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HIST 2905 March 25, 2014.docx

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HIST 2904
Greg Fisher

Stilicho & Alaric 395-410 • 401: Alaric set his sights on Italy • Drove Honorius from Milan • Now: Terrible timing: death of Arcadius • Next emperor: Theodosius II- Only 7 • In stilicho, ambition burned for control of east • Faced problems with CIII, Alaric • Solution: buy off Alaric for now o Started to burn with ambition to control the east and use it to control his enemies o There is a failure of the Western Government o But for now, Stilicho is stuck because there is an emperor waiting • Idea presented to Honorius - use Alaric vs. CIII • One German idea too far o Bringing in another German, Alaric, the Gothic leader as a Roman proxy is too much and there is a purge of Germans, in this, Stilicho and his supporters as well as hundreds of Goths are arrested. • Stilicho is also taken and beheaded • The Roman Empire has now consumed the one man who was the only one who could fix their problems  Stilicho is arrested at a church • Honorius - One of Rome's most inept emperors- vs. Alaric o What does Alaric want? • Starts demanding things from Honorius • Specifically wants to be commander in chief  Wants Stilicho's old job • Honorius was now deposed; new emperor, Attalus; deposed; Alaric lost it What Honorius refused, Alaric deposed of him  • Lay seige to Rome • On 24th Auguust, Alaric broke through Rome's defenses and sacked the city (Thanks to Alaric and Goths  Time in Rome was disputed, how violent was it? How much was sacked? • This was because of the vast literary outpouring that took place in the sacking in Rome • First time in 800 years that an outside force actually got into Rome • Seige of Rome by Gauls in 390BC was an event was so long ago • Sparked literary outpouring • Pagans: this all happened because of Christianity o Fall of Rome revealed what? o There is no doubt that the military has died in quality and quantity because the Roman cannot recruit enough people to plug the hole that was the result of civil wars and in Adrianople • Bigger problem is the failure of government which is revealed in the infighting o St. Jerome o St. Augustine • Realization that we are looking at a rerun of the third century crisis, but the Empire is so weak that there is no one who can help solve this problem o Alaric died in 411 -> died in Italty • Could have committed very sizeable forces to assist their brothers in the west, in fact, they worked actively against the Empire o Meanwhile, Britain had separated • Far cry from how things used to be back in the day from how people dealt with everything The Roman World in the 5th century • Breakdown of government in Western Europe • Germanic tribes: Created post-Roman Kingdoms • France, Spain - foundations of medieval Europe o Bishop of Rome who would later be called the Pope • After 410, there was a total collapse of Rome in the West  Transitiional period where power goes from Rome to leader of Germanic tribes • In many cases, these are leaders who already have the experience, people who already have Alaric's mould • They are not strangers to the Roman West • Overriding thing that we will see is that these New German Kings cloak themselves as Romans o Huns come from literally nowhere o Destroyed remnants of Danube defences • Attila the Hun is a much more powerful version of Alaric • Bases himself in the Balkans, taking the remnants of the river • Eyewitness: Priscus, historian • Served Theodosius II son of Arcadius, emperor 408-450 Worked as a diplomat for Theodosius  o Priscus gives us a vi
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