The Vandals were described by the 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius as tall, blonde-haired and “handsome to look upon.”
Geiseric was born around 389 A.D., the illegitimate child of the great Vandal king Godigisel. When Geiseric was elected King in 428, the Vandals had long been a wandering people. Driven by the advance of the Huns, the Vandals crossed the northern Rhine frontier of the Empire in 406 and found their way to Spain. There they settled, but as Geiseric’s rule began, they came under attack by the Visigoths and soon migrated to North Africa.
At the time, the Roman magister militum (Master of Soldiers) of Roman North Africa, Boniface, was in fear of his position due to intrigues at Rome. As a result, he agreed with Geiseric that a number of Vandals could settle in Africa, and work as mercenaries to support his position. In a massive operation, Geiseric moved the entire Vandal people – more than 20,000 warriors along with 60,000 non- combatant families – across the Straits of Gibraltar.
Geiseric seems to have been a man of deep thought and few words, disdainful of luxury, furious in his anger, greedy for gain, shrewd in winning over the barbarians and skilled in sowing the seeds of dissent to his own advantage.