In the fifth century some of these people occupied a region in the south of Spain. One of their most celebrated kings was name Genseric (Gen’-ser-ic). He became king in 427, when he was but twenty-one years of age. He was lame in one leg and looked as if he were a very ordinary person.
Like most of the Vandals, he was a cruel and cunning man, but he had great ability in many ways. He fought in battles even when a boy and was known far and wide for his bravery and skill as a leader.
About the time that Genseric became king, the governor of the Roman province in the north of Africa, on the Mediterranean coast, was a man called Count Boniface. This Count Boniface had been a good and loyal officer of Rome; but a plot was formed against him by Aëtius, the general who had fought Attila at Châlons. The Roman emperor at the time of the plot was Valentinian III. He was then too young to act as ruler, so the affairs of government were managed by his mother Placidia (Pla-cid’-i-a).
Aëtius advised Placidia to dismiss Boniface and call him home from Africa. He said the count was a traitor, and that he was going to make war against Rome. At the same time he wrote secretly to Count Boniface and told him that if he came to Rome the empress would put him to death.
Boniface believed this story, and he refused to return to Rome. He also sent a letter to Genseric, inviting him to come to Africa with an army. Genseric was greatly delighted to receive the invitation from Boniface. He had long wanted to attack Rome and take from her some of the rich countries she had conquered, and now a good opportunity offered. So he got ready a great army of his brave Vandals, and they sailed across the Strait of Gibraltar to Africa.