Gothic Armies Sack Rome (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Gothic armies sacked Rome and revealed the crisis afflicting the Roman Empire in the west, shattering the myth of Rome’s invincibility and security.
Summary of Event
When Emperor Theodosius the Great died in 395 c.e., the breakup of the Roman Empire into eastern and western halves was inevitable. From that time onward, the civil rulers in the west were under the power of barbarian leaders. The sack of Rome by the Visigoths under Alaric I in 410 should be seen as one episode in the final stages of the disintegration of the united empire.
Theodosius’s successors were his sons: eighteen-year-old Arcadius, who was designated augustus in the east; and Honorius, a mentally impaired child of eleven who was designated augustus in the west. Actual rule in the west was in the hands of the army under the leadership of a Vandal, Flavius Stilicho, chosen by Theodosius as regent for Honorius.
Alaric, a member of the Balth Dynasty of Gothic kings and a leader of the Visigothic allies of the Romans, took advantage of the death of Theodosius to make a bid for power in the Balkans and southern Greece. Stilicho tried to stop Alaric in the north but was deflected by an order from Arcadius to lead his army back to Constantinople. Later, Stilicho managed to come to terms with Alaric in Greece. Alaric and his Goths settled in Epirus, and Alaric had the satisfaction of receiving the title...
(The entire section is 1284 words.)
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