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Ălărīcus, ī, m. , Alaric [roi des Goths]: Claud. Get. 431.
(Old German Al-ric, i. e. all rich). A king of the Visigoths, remarkable as being the first of the barbarian chiefs who entered and sacked the city of Rome, and the first enemy who had appeared before its walls since the time of Hannibal. His first appearance in history is in A.D. 394, when he was invested by Theodosius with the command of the Gothic auxiliaries in his war with Eugenius. In 396, partly from anger at being refused the command of the armies of the Eastern Empire, and partly at the instigation of the minister Rufinus, he invaded and devastated Greece, till by the arrival of Stilicho, in 397, he was compelled to escape to Epirus. He was elected king by his countrymen in 398, having been previously, by the weakness of Arcadius, appointed prefect of Eastern Illyricum. The rest of his life was spent in the two invasions of Italy. The first (400-403), apparently unprovoked, brought him only to Ravenna, and, after a bloody defeat at Pollentia, in which his wife and treasures were taken, and a masterly retreat to Verona, was ended by the treaty with Stilicho, which transferred his services from Arcadius to Honorius, and made him prefect of Western instead of Eastern Illyricum. The second in vasion (408-410) was occasioned by delay in fulfilling his demands for pay and for a western province as the future home of his nation, as also by the massacre of the Gothic families in Italy on Stilicho's death. It is marked by the three sieges of Rome, in 408, 409, and 410. The first of these was raised by a promised ransom. The second ended in the unconditional surrender of the city, and in the disposal of the Empire by Alaric to Attalus, till, on discovery of his incapacity, he restored it to Honorius. The third was ended by the treacherous opening of the Salarian Gate, on August 24th, and the sack of the city for six days. It was immediately followed by the occupation of the south of Italy, and the design of invading Sicily and Africa. This intention, however, was frustrated by his death, after a short illness, at Consentia, where he was buried in the bed of the adjacent river Busentinus, and the place of his interment was concealed by the massacre of all the workmen employed on the occasion. The few personal traits that are recorded of him show the true savage humour of a barbarian conqueror. But the impression left upon us by his general character is of a higher order. The real military skill displayed in his escape from Greece and in his retreat to Verona; the wish at Athens to show that he had adopted the use of the bath and the other external forms of civilized life; the moderation and justice which he observed towards the Romans in time of peace; and the humanity which distinguished him during the sack of Rome, all indicate something superior to the mere craft and lawless ambition which he seems to have possessed. See Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders (Oxford, 1880-85).