Boniface's Armies in North Africa 422-431 AD (Liebschuetz Version)

Count Boniface (Comes Bonifacius) was governor of the Diocese of Africa (comprising the provinces of Mauretania Tingitana, Mauretania Caesariensis, Numidia and Africa Proconsularis) and was the main rival to Aetius.

This list is based upon an article by Liebeshuetz supported by other source and secondary information. The Liebeshuetz article, 'The End of the Roman Army', is published in 'War and Society in the Roman World'. In the section where Liebeschuetz talks about Bucellarii he tells us that in addition to a large force of Bucellarii in Boniface's forces that the army, according to Possidus in 'Life of Augustine', consisted 'largely of Gothic federates'. Liebeshuetz ventures that this combination of federates and Bucellarii may well explain Boniface's ability to hold on to his command in the face of three successive armies sent by the Imperial Government to depose him

Era: Triumph of Cavalry   Boniface in North Africa 422-431 AD (Liebschuetz Version) CR: H: 4 L: 4   BP: 2 Init: 5
Number Type   Description Key FV PROT Weapon Cost
1 HC(d!) Bucellarri* K 5[1]0 +2 Lance 13
1 HC(d!) Goth Foederati K 5[1]0 +1 Lance 11
1 HC(d!) Goth Foederati K 4[0]0 +1 Various 10
2 FT Goth Foederati K 5[1]1 +1 Spears 6
2 LC Saggitarii K 1[0]0 +1 Bows 6
2 HC(d!) Lesser Bucellarii/Goth Foederati K 4[0]0 +1 Various 10
1 HC(d!) Goth Foederati K 5[1]0 +1 Lance 11
4 FT Limitanei** K 4[1]1 +1 Spears 4
2 FT Goth Foederati K 5[1]1 +1 Spears 6
3 LI Moors   3[1]2 +1 Javelin 5
1 LI Moors   2[1]1 +1 Bows 4
2 LC Moors K 2[0]0 +1 Javelins 7
3 SI     3[1]2 +2 Javelins 2
3 SI     2[1]1 +2 Bows 2


Core: 1GR

Bonus: (Max: 3 ) 2GR, 1SH, 2RG


Core: 96 Bonus: 104

*All FV5 HC are Obligatory Chargers bar the core FV5 Bucellarii.

**These troops may not form Deep.

The Limitanei and Auxilia represent regional units recruited supplemented by recruits from Moorish tribes.

Boniface is first heard of defending Marseilles in 413 against the Visigoths under Ataulf.

He then appears in Africa in 422, having supported Galla Placidia in her struggle with her brother Emperor Honorius. As a semi-independent governor In Africa he subdued the Moorish tribes and supported Valentinian III against the usurper John in 424; for this he was rewarded with the title Count of Africa. Recalled after court intrigue started by Aetius in 427, he rebelled and was declared an 'enemy of the Republic'. An army under three commanders was sent against him in 427, which Boniface duly defeated, killing all three of the commanders.

At the beginning of 428 an army under Segisvultus the Goth was sent against him; Segisvultus managed to seize Hippo Regius (where Augustine was bishop) and Carthage. This struggle prepared the way for the invasion of Africa by the Vandals in 429 under Gaiseric; Procopius tells us that it was Boniface that invited the Vandals into Africa in order to help rid him of Segisvultus and to defend himself against further Imperial action, but this is disputed by historians.

A truce was arranged between Africa and Rome and Boniface attacked the Vandals but he was defeated and then besieged at Hippo in 430.

Beaten again in 431, even after being reinforced by Aspar and his forces from the Eastern Empire, Boniface returned to Italy to assist Placidia against Aetius.

He defeated Aetius at Ariminum in 432 but died a few weeks later of a wound received in the battle.

Sources: Notitia, Procopius 'History of the Wars', Jordanes 'History of the Goths', Bury 'Later Roman Empire' , Blockley 'Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire', Muhlberger 'The Fifth Century Chroniclers', Liebeshuetz 'The End of the Roman Army' essay in 'War and Society in the Roman World'.

List Author: O'Cahan and Aetius