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The term vandal derives from the pre-modern Germanic tribe which invaded the Roman Empire in the late 5th Century A.D. Vandals took up key positions in North Africa, including the bishopric of Hippo, erstwhile seat of Augustine. Later, the Vandals were expelled by the armies of Belisarius under the Byzantine emperor Justinian.

Modern Application

Like the term Goth, also derived from a Germanic tribal name, "vandal" has taken on a modern context. In western culture, a "vandal" is one who defaces property not belonging to himself. Typically a misdemeanor, acts of vandalism are infringements upon social wellbeing and repose.

This traces back to the Vandal sacking of Rome in 455 A.D. which went on for two weeks.[1]


  1. Encyclopedia of Military History, Dupuy & Dupuy, 1979, Pg. 176