View Full Version : Alaric and the Treasure of the Visigoths

Sunday, February 5th, 2006, 10:40 PM


Three hundred years later, in 394, Alaric I was proclaimed king of the Visigoths. This was originally a Germanic tribe where the Visigoths lived mostly in Eastern Europe. They mainly served the Romans as mercenaries. Upon the death of Theodosius I, Alaric was quick to renounce this allegiance to Rome.

Alaric led his troops into Greece where he conquered Sparta, Argos and Corinth. He would also have taken Athens itself but for a substantial ransom paid by the Greeks. It was not long after this impressive victory his army came into conflict with the Romans where he was to suffer defeat at the hands of the Roman General Flavius Stilicho. Alaric's motivation was the wealth of Rome, and he once again attempted to invade Italy and was again beaten by Stilicho.

Unfortunately for the Romans, Alaric took this as a sign of weakness and asked for almost 2000 Kilos of gold as a tribute upon payment of which he would he would renounce his plans to invade Rome. Alaric immediately invaded Italy, angered by this proposal and began a siege on Rome. A huge sum of money was paid as ransom but in 410 Alaric captured Rome regardless and sacked it.

Alaric's troops took six days to empty the city of its wealth. Not only did the Visigoths remove everything of value that the Romans possessed but also it is believed they also got hold of a large portion, if not all of the fabulous treasure of Jerusalem which had lain untouched in the vaults of the city.

The treasure thus changed hands and another conquering army to returned home with the spoils of war held aloft as a trophy of triumph. The quantity of treasure the Visigoths had in their possession must have been immense.