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Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome

Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome

by Douglas Boin
Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome

Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome

by Douglas Boin


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Denied citizenship by the Roman Empire, a soldier named Alaric changed history by unleashing a surprise attack on the capital city of an unjust empire.

Stigmatized and relegated to the margins of Roman society, the Goths were violent “barbarians” who destroyed “civilization,” at least in the conventional story of Rome’s collapse. But a slight shift of perspective brings their history, and ours, shockingly alive.

Alaric grew up near the river border that separated Gothic territory from Roman. He survived a border policy that separated migrant children from their parents, and he was denied benefits he likely expected from military service. Romans were deeply conflicted over who should enjoy the privileges of citizenship. They wanted to buttress their global power, but were insecure about Roman identity; they depended on foreign goods, but scoffed at and denied foreigners their own voices and humanity. In stark contrast to the rising bigotry, intolerance, and zealotry among Romans during Alaric’s lifetime, the Goths, as practicing Christians, valued religious pluralism and tolerance. The marginalized Goths, marked by history as frightening harbingers of destruction and of the Dark Ages, preserved virtues of the ancient world that we take for granted.

The three nights of riots Alaric and the Goths brought to the capital struck fear into the hearts of the powerful, but the riots were not without cause. Combining vivid storytelling and historical analysis, Douglas Boin reveals the Goths’ complex and fascinating legacy in shaping our world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393867510
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/31/2021
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 291,789
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Douglas Boin is a professor of history at Saint Louis University and author of Coming Out Christian in the Roman World and two scholarly books on antiquity. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Seventy-Two Hours 1

Chapter 2 The Trailblazer 13

Chapter 3 Stolen Childhood's 30

Chapter 4 Opportunity 44

Chapter 5 The Mystery of Conversion 63

Chapter 6 Love, War, and an Awakening 87

Chapter 7 The Lion and the Fox 103

Chapter 8 Into the Labyrinth 124

Chapter 9 The Crash 148

Chapter 10 Alaric's Dying Ambitions 167

Chapter 11 Smoldering Ruins and a Lost Key 185

Epilogue 199

Acknowledgments 203

Notes 207

Works Cited and Further Reading 235

Illustration Credits 239

Index 241

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