The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Genseric – Gentius



version of all or most of his other writings. An edi­tion of this treatise, with a Latin version by J. A. Brassicanus, 8vo., Vienna, 1530, contains another piece ascribed to Gennadius, entitled Homologia sive Confessio Fidei. A considerable part of his works is on the question of the union of the churches, and these are almost entirely in MS. (Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vol. xi. pp. 349—393 ; Allatius, Diatriba de Georg. apud Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vol. xii. ; Crusius, Turco-Graecia, lib. i. ii.) [J. C. M.]

GENSERIC (T&piKos), king of the Vandals, and the most terrible of any of the barbarian in­vaders of the empire". He was the bastard son of Godigisdus (Procop. Bell. Vand. i. 3) or Modigisdus (Hist. MiscelL 14), king of the Vandal settlers in Spain, and left, in conjunction with his brother Gontharis or Gonderic, in possession of the throne. His life divides itself into two parts : 1st, the con­quest of Africa (a. d. 429—439) ; 2nd, the naval attacks on the empire itself (a. d. 439—477).

1. In May A. d. 429 (Idatii Chronic.)^ at the invi­tation of Bonifacius [BoNiPACius),Genseric crossed the straits of Gibraltar, at the head of 50,000 men, to take possession of the Roman provinces in the north of Africa. Joined by the Moors and the Donatists, of whom the former disgraced his march by their savage licentiousness, and the latter by their fanatical cruelties, he ravaged the whole country with frightful severity. Of the two chief cities, Hippo fell before him. After the death of Au-gustin, and the flight of Bonifacius, in 431, and the capture of Carthage, in October 439, the whole province was divided amongst the Vandals, and every city, except Carthage, dismantled. (Procop. Bell. Vand. i. 3, 5; CJtronicles of Idatius, Prosper, Marcellinus ; Victor Vitensis, ap. Ruinart.)

2. The fleets of Genseric were the same terror to the coasts of the Mediterranean as those of Car­thage had been six centuries before, and as those of the Normans were four centuries afterwards. In June 455, invited by the empress Eudocia to aid her against the usurper Maximus, Genseric sailed to Ostia; and, although somewhat mitigated by the supplications of Pope Leo, who agaen interceded for his country at the gates of Rome [ attila], he attacked and sacked the city for fourteen days and nights, and returned, carrying with him the statues from the Capitol, the vessels of the Temple of Jerusalem from the Temple of Peace, and thousands of captives—amongst them the empress and her daughters, whose sufferings have become famous through the alleviation which they received from the Christian charity of Deogratias, bishop of Car­thage. In the same invasion were destroyed Capua, Nola, and Neapolis. (Procop. Bell. Vand. i. 4, 5 ; Jornandes, Beb. Get. c. 45; Chronicles of IdatiuS) &c.; Hist. MiscelL 15.)

Twice the empire endeavoured to revenge itself, and twice it failed ^ the first was the attempt of the Western emperor Majorian (a. d. 457), whose fleet was destroyed in the bay of Carthagena. The second was the expedition sent by the Eastern emperor Leo, under the command of Heraclius, Marcellinus, and Bantiscus (a. d. 468), which vyas also baffled by the burning of the fleet off Bona. After thus securing all his conquests, and finally making peace with Zeno, the Eastern em­peror, he died a. d. 477, at a great age, leaving in his will instructions that his kingdom should always descend in the line of the eldest male heir. (Procop. Bell. Vand. i. 6, 7.)


In person Genseric was of short stature, and lame, from a fall from his horse; of few words, austere life, fierce, covetous, and cunning. (Jor­nandes, Keb. Get. c. 33.) In religion he shared the Arianism of all the Gothic tribes; and in the cruelties exercised under his orders against his Catholic subjects he exhibited the first instance of persecution carried on upon a large scale by one body of Christians against another. (Victor Vi­tensis, ap. Ruinart.) Of his general cruelty, the most notable instance is the cold-blooded murder of 500Zacynthian nobles, in revenge for his repulse at Taenarus.. (Procop, Bell. Vand. i. 22.) So also his cruelties to Gonderic's widow and sons. (Prosp. a. d. 442.) The story of the murder of Gonderic himself was disputed by the Vandals. ( Procop. Bell. Vand. i. 4.) His skill in generalship is indicated by the inge­nious concealment of the fewness of his forces in 429, by giving his commanders the name of Chili-archs. (Ib. 5.) The two most striking personal anecdotes recorded of him are, first, the interview with Majorian, when not discovering his imperial guest, through the disguise which he had assumed, Genseric was startled by the spontaneous clashing of the arms in the arsenal, and took it to be caused by an earthquake (ib. 7) ; the second, his answer to the pilot, who asked him, as they left the port of Carthage, on one of his marauding expeditions, where they should go ? " Against whomsoever God's anger is directed." (Ib. 5.)

His name long remained as the glory of the Vandal nation. (Procop. Bell. Vand.ii.2.) But his career in Africa was shorn of its natural effects by the reconquest of that province under Belisarius. In works of art, the city of Rome lost more by his attack than by that of any other of the barbarian invaders. (Comp. Gibbon, c. 33, 36.) [A. P. S.]

GENTIUS (FeVrtos, or radios—the latter is, according to Sch weigh auser, the reading of all the MSS. of Polybius), son of Pleuratus, a king of the Illyrians, contemporary with Perseus, the last king of Macedonia. He is first mentioned as having incurred the displeasure of the Romans on account of the piracies of his subjects, who infested all the Adriatic, and his answers to their complaints were far from satisfactory. (Liv. xl. 42.) This was as early as b. c. 180 ; eight years afterwards, when it was seen that matters were clearly tending to a rupture between the Romans and Perseus, fresh complaints were made against Gentius by the people of the Greek city of Issa, who accused him of joining with the king of Macedonia in pre­paring war against Rome. (Liv. xlii. 26.) Yet it does not appear that any negotiations had actually taken place between them at this time, and it is certain that Gentius did not openly declare in favour of Perseus until long after. Immediately on the breaking out of the war (b. c. 171), fifty-four light vessels belonging to him, which were stationed at Dyrrachium, were, seized by the praetor, C. tucretius, under pretence that they were sent thither to the assistance of the Romans. (Liv, xlii. 48.) 'It is not clear whether Gentius had yet made up his mind which side he would take: perhaps he was waiting to see the probable result of the war. Several embassies had been previously sent him by the Romans, but without effect; and it was even said that one of the am­bassadors, L. Decimius, had allowed himself to be bribed by the Illyrian king. (Liv. xlii. 26, 37, 45.) The envoys of Perseus could *it first obtain little

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of