The Relationship Between Rome and the Visigoths

Late in the history of the Roman empire; before the conflicts that the empire had with the Visigoths, Rome was in a state of disorder. The leaders were fighting with each other to get higher up in position; the military was in disaster, thanks to the fact that the soldiers were going on whichever side they thought would benefit them. Also the economy was in shambles. To make matters worse the germanic peoples, or the “barbarians” were also mixed up with this mess of a situation. One of the “barbarian” groups that was mixed up in this situation were the Visigoths; which is where I will begin my discussion on the relationship between Rome and the Visigoths.

In 376 AD the Visigoths requested to be allowed to enter the Roman empire; the Visigoths were being pursued by the Huns(who were like the barbarians in the perspective of the Visigoths). The eastern emperor Valens allows them to enter the empire; but without a price. The Visigoths during their time in the Roman empire were treated terribly, and were forced to endure a lot of hardship. In 378 the Visigoths decided to rebel, and even managed to defeat Valens. 

In 395 the Visigoths pillaged Italy, which forced Rome to withdraw their troops from other areas to deal with the Visigoths, which left weak spots in the empire; which of course caused more issues with other tribes including the Vandals. Also because of all this chaos areas including Britain fall to groups such as the Saxons, Angles, etc. In 410 the Visigoths pillaged Rome for three days; further weakening the empire.

At this point it is pretty obvious that the relationship between Rome and the Visigoths was far from close. The Visigoths actively sought out Rome’s help, by requesting access into the empire, which they were granted. But Rome took advantage you could say of the situation, and mistreated the Visigoths. The Visigoths because of this mistreatment had enough and rebelled. But the unusual thing was, the Visigoths did not fully hate Rome, they actually somewhat respected the culture of Rome, and did not want to destroy everything to do with Rome, they actually wanted to preserve some of Rome after they pillaged the city. After Rome fell they were the ones that preserved the Roman culture, which proves in a sense that the Visigoths were not completely hateful to Rome. In conclusion this was the relationship between Rome and the Visigoths.


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