Quotations from Chapter 33 of Edward Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ("Death of Honorius; Valentinian III Emperor of the West; Administration of his Mother Placidia; Aetius and Boniface; Conquest of Africa by the Vandals (423-455 A.D.)"):

On a sudden the seven fruitful provinces, from Tangier to Tripoli, were overwhelmed by the invasion of the Vandals, whose destructive rage has perhaps been exaggerated by popular animosity, religious zeal, and extravagant declamation. War in its fairest form implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice; and the hostilities of barbarians are inflamed by the fierce and lawless spirit which incessantly disturbs their peaceful and domestic society. The Vandals, where they found resistance, seldom gave quarter; and the deaths of the valiant countrymen were expiated by the ruin of the cities under whose walls they had fallen. Careless of the distinction of age, or sex, or rank, they employed every species of indignity and torture to force from the captives a discovery of their hidden wealth. The stern policy of Genseric justified his frequent examples of military execution: he as not always the master of his own passions or of those of his followers; and the calamities of war were aggravated by the licentiousness of the Moors and the fanaticism of the Donatists. Yet I shall not easily be persuaded that it was the common practice of the Vandals to extirpate the olives and other fruit trees of a country where they intended to settle: nor can I believe that it was a usual stratagem to slaughter great numbers of their prisoners before the walls of a besieged city, for the sole purpose of infecting the air and producing a pestilence, of which they themselves must have been the first victims.

The union of the Roman empire was dissolved; its genius was humbled in the dust; and armies of unknown barbarians, issuing from the frozen regions of the North, had established their victorious reign over the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa.

(see also Gibbon _-_Table_of_Contents, Gibbon_-_Thoughts_Upon_Reading, ... and for a single-page presentation of Gibbon quotes)


(correlates: Gibbon - Table of Contents, ProximityEffect, DeschoolingDemythologized, ...)