Alaric I was the first king of the Visigoths and his name was Alaric I. He was a direct descendant of the famous chieftain Rothestes, and he ruled as the monarch from the years 395 through 410. He was a member of the Balti dynasty, which was an aristocratic family. His most enduring contribution to history is the sacking of Rome, which marked a turning point in the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Gainas, a Gothic soldier, was his mentor when he first started out in the service. After some time, he enlisted in the Roman army. Alaric was promoted to the position of king of the Visigoths after the death of the Roman Emperor Theodosius, who had been their predecessor. As a result of the Roman emperor’s refusal to meet any of his requests, he was forced to invade Rome, despite the fact that he had never intended to lay siege to the city at any time in his life. During this expedition, he destroyed a number of cities in Italy, which frequently resulted in a significant amount of losses for the Roman Empire in terms of both income and troops. Malaria, which he had caught when he was sailing to Africa to launch an assault, ultimately proved fatal for him, and he passed away as a result of his illness. Acquisition of Africa had been a significant component of his growth ambitions due to the wealth of the area in terms of the many food resources that were accessible.
Childhood and the Early Years of Life
- In the year 370 AD, Alaric I was born on the island of Peuce, which is located in what is now Romania near the mouth of the Danube delta. It is possible that chieftain Rothestes’s son or paternal grandson was this individual.
- He was a member of the Balti dynasty of the Tervingian Goths, who experienced significant defeats at the hands of the Huns, relocated across the Danube, and finally engaged in conflict with the Romans.
The Accession and the Reign
- Under the reign of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, Alaric I was elevated to the position of military chief. After the death of Emperor Theodosius I in the year 395 AD, he ascended to the throne of the Visigoths thanks to a peculiar chain of occurrences that took place.
- In his capacity as king, he had the ambition of forging a coalition with the Western Roman Empire in order to combat the Eastern Roman Empire. On the other hand, the Romans did not comply with any of their demands for the same thing.
First Invasion of Italy
- In light of the fact that Alaric I’s demands were ignored, he made the decision to invade Italy. However, he was defeated by a capable commander by the name of Stilicho, who had been selected by Theodosius as the regent for his little son Honorius. Honorius was the heir to the throne of the Roman Empire.
- In the year 408, Honorius had Stilicho and his family put to death because there were reports circulating that Stilicho was attempting to gain the throne of the Western Roman Empire with the assistance of Alaric I and his Visigoths. Honorius was the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
- Toward the close of the year 408 AD, King Alaric I made another attempt to invade by ravaging a number of settlements and by positioning himself in front of Roman wall defenses. He also made the decision to totally barricade the city, causing its inhabitants to starve to death and suffer from a variety of maladies. The then-Emperor Honorius, who was at Ravenna at the time, offered the Romans very little assistance. Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire at the time.
- The only thing that convinced Alaric I to back down was the Romans’ promise to pay an enormous ransom to him and his people. Alaric brought an end to the campaign in the year 409 AD by establishing a puppet kingdom and installing a senator by the name of Priscus Attalus in Rome in order to exert more pressure on Honorius.
Second Invasion of Italy
- Alaric launched his assault on Rome in the year 410 AD, which marked the beginning of the second invasion of Italy. During the course of this conflict, the historian Zosimus saw many of his works destroyed. There is not a great deal of information available on the specific events that took place during this siege. Nevertheless, what is known is that this attack on Rome lasted for close to two years worth of time.
- Alaric I eventually completed the takeover of the city by employing a modified form of the “Trojan Horse” strategy. The only thing that was different was that rather than horses, the Roman nobles were given a gift of three hundred young men who were very strong.
Family & Personal Life
- It is unknown what name Alaric I gave to his spouse. It is thought that his wife was kidnapped during his initial invasion of Italy and held as a captive for some time.
Death & Legacy
- Following his successful invasion of Rome’s city proper, Alaric I headed south in the direction of Calabria. This was mostly due to the fact that he had the intention of invading Africa, which was an essential region to conquer due to the vast amount of cereals that it had. This was also a necessary step in order to entirely take Italy.
- On the other hand, a storm tore apart Alaric’s ships, and the majority of his warriors perished in the water as a result. It is thought that shortly after this event, Alaric passed away in Cosenza, maybe due to fever. AD 410 was the reported year when he passed away, according to the records.
- In accordance with the satanic rituals that the Visigoths observed, the body of Alaric was thrown into the riverbed of Busento and buried there. Recent research has provided evidence that points to malaria as the true cause of death in this case.
- After Alaric passed away, his brother-in-law Ataulf took over as commander of the Gothic army and continued Alaric’s legacy. It is important to note that around three years after Alaric’s passing, he tied the knot with Honorius’ sister, Galla Placidia.
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