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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

ABOUT this time Rome was taken by barbarians; for Alaric, who had been an ally of the Romans, and had rendered important services to the emperor Theodosius in the war against the tyrant Eugenius, having on that account been honoured with Roman dignities, was unable to bear his good fortune. He did not choose to assume imperial authority; but retiring from Constantinople he went into the Western parts, and laid waste all Illyricum. The Thessalonians opposed his inarch at the mouths of the river Peneus, whence there is a pass over Mount Pindus to Nicopolis in Epirus; and coming to an engagement, they killed about three thousand of his men. After this the barbarians that were with him destroyed every thing in their way, and at last took Rome itself, which they pillaged, burning the greatest part of the magnificent structures and other admirable works of art it contained. Having shared the booty among themselves, they put many of the principal senators to death by a variety of the most cruel tortures: but Alaric in mockery of the imperial dignity, proclaimed one Attains emperor, whom he ordered to be attended with all the insignia of sovereignty on one day, and to be exhibited in the habit of a slave on the next. After these achievements he made a precipitate retreat, a report having reached him that the emperor Theodosius had sent an army against him. Nor was this a groundless alarm, for the imperial forces actually arrived; but Alaric terrified at the bare rumour, had already decamped. It is said that as this barbarian was advancing towards Rome, he was met by a pious monk, who exhorted him to refrain from the perpetration of such atrocities, and no longer to delight in slaughter and blood. To whom Alaric replied, “I am urged on in this course in spite of myself; for there is a something that irresistibly impels me daily, saying, Proceed to Rome, and desolate that city.” Such was the career of this person.








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