Today in Catholic History – The Sack of Rome

On 27 August 410, Alaric and the Visigoths completed their three-day sack of the city of Rome which began on 24 August.

The Visigoths did relatively little damage to the city and the churches, however they did take much of the movable wealth. The Visigoths were Arians and treated the Romans as fellow Christians. Still, the sack of the city was traumatic to much of Christendom because it was the first time the city had been conquered by a non-Roman in 800 years.

St. Jerome wrote of the event, “My voice sticks in my throat; and, as I dictate, sobs choke my utterance. The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken.” St. Augustine will be inspired to write his work City of God to explain the sack of Rome against the arguments of many of the pagan Romans who blamed the fate of their city on the abandonment of the pagan gods. St. Augustine argued that all earthly cities were subject to falling as Rome did, only the heavenly city was eternal.


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