The founder of the Visigothic kingdom, and one of the few men to capture Rome.

He was elected king of the Visigoths in 395 while they were living in Thrace, as confederates of the Roman Empire. They had recently invaded the Empire and been temporarily pacified. Under Alaric they invaded the Balkans, the Peloponnese, and Illyria. The emperor pacified them again by making Alaric military ruler of Illyria (the title of magister militum Illyricum) in 396.

From this position he led the Visigoths into an attack on Italy in 400. He was beaten back by the general Stilicho from Pollenza in 402 and Verona in 403, but on Stilicho's death in 408 he laid siege to Rome. He was paid off handsomely and went back to besiege the Emperor Honorius in Ravenna, the new capital of the Western Roman Empire.

When Honorius breached the reparations deal, they returned and captured Rome in 410. Alaric was an Arian Christian, and did not despoil it the way barbarian tribes are traditionally said to behave: he wanted the women and the temples spared.

He continued southward and looked set to conquer all of Italy, but died at Cosenza that same year. According to legend his remains were buried under the River Busento to hide them from the Romans, and the captives who had done the work were themselves put to death. He was succeeded by his brother-in-law Athaulf.

Alaric II was King of the Visigoths from 484 to 507, son of King Euric (466-484). He was succeeded by his son Gesalic (507-511). By then the Visigoths had moved and were the rulers of Spain and southern France. He was killed in battle by the Frankish king Clovis, at Vouillé near Poitiers. This left the Franks in charge of almost all modern France, and the Visigoths in Spain.

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