via Gibraltar. A second part of their story will be told at a later date. During this early history there appear to be a variety of tribes who have neither language nor history or culture in common. They happen to be moving in the same direction at similar times and thus congregate here in there. Originating from Scandinavia they moved to Poland, Silesia and Hungary. The Asding tribe of Vandals may have brought about the Marcomannic war with Rome in the second century AD. One of the other main groups of Vandals were the Silings. There were also the Swabians and finally the Huns. A group of Vandals tried to take on the Romans who were led by Stilicho, a staunch Roman, in spite of his Vandal background. They got beaten into withdrawal. Their next attempt to move south was a cunning plan, possibly through extra information. They marched to the east side of the river Rhein and managed to cross it without moving into Stilicho’s area This was in 405 BC. From the West side of the Rhein they gathered further tribes amongst themselves and marched south, reaching France, then Spain, where they settled for a few years. Many left to reach Africa via Gibraltar. Their story raised a lot of questions in our group, such as what are their archaeological footprints, why were peoples of these ages more cruel than we are nowadays and, if that is true, what stopped them becoming less cruel. Was it treaties, religion or an easier life? By the time the Vandals crossed through Europe they had adopted the Christian religion. Mark thinks possibly through the teachings of missionaries.

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