Editors: Lipps, Johannes; Machado, Carlos; von Rummel, Philipp

The Sack of Rome in 410 AD

The Event, its Context, and its Impact

22.0 x 29.0 cm, 456 p., 151 illustrations b/w, paperback / softback
49,00 €

ISBN: 9783895009440
Table of Contents

Short Description

On 24 August 410 the city of Rome the Goths led by their king Alaric captured and looted the city of Rome for three days. This was the first conquest of Rome in 800 years, an event that is full of symbolism and subject to great controversy. This book, based on a conference held at Rome in November 2010, offers a critical re-evaluation of all the evidence available, literary and archaeological, discussing not only what happened during those days, but also its context as well as its impact.


On 24 August 410, the Visigothic troops led by their king Alaric captured the city of Rome, looting the city for three days. This was the first time the city was captured in 800 years, igniting a debate with religious overtones over the causes for the fall of the city. Whereas pagan authors seem to have held the spread of Christianity and the abandonment of traditional cults responsible, Christian writers refused to accept this responsibility and minimized the horrors of the sack. Whatever happened on these days remains uncertain. Even archaeologists, influenced by the accounts transmitted by literary sources, traditionally accepted the notion that the Sack of Rome was a catastrophic event, with serious impact on the city, its population and its physical structures. This book, the proceedings of a conference held at Rome in November 2010, provides a systematic re-evaluation of all the evidence available, both literary and archaeological. Starting with two chapters considering the theoretical and methodological issues involved in the analysis of historical events and their relationship with the archaeological record, the first section discusses the political and ideological context for the fall of Rome. The second part of the book, dedicated to the archaeology of the late antique city, shows that although there are a few examples of buildings destroyed or abandoned in the first half of the fifth century, none of these can be unequivocally linked to the destruction wreaked by the Goths. The archaeology of the city does not fit easily with the literary accounts of historical events. The third part of the book is dedicated to the analysis of different aspects of the history and archaeology of the period, trying to assess the impact of the actions of Alaric and his soldiers. Elements as different as the demography of the city, its suply of imported goods, burial practices, the epigraphy and the practice of dedicating statues are considered, showing that in most of the cases changes seem to have been the product of long-term trends, rather than responses to a specific events. The Sack of Rome is here, for the first time, analysed and discussed by scholars of different background and nationality.

Biographical Note

Johannes Lipps wurde 1980 in Deutschland geboren. Er studierte Klassische Archäologie, Alte Geschichte sowie Papyrologie, Epigraphik und Numismatik der Antike in Marburg, Rom und Köln. Nach der Promotion war er Stipendiat am Deutschen Archäologischen Institut der Abteilung Rom und Reisestipendiat des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Seit 2009 unterrichtet er als Akademischer Rat Klassische Archäologie an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München. Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen auf der römischen Architektur, Ornamentik und Urbanistik

Carlos Machado was born in Brazil, in 1973. After obtaining a PhD in Ancient History from the University of Oxford, he was a Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome and a Humboldt fellow at the University of Heidelberg. He currently lectures Ancient History at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and his research is mainly concerned with late antique history, the Roman aristocracy and the city of Rome.

Philipp von Rummel wurde 1975 in Deutschland geboren. Er studierte Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Klassische Archäologie, Alte Geschichte und Mittelalterlich Geschichte in Freiburg, Basel und Berlin. Nach seiner Promotion arbeitete er als Wissenschaftlicher Assistent in Freiburg, war Reisestipendiat der Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts und leitete von 2008 bis 2013 die Redaktion der Abteilung Rom des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Seit Februar 2014 ist er Generalsekretär der Zentrale des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts in Berlin. Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen auf der Spätantike und dem Frühmittelalter insbesondere in Nordafrika.

Series Description

With PALILIA, the German Archaeological Institute of Rome introduces a new series of publications, primarily monographs on archaeological research done in or starting from Italy. The series will deal with new approaches and innovative research methods, and subjects neglected in classical archaeology. The subject range includes central archaeological research areas, such as Graeco-Roman sculpture, iconography, architecture, urban research, and topographic studies, as well as topics from social and economic history, history of religion and of everyday life.


5th century, c 400 to c 499 (47) || Alaric || Alte Geschichte (85) || Ancient Rome (66) || Ancient World (141) || Archaeology (526) || Archaeology by period / region (443) || Byzantinischen Kunstgeschichte (2) || Epigraphik (15) || European history (219) || European history: the Romans (21) || Frühgeschichte (5) || Historical states, empires & regions (228) || History (834) || History of art (239) || Klassische Archäologie (46) || Late Antiquity (6) || Mittelalterliche Geschichte (14) || Numismatik (4) || Provinzialrömischen Archäologie || Roman Archaeology || Sack of Rome || Theology (32) || War & defence operations (3) || Warfare & defence (18) || c 1 CE to c 500 CE (153)