Missing Letter Monday – No “M”

Published August 24, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

“On This Day in History”

On this day in history,
Sixteen hundred and five years ago,
Alaric the Visigoth
And his Christian Barbarian hordes
Rolled into the greatest city in the world—
Or so its residents still stubbornly called it—
For their third occupation,
And the sacking that would go down in history.

Honorius, Caesar in Ravenna,
Refused to give the Visigoths a place to call their own.
Alaric tried to ask.
He tried to be polite.
He really was a civilized barbarian.
(After all, he wasn’t born in the city he was sacking!)
But Honorius wouldn’t listen.
He didn’t like to listen.
(And he had a cockerel that he had dubbed after his so-called capital.)

Without receiving any concessions,
Alaric tried to seize the capital,
To force capitulation.
“Burn nothing you don’t have to,
And don’t touch the churches!”
Were the orders of the day.
Holy relics were left alone.
(For the greater part, at least.)
The city still stood when the Goths left,
Even if the people were saddened,
And even poorer than before.
(And they had already been near destitute.)

It really was a unique sacking.
There was rape and pillage, of course.
Slaughter, yes. But not on the usual scale.
The pagans thought Christianity was at fault;
Pagan sacrifices had been banned so recently
(Well, less than a century, if you can call that recent)
So surely the city fell as Jupiter’s revenge!
The Bishop of Hippo—St. Augustine, to you—
Wrote books and books and books to insist otherwise.
He said Alaric’s leniency was due to Christianity—
But not that the Barbarian Alaric could have learnt Christian values,
Because how could a Barbarian learn?—
Rather he said that Christ personally had protected the city.
(D’you know the Sting song “St. Augustine in Hell”? I like that one…)

Alaric conquered the city
All roads once led to,
And he went down in history.
But he didn’t win a place for his people to live,
And he left the city in defeat,
Despite his plunder.
The stubborn nature of Honorius won the day,
Even if the night fell to Alaric’s blades.

Alaric died not long after,
And his brother a few years later.
But a few years after that,
The Visigoths were finally settled in Gaul,
In the part of France we now know as
Toulouse, in Aquitaine.
(Could Eleanor trace her descent back to those Visigoth leaders?
That would be so cool! Probably not the case, but…)

Stunned survivors wrote and wrote.
As they wrote the sack was turned into a slaughter.
A slaughter and an outrage.
The collapse of a great civilization.
It wasn’t.
It wasn’t even a great civilization.
It hadn’t been powerful for centuries,
And it had never been “great” at all,
Not in the ways they intended.
Alaric is known now as the Barbarian Destroyer,
The Toppler of the legacy of Julius and Augustus.
Their heirs had already long since toppled that legacy,
With no need of Visigothic invaders.
Let’s call Alaric what he was:
A chap who wanted the best for his people,
And fought to obtain it,
Even if it was only gotten after his death.

If you want to learn about Alaric the Visigoth, check out Terry Jones’ Barbarians, by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira, which I’ve been reading lately. And yes, the conventional date for Alaric’s entry into the city is August 24, 410. (Whether that’s accurate is another question entirely.)

Sorry it started to lose any slight sense of poetry after a while and just turned into a history lesson with weird line endings. (But hey! I wrote about the sacking of a city without being able to refer directly to the city or its people!)

MLM icon init MLM M bonus points cookies banner init

Vocaloid Tarot

Vocaloid, UTAU and Tarot; individually or all-in-one

Matthew Meyer

the yokai guy

Arwen's Butterflies and Things

My BJD creation blog. Here's where my sewing creations and projects are showcased. Some outfits are for sale. Please use the tags & catagories to navigate this blog. I love comments and reviews!

History From Below

Musings on Daily Life in the Ancient and Early Medieval Mediterranean By Sarah E. Bond

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

My Tiny Joy

Where little things matter!

Klein's Other Toys

Comics, Funko Pops and Anime figures oh my!



Creating Herstory

Celebrating the women who create history

Kicky Resin

BJDs et al

Lala Land


A'Cloth the World

Where Textiles, Fashion, Culture, Communication and Art Come Together.


Occasionally my brain spurts out ideas and this is where I put them

The Social Historian

Adventures in the world of history


Erik Kwakkel blogging about medieval manuscripts

Sara Letourneau

Poet. Freelance editor and writing coach. SFF enthusiast.

Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth

A tragical-comical-historical-pastoral webcomic by Ben Sawyer

Project Doll House

never too old to play with dolls

knotted things

All about the things that I'm all about.

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

Omocha Crush

Secret Confessions of a Toy Addict




Jacqui Murray's

Onomastics Outside the Box

Names beyond the Top 100, from many nations and eras

Hannah Reads Books

This is an archival site for old posts. Visit hannahgivens.com for art, puppetry, and links to any current media commentary.

Ariel Hudnall

the writings, musings, and photography of a dream smith

Taking a Walk Through History

Walking back in time to discover the origins of every historical route on earth



Pullips and Junk

We're all mad about Pullips here!


Handmade miniatures

Dutch Fashion Doll World

A Dutch Barbie collector in Holland

Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter

Reviews and News From the Doll World

It's a Britta Bottle!

Small Stories of a Twenty-Something Adventuring Through Life


It's all small stuff.

The Photographicalist

Preserving the photographical perspective

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

We're All Mad Here!

<---This Way | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . | That Way--->

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: