Gates of Vienna published an excellent historical essay today by Emmett Scott, retelling a tale I’ve also written about on this blog – the sacking of Rome by the Goth hordes in 410 A.D. Scott writes, in part:
In 410 A.D. the walls of Rome were breached and the city plundered by a barbarian army under the leadership of Alaric the Goth. This was the first time since the Gallic sack of the city around 390 B.C. that the imperial metropolis had been entered by a hostile enemy. The fall of Rome shocked the world at the time, but what is not generally known nowadays is that the Gothic army that carried out the atrocity had entered the Empire thirty years earlier as refugees.
Until the second half of the fourth century the Goths had inhabited a vast swathe of territory taking what now comprises Romania as well as the Ukraine. In 375, however, they were attacked by the Huns, a tribe of nomad warriors from central Asia who had been moving steadily westwards during the preceding century and a half. In the ensuing war the Goths suffered a crushing defeat and large numbers of them fled westwards towards the Roman Empire. By the summer of 376 an enormous host of Goths, generally estimated at around 100,000, arrived at the River Danube and pleaded with the Roman authorities to be allowed into the Empire.
Does this sound familiar yet?
The Eastern Emperor Valens, at that moment stationed in Antioch, eventually gave permission for the Therving tribe, which comprised about half the total number of Gothic refugees, to be ferried across the river. For at least two centuries prior to this the Romans had actively recruited barbarians into the army (necessary because of Rome’s abysmally low birth-rate) and Valens reasoned that the Goths would provide a valuable pool of new and cheap recruits…
Or, in this day and age and place, cheap labor from below our southern border.
…Unsurprisingly, within a few weeks of their entry into the Empire, the first clashes with the Roman authorities occurred, and by the end of the summer the Goths were at war with Rome. After several military disasters, the Emperor Valens made a hasty return to Constantinople to personally take charge of the campaign, and was killed in battle at Adrianople in 378 — just two years after he had sanctioned the mass immigration…
I wonder if Angela Merkel knows any of this and if she ever thinks about it.
…A decade and a half of uneasy peace was terminated in 395 by a renewed Gothic war, this time under the leadership of Alaric. Commanding an enormous host of warriors (who were in fact officially soldiers in the Roman army) Alaric moved south from Thrace into Greece, a land which he proceeded to devastate. City after city was taken, its male population massacred, its female population raped and sold into slavery, and its wealth plundered…
The end of Rome came in 410 A.D., when Alaric and his army sacked the city, ushering in the Dark Ages.