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II


One day a Roman ship came to Carthage with a messenger from the Empress Eudoxia to Genseric. Eudoxia was the widow of Valentinian III. After ruling several years, Valentinian had just been murdered by a Roman noble named Maximus, who had at once made himself emperor.


When the messenger entered the room where Genseric was, he said:


"Great king, I bring you a message from the Empress Eudoxia. She begs your help. She and her two beautiful daughters are in danger in Rome . She wishes you to protect them against Maximus. She invites you to come with an army to Rome and take the city. She and her friends will help you as much as they can."


With a cry of joy Genseric sprang to his feet and exclaimed:


"Tell the empress that I accept her invitation. I shall set out for Rome immediately. I shall set out for Rome immediately. I shall protect Eudoxia and her friends."


Genseric then got ready a fleet and a great army, and sailed across the Mediterranean to the mouth of the Tiber . When the Emperor Maximus heard that the Vandals were coming he prepared to flee from the city, and he advised the Senate to do the same. The people were so angry at this that they put him to death and threw his body into the river.


Three days later Genseric and his army were at the gates of Rome . There was no one to oppose them, and they marched in and took possession of the city. It was only forty-five years since Alaric had been there and carried off all the valuable things he could find. But since then Rome had become again grand and wealthy, so there was plenty for Genseric and his Vandals to carry away. They spent fourteen days in the work of plunder. They sacked the temples and public buildings and private houses and the emperor's palace, and they took off to their ships immense quantities of gold and silver and jewels and furniture, and destroyed hundreds of beautiful and priceless works of art.


The Vandal king also put to death a number of Roman citizens and carried away many more as slaves. He took Eudoxia and her daughters with him to Carthage . One of the daughters was soon afterwards married to Genseric's eldest son, Hunneric.


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