Europe 439: Vandal capture of Carthage

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 19 Oct 439 (Theodosian Dynasty: Fall of Africa: Vandal capture of Carthage), showing the following events: First Battle of Toulouse; Fall of Augusta Emerita; Second Battle of Toulouse; Capture of Carthage.

Taking advantage of Roman troubles with the Visigoths in Gaul, the Vandal king Gaiseric suddenly invaded Africa in late 439 and, by some form of trickery, seized control of Carthage. The fall of the third largest city in the Roman Empire—and a vital source of grain for Rome itself—sent shock waves throughout the empire.

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Main Events

439 First Battle of Toulouse

In 439 the Western Roman dux Litorius invaded the territory of the Visigoths and soon approached their capital Tolosa (Toulouse). The Visigoths gave battle but, after he had inflicted heavy casualties on them, Litorius recklessly charged into the fray with his Hunnic auxiliaries. As a result, his Huns were slaughtered and he himself fell into the hands of the Visigoths, who put him to death a few days later. in wikipedia

439 Fall of Augusta Emerita

In 439 Rechila, King of the Suebi, marched into Augusta Emerita, capital of the Roman province of Lusitania in the Diocese of Hispaniae. Having secured Emerita, Rechila then besieged the comes Censorius—who had negotiated peace between Aetius and the Suebi in 432 and 437—at Martylis (perhaps Myrtilis/Mértola in what is now Portugal). Censorius capitulated at some point in 440, after which he seems to have spent the remaining eight years of his life in Suebian captivity. in wikipedia

439 Second Battle of Toulouse

After the Visigothic defeat of Litorius at Tolosa (Toulouse) in mid 439, the Gothic officer Vetericus seems to have taken command of the Western Roman forces there and stabilized the situation while awaiting the arrival of the magister militum Aetius from Italy. Late in the year, Aetius took charge and, rejecting Visigothic peace overtures, immediately besieged a Visigothic military camp near Tolosa. Capturing the camp with the help of siege towers, the Romans proceeded to massacre the trapped defenders, thereby both avenging Litorius and ending the war with a stern warning to the Visigoths. in wikipedia

19 Oct 439 Capture of Carthage

In late 439, taking advantage of Roman troubles with the Visigoths in Gaul, the Vandal king Gaiseric marched out of Hippo Regius into the province of Africa and seized control of Carthage by “a great strategem” or “trickery”. The fall of the third largest city in the Roman Empire—and a vital source of grain for Rome itself—would soon send shock waves throughout the empire, but does not seem to have been reported in Italy until early 440, when shipping routes reopened after the winter. With Carthage in his hands, Gaiseric placed his followers in positions of authority throughout the city and persecuted catholic Roman churches in favor of Arians and Donatists. in wikipedia