Roma, Rome, Rom, ,. We do not get a similar distinction in English, where "Roman" is used for both the City and the Empire. This creates confusion in the Mediaeval period, when the City and the Empire follow different historical paths. The awkwardness of this is avoided by historians using "Byzantine," but this, of course, involves its own problems. So Romaeus could have been a Mediaeval Latin word for a "Byzantine" -- rather than the ambiguous Romanus or the insulting Graecus or Graeculus "little Greek".
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However, this does not seem to be the meaning it had. Romaeus and Romeus were used to mean "pilgrim to Rome. Yes, Romeo , as in Romeo and Juliet, the tragic lovers of Verona.
Crossing the Rhine
A term of more obvious meaning in Latin for such a pilgrim was Romipeta , rather like the German Rompilger. We are left with the question how Romaeus could have posssibly ended up meaning "pilgrim to Rome. This is not a problem. It was brought to my attention by a correspondent. In answer to my inquries, Anthony Kaldellis has reported to me: Kelley, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, western rulers who wanted to play nice with the Byzantine emperor sometimes addressed him as imperator Romeorum , making his subjects the Romei a phonetic transliteration of Romaioi.
This was sometimes even used by the western, German emperors, e.
Goths and Visigoths
Under Genseric's rule, which lasted about 50 years, the Vandals would take over North Africa and form a kingdom of their own. Roman infighting helped him accomplish this. A Roman general named Aetius had her ear and conspired against the governor of North Africa, a powerful rival named Bonifacius.
This resulted in Bonifacius finding himself an enemy of the Western Roman Empire. By the time the Vandals invaded North Africa, Bonifacius' forces had already beaten off two attacks launched by the Western Roman Empire, wrote Wijnendaele. Some ancient writers claimed that Bonifacius actually invited the Vandals into North Africa to fight on his behalf against the Western Roman Empire.
However, Wijnendaele notes that the ancient writers who made that claim lived at least a century after the events took place and the ancient writers who lived in Africa at or near the time of the invasion did not claim that Bonifacius gave an invitation to the Vandals. Whether Bonifacius invited them or not the Vandals scarcely needed an invitation. North Africa, at this time, was a wealthy area that provided Rome with much of its grain. The Vandals advanced quickly into North Africa turning against Bonifacius if they were ever on his side to begin with and laid siege to the city of Hippo Regius in Wijnendaele notes that even in the best case scenario, Bonifacius' troops would have been outnumbered three to one.
Among the city's residents was the Christian bishop, Augustine, the philosopher, theologian and eventual saint, who died three months into the siege. The Vandals laid siege to Hippo Regius for over a year but were unable to take the city and were forced to withdraw. Procopius, a writer who lived in the sixth century, wrote that the Vandals "were unable to secure Hippo Regius either by force or by surrender, and since at the same time they were being pressed by hunger, they raised the siege.
Reinforcements from the Eastern Roman Empire arrived and, along with Bonifacius' forces, directly attacked the withdrawing Vandal force.
The attack was a disaster for the Romans. After this defeat Hippo Regius had to be abandoned by the Romans and was then sacked by the Vandals. In , the Romans made a peace treaty in which much of North Africa was ceded to the Vandals. In , the Vandals broke the treaty, captured the city of Carthage and moved their capital there, and advanced into Sicily. As the Vandals took over North Africa, they persecuted members of the Catholic clergy.
The Vandals followed a type of Christianity known as "Arianism," which the Romans considered to be heretical. His main belief was that the Son, Jesus, had been created by his father, God. God was therefore unbegotten and had always existed, and so was superior to the Son. The Holy Spirit had been created by Jesus under the auspices of the Father, and so was subservient to them both," writes Jacobsen.
The Catholic belief the trinity is somewhat different, holding that god is present in the father, son and Holy Spirit, making them one and equal. While this difference may seem small by modern standards, it was something that set the Vandals apart from the Romans, leading to the Vandals persecuting Roman clergy and the Romans condemning the Vandals as heretics. The Vandal king Genseric had become so powerful by that his son, Huneric, was set to marry a Roman princess named Eudocia.
When the now grown-up Valentinian III was murdered in that year, and Eudocia was pledged to another man, the enraged Genseric moved his force toward Rome. The Romans were powerless to stop him.
The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather
According to one tradition, the Romans didn't even bother to send out an army but instead sent Pope Leo I out to reason with Genseric. Whether this really happened is unknown but, in any event, the Vandals were allowed to enter Rome and plunder it unopposed, so long as they avoided killing the inhabitants and burning down the city. Everything was taken down from the Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill, and the churches were emptied of their collected treasures," writes Jacobsen. Also, we hear nothing of any killings.
The sacking of Rome would represent the high point of Vandal fortunes. Genseric died in Genseric's successors faced economic problems, quarrels over succession Vandal rules stipulated that the eldest male in the family should be king and conflicts with the Byzantine Empire , a successor state to the Roman Empire that was based at Constantinople.