We have all heard of the famous Roman Empire. Emperors like Julius Ceaser and Augustus have all frequented our eyes and ears. But did you know about the man who sacked Rome?

Alaric and the Visigoths in Athens. Illustration from the 1920s.
SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Rome

But what happened to the great Roman Empire? Where did it go? Why and how did it disappear into oblivion?


Let’s take a little stroll back in the timeline that finds us around 400AD. At this point, the great Roman emperors had come and gone. The military might that Rome was, had now dwindled. Partly to the weakening standards of military training and partly to financial problems that the empire had recently come face to face with, Rome was weakened.

The First King of Visigoths

The name Alaric happens to mean THE RULER OF ALL. Coincidence? I think not. He was born in the area that is present-day Romania.

Before he became the king of Visigoths, he was a Gothic soldier in the Roman army. He was learning from the rule of the Romans. His people had to supply men in exchange for cultivable land and resources and he was no stranger to the ruthless Romans and their ways.

394AD- The Battle of Frigidus

Alaric was now the general of the Gothic army under the Romans. He had started his career under a man named Gainas. Under his guidance, Alaric rose to the rank of General and that’s when Emperor Theodosius I called on him to defend the Empire from The Franks. His price was a legitimate Roman office.

Promised a position of honor, he marched on against The Franks and ended up victorious. But along the way, he suffered a loss of 10,000 men. This resulted in him questioning the emperor and his ways.

395AD- The End of The Beginning

Alaric marched onto Constantinople which was the capital city of the Roman Empire and he was disappointed. After being refused his reward he took matters into his own hand. With his army of barbarians, he set his eyes on the Roman capital.

In the Roman Palace, the Emperor suffered from a grave illness and died. On the other side Alaric I was crowned king by his men for his bold move. Thus, being titled The First King of Visigoths

Where did this march lead to? Will Alaric I finally find Roman respect? To read the next part of this story click here.