First Advisor

Brian Turner

Date of Award

Spring 6-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors

Department

History

Language

English

Subjects

Late Antiquity, Rome, Alaric, Goths

Abstract

In 410, Goths under the command of Alaric sacked the ancient city of Rome. This event was significant in the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It may have been seen by some at this time as a massive shock that Rome could have been attacked like this, but in the previous decades, there were a host of warning signs that something like this lay in the near future for the empire. This sack could not have happened the way it did without the perfect conditions being established in the decades leading up to it. The Roman Empire had already entered a period of significant decline in the preceding two centuries. Constant changes in power along with incompetence and regional divisions weakened the empire, allowing outside forces to exploit this for their own benefit. The empire was also grappling with religious changes, as Christianity spread rapidly within its borders and over centuries and began to supplant the established pagan religion that had played a central role in the Roman state and society for centuries. This thesis examines the forces that contributed to the sack and evaluates the significance of the sack in terms of the actual fall of the Western Roman Empire, which by 410, was already well underway, following decades of setbacks at the hands of barbarian tribes and incompetent and complacent leadership.

Rights

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/ This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/37839

Share

COinS