Sack of Rome
For almost a thousand years, the City of Rome stood strong, conquering the entire world, even though it was invaded numerous times. The empire had been built on acquiring slaves and looting but with time, they ran out of new territories to conquer (Ridley 2017, n.p., para. 4). The first time that the city of Rome fell to foreign invaders was on 24th August 410 AD (Cole 2014, p. 4). For the past 800 years, no similar event had befallen Rome. Many of the Barbarians who sacked Rome, were former members of the Roman army. In 402 AD, the Ravenna had been made to be the capital of the Roman Empire. This tutorial paper will analyse the sack of Rome in AD 410.
Construct A Basic Outline of Events Leading Up to The Sack of Rome in 410.
King Alaric led his army into Rome in 409 AD after his demands for cooperation were rejected. He was determined to capture the city. At the same time, Jovious had come to visit Honorius to seek forgiveness for the death of Didymus and Verenianus, who were Honorius’s relatives. He insisted that Constantine had not ordered for their execution (Ridley 2017, n.p., para. 1). The Visigoths (Germans) invaded Rome in 410 AD.
In AD 407 during the rule of Arcadius, the army in Britain obeyed Marcus as their emperor. When he obliged to do as they wanted him to, the troops murdered him and appointed Gratian, giving him all the trappings of power of an emperor. Four months later, they fell out with him and killed him. They appointed Constantine to be Gratian’s successor. He went to lower Germany where he conquered all the territory to the Alps, expanding his empire.
In AD 408, Stilicho sent Magister Sarus and his army killed Justinianus and a majority of his troops and took away all their booty after engaging them in war. He also took over Valentia since he was aware that Constantine was based there. Magister Sarus also killed Nebiogastes even though they were having peace talks and had taken oaths not to harm each other (Ridley 2017, p. 1).
What details are we able to glean from these texts about the sack of Rome itself?
Many Romans held the view that the fall of Rome was a penalty because they had forsaken traditional Roman religion and embraced Christianity. Barbarians had attacked Rome multiple times (Ridley 2017, n.p., para.5). When King Alaric saw that neither was he gaining support on his propositions, nor was he gaining hostages, he attacked Rome once more and warned the inhabitants of Rome that he would capture their city if they did not join forces with him to overthrow emperor Honorius (Ridley 2017, n.p., para.6). The loss of labour was a huge blow since commercial agriculture and the economy, in general, went on a downward spiral (Ridley 2017, n.p., para.4). The Praetorian Guards were the emperor’s personal bodyguards. Sometimes, they would assassinate and replace emperor’s when they wished (Croke 2013, p. 1).
How are the Goths, including Alaric, represented in these texts?
Christensen states that the Goths originated from Sweden but emigrated under King Berig because of overpopulation, using three ships (2002, p. 10). The Goths were also tactful. They attacked Stilicho and his army almost wiping it out entirely. Later, they attacked Liguria and stole everything they found (Mierow 1908, p. 1, para. 155). Alaric was tactful because he was able to train and raise an effective army made up of three hundred courageous youths who were able to help him capture the city by working as slaves and later kill their masters. The guards would be caught off-guard since they had no intelligence of this plot (History of the War 2017, n.p., para. 17).
To avoid doubt, the youths were exceptionally submissive to their masters. On the selected day, Alaric had camped at the Salarian gate with his army armed to the teeth. All the youths who had come as slaves killed all the guards opened the gates and welcomed Alaric and his army. The houses located next to the gate were the first to be burnt. They stole every valuable item in Rome and killed most of the inhabitants of that city (History of the War 2017, n.p., para. 17).
What image do we have of Honorius from these texts?
Emperor Honorius ruled the Western Roman Emperor between 395 and423 AD. The most distinguishable characteristic from that of his predecessors is the Visigoths attack and Sack of Rome on the 24TH of August 410 under the leadership of King Alaric 1. He did not successfully repulse the Visigoths who led to the fall of his empire. He was not a good leader. His lack of effective leadership contributed to the fall of his empire (History of the War 2017, n.p., para 16).
Emperor Honorius had never thought of starting a war. Therefore, he was shocked to learn that a great army of Barbarians was approaching Rome. He fled the palace and went to hide in Ravenna, where he reorganised himself once again (History of the War 2017, n.p., para. 16). The Barbarians faced no resistance; hence they captured all the cities they reached. The Roman empire was attacked several times under his rule. King Gaiseric of the Vandals and King Alaric were both successful in invading Rome (Mierow 1908, p. 1, para. 153). For example, Alaric attacked Rome, leading to the Sack of Rome.
What main argument does Augustine present in answer to the criticism that the sack of Rome took place under the watch of a Christian emperor?
Augustine was a Catholic Bishop. When he heard that Rome was destroyed, he wrote a book titled The City of God that talked about Christianity to comfort them. He argued that Christianity was an important factor in Rome’s prosperity. He denied rumours that Christianity fuelled the fall of Rome. In his book, Augustine argued that even though the worldly Roman rule had come to an end, the City of God would succeed at last. Like a majority of the Christians who lived during the Late Antiquity, his main focus was heaven. Christianity was the authoritative religion for the Roman Empire (Augustine 1887, p. 1).