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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

THUS was the Eastern empire preserved from the evils of war, and governed with consummate prudence, contrary to all expectations, for the emperor was still in extreme youth. In the mean time, the Western empire fell a prey to disorders and to the domination of tyrants. After the death of Stilicho, Alaric, king of the Goths, sent an embassy to Honorius to treat of peace; but as his terms were rejected, he laid siege to Rome; and by posting a large army of barbarians on the banks of the Tiber, he effectually prevented the transmission of all provisions from the port to the city. After the siege had lasted some time, and fearful ravages had been made in the city by famine and pestilence, many of the slaves, and most of the foreigners within the walls, went forth to Alaric. Those among the senators who still adhered to Pagan superstition, proposed to offer sacrifice in the Capitol and the other temples; and certain Etrurians, who were summoned by the prefect of the city, promised to launch thunder and lightning, and disperse the barbarians: they boasted of having performed a similar exploit at Narni, a city of Tuscany. Events, however, proved the futility of these propositions. All persons of sense were aware that the calamities which this siege entailed upon the Romans were indications of Divine wrath, sent to chastise them for their luxury, their debauchery, and their manifold acts of injustice towards each other, as well as towards strangers. It is said that, when Alaric was marching against Rome, a monk of Italy besought him to spare the city, and not to become the author of so many calamities. Alaric, in reply, assured him that he did not feel disposed to commence the siege, but found himself compelled by some hidden and irresistible impulse to accomplish the enterprize. While he was besieging the city, the inhabitants presented many gifts to him, as inducements to abandon the undertaking, and promised to persuade the emperor to enter into a treaty of peace with him.








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