• Who is the Barbarian? Considerations on the Vandal Royal Title

    Roland Steinacher (see profile)
    Archaeology, Early Medieval, Late Antiquity
    Rome (Empire), Armies, Romanians--Social life and customs
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Roman army, Roman Empire, Romance literatures, Romanian culture, Romance cultures, Barbarians
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    The Vandal royal title Rex Vandalorum et Alanorum is known from the reign of king Huneric (477-484) from two decrees preserved in Victor of Vita’s History of the Vandal persecution. This catholic polemic pamphlet itself derives from the eighties or nineties of the fifth century. As traditional diplomatics throughout the 19th and 20th centuries considered these decrees as rather authentic, the title was seen as an important case to understand the transformation of the Roman world in the late antique mediterranean via the ‘ethnic’ titles of its new rulers. Furthermore there is a silver bowl bearing the same title for king Gelimer (531-533), the last Vandal king. This means the title is comparatively well attested in our sources. But is it really possible to define Hasding royal titulature and especially the twofold title as a special and unique case using ethnic labels earlier and more prominently than in any other kingdom emerging from Roman provinces throughout Late Antiquity? The royal title ‘king of the Vandals and Alans’ was in use and implied certain political backgrounds. We do not know yet how these backgrounds may be characterised exactly. So the twofold title as well as the single ethnic title ‘king of the Vandals’ has to be discussed again. This article will offer some considerations. Generally speaking I will try to put Vandal history back in a Roman and a local context.
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    4 years ago
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