Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 337: Vandal Invasions
Entry of the Vandals into Africa is the most memorable, most melancholy, and most tragic event of Augustine’s life. Count Boniface allied himself with the Vandals to defend himself against the Empire. According to the most probable scenario, Boniface permitted the Vandals to come from Spain into Africa in May, 428. He left this large and rich province vulnerable to them. Within two years the Vandals became absolute masters of Africa with the exception of three cities. Unimaginable cruelty occurred.
God rather than Boniface led the Vandals to Africa to punish the people’s sins.1 As these barbarians themselves confess, they were led in this expedition less by their own inclination than by a secret order of divine power. In Salvianus the justice of this divine order is apparent as punishment for the sins of the Africans, especially the impurity and blasphemy directly attacking God’s honor and religion. Salvianus indicates the purpose of divine justice is evident in the Vandal inundation as the impurities of this province are removed by them.2 He writes extensively on this subject and creates such a horrible picture of Africa it is difficult not to find it excessive. There was no great number of holy bishops in Africa, so doubtless God did not bless their conduct. The more benefits this province possessed in wealth, the greater the crime of those who had stubbornly remained in paganism, schism, Manichean and other possible heresies, sins, and crimes. The...