Northern Africa 422: Battle of Tarraco

Political map of Northern Africa on 14 Aug 422 (Africa and Rome Divided: Battle of Tarraco), showing the following events: Battle of Bracara Augusta; Vandalusia; Roman–Persian War; Exile of Bonifatius; Battle of Tarraco.

By 422 the Western Roman government was ready to deal with the Vandal presence in Baetica and ordered two generals, Castinus and Bonifatius, to Hispaniae. However, the two were bitter rivals and their ongoing quarrels soon led Bonifatius to flee to Africa. Castinus continued on, but he was defeated by the Vandals when his Visigothic auxiliaries deserted him and he fled to nearby Tarraco.

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Main Events

420 Battle of Bracara Augusta

After the Romans helped defeat the Vandals in the Nervasos Mountains earlier in 420, a Roman contingent under the vicarius Maurocellus was attacked in Bracara Augusta (Braga) and narrowly escaped from the city. It is uncertain from the records who the attackers were in this encounter—especially as Bracara was in Suebic territory—but it is likely that this was part of a Vandal maneuver to evacuate Gallaecia and move south into Baetica. in wikipedia

420 Vandalusia

Following the battles of the Nervassos Mountains and Bracara Augusta in 420, the Vandals and Alans abandoned Gallaecia and moved into the wealthy southern Spanish province of Baetica. Here they would remain for most of the 420s, and it has been theorized since at least the 13th century that the region’s modern name, Andalusia, is derived from this Vandal settlement (perhaps from the Arabic al-Fandalus, the Vandals). in wikipedia

421–422 Roman–Persian War

In 420 the young Bahram V gained the throne of the Sasanian Persian Empire and embarked on a number of anti-Roman policies, including persecuting Christians, retaining hired Roman laborers, and attacking merchants. Angered, the Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II—under the encouragement of his pious sister empress Pulcheria—order the invasion of Persia, and in 421 his forces ravaged Arzanene and threatened Nisibis. In retaliation, Bahram marched into Roman Mesopotamia and besieged Theodosiopolis (Ras al-Ayn), but was repulsed. By this point Theodosius had become concerned by the threat of the Huns, and in early 422 the Romans made peace with the Persians on the condition that both empires tolerate each other’s religion. in wikipedia

422 Exile of Bonifatius

When, in early 422, the Western magister militum Flavius Castinus was ordered to lead a campaign against the Vandals in Hispaniae, the general Bonifatius was appointed to join him—a move probably instigated by Emperor Honorius’ sister Galla Placidia to limit Castinus’ power. The two generals immediately took to quarreling and, soon afterwards, Bonifatius fled from Ravenna to Africa. This move was endorsed by Placidia early the following year, when she arranged for Bonifatius to become comes Africae. in wikipedia

422 Battle of Tarraco

In 422 the Western Roman government dispatched the newly appointed magister militum Flavius Castinus with a large force of Roman troops and Visigothic auxiliaries to attack the Vandals, who were at large in Baetica, Hispaniae. After successfully surrounding the Vandals, Castinus offered battle, only to be defeated when the Visigoths deserted him. Having lost an alleged 20,000 men, he fled to Tarraco, blaming the disaster on collusion between Honorius’ sister Galla Placidia, Bonifatius, and the Visigoths. in wikipedia