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The Vandals were a Germanic group that entered the late Roman Empire, sacking Rome in 455 before moving westwards towards Spainand North Africa. The Vandals gave their name to the province of Andalusia (originally, Vandalusia), in Spain, where some of them settled. Their name became a byword for meaningless destruction.

The Vandals adopted Arianism, a branch of Christianity that believed that Jesus Christ was not God, but a separate created being directly beneath God. This belief was in opposition to the belief of the main Christian group in the Roman Empire, which later grew into Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Under their king, Geiseric, the Vandals settled in the Roman provinces of Numidia and Africa in 428, when Augustine was bishop of Hippo. Their movement eastwards across Africa were halted when they were defeated by Byzantine forces led by Belisarius on behalf of the emperor Justinian I in 533.