By Andrew Merrills, Richard Miles

The Vandals is the 1st publication on hand within the English Language devoted to exploring the unexpected upward push and dramatic fall of this advanced North African state. this whole historical past offers a whole account of the Vandals and re-evaluates key elements of the society including:
- Political and fiscal buildings comparable to the advanced international coverage which mixed diplomatic alliances and marriages with brutal raiding
- the intense cultural improvement of secular studying, and the non secular struggles that threatened to rip the country apart
- the character of Vandal identification from a social and gender viewpoint.

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Example text

If we are to place the Vandals of the second and third centuries anywhere, it should be in the hamlets and agricultural settlements of the Upper Tisza. 17 Unfortunately, there is little to sustain this identification – our texts are silent on the precise location of Vandal settlement, and archaeology in itself is a notoriously unstable platform for ethnographic labelling. The supposed association of the material culture of the Tisza graves with the so-called Przeworsk culture of central Poland is hardly a basis for confident identification, as was discussed in the previous chapter.

4 But these are tiny fragments of information within the huge military and political upheaval of the Danube frontier. The textual sources for the early history of the Vandals in this region are notoriously problematic. 5 Later historians provide a rather fuller narrative, but create more problems than they solve. The Historia Augusta, for example, consists of a number of colourful biographies of second- and third-century emperors, many of whom campaigned along the northern frontier. 6 Much the same is true of Jordanes’ History of the Goths (commonly known as the Getica), written by a minor civil servant in Constantinople during the 550s.

And those which the sword spares without, famine ravages within. I cannot speak without tears of Tolosa [Toulouse] which has been kept from failing hitherto by the merits of its reverend bishop Exuperius. 50 Jerome’s letter seems to imply that the Vandals and their allies ran amok throughout Gaul in ad 407 and 408, and has generally been read as such by modern historians. Yet careful scrutiny suggests something rather different. 51 The peculiar specificity of Jerome’s account here suggests that he may have been drawing on local sources.

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