Battle of Ad Decimum, 533

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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 the Byzantine military genius can rally his strung out army? Also known as the Battle of Ten-Mile Post. .

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 the advantage of surprise and became a slogging match, which the outnumbered Vandals had no hope of winning.
ad decimum preview 2Notes
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 third least popular battle I have yet animated, slightly more popular than Worcester 1651 and Ayacucho 1824. One of the errors in the original animation from 2009 is depicting too many Vandal infantry when their force was actually primarily a cavalry force. The terrain was also way too bare and did not properly show how the ambush was supposed to work. The recent upgrade as of August 2016 fixed these issues, hence the difference between the video and PowerPoint animations.
– 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.

Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. London: Jones, 1825.

Byzantine soldiers:
Map of Eurasia:

Map of the world:

Vandal soldiers:


If you enjoyed the Battle of Ad Decimum 533 battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:

Battle of Daras 530, another battle featuring Belisarius:

daras preview 1

Battle of Lake Trasimene 217 BC, another battle featuring an ambush against an army on the march:

lake trasimene preview 1

Battle of Ruspina 46 BC, another battle fought in North Africa:

ruspina preview 1Thank you for visiting The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps.

Readers Comments (4)

  1. 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!

  2. 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?

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

  4. 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

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