What Does the Word “Vandalism” Mean and Where Did the Term For Malicious Destruction Originate?

A vandal mindlessly defaces public property.

During the fifth and sixth centuries the Vandals, a Germanic warrior race, expanded south from their Baltic base.

They would go beyond defeating their enemies by desecrating their cultural symbols in an effort to humiliate as well as conquer.

When in 455 they overwhelmed and then sacked Rome, the Vandals continued to deliberately mutilate public and religious monuments, an act that to this day bears the name “vandalism.”