Gaiseric (429-477) subdued the great islands for which Roman and Phoenician had striven.
Gaiseric made a treaty with Odoacer almost like that which ended the First Punic War.
At the end of fourteen months Gaiseric raised the siege of Hippo; but Boniface was forced to fly to Italy, and the city afterwards fell into the hands of the Vandals.
According to some authorities Gaiseric at this time first actually assumed the title of king.
"Let us make," said Gaiseric, "for the dwellings of the men with whom God is angry," and he left the conduct of his marauding ships to wind and wave.
The Romans made two attempts to avenge themselves, one by the Western emperor, Majorianus, in 460, and the other by the Eastern emperor, Leo I., eight years later; but both enterprises failed, owing principally to the genius of Gaiseric. Continuing his course on the sea the king brought Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Islands under his rule, and even extended his conquests into Thrace, Egypt and Asia Minor.
Gaiseric was a cruel and cunning man, possessing great military talents and superior mental gifts.
The name Gaiseric is said to be derived from gais, a javelin, and reiks, a king.
A portion of the nation is, however, said to have remained behind, and Procopius tells a story that these remnants sent an embassy to Gaiseric, asking that their kinsfolk in Africa should renounce their claims to the lands which their forefathers had held in the old homes of the race.
In 428 or 429 the whole nation set sail for Africa, upon an invitation received by their king from Bonifacius, count of Africa, who had fallen into disgrace with the court of Ravenna Gunderic was now dead, and supreme power was in the hands of his bastard brother, who is generally known in history as Genseric, though the more correct form of his name is Gaiseric. This man, short of stature and with limping gait, but with a great natural capacity for war and dominion, reckless of human life and unrestrained by conscience or pity, was for fifty years the hero of the Vandal race and the terror of Constantinople and Rome.
And Gaiseric. The emperor was to retain Carthage and the small but rich proconsular province in which it was situated, while Hippo and the other six provinces of Africa were abandoned to the Vandal.
Gaiseric observed this treaty no longer than suited his purpose.
Gaiseric seems to have counted the years of his sovereignty from the date of its capture.
One of the princesses, Eudocia, was married to Hunneric, eldest son of Gaiseric; her mother and sister, after long and tedious negotiations, were sent to Constantinople.
It is probable that this charge grew out of the fierce persecution which was carried on by Gaiseric and his son against the Catholic Christians, and which is the darkest stain on their characters.
There was then a short lull in the persecution; but on the death of Gaiseric (477) and the accession of Hunneric it broke out again with greater violence than ever, the ferocity of Hunneric being more thoroughly stupid and brutal than the calculating cruelty of his father.
On the death of Hunneric (484) he was succeeded by his cousin Gunthamund, Gaiseric having established seniority among his own descendants as the law of succession to his throne.
When in 428 Gaiseric, king of the Vandals (q.v.), accepted the invitation of Bonifacius, the count of Africa, and passed cut of Spain to found the Vandal kingdom of Carthage, his whole horde numbered only 80,000 persons, including old men, women and children, and runaway slaves who had joined him.