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Alaric I
(1,003 words)

The greatest Germanic chieftain of the early 5th century CE, Alaric led the Gothic army that sacked Rome in 410 CE, a catastrophe that has become a symbol of the “decline and fall” of the western Roman Empire. He was born circa 370 CE north of the Danube River (the account of his noble ancestry in Jordanes ‒ see Jor. Get. 29.146 ‒ cannot be relied upon) and first appears in our sources as a Gothic war leader in the early 390s CE. The Tervingi and Greuthungi Goths, who had defeated and killed the eastern Roman emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 CE after crossing the Danube…

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Gwynn, David M., “Alaric I”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 03 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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