Europe 440: Vandal siege of Panormus

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 30 Jul 440 (Theodosian Dynasty: Fall of Africa: Vandal Siege of Panormus), showing the following events: Avitus–Theodoric Treaty; Alanic Gaul; Siege of Panormus; Roman–Persian War of 440.

Following their capture of Carthage, the Vandals invaded Sicily in the summer of 440 and besieged its capital Panormus. Meanwhile, in Armenia, war broke out between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia but was brought to a halt when Constantinople agreed to buy peace to allow it to divert forces west to deal with the Vandal threat.

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Akatziri and the “Scythian Kingdom” (Kuban Huns)

Little is known about the region north and east of the Black Sea in the first half of the fifth century, except that in c. 400 a “Scythian King” (almost always assumed to be a Hun) lived in the Kuban region and by the 440s a Hunnic people known as the Akatziri lived east of the Dniester. Although fragmented, the Akatziri were powerful enough that, when the Eastern Romans aligned with all but one of their kingdoms in 447, it took over a year for Attila’s armies to crush them and install his son as their king. After this, Attila contemplated invading Persia, implying that suppressing the Akatziri had bought the periphery of his empire close to the Caucasus. All this suggests that the Akatziri may have extended into the North Caucasus and that the “Scythian King” may have been part of the Akatziri, although this is of course conjecture.

Main Events

439 Avitus–Theodoric Treaty

In late 439 the Western Roman generalissimo Aetius sent his general Avitus to negotiate terms with the Visigothic king Theodoric at Tolosa (Toulouse). The two agreed to a restoration of the status quo prior to the Gothic War of 436–439, with the Visigoths returning to their former borders and once again becoming foederati of Rome. This renewed peace between the Romans and Visigoths would hold for over fifteen years, until the death of Valentinian III in 455. in wikipedia

439? Alanic Gaul

When the Alans crossed the Rhine in 406, some of them, under the leadership of Goar, defected to the Romans and served them loyally for several decades. At some point between 439 and 442 the Western Roman generalissimo Aetius granted these Alans—by now led by Goar’s successor Sambida or Sangiban—lands in Gaul, most notably around Urbs Aurelianorum (Orleans) and the Seine basin, but also perhaps in Armorica and near Valentia (Valence). Some local inhabitants opposed these settlements, but were quickly subdued by the Alans and forcibly expelled. in wikipedia

Jun–Sep 440 Siege of Panormus

On 24 June 440 reports reached Ravenna that the Vandal king Gaiseric had left Carthage with a large fleet, prompting a panicked Valentinian III to arrange for the protection of the Italian coast. The Vandals instead landed near Lilybaeum in Sicily and, after capturing that city, undertook a lengthy siege of Panormus (Palermo) while apparently exploiting religious divisions in the island to persecute followers of the orthodox Nicene Creed. At about the same time, the Vandals raided Sardinia, Bruttium, and elsewhere in Sicily, before returning to Africa in around September. in wikipedia

?? 440–Jun 441 Roman–Persian War of 440

In 440 Shah Yazdegerd II of the Sasanian Persian Empire invaded Roman Armenia, but was soon bought off by the Eastern Roman magister militum per Orientem Anatolius on behalf of an empire more concerned with Vandal and Hunnic threats. After a possible brief renewal of the conflict in 441, a treaty was signed in which the Eastern Romans agreed to pay an annual fee in gold to Persia to defend the Caucasus passes against the Huns—a deal which would ultimately last until the outbreak of Anastasius’ war in 502. As ancient sources regularly confused this war with the Persian War of 421–422, it is disputed which of these two wars the unsuccessful Persian siege of Theodosiopolis (either Erzurum or Rhesaina) occurred in. in wikipedia