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Battle of Ad Decimum, 533 animated battle map

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Belisarius versus Gelimer: A Vandal army under Gelimer ambushes a Byzantine army under Belisarius in open country. Can Gelimer finish Belisarius off before he can rally his strung out army? Click on images below to view; first image opens video presentation and second image opens PowerPoint presentation. | Legend |
It is ironic that Belisarius conquered Carthage, the place which Hannibal hailed from. Both commanders were excellent in their craft but were sabotaged on the political home front, limiting their success.
A cool commander keeps his emotions in check, something Gelimer definitely did not do. By failing to act after he discovered his brother dead, he missed a crucial opportunity to finish off Belisarius. Instead, the ambush lost its surprise and became a slogging match which the outnumbered Vandals had no hope of winning.
When I first aimed to animate an ambush, I obviously did not expect to animate this little-known engagement over, say, a typical Vietnam War ambush. I chose this battle for two reasons. First, I needed a Belisarius battle for a future spotlight and second, I had not completed an animation in some time and needed to post a simple one quickly; in fact I believe I completed this animation in a coffee shop, waiting for a friend. Interestingly enough, this is the least popular battle I have yet animated. I first started “rating” battles’ popularity after Season I was complete; this involves google-searching the battle and basing its popularity on how many results show up. The system is not perfect but it allowed me to determine how much attention a given battle would bring to my site. Obviously this was never the only factor I considered when choosing battles but it enabled me to balance out a season so it featured both familiar and new battles alike. The most popular battle I have animated thus far is Dresden (3,810,000 results) while Ad Decimum is the least popular (3,700 results). The most popular battle I have ever found is France (30,900,000 results), which I am sure I cannot resist animating for very much longer.
– Jonathan Webb
Works Consulted
Dougherty, Martin J. “Ad Decimum, AD 533.” In Battles that Changed Warfare 1457 BC – AD 1991, 58-67.London: Amber, 2008.
Dupuy, Trevor N. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present, Fourth Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.


Byzantine cavalry:
Byzantine infantry:
Vandal cavalry:
Vandal infantry:


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  1. 4 Comments to “Battle of Ad Decimum, 533 animated battle map”

  2. Good site and truly well done battle animations (I wish my teachers were as good as you in their work with PowerPoint!).
    Only two notes:
    -The image of the Eastern Roman leader in your presentation is Justinian from the mosaic of San Vitale, right? Not Belisarius in person- In my humble opinion it would be better to take a image of Belisarius himself and not of his Emperor.
    -Please, correct ‘musuem’ from the site image.
    Keep up the good work and good luck!

    By Albrecht on Jan 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

  3. Albrecht: Whoops! Good eye recognizing Justinian, I’ll be sure to correct that in the next wave of edits. As for the typo, I have a bit of sentimental attachment to it – it reminds me of this website’s extremely humble beginnings on a free website maker – but it may be time to correct it. I must ask: any battle requests?

    By Jonathan Webb on Jan 10, 2012 at 3:32 am

  4. Sorry for the delay on the reply…exams are killing me.
    A battle request? Uhm….
    The Battle of Mühlberg or the Battle of Kleidion.

    By Albrecht on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

  5. Votre schéma de la bataille est faux ….vous vous trompez sur l’emplacement exact du poste AD Decimum qui dit être au niveau de la côte actuelle Rades maxulla in Rates

    By Hou wayda on Jun 13, 2015 at 9:29 pm

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