Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sack of Rome

Everything I knew about Alaric I sacking Rome was wrong.

I will allow this wasn't much.  I got most of it from a comic book called 'GI Combat'.  I am not kidding.  It went like this:

Some gangers rode into the Roman Empire one day, trashed the place, set everything on fire, then rode out of town.  The End.

Don't let them tell you public education isn't on the job.

What really happened is way more complicated, and involves a lot of politics and people and ends up with Alaric I outside the walls of Rome with 30,000 barbarians and then somehow a gate were opened ( I thought you locked the door! ) and the city was sacked.

But it was a nice sacking, as those things go.  People were allowed sanctuary, generally were unmolested.  Everything valuable not nailed down - and a lot that was - was hauled away.

But I was struck, on reading, and hearing, was thinking about the discipline that must have been required to 1) march to Rome in good order then 2) maintain even a notional siege of a walled city and 3) ransack the place without going berserk.

Alaric wasn't the head of a biker gang: he had himself an army. 

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