|The Sacking of Rome, by Karl Briullov (1833 – 1836)|
Date of Birth: c. 389
Royal House: Vandal
Reign: 428 – 477
Summary: Geiseric was one of the greatest Germanic kings of the Migration period. He was responsible for raids into Hispania but decided against settling there because of the Visigoths. He made a vast fleet and sailed for North Africa, overrunning Roman outposts in Morocco and Algeria. In 435, the Roman Emperor Valentinian III made peace with the Vandals, granting them all the lands of North Africa west of Carthage (Tunisia). Four years later, Geiseric broke the treaty and took Carthage, capturing much of the Roman fleet that was moored there. With this fleet, the Roman Empire lost control of the western Mediterranean Sea. The Vandals quickly took Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic Islands. For the remainder of his life, Geiseric ruled a great sea empire in the western Mediterranean, pirating and looting the lands of southern Gaul, Italy, and Hispania.
Perhaps Geiseric's most famous plunder, however, was the sacking of Rome in 455 that prompted the word "vandalize". When Valentinian III was murdered and Maximum usurped the throne, Geiseric deemed his contract void. He negotiated with Pope Leo I to open the door to Rome for them, and the Vandals invaded. Interestingly, they did not destroy the city, but they did deprive it of much of its wealth. Geiseric took Valentinian's widow and daughters as booty, marrying the elder daughter, Eudocia, to his own son, Huneric, thereby solidifying a treaty that had been signed in 442. This raid on Rome caused the last cooperation between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. The East sent a fleet to subdue the Vandals but it was horribly defeated. Emboldened, the Vandals attempted an invasion of southern Greece, but failed. The Vandals and the Eastern Roman Empire finally made peace in 474. The Western Roman Empire fell two years later.
Date of Death: 25 January 477
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