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Why DID visigoths care about burning Rome?

September 30, 2010

Charles Krauthammer talks about how the tea party are the visigoths at the Roman gates  (democrats)

One interesting nuance about the visigoths, is that prior to burning and sacking Rome, they were allies of Rome, who frankly were treated as the fighting dupes for the Roman nobility and emporers.

 Fritigern, appealed to the Roman emperor Valens to be allowed to settle with his people on the south bank of the Danube….. Valens permitted this, as he saw in them “a splendid recruiting ground for his army.”[15] However, a famine broke out and Rome was unwilling to supply them with the food they were promised nor the land; open revolt ensued leading …the death of a Roman Emperor and the destruction of an entire Roman army.

Fiesty people they were. Then the Romans made peace with them. Ultimately, Alaric I, the visigoth king got tired of being disdained by “true Romans.” The Romans were content to allow the barbarians to get enough citizenship rights so the ‘absorbed’ barbarians would do the Roman dirty work, allowing the Roman nobility to sit at home admiring their profiles and have a daily bath.

after the western general Stilicho was executed by Honorius in 408 and the Roman legions massacred the families of 30,000 barbarian soldiers serving in the Roman army, Alaric declared war. After two defeats in Northern Italy and a siege of Rome ended by a negotiated pay-off, Alaric was cheated by another Roman faction. …On August 24, 410, Alaric’s troops entered Rome through the Salarian Gate, to plunder its riches in the sack of Rome.

Maybe the visigoths were clinging to their gods, guns and religion. Maybe they were simply tired of being treated as if being other than Roman made them stupid, easily taken advantage of barbarians. Whatever the case, they were done.

Rome continued to rely on their fighting stock to help them maintain their borders

The Visigothic Kingdom was a Western European power in the 5th to 7th centuries, created in Gaul when the Romans lost their control of their empire…Honorius, the emperor in the West, enlisted the aid of the Visigoths to regain control of the territory…The Visigoths’ second great king, Euric, …in 475, forced the Roman government to grant them full independence. At his death, the Visigoths were the most powerful of the successor states to the Western Roman Empire

Strategy word to the wise from history: never underestimate the uneducated riff-raff.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2010 11:55 am

    I recently read “Rubicon” because the 5000 year leap made me curious about Cicero & what caused Romans to accept shifting from a republic to an empire – “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” also includes some interesting unedited 17th century perspectives on the orgins of Islam. For that chapter alone it’s worth a read. The visigoths were interesting b/c they started as allies and frankly got sick of being treated like trash to be disposed of and double crossed at Roman convenience. Apparently the city of ROme itself was quite bigoted & disdainful of the barbarian “citizens” who fought their battles for them & at some point Alaric had had enough.

  2. October 1, 2010 8:32 am

    Excellent post. Need to show it to my husband. He’s frequently comparing current stuff to Roman history.

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