The Pillage of Rome (The Play)

by Franc

-Written by Franc Rodriguez

(Contents)

Dramatis Personae ix.

ACT I

ACT II

ACT III

ACT IV

ACT V

(Dramatis Personae)

HONORIUS-The Roman Emperor of the Western Empire.

ALARIC-The king of the Visigoths.

ATAULF-The brother-in-law of Alaric.

POPE INNOCENT I-The pope of Rome.

ATTALUS-A Roman usurper.

JOVIUS-The praetorian prefect of Italy.

HERACLIAN-The governor of the province of Africa.

OLYMPIUS-The magister officiorum.

LIVIANUS-A minister of Honorius.

CAELIUS-A Roman Senator.

HILARIUS-A Roman Senator.

GAIUS-A Roman Senator.

DOMITIUS-A Roman Senator.

VIDERIC-A warrior of Alaric.

HELDEBALD-A warrior of Alaric.

GALLA PLACIDIA-The paternal half-sister of emperors Arcadius and Honorius.

PELAGIUS-A Roman monk from Britain that witnessed the siege of the city of Rome.

ENVOY-A diplomat.

THE EUNUCHS-male servants.

Scene in Ravenna and Rome, in the years 409 and 410. A.D.

ACT 1.

SCENE I.

At the court of the Imperial Palace at Ravenna.

An envoy from the Senate has arrived to speak to the Emperor Honorius.

ENVOY.

Emperor, I thank thee for accepting my visit and petition to be here at thy court before thee. I come on behalf of the members of the Senate in Rome, who have sent me.

HONORIUS.

I am a busy emperor and unfortunately, all my time is dedicated, on the administration of the Roman Empire. What exactly is the objective of the Senate in Rome?

ENVOY.

The Senate wouldth encourage thee Emperor to come to terms with the Goths and to give Roman aristocratic children, as hostages to the Goths, for insurance of our compliance.

HONORIUS.

Now that I am apprised of the Senate's intention let me respond by asking, what benefit doth I obtain, in this visible acquiescence? Have the members of the Senate forgotten that the Goths are not to be trusted in their recent treaties? Their words are more perilous than their foolhardy actions.

ENVOY.

Verily, I believe that by appeasement we could avoid another siege of the city of Rome, my noble emperor.

HONORIUS.

Rome, thou utterest is nothing more than a fading vestige of the veneration of ancient emperors.

ENVOY.

Perhaps! Nevertheless, thou hast a duty to protect the city from the contemptible Goths.

HONORIUS.

The Goths have rebelled, looted and pillaged, throughout the eastern Balkans. Wherefore should they stop, since they have laid siege to the venerable Rome before?

ENVOY.

Forsooth! But the intention of the Senate is to avoid at whatever cost, the sacking of the city anew.

HONORIUS.

And naturally, the members of the Senate think about the citizens of Rome, when their interests are being threatened suddenly.

ENVOY.

Thou knowest emperor that the city of Rome cannot suffer another savage raid from the Goths. 'Twould be interpreted, as an absolute sign of weakness on our part.

HONORIUS.

'Twould be more a sign of weakness, if we allowed the Goths to believe in their superiority over us.

ENVOY.

Would it not be prudent emperor, to not antagonise the Goths so transparently?

HONORIUS.

What are thou insinuating?

ENVOY.

I am simply stating the fact that we have not yet rid ourselves of them and their unpredictable behaviour.

HONORIUS.

The Goths are not to be trusted at all, when attempting to reason with them.

ENVOY.

I agree emperor, but time is valuable and we must be prepared for the eventuality of the sacking of Rome again. The members of the Senate are at thy disposition to protect the empire.

HONORIUS.

And I the emperor? Have the members of the Senate forgotten, about its young emperor in Ravenna?

ENVOY.

Of course not! Wherefore dost thou express this untoward remark towards us?

HONORIUS.

I have the general impression that the members of the Senate do not favour mine authority, as much as I merit that authoritarianism.

ENVOY.

I would kindly declare emperor that thou art in need of the Senate, as the members are of thee.

HONORIUS.

Then, return to the members of the Senate in Rome and tell them that I shall not be easily convinced to adhere to the petitions of the Senate, without the consent of the pope.

SCENE II.

At one of the halls of the Imperial Court.

Honorius had summoned Olympius to discuss the issue of the recent visit of the emissary of the Senate.

OLYMPIUS.

Emperor, I came as soon as I could! What hast caused this sudden urgency in thee to summon me?

HONORIUS.

I have summoned thee to speak, about the visit of the envoy sent by the Senate.

OLYMPIUS.

What are the members of the Senate demanding now?

HONORIUS.

It wouldeth seem that the members of the Senate want me to grant more concessions to the abhorrent Goths.

OLYMPIUS.

If I may ask, what specific concessions are they demanding?

HONORIUS.

That doth not matter! Instead, 'tis the mere audacity of Alaric that hath irked me with the utmost vehemence in me.

OLYMPIUS.

Then, what shalt thou decide to do next?

HONORIUS.

I shall reveal to the Senate, mine intention to make the declaration of war, against the perfidious Goths!

OLYMPIUS.

Forgive me emperor, but art thou conscious of the significance of making that temerarious proclamation suddenly?

HONORIUS.

Indeed, I am! That is the inducement, for ridding myself of Alaric and the Goths. Thou wert appointed magister officiorum and replaced Stilicho, in the succession of the throne. I know of thine antipathy towards the Goths and obsession to purge any and all of Stilicho's former supporters.

OLYMPIUS.

In sooth, I am honoured of that worthy position in thy government. What dost thou demand of me?

HONORIUS.

For now only thine obedience! Thus, thou shalt purge the empire of any allied barbarian foederati soldiers and their families in Roman cities. Is that clearly understood?

OLYMPIUS.

Aye, mine emperor!

HONORIUS.

Excellent! Then, I shall be waiting to hear tidings afterwards of the elimination of these vulgar miscreants.

OLYMPIUS.

By all means, this task shall be accomplished shortly.

HONORIUS.

Do not disappoint me Olympius! I have given thee a great position in the empire. Remember always that I can grant thee power, but I can as well take that power from thee, without any notice or justification merited.

OLYMPIUS.

I shall never forget that natural distinction, emperor!

HONORIUS.

If thou art ever loyal to me Olympius, I shall reward thee handsomely in many ways.

OLYMPIUS.

I shall give thee that loyalty unconditionally.

HONORIUS.

Thou art excused! I must tend to another matter. Before thou leavest, know that I have sent Valens to impede the advance of the Goths from Noricum.

SCENE III.

Outside the city of Noricum.

Alaric has been told about the campaign of the Romans, against the Goths. He speaks to his second in command, Videric.

ALARIC.

Art thou certain that no more legions of Romans have been seen in the general vicinity?

VIDERIC.

None have been spotted, my lord! Our men that survived had said that the Roman in charge of the campaign was named Olympius.

ALARIC.

I am aware of him, and I know the Romans well enough to believe that they shall not stop, until we are eradicated completely.

VIDERIC.

What shall we do next, my king?

ALARIC.

I shall demand Honorius for hostages, gold, and permission to move to Pannonia.

VIDERIC.

And if he refuseth to comply with these demands?

ALARIC.

Then, we shall invade Rome afterwards anon!

VIDERIC.

Shall the Romans permit Rome to be invaded afresh?

ALARIC.

The question instead is shall we be forced to pillage Rome, not twice, but thrice?

VIDERIC.

Is it possible that the Romans are preparing themselves to attack us again and lure us into an unknown trap?

ALARIC.

Perhaps! We shall be waiting for their ambush!

VIDERIC.

Our people are wary of the broken promises of the Romans demonstrated.

ALARIC.

Tell the people that the Romans shall soon succumb to our demands. They must put their trust, in my sincere words of faith and troth.

VIDERIC.

Thou art their leader and they shall follow thee unto Rome or Ravenna if necessary, my king!

ALARIC.

I do not doubt their douth and allegiance to me, but we must be cautious with our actions.

VIDERIC.

They shall march with glory in their hearts and souls!

ALARIC.

I know Honorius well, as I knew his father and brother also. Although he is not to be trusted, he is fearful of the Goths. I was once the magister militum per Illyricum.

VIDERIC.

But thou wert betrayed by the Romans in the end.

ALARIC.

Aye, but it shall be the last betrayal I endure from them.

VIDERIC.

The people see thee, as our leader and our valiant king.

SCENE IV.

At the building of the Senate in Rome.

The members of the Senate have received the tidings of the advance of the army of Alaric towards the city. Several of the prominent Senators have gathered to discuss the imminent threat of the Goths and receive the emissary they had sent to the emperor.

CAELIUS.

What hath the young emperor responded to our petition?

ENVOY.

I am afraid that the emperor is planning on making war against the Goths, my noble Senator.

GAIUS.

Are we the members of the Senate to understand that the emperor hath chosen to make war, against the harrowing Goths?

ENVOY.

Aye! 'Tis what I understood straightaway to be his final message.

HILARIUS.

What impetuous reason hath he for this urgency to go to war with the savage Goths?

ENVOY.

Unfortunately, I was not informed, by the emperor of his main motive for war.

The envoy is excused, and the three members of the Senate continue the conversation, in privacy amongst themselves.

CAELIUS.

The evident impetuosity of the emperor is definitely alarming and dangerous.

GAIUS.

I do not know, who is more brash, he or Alaric.

HILARIUS.

Honorius, since his seeming inexperience shall doom us to the laden weight of the hordes of Vandals, Suebis, Alans and Visigoths.

CAELIUS.

Let us hope that not be the case, but we must recognise the capability of the Goths, and recent events have served to know that we cannot underestimate the brutal vengeance of these ruthless barbarians.

GAIUS.

How do we thwart their unyielding terror?

HILARIUS.

Simple! We must convince the young emperor that the plundering of Rome shall cause the absolute fall of the Western Empire.

GAIUS.

And if that is not enough to convince him, then what shall be our next course of action?

CAELIUS.

We shall have to involve the pope in the situation regrettably.

GAIUS.

What dost thou mean, by the involvement of the pope?

HILARIUS.

Wherefore should the pope wisheth to deal with the contemptuous emperor?

CAELIUS.

Because his papacy is threatened, by the immediate arrival of the Goths to Rome.

HILARIUS.

How? The pope hath the ability to make his own deal with the Goths.

CAELIUS.

That is true! However, the pope is conscious about the effect of the instability of the empire, if Honorius is perceived, as even more a weak emperor by the Goths. 'Tis a terrible indication of the might and main of the Roman Empire.

HILARIUS.

Alaric's sudden rampage in Epirus and the untimely death of Arcadius are still daunting reminders of the cruel nature of the Goths' king. We shall be forced to pay a large subsidy to the Visigoths.

HILARIUS.

Alaric is not a blatant fool. He can be persuaded in the end, with objects of wealth or new territories.

CAELIUS.

Hitherto, mine immediate concern is not him, instead the irrational behaviour of the young emperor.

SCENE V.

At the basilica in Rome.

The pope has received a letter from the Senate informing him of the imminent peril of the Goths to Rome. He has summoned Caelius to appear before him.

POPE INNOCENT I.

I was surprised by that letter and more by the fact that thou hast deemed this threat of the Goths, a very grievous matter to address. That is the main reason that I have summoned thee today Senator.

CAELIUS.

Then, thou knowest of our common interest to convince the emperor of a necessary treaty with the Goths.

POPE INNOCENT I.

Why should this concern the papacy, since I can easily escape the city Senator?

CAELIUS.

With all due respect, my noble lord, if we allow the Goths to pillage Rome anew, then the end of our great civilisation and ancestral empire shall cease to exist, as we know it to be. The Catholic Church also is at risk of perishing!

POPE INNOCENT I.

Art thou not exaggerating a bit? The Roman Empire hath survived barbarians ere, and it shall continue to exist in that manifestation. As for the Catholic Church, it can survive outside of Rome too.

CAELIUS.

I would kindly dispute that claim pronounced!

POPE INNOCENT I.

Thence, be candid in thine objection, so that I can truly understand thy words efficiently!

CAELIUS.

As we are gathered here conversing, the Goths are scheming to enter as an enemy force into Rome. Hast thou forgotten what Alaric is capable of doing? Hast thou forgotten his savage plundering of the Eastern Empire, in the Greek cities of Piraeus, Corinth, Argos, and Sparta?

POPE INNOCENT I.

The Goths can be reasoned with. They are not untamed savages, when political positions are granted to them. This Alaric was once a general in the Roman Legions. Therefore, the emperor can be reasoned with as well.

CAELIUS.

That is exactly, why I had sensed that that argument wouldeth be better understood, by thee than us the members of the Senate.

POPE INNOCENT I.

Thy point is comprehensive! If I must be the representative of that message, then I shall gladly assist in that important endeavour.

CAELIUS.

I knew that thou wouldst understand the predicament that Rome is confronted to react against unwantedly.

POPE INNOCENT I.

Indeed, there is a common interest that the Senate and the papacy share alike, defeating the Goths!

CAELIUS.

I would hope that that common interest as thou hast professed is extended to other matters of pertinence.

POPE INNOCENT I.

I am sanguine that this should be the case in the end!

CAELIUS.

We have a common foe, and that is Alaric and the untamed Goths. Whatever obvious difference there is betwixt the emperor and us must be postponed for the nonce.

POPE INNOCENT I.

I am in absolute concurrence, with that precise analogy.

CAELIUS.

Stilicho had effectively governed the Western Empire and was able to control the Goths and in particular, Alaric.

POPE INNOCENT I.

But Stilicho is dead! He was definitely more effective, as a politician than as a general.

CAELIUS.

Alaric marched into Epirus, and Stilicho had failed to dispatch Alaric.

POPE INNOCENT I.

True! Nevertheless, the emperor had Stilicho executed in Ravenna, without any hesitation.

CAELIUS.

We must do what we can to convince the emperor, not to go war with Alaric and the Goths.

SCENE VI.

At Ariminum.

Alaric and his Visigoths sack the city and other cities, as they move south in their march to Rome. A warrior of the Goths approaches his king, by the name of Heldebald.

HELDEBALD.

Shall the manifest resistance of the Romans be that passive, as they have been in these cities we have dominated, my king?

ALARIC.

I have learnt well from being amongst them to know that they are an aristocratic people of the utmost history and legacy.

HELDEBALD.

I fear that the Romans shall never allow our people to live, beside them in absolute peace and accordance.

ALARIC.

I believe in one thing only, that our kingdom shall one day soon be an independent nation of Gothic brethren.

HELDEBALD.

I hope that as a Visigoth, I live to see that glorious culmination of our history.

ALARIC.

Even, if we are to perish ultimately at the hands of the Romans, another Gothic king and warrior shall take my place, with tremendous honour displayed. Our people shall never bow to their subjugation voluntarily again.

HELDEBALD.

The people put their trust in thee, my king to lead them on to victory, over the mendacious Romans.

ALARIC.

I am always grateful for their unwavering devotion to the cause and to me, their faithful king.

Heldebald bows before his king.

HELDEBALD.

I am thy faithful servant and warrior to serve whatever thou orderest me to accomplish obediently.

ALARIC.

I am totally conscious about that fact, and I have undeniable trust in my men to fight gallantly, at my side always.

HELDEBALD.

May thee live a long life of glory, my king!

ALARIC.

We must now concentrate on, not being powerless, against the vulpine Romans.

HELDEBALD.

How shall we achieve that significant possibility?

ALARIC.

By ransacking Rome again. This shall give the Romans the daunting impression that we are capable of dominating them at will. This shall be a lesson also that they shall never forget! They shall grant us our nation one way or the other.

HELDEBALD

Thereafter, the Romans shall certainly attempt to exact retribution, against us!

ALARIC.

I am fully aware of that eventual consequence, but I know how to make them understand.

HELDEBALD.

There is much about the Romans that I fail to comprehend.

ALARIC.

I know them enough to say that they are not as potent, as they once were decades ago. I who was weaned by them as a child shall return their years of tutelage, with my blood and sacrifice.

HELDEBALD.

And how many men shall we need to gather, for this entrance into Rome?

ALARIC.

Sufficient to lay siege to the city and make the Roman Empire kneel on one knee before me, a mere Goth, in condign punishment.

HELDEBALD.

And it shall be, as thou hast intuitively foreseen.

ALARIC.

The oppressive days of bowing to the mighty Romans hath finished. Soon, they shall bow to us their rulers, the Goths.

ACT 2.

SCENE I.

At the imperial court of Ravenna.

A second Senatorial emissary is sent and this time, the Pope Innocent I and some papal guards are sent to persuade the emperor to make an immediate treaty, with the Goths.

HONORIUS.

When I was informed that the pope had come to visit me, I was indeed surprised, by this inusitate revelation.

POPE INNOCENT I.

I believe thou art apprised, about the principal motive of this visit.

HONORIUS.

I believe I am, but if I have forgotten some detail, then please disclose that pertinent information.

POPE INNOCENT I.

I have come, not only on behalf of the Senate, but on behalf of the church and Roman people. My visit is not of the convivial nature.

HONORIUS.

Since, when hast thou become the advocate of the members of the Senate? And as for the Roman people, I am loved in Ravenna and loathed in Rome.

POPE INNOCENT I.

If thou professest to me that thou hast no actual consideration for thy subjects in Rome, then I quaeritate, hast thou no consideration, for the preservation of the Roman Empire that Theodosius, thy proud father helped continue?

HONORIUS.

How deferential art thou to the lasting memory of my beloved father. Nonetheless, let me interject with thy permission.

POPE INNOCENT I.

Of course!

HONORIUS.

I know the Goths well, as I know the growing reputation of Alaric. This same man, who calleth himself king of the Visigoths, betrayed my father unscrupulously. I blame this treacherous man, for his death and for sending my poor brother Arcadius to his early death. Thou understandest then, why I despise these haughty barbarians that thou darest to defend before me?

POPE INNOCENT I.

I have not come to defend these barbarians, but to defend thy subjects and the honour of Rome. Hast thou forgotten that 'tis dutiful to be righteous, in the memory of our great emperor Constantine?

HONORIUS.

And hast thou forgotten that this man Alaric had demanded 288, 000 solidi before, and threatened to invade Italy, if he did not get it. If I am not mistaken mine excellency, this is equivalent to the amount of money earned in property revenue, by a single senatorial family in one year. Ask the Senator, who came with thee?

DOMITIUS.

That is accurate emperor, but I must remind thee that thy luxurious banquets and feasts are funded, by the patricians of whom I belong to, as a distinguishable member of the Senate.

HONORIUS.

Since, when have the dignified members of the Senate, not be entertained by these banquets or feasts that thou hast been present, on numerous occasions, Domitius?

DOMITIUS.

Agreed, but what I have enjoyed or not is not that relevant to the present argument.

HONORIUS.

Ye the members of the Senate consider thyselves, the elite patricians of the empire.

POPE INNOCENT I.

Gentlemen, must I remind ye, about the urgent reason we have gathered today?

HONORIUS.

Thou mayest proceed!

POPE INNOCENT I.

I thank thee for that cordial gesture given to me, emperor.

HONORIUS.

'Tis not often that the pope visith me.

POPE INNOCENT I.

All that is being asked of thee is to not provoke the Goths into war, until we have enough men to defend the city.

HONORIUS.

Art thou suggesting that we appease in acquiescence to the Goth's every whim provoked?

DOMITIUS.

No one is making that suggestion. We are merely requesting that thou bidest us time to defend the city of Rome.

HONORIUS.

What shall I gain from this civil gesture on my part?

POPE INNOCENT I.

With all due respect young emperor, thine empire!

SCENE II.

At the imperial court of Ravenna.

The emperor has been told by one of his eunuchs Junius that Ataulf, Alaric's brother-in-law, has crossed the Julian Alps, with his Goths into Italy, with the sole intent of joining Alaric's march on to Rome. The emperor is joined by Olympius.

JUNIUS.

Forgive me emperor, for the intrusion, but I had to inform thee of this relevance.

HONORIUS.

Thou hast interrupted my leisure time, for this mundane revelation?

JUNIUS.

Nay, my noble emperor. 'Twas not mine intention. However, there is mention amongst our spies in the Goths that they shall ultimately march on to Ravenna.

HONORIUS.

Nonsense! The Goths are brutes, but not foolish. They know that sacking Ravenna shall accomplish nothing, except our disdain in the end.

OLYMPIUS.

Perhaps, the eunuch hath a good point emperor!

The eunuch is excused, and the emperor is alone with Olympius.

HONORIUS.

Wherefore should I care much for the city of Rome or Mediolanum, for that matter?

OLYMPIUS.

Because thou canst meet the same fate as Gainas, with thine head sent, as a gift to Alaric.

HONORIUS.

Art thou serious Olympius?

OLYMPIUS.

That is a terrible possibility emperor!

HONORIUS.

I shudder in immutable horror, with that dreadful contemplation. What dost thou suggest I do to prevent that eventuality?

OLYMPIUS.

The unseemly behaviour of the Goths can be tamed.

HONORIUS.

How, I would like to precisely know, since the majority of them are not civil men, as we are?

OLYMPIUS.

From what I understand of this Alaric, he is demanding a nation for his people. Let us make him believe that!

HONORIUS.

He dareth to call himself, the mighty king of the Visigoths.

OLYMPIUS.

Then, let us beguile him to continue to believe that!

HONORIUS.

I had confided in Stilicho, and he betrayed me! If there is from amongst the inflexible Goths, a dignitary, then 'tis perchance Alaric.

OLYMPIUS.

We cannot overlook the fact that he served, as a soldier and then general in the Roman Army, under the rule of thy father.

HONORIUS.

All I care for in the end is the complete submission of the Goths, since I cannot destroy them, as I wish. All they know is war!

OLYMPIUS.

I agree, but let us not stain our hands with unnecessary blood, when we have mercenaries to do our bidding.

HONORIUS.

Who dost thou have in mind?

OLYMPIUS.

The Huns! They can subdue the incontinence of the Goths.

HONORIUS.

I shall ponder thy suggestion accordingly!

SCENE III.

Near the city of Pisa.

Ataulf and Alaric discuss their new demands and position established.

ALARIC.

We have gathered more men, along our march to Rome. With thy men, we have amassed a great army to intimidate the Romans.

ATAULF.

The question is shall it be enough to make them capitulate willingly to our demands indicated?

ALARIC.

I believe that if we can display our presence in numbers, then the emperor shall acquiesce. He wanteth to seem defiant, but Honorius is weak. Stilicho is no longer there to protect him any longer.

ATAULF.

Then, why do we not march on to Ravenna to dethrone him or execute him?

ALARIC.

Although that is what that coward deserveth, I cannot afford yet to kill him, until I know what he is planning.

ATAULF.

Why not?

ALARIC.

Because, he is a puppet that is easily manipulated. If I killed him, who wouldeth replace him on the throne that we can trust? I cannot entrust any man for that singular power!

ATAULF.

Thou couldst replace him, as emperor of the Roman Empire.

ALARIC.

I do not wish to be the emperor of the Roman Empire. I am the king of the Visigoths and nothing more than that I aspire to achieve in rank and life.

ATAULF.

But, we shall require the assistance of the enemies of Rome to make the Romans continue to comply and respect any treaties made.

ALARIC.

We must outwit Honorius, as we did with the eastern emperor Arcadius.

ATAULF.

How long before the emperor Honorius shall succumb to our demands?

ALARIC.

For as long as it taketh! I do not believe after we plunder Rome, he shall hesitate any longer to be fearful of the direful consequence to his empire.

ATAULF.

I agree, and we shall be there to convince him, if necessary.

ALARIC.

The situation requireth action and we shall greet the Romans in Rome, with a Gothic festivity that they shall remember for decades.

Alaric addresses his puissant warriors.

ATAULF.

The men are inspired by thee Alaric.

ALARIC.

Ye the brave warriors of Visigoths, I am honoured to serve thee and to be thy king. What we shall embark on shall not end at Rome, instead, it shall be a fresh beginning for our people. I swear as I stand before ye all, as thy king that our kingdom shall not be a mere vision, but an attainable reality. Our cause shall not be in vain or any of ye that shall die. We are a glorious people and generations of Visigoths shall remember our strife for a homeland! We belong to the noble Balti dynasty of the Tervingian Goths!

ATAULF.

May the glory of thy kingdom be triumphant over thy foes, including the unworthy Romans!

ALARIC.

Long live the Visigoths!

ATAULF

Long live Alaric!

The men yell, the same vociferous utterance.

SCENE IV.

At the hall of the Imperial Court of Honorius at Ravenna.

The emperor has replaced Olympius with Jovius, as the praetorian prefect of Italy, and the power behind the throne is given the title of patrician, in a formal ceremony and setting.

HONORIUS.

Now, that thou hast been given this position formally, I expect for thee to administrate the tedious affairs of the empire Jovius.

JOVIUS.

I am grateful for the privilege thou hast afforded me. I shall not deceive thee, my noble emperor.

HONORIUS.

I cannot imagine anything more entertaining than to declare war on the Goths. The thought of having the head of Alaric served to me on a silver platter is exciting.

JOVIUS.

Let us not get carried away, with the details of their demise. Instead, we should concern ourselves emperor, with the defence of the city of Ravenna and Rome.

HONORIUS.

Dost thou really believe that Alaric is bold enough to march on to Rome and then Ravenna, with his group of barbarians that he calleth warriors?

JOVIUS.

Regardless of that improbability, we must be careful, in our decisions and actions.

HONORIUS.

Thou canst concentrate on that possibility, but I shall indulge myself, within the luxury of my birthright.

JOVIUS.

We shall convince the Huns that 'tis in their better interest to fight against the Goths.

HONORIUS.

I entrust in thee Jovius to deal with Alaric, since thou knowest him well. At least to delay his march, until we know everything about his true intentions.

JOVIUS.

Then, thou art going to defend the city of Rome?

HONORIUS.

I could care less about Rome, but I did send five legions from Dalmatia, totaling six thousand men, under the command of Valens to Rome to garrison the city, but Valens failed me terribly. Now, I shall send thee and an army to negotiate with the barbarians. Truly, all I care is the elimination of the Goths. They can ransack Rome and pilfer its wretched pelf in the end, as long as we can encircle them and then annihilate them.

JOVIUS.

Let us toast to their ultimate defeat!

HONORIUS.

Shortly, we shall toast to that and much more!

JOVIUS.

Aye!

HONORIUS.

Enough of this insipid conversation and let us continue the festivity.

JOVIUS.

I agree, emperor!

HONORIUS.

The night is still young, for the great entertainment to be finished so promptly.

JOVIUS.

Shall I have more wine brought for the occasion, emperor?

HONORIUS.

Aye! I shall bring more women as well! There is nothing more wondrous than the beauty of wine accompanied by women!

JOVIUS.

Thy request is my pleasure.

HONORIUS.

Let us toast then, to victory!

SCENE V.

At the city of Ariminum located, on the Adriatic Sea.

Alaric goes to Ariminum to meet Jovius and offer his recent demands.

ALARIC.

Jovius, mine old friend and fellow soldier.

JOVIUS.

Alaric, how I regret that we meet again, under these unusual circumstances.

ALARIC.

We once fought under the same banner of the Roman Empire, but that empire hath now turned its back on me and disposed of me, like a wild dog unwanted by his loving master.

JOVIUS.

Thou knowest the reason, why I have come to speak to thee in person.

ALARIC.

Thou hast been sent by Honorius.

JOVIUS.

Indeed! The emperor hath sent me to know of the terms of thy demands. What art thou demanding, Alaric?

ALARIC.

I want yearly tribute in gold and grain, and lands in the provinces of Dalmatia, Noricum, and Venetia for my people.

JOVIUS.

I cannot at this moment guarantee thee that these things thou askest be accepted by the emperor.

ALARIC.

Then, what canst thou guarantee me?

JOVIUS.

I can offer thee the position in the Roman office of magister utriusque milit.

ALARIC.

How can I trust an emperor that hath betrayed time after time, my people, with his pretension?

JOVIUS.

I do not assume to have the answer to that question. All that I can avow is my commitment to ending this conflict, amidst our two peoples.

ALARIC.

How do I know that I shall not suffer the same deadly fate, as Stilicho, Turpilio and Vigilantius?

JOVIUS.

'Tis simple Alaric. Join us and be our rightful ally!

ALARIC.

If I don't, what shall happen?

JOVIUS.

Then, thou shalt remain our foe! Dost thou not preferest to be our ally and rule the world?

ALARIC.

The world? All that I care for is a nation for my weary people. I ask thee Jovius is that much, for thine emperor to grant us?

JOVIUS.

I suppose not, but I repeat is it not better to rule the world than to govern a nation?

ALARIC.

Not when that world is full of tyrants that rule empires based on selfish tyrannies! Go and peace and tell Honorius that we shall not cease to strive, until we have our nation.

JOVIUS.

Peace upon thee Alaric! I shall inform the emperor about thy demands, when I return. I hope the next time we meet it shall not be on the battlefield, but for the terms of a treaty.

ALARIC.

Unfortunately, if the latter be the case Jovius, then know that I shall consider thee a foe and not a friend any longer!

SCENE VI.

At the Imperial Court at Ravenna.

The emperor who is with his courtiers has received a private letter from Jovius, informing him of the demands of Alaric and he discusses the contents with his minister, Livianus.

LIVIANUS.

Judging from thine expression, thou seemest affected emperor.

HONORIUS.

When shall the Goths learn to be civil and not hostile ingrates?

LIVIANUS.

That I cannot respond to, but they shall be driven out of the Roman Empire eventually.

HONORIUS.

That I do not doubt one bit Livianus!

LIVIANUS.

If thou mayst allow mine interjection emperor, I would not ponder much the issue of the Goths, when they shall sell their allegiance, for profit.

HONORIUS.

That is a clear asseveration of what hath been imposed upon us by them.

LIVIANUS.

I dread the horrific day that Ravenna shall be sacked like Rome.

HONORIUS.

Do not worry, unlike Rome, Ravenna is virtually impenetrable!

LIVIANUS.

I am certain of that mine emperor!

HONORIUS.

Enough talk of the filthy Goths! Bring me several women to entertain me at this moment, along with goblets of wine!

LIVIANUS.

Aye, mine emperor!

When Livianus returns, with the women and wine, he is told to write a letter to Alaric.

HONORIUS.

Livianus, before thou leavest, I need for thee to write a letter addressed to the Visigoth King Alaric.

LIVIANUS.

What dost thou want me to write in this letter?

HONORIUS.

I shall dictate the words and thou shalt write them, with no omission of any word.

Once the letter is finished, Honorius orders Livianus to have a messenger take the letter to Jovius, who is outside of Ariminum waiting, for the emperor's response to his letter.

LIVIANUS.

I shall have the messenger sent promptly, so that the letter can reach the praetorian prefect in Ariminum therewith.

HONORIUS.

The Goths shall have their answer, and it shall not be satisfactory to them.

LIVIANUS.

Shalt thou be requiring anything else, emperor?

HONORIUS.

Not for the nonce! Thou art excused!

LIVIANUS.

I shall be in my quarters.

HONORIUS.

And I shall be feasting, until the night.

ACT 3.

SCENE I.

In the camp of the Goths, nearby Ariminum.

Jovius has returned to the camp of Alaric, where he reads the letter sent by Honorius. Alaric receives him believing that Jovius has come to resume the negotiations. He shall not be content, with the response of the emperor.

ALARIC.

Am I to thuswise understand that this is the final reply, by thine emperor?

JOVIUS.

Hark, I cannot acknowledge that this letter by the emperor is final. Thou art a statesman Alaric and thou knowest that nothing is a finality. If thou art willing to accept the terms of the emperor, then we could make a new and lasting treaty, between our two peoples.

ALARIC.

He is willing to agree to the annual payment, yet he refuseth to allow me to be the commander of the Roman Army or to give us meaningful land. Listen closely to what I am going to tell thee, I am the king of the Visigoths, not a mere warrior or statesman. Doth thine emperor think that I am an ignorant fool that can be beguiled so easily?

JOVIUS.

What I think doth not matter Alaric, but what doth, is thy people. Dost thou want to expose thy people to a bloody war that shall cause them ultimate desolation and thee defeat? The outcome shall not be propitious to thy cause.

ALARIC.

Thine emperor knoweth nothing, about the immediate concerns or plight of my people. I know him well to say that his bravery is mere diversion.

JOVIUS.

Shalt thou be foolish enough to lead them to absolute depravity and ruination?

ALARIC.

'Tis better to suffer those things aforesaid expressed than to suffer lingering humiliation.

JOVIUS.

Then, thou must prepare thyself, for the suffering of thy people, with thine actions.

ALARIC.

Tell the people of Rome that they shall suffer more, because of the haughtiness of their emperor.

JOVIUS.

What shalt thou accomplish, with the futile sacking of Rome?

ALARIC.

Honorius once consented to the payment of the ransom, after the first siege and I shall make him yield to my demands anew!

JOVIUS.

Thou art risking the vengeance of the emperor, with this act of insolence on your part.

ALARIC.

Is that a threat from thee or from thine emperor?

JOVIUS.

Alaric, thou wert once the magister militum of Illyricum, a statesman.

ALARIC.

That is absolutely true! But that hath changed, since those days. I am now the king of the Visigoths!

JOVIUS.

King or not, thou hast fought for the Roman Empire and for Rome, and now thou hast betrayed them, as a traitor.

ALARIC.

I fought valiantly for the Roman Empire, when I was an impetuous and naive mercenary, but now I am a king, and mine allegiance is to my people, and not to Rome or the Roman Empire.

JOVIUS.

So quickly thou changest thine allegiance, and so blindly thou shalt guide thy people into madness that is thy rage. Where is thy kingdom Alaric, the mighty king of the Visigoths?

ALARIC.

Soon, I shall call Italy, my kingdom. We are no longer thy subjects! This time, I shall march into Rome, under a triumphal arch and not Honorius.

JOVIUS.

If so, then it shall be seen, as an obvious act of war!

ALARIC.

Unlike at Pollentia and Verona, Stilicho shall not save the Romans or the emperor on this occasion.

JOVIUS.

Until we meet again, mine old friend and foreseeable enemy.

SCENE II.

At the city of Ariminum.

Alaric has been told that Honorius is attempting to recruit 10, 000 Huns to fight the Goths.

VIDERIC.

The Huns shall be ruthless against our people and slaughter them with rancour, my king.

ALARIC.

I do not fear the Huns, since they are mercenaries that fight for whomever hath paid them in gold.

VIDERIC.

What shall we do next?

ALARIC.

We shall put pressure, on the emperor, so that he shall comply.

VIDERIC.

If he doth not, then what?

ALARIC.

Be patient Videric, the Roman emperor is not an inficete fool. As with his father and brother, he too hath a price.

VIDERIC.

We cannot afford to dismiss the possibility of the presence and involvement of the Huns.

ALARIC.

I have not dismissed their inclusion in the Roman's defence, but I have made the calculation that we must outsmart the Romans.

VIDERIC.

How dost thou expect to achieve that task?

ALARIC.

I shall gather a group of Roman bishops and send them to Honorius, with my new terms. I shall no longer demand a Roman office or tribute in gold. Instead, I shall only request lands in Noricum for the moment.

VIDERIC.

Shall the Roman emperor acquiesce to these new demands imposed upon him?

ALARIC.

He shall have no choice, when he realiseth that we can lay siege to Ravenna.

VIDERIC.

I do not trust this emperor. He is deceitful in his actions and decisions.

ALARIC.

I think I now understand, who I am dealing with in these negotiations.

VIDERIC.

How long shall we be forced to wait, for the Roman emperor to agree to our recent demands, my king?

ALARIC.

I do not know precisely, but I hope that he doth not tarry much in his decision.

VIDERIC.

If the Huns are sought by the Roman emperor, we shall require more warriors to fight them.

ALARIC.

Indeed! However, we shall install fear in the Romans, before Honorius can react against us.

VIDERIC.

Thus, we shall strike Rome, before the Huns strike us!

ALARIC.

That is the original plan, and I am confident that it shall not fail in its effect and entirety.

SCENE III.

At the Imperial Court at Ravenna.

Jovius has returned to Ravenna. Honorius rejects the new demands of Alaric and declares war on Alaric and the Goths.

HONORIUS.

How dareth Alaric interpose upon me more of his demands. 'Tis a blatant act of disrespect and disloyalty. I have grown wearisome of being inferior to the Goths. I shall not be subservient to their needs or merciful to them. Upon this day, I shall issue the proclamation of war against the Goths.

JOVIUS.

Thou art aware of what this sudden proclamation shall signify to the Goths, emperor?

HONORIUS.

Indeed! Alaric hath been a burthen to the Roman Empire. He durst to defy my father and my brother, but he shall not intimidate me any longer!

JOVIUS.

I know him well, and he cannot be easily manipulated. Instead, he can be persuaded. We must take calculative measures in our definite actions.

HONORIUS.

Rest assure, I shall deal with him accordingly. This declaration shall either antagonise him or make him surrender to me. I want him to kneel before me in total submission of mine authority.

JOVIUS.

I pledge at thy subject emperor that I shall defeat Alaric, if he attempteth to destroy the empire.

HONORIUS.

I entrust thee, the army of Roman Legions. I warn thee Jovius, do not fail me, like Olympius did.

JOVIUS.

I swear that I shall not fail thee emperor!

HONORIUS.

I cannot afford to dismiss the presence of the Senate, but the diminution of their influence I could benefit, if Rome is sacked by the Goths.

JOVIUS.

Then, thou art prepared to permit the Goths to pillage Rome?

HONORIUS.

If I must grant Alaric the spoils of war, then let it be Rome and not Ravenna.

JOVIUS.

And the army of the Huns?

HONORIUS.

The Huns shall tear to pieces the Goths and slaughter them.

JOVIUS.

If we cannot dissuade Alaric with the Huns, then we could expose them on the fields and destroy them.

HONORIUS.

Do whatever thou must do to defeat the Goths!

JOVIUS.

Aye emperor!

HONORIUS.

I am tired of this conversation. Thou art excused, Jovius.

Jovius bows in reverence and departs the court.

JOVIUS.

I shall keep thee informed, emperor.

HONORIUS.

I shall be awaiting thy tidings.

JOVIUS.

Long live the emperor!

SCENE IV.

Alaric sends a solemn embassy of the bishops of Rome, moderating his terms, but his dire warning is unheeded, he then seizes the port of Ostia in haste.

VIDERIC.

Ostia hath fallen, my king!

ALARIC.

Rome shall be the following city to fall, under our control.

VIDERIC.

Shall I tell the men to march on to Rome?

ALARIC.

Nay! We shall rest and resume the march to Rome on the morrow.

VIDERIC.

I shall inform the men, and they shall be ready for the march to Rome!

ALARIC.

Let us rest and enjoy the spoils of Ostia upon this day.

VIDERIC.

The Romans underestimated our strength, my king.

ALARIC.

And our tenacity and will.

VIDERIC.

Hast thou thought about, what we shall encounter once at the city of Rome?

ALARIC.

If 'tis as the previous time, then mine expectations are of weak resistance of the Romans.

VIDERIC.

And the Huns?

ALARIC.

We shall see if they materialised, as Honorius hath threatened.

VIDERIC.

The Huns are not to be dismissed casually. They are formidable opponents.

ALARIC.

On the contrary, I do not underestimate their capacity.

VIDERIC.

If we must go to Ravenna, then the men shall follow thee valiantly.

ALARIC.

Patience Videric. First, there is Rome to pillage, then we shall conquer Ravenna, if necessary!

VIDERIC.

And the rest of Roman Empire!

ALARIC.

I do not care much for the Roman Empire, when I care only about our kingdom.

VIDERIC.

Long live that kingdom!

ALARIC.

May we live to see the promising fruition of its dominion!

SCENE V.

At the gates of Rome Attalus is invested, the prefect of the city, with imperial purple. It is the first time in almost 800 years that Rome has fallen ingloriously, since it fell to the Gauls, under their leader Brennus in 390 B.C.

Alaric makes the Senate proclaim Attalus, as the new temporary emperor. Faced with the return of starvation and disease, the members of the Senate meets with Alaric.

ALARIC.

The legendary city of Rome hath fallen and it hath upon this day, a new emperor, the emperor Attalus.

SENATOR.

I am Caelius, the highest ranking member of the Senate and I speak on behalf of its governing body.

ALARIC.

I demand that I can appoint one of mine own, as Emperor to rival Honorius, and he shall instigate the election of the elderly Priscus Attalus to that end, a pagan who shall permit himself to be baptised.

CAELIUS.

Is that all thou demandest from us?

ALARIC.

I shall be made magister utriusque militiae and my brother-in-law Ataulf shall be given, the position comes domesticorum equitum in the new, rival government. Once this is accomplished, the siege shall be lifted thereafter.

CAELIUS.

If the members of the Senate grant thee these requests, how do I know that thou art telling me the truth?

ALARIC.

Hitherto I promise thee nothing, instead, I offer the people of Rome life. That is more than what thine emperor hath promised my people, in all these years.

CAELIUS.

And how do we know thou shalt not invade Rome again?

ALARIC.

Thou shall not know, but I suggest that the people of Rome leave the city in case.

CAELIUS.

Wherefore?

ALARIC.

Because, I shall not be that lenient or my men for that matter the next time.

CAELIUS.

Am I to fully understand those words, as a serious threat?

ALARIC.

Thou cannst interpret them, as thou pleasest. 'Tis not I, who is at a clear disadvantage Senator.

CAELIUS.

Honorius shall not accept the usurper thou hast placed on the throne.

ALARIC.

I do not think he is presently in any position to do anything.

CAELIUS.

Thou shalt only enrage him even more.

ALARIC.

We shall see, whether or not Honorius is brave enough to meet me on the battlefield.

CAELIUS.

I do not know, who is more brazen Honorius or thee Alaric.

ALARIC.

I wonder if thou had to choose me over the tyrant in Ravenna, then who wouldst thou choose Senator?

CAELIUS.

Verily I suppose, if I had to select, I would choose the lesser evil, without a doubt.

ACT 4.

SCENE I.

At the court of Heraclian, the governor of the province of Africa.

Heraclian has received tidings of the siege of Rome and the precarious status of the emperor. He discusses the issue, with his minister Vergilius.

HERACLIAN.

'Twould seem that the tidings in Rome are not good.

VERGILIUS.

The barbarians are not to be trusted, my lord.

HERACLIAN.

Honorius must deal with the Goths, who are a race that is of a twofold nature.

VERGILIUS.

What dost thou mean by that argument?

HERACLIAN.

What I mean is that the Goths are one day thine allies and the other day thy foes. As with barbarians, their allegiance is questionable.

VERGILIUS.

How doth one deal, with such uncivil men of impropriety?

HERACLIAN.

I have heard talk about this Alaric, the king of the Visigoths.

VERGILIUS.

Can this one man be trusted in the end?

HERACLIAN.

From what I know of him, he had served the Roman Empire valiantly.

VERGILIUS.

Wherefore hath he betrayed his allegiance to the emperor?

HERACLIAN.

That is definitely an interesting question. However, I don't have the answer.

VERGILIUS.

What dost thou plan on doing, anent the current situation?

HERACLIAN.

I shall send a messenger to the emperor in Ravenna to offer my loyalty and assistance to him and the Roman Empire.

VERGILIUS.

The emperor cannot be intimidated, by these savage barbarians.

HERACLIAN.

If the emperor requesteth mine assistance afterwards, I shall send a pair of legions of my bravest soldiers.

VERGILIUS.

What if Alaric is bold enough to march, on to Ravenna or even Africa?

HERACLIAN.

If he is foolish, then we shall greet him on the battlefield, as soldiers of war.

VERGILIUS.

The Goths shall not dare to enter our lands imprudently.

HERACLIAN.

We shall see, what the intrepid Goths are capable of doing, with their unpredictable actions.

SCENE II.

Near a city in Northern Italy, not that far from the city of Ravenna.

Attalus and Alaric march to Ravenna, forcing some cities in northern Italy to submit to the authority of the usurper Attalus.

ALARIC.

Honorius is trembling in total apprehension, with the mere thought of our presence nigh.

ATTALUS.

I imagine that his manhood has abandoned him, as he realiseth the reality that is confronting him.

ALARIC.

And Heraclian?

ATTALUS.

Do not worry, I have sent a Roman force to subdue his possible involvement in the conflict.

ALARIC.

We must be certain of whom are our allies from enemies.

ATTALUS.

Now, is the hour to march on to Ravenna and murder Honorius!

ALARIC.

Perhaps, 'twould be better to let him live and not die.

ATTALUS.

I must strongly disagree Alaric. Honorius is better off dead than alive.

ALARIC.

I am patient enough to see him plead, for his life.

ATTALUS.

He is desperate, and we must bring Honorius, before us on his knees. He shall request urgent assistance, from the Eastern Emperor Theodosius II.

ALARIC.

Theodosius II is in no condition to risk another invasion of mine of his fragile empire.

ATTALUS.

With all due respect, we cannot dismiss his power and legions of Roman soldiers at his command.

ALARIC.

I shall address the issue of the involvement of outsiders, regardless of their allegiance. For now, we shall rest and continue the march to Ravenna tomorrow.

ATTALUS.

I hope that the men are strong enough to reach Ravenna.

ALARIC.

Do not be concerned, with the vigour of my men, because they are men of valour.

ATTALUS.

Let us hope that their vigour and valour are accompanied by victory.

ALARIC.

Shall we make a wager, on whose men is braver on the battlefield, thine or mine?

ATTALUS.

I believe that I shall accept that honest wager!

ALARIC.

Then, shalt thou wager thy noble title, as emperor?

ATTALUS.

And what shall thou wagerest?

ALARIC.

My kingdom!

ATTALUS.

Perhaps, 'twould be better to concentrate on Honorius than on unnecessary bets.

SCENE III.

At the court of the Imperial Palace in Ravenna.

Honorius has been informed, by Jovius of the sack of Rome, and that the armies of Alaric and Attalus are near Ravenna. At first, he is somewhat impervious to the danger and too incredulous, as he carouses in his debauchery uninhibitedly.

HONORIUS.

What art thou saying Jovius?

JOVIUS.

Rome was sacked by Alaric and his warriors. However, that is not the worse. He hath invested a new emperor in thy place, by the name of Priscus Attalus, who is accompanying Alaric.

HONORIUS.

Art thou jesting? Because if so, 'tis of poor taste on thy part! I am the sole emperor of the Western Empire. I shall not permit the intrusion of this usurper.

JOVIUS.

Emperor, I wish that I was, but I am afraid that I am not!

The semblance of Honorius changes in his expression, from incredulity to absolute trepidation manifested.

HONORIUS.

What shall I do?

JOVIUS.

Calm thyself emperor!

HONORIUS.

How can I, when the barbarians are outside of Ravenna?

JOVIUS.

We shall defend thee, until we have driven away the invaders!

HONORIUS.

I cannot depend on that, since their men outnumber us. I must flee to the province of Africa or to Constantinople, until Alaric and the usurper have been eliminated.

JOVIUS.

Thou canst send me to speak to Attalus. I can attempt to reason with him.

HONORIUS

Dost thou think that he shall listen to thee?

JOVIUS.

I shall attempt to make him realise that 'tis better to ally himself, with thee than with the Goths.

HONORIUS.

Do whatever thou canst to convince him. Delay his advance, if thou must! Do something!

JOVIUS.

Aye emperor!

HONORIUS.

Offer the usurper if necessary, a share of the Western Empire. I must be left alone to cogitate mine options at this moment.

JOVIUS.

I shall leave forthwith to speak to Attalus in person.

HONORIUS.

Go! Go now to him and do not come back, until thou hast succeeded. If thou failest, then do not return, because I shall dismiss thee from thy position in my court!

JOVIUS.

I shall not fail thee emperor!

SCENE IV.

At the camp of Alaric and Attalus, outside of Ravenna.

Jovius reaches their camp and attempts to negotiate with Alaric and Attalus.

ALARIC.

Jovius, thou said that the next time we saw each other 'twould be as possible enemies. Hast thou come to fight and be killed?

JOVIUS.

That all dependeth on what thou decidest to do. But know that I came to speak to Attalus in privacy.

ALARIC.

Honorius hast sent thee? I see he feareth me enough to not want to address me, in these negotiations. Whatever he wishest to negotiate shall include me.

JOVIUS.

As a minister of the emperor, I only do what I am ordered.

ATTALUS.

Alaric! Let me speak to Jovius. Let us hear what he hath to say! Trust me, I shall not betray thee!

ALARIC.

I shall allow this private conversation to occur, but only for a brevity.

ATTALUS.

That shall suffice with me!

JOVIUS.

Good! I know we can settle our differences, as statesmen and not uncivil men.

Jovius speaks to Attalus, about sharing power of the Western Empire, with Honorius.

JOVIUS.

Together, the emperor and thee shall rule these lands, if thou acceptest.

ATTALUS.

How do I know I can trust Honorius?

JOVIUS.

Thou shalt have to make that decision.

ATTALUS.

Wouldth it not be more advantageous to thee, if thou served under mine authority and command? Naturally, I would reward thee and thou wouldst still retain thine advisory position, in the court as a noble patrician.

JOVIUS.

How could I betray mine emperor so cowardly?

ATTALUS.

Honorius shall shortly be dethroned and thou art already a dead man.

JOVIUS.

What art thou implying?

ATTALUS.

Thine honourable emperor hath ordered thine execution!

JOVIUS.

Execution! A lie! I do not believe thee!

ATTALUS.

Wouldst thou believe more, the word of a Roman eunuch?

JOVIUS.

A eunuch? Who is this man?

ATTALUS.

I believe thou knowest him. He serveth thine emperor.

The eunuch appears before Jovius, who is surprised.

JOVIUS.

Pomponius, what dost thou have to do with this situation?

ATTALUS.

I believe everything! Speak eunuch!

POMPONIUS.

Jovius, I heard the emperor Honorius order a centurion, by the name of Florentinus to murder thee, upon thy return.

JOVIUS.

How dost thou expect me to believe thee?

POMPONIUS.

Because I have in mine hand, the letter of that order.

The eunuch shows Jovius the order and seal of the emperor Honorius. He is enraged and feels betrayed. He suddenly offers his service to Attalus and his cause.

JOVIUS.

That ignoramus! I have served him obediently, and he planned on murdering me! We should mutilate him in ignominy.

ATTALUS.

Nay! Not yet! Honorius shall serve us, with the Eastern Empire.

JOVIUS.

I still think, he is better off dead, but thou art the emperor now!

SCENE V.

At the camp of Alaric and Attalus.

Alaric has been informed that Heraclian has send legions of Roman soldiers to confront them. Attalus shall go to Africa to confront the army of Heraclian.

ALARIC.

Beware of the burning deserts of Africa. The men of Heraclian are accustomed to that dry region of land.

ATTALUS.

I do not fear the men of Heraclian or the inhospitable landscape of Africa.

ALARIC.

Then, may thy journey bring victory to thee and thy men!

ATTALUS.

I shall defeat Heraclian on the battlefield, if we ultimately meet thither, and I shall be victorious!

ALARIC.

I shall be waiting for thy return Attalus and expecting the head of Heraclian, as thy reward.

ATTALUS.

I shall bring his head and sword back, as a triumphant trophy.

ALARIC.

Honorius, shall be even more horrified, with the prospect of his head being the next detached.

ATTALUS.

The time for change hath begun.

ALARIC.

Aye! Rome was once impenetrable, but 'twas penetrated.

ATTALUS.

But Ravenna shall not be conquered that easily, due to its dreadful swamps and harsh climate.

ALARIC.

Nevertheless, it shall fall also, as Rome fell before!

ATTALUS.

We must take extreme precaution to not underestimate the forces from outside that could destroy our delicate plans.

ALARIC.

We shall deal with them, when the time hath come.

ATTALUS.

And the Huns, why did they not participate?

ALARIC.

I suppose they were not interested, in what Honorius had offered them in return for their service.

ATTALUS.

Thus, what are we to believe in what Honorius is scheming?

ALARIC.

Although Honorius is a young coward, he possesseth wit and influence.

ATTALUS.

But for how long shall it serveth his purpose?

ALARIC.

Until he no longer hath control of his empire or he is dead.

ATTALUS.

I go now Alaric. May we see each other anon!

ALARIC.

May victory be thine!

ATTALUS.

And may Ravenna be thine!

SCENE VI.

At the Imperial Palace in Ravenna.

4, 000 Eastern Roman soldiers led by their general Valerius appear, at the docks of Ravenna to defend the city, from the hostile invasion. Honorius greets them in his court with relief.

HONORIUS.

Valerius, I am in debt to the emperor Theodosius I, for sending his finest men to defend the heart of the Western Empire.

VALERIUS.

The emperor was apprised of thy situation with the Goths, and immediately sent us to assist thee in Ravenna.

HONORIUS.

Once more, welcome to my city of Ravenna!

VALERIUS.

We are honoured to be hither. What dost thou want us to do for thee?

HONORIUS.

For now, I need thy men to defend the city.

VALERIUS.

Shalt thou be staying in Ravenna or dost thou wish to depart the city, until we have defeated the Goths.

HONORIUS.

There is a usurper by the name of Attalus that I must deal with as well. I was told by an informant that the usurper had headed towards the province of Africa.

VALERIUS.

Dost thou seek to murder this individual?

HONORIUS.

If necessary, but for the moment I need for thee to defeat Alaric, if he is audacious enough to attack the city. Then, thou shalt hunt him down, like a wild dog!

VALERIUS.

I do not know, if 'tis wise to chase him emperor, since we could lose many men in the pursuit.

HONORIUS.

I shall heed thy words of reason, for now. However, I shall not tolerate the usurper and Alaric for long.

VALERIUS.

We shall wait to see what action do the Goths undertake.

HONORIUS.

We must impose our numbers in strength, against the Goths with sheer intimidation.

VALERIUS.

We shall reduce their furore and bravura amain.

HONORIUS.

Excellent! Do what must be done anon!

VALERIUS.

Aye emperor!

HONORIUS.

I shall retire to my chamber, until I have received tidings of the Goths.

VALERIUS.

I shall leave thee and prepare for the Goths!

HONORIUS.

I shall expect to hear the defeat of the barbarians.

VALERIUS.

Let the lesson be taught to the Goths that we are Romans!

HONORIUS.

The empire was once feared by all barbarians, but these men have lost this embedded fear. They fear us no longer Valerius!

VALERIUS.

We shall make them fear us again, emperor!

ACT 5.

SCENE I.

At the camp of Alaric, outside of Ravenna.

Alaric has received terrible tidings that Heraclian has defeated Attalus' force soundly.

VIDERIC.

My king, there is urgent news of the defeat of Attalus and his men, by the forces of Heraclian.

ALARIC.

How did this betide?

VIDERIC.

I do not know!

JOVIUS.

Certainly, Heraclian was accompanied by manifold men. He must have been told of Attalus' advance to Africa, by that despicable Honorius.

ALARIC.

Until we know of the actual fate of Attalus, we must wait!

JOVIUS.

Even if he survived, the forces of Heraclian shall advance on to Ravenna. Along with the Roman soldiers sent from Constantinople, they present a formidable opponent. 'Twould be suicide to attempt to attack Ravenna.

ALARIC.

I have made the same conclusion. Yet, there must be another alternative to leave Honorius powerless.

JOVIUS.

I must differ to than analogy Alaric.

ALARIC.

When dost thou mean?

JOVIUS.

If we leave Honorius powerless, then another tyrant shall come and take his place. And could be worse than Honorius.

ALARIC.

That remaineth to be seen!

VIDERIC.

What shall be our next action, my king?

ALARIC.

I must know of the status of Attalus, before I make a prudent determination.

VIDERIC.

Shalt thou sent a messenger to him in Africa?

ALARIC.

I had thought of waiting, but perchance 'twould be better to send Gothic warriors to invade Africa and secure the province.

JOVIUS.

The question I have is it wise to risk our advantage?

ALARIC.

What are thou trying to convey?

JOVIUS.

A protracted war with others outside of the Western Empire wouldth be our certain defeat.

ALARIC.

Then, we shall wait to know about the status of Attalus and be prepared for war, against Honorius.

JOVIUS.

We cannot forget his new powerful allies also.

SCENE II.

At the city of Ariminum.

Alaric abandons his raid on Ravenna and returns to Ariminum. He learns from one of the survivors of Attalus' army that Attalus rejected any assistance from the Goths and has betrayed the authority of Alaric. Alaric suspects that Attalus is conspiring against him. Attalus is alive and has returned.

Counseled by Jovius to do away with his usurper emperor, Alaric summons Attalus to Ariminum and ceremonially strips him of his imperial regalia and title. Attalus is allowed to flee. Alaric then decides to reopen his negotiations with Honorius.

ALARIC.

Verily, how can I entrust my fate and the fate of my people to any man that selleth himself to the higher bidder?

JOVIUS.

Attalus was never to be trusted in the first place, since his allegiance was to his reign and not his allies.

ALARIC.

How do I know thou shalt not betray me Jovius, since thine allegiance was to Attalus? Dost thou serve me or the Roman Empire?

JOVIUS.

Behold Alaric! I am here! Is not my presence sufficient evidence of my loyalty towards thee?

ALARIC.

I swear that if thou betrayest me, I shall personally take thy life.

JOVIUS.

I have told thee that I serve thee! Besides, Honorius would certainly kill me, if I returned to Ravenna.

ALARIC.

Good! Then, let us concentrate on the matter of the negotiations.

JOVIUS.

We should send a messenger to Ravenna to speak to Honorius, about these negotiations.

ALARIC.

I agree!

JOVIUS.

I shall send the messenger at once to Ravenna.

ALARIC.

Aye! Honorius must know our determination.

JOVIUS.

We must not display any weakness to Honorius.

ALARIC.

Never! I guarantee thee one thing, my people shall have their kingdom, one way or the other.

JOVIUS.

Honorius shall not concede so easily to that demand.

ALARIC.

Then, I shall make him concede to that demand forcefully!

JOVIUS.

Let us hope that we do not have to attack Ravenna blindly.

ALARIC.

I know Honorius enough to know how to tame his ego and heighten his fright.

JOVIUS.

How, if I may enquire?

ALARIC.

Soon, thou shalt know, in the form of mine actions.

JOVIUS.

Do not be rash Alaric! We cannot afford any mistakes to doom our cause.

ALARIC.

I shall not rest, until Honorius yields to my demands. However, I am not foolish in my deliberations.

SCENE III.

At the court of the Imperial Palace in Ravenna.

Honorius has received the messenger of Alaric and deceives him, by telling him that he shall meet him near Ravenna for the negotiations, when he is deliberately planning on killing Alaric. He then converses with his minister Livianus.

HONORIUS.

Alaric hath durst to defy me continually. Doth he think to outwit me so brazenly?

LIVIANUS.

Emperor, Alaric's desperation shall lead to his eventual downfall.

HONORIUS.

He hath been an unwanted thorn in my side, for several years. But that shall end soon!

LIVIANUS.

What art thou scheming, mine emperor?

HONORIUS.

I have sent a small force of Roman soldiers to accompany, the men of Sarus. Together, they shall ambush and kill Alaric. I would prefer to have him brought to me, so that he couldth bow before me, before he is executed, but if not, then his murder wouldth sufficeth.

LIVIANUS.

Canst thou place thy confidence in a barbarian, truly?

HONORIUS.

Nay, but he shall serve my purpose of eliminating Alaric. His hatred, for him is enough to compel him to murder Alaric.

LIVIANUS.

What shall happen afterwards, with Sarus, if he is declared the new king of the Visigoths?

HONORIUS.

I shall deal with him in accordance to the treaty agreed.

LIVIANUS.

Shalt thou murder him too?

HONORIUS.

We shall see, if he is able to kill Alaric. He must prove first that he is worthy of that title of nobility.

LIVIANUS.

If he faileth emperor or perisheth on the battlefield?

HONORIUS.

Then, I have eliminated a potential enemy to burthen me unnecessarily.

LIVIANUS.

Alaric shall seek revenge upon thee afterwards, if he surviveth and defeateth Sarus.

HONORIUS.

I am totally cognisant of that possibility. Nevertheless, I am extremely weary of his presence, each and every day he liveth.

LIVIANUS.

We must be prepared, for that ominous possibility if it occurreth.

HONORIUS.

I shall take the necessary measures to defend Ravenna.

LIVIANUS.

Thou art a clever, young emperor that hath learnt quickly, the affairs of the empire. I admire thy resolution.

HONORIUS.

That I must credit, my beloved father and Stilicho, who although betrayed me had assumed my tutelage, with such effectiveness.

SCENE IV.

Outside the city of Ravenna.

Honorius has arranged for a meeting with Alaric, about twelve kilometres from the city. As Alaric waits at the meeting place, Sarus, who is a sworn enemy of Ataulf and then allied to Honorius, attacks Alaric and his men, with a small Roman force accompanying him.

Alaric survives the attack and, outraged at this treachery and tired of the past failures and humiliations of Honorius abates negotiating with him, and ponders returning to Rome to sack it anew.

ALARIC.

I cannot trust that conniving Honorius, any longer!

VIDERIC.

Sarus, hath sworn allegiance to him, my king!

ALARIC.

I shall deal with Sarus, once I have dealt with Honorius.

VIDERIC.

What shall be our next course of action to be taken?

ALARIC.

If Honorius ignoreth our demands, then we march on to Rome once more to lay siege to it.

VIDERIC.

What shall we achieve, by taking Rome again?

ALARIC.

This time, we shall leave behind for the empire to witness, an indelible image of our presence, and deprive the emperor of his remaining treasures.

VIDERIC.

Shall we succeed, when we have not convinced him entirely?

ALARIC.

Heed my words, when I tell thee that he shall give us our land, or we shall march then to Ravenna and burn down the city into rubble.

VIDERIC.

And what if there is an ominous trap waiting for us there?

ALARIC.

Art thou referring to another unannounced ambuscade?

VIDERIC.

Indeed, my king! There wouldth be nothing more disastrous to our plight than for us to be annihilated, by the forces of Honorius.

ALARIC.

Perhaps, but I am counting on Honorius to not care about Rome and on a token resistance.

VIDERIC.

What if thou art wrong and he hath sent a large force of Romans and allies to defend Rome?

ALARIC.

I do not believe that shall transpire?

VIDERIC.

But if it doth? Then, we shall be walking into another deadly ambush I fear.

ALARIC.

I shall sent from our valiant warriors, a few men to survey the city of Rome.

VIDERIC.

This is a wise decision, since we are not certain of what to expect from the Romans any longer.

ALARIC.

Let us make the preparations for the march to Rome.

VIDERIC.

I shall inform the men of thy decision, my king!

SCENE V.

At the city of Rome.

Alaric's men have returned and inform him that the city is practically defenceless.

On August 24, 410, the Visigoths enter Rome through its Salarian Gate, according to some opened by treachery, according to others by want of food and shall pillage the city for three days. They shall ransack many of the city's great buildings, including the mausoleums of Augustus and Hadrian, in which many Roman Emperors of the past were buried; the ashes of the urns in both tombs shall be scattered. Any and all movable goods shall be stolen all over the city, as absolute panic and consternation stirs the populace of the city. The Gardens of Sallust are burnt and never rebuilt. The Basilica Aemilia and the Basilica Julia are also burnt to rubble. The city's citizens are devastated. Countless Romans shall be taken captive, including the Emperor's sister, Galla Placidia. Some citizens shall be ransomed, others shall be sold into slavery, raped or killed. Horrified members of the Senate shelter themselves along with other noticeable patricians in the basilica of the apostle Peter, from the wrath of the Visigoths. The Visigoths locate them and open the closed doors of the basilica with brutal force. Caelius a senior member of the Senate addresses Alaric, who enters last into the basilica.

CAELIUS.

How dare ye enter the sacred house of Peter! Do ye not respect the dead, from amongst the living?

ALARIC.

Respect?

Alaric looks back to his men and says to them in a sarcastic tone.

I see the good Romans have forgotten to apply the meaning of that word to us the bilewit Goths!

HILARIUS.

What dost thou want Alaric? Take whatever thou pleasest, but spare the lives of our men, women and children.

Once more Alaric looks back and addresses his men.

ALARIC.

Behold the bravery of the highborn Romans! They plead like cowards, like Rufinus, Arcadius and Honorius!

CAELIUS.

Hast thou not pleased thy whims yet Alaric? We that are present are not thine enemy. Go and seek thy true foe in Ravenna. We do not speak or represent Rome any longer. 'Tis Honorius thou must address thy grievances and indifferences.

HILARIUS.

Art thou not the king of the Visigoths?

ALARIC.

Aye! I am the king of the mighty Visigoths!

HILARIUS.

Then, wherefore dost thou terrorisest us and the city of Rome, when our voices have been silenced by Honorius abruptly?

ALARIC.

Because Rome is the symbol of the Roman Empire!

CAELIUS.

That was centuries ago, when our forefathers built this great city of the empire.

ALARIC.

I shall burn it down then, to shame them, as they have shamed my people in bondage!

Galla Plaicidia the sister of the Emperor Honorius speaks.

Galla Placidia.

Are ye truly barbarians that ye must impose upon us thy selfish manhood?

ALARIC.

Galla Placidia. We meet again! How ironic is it that thou callest us barbarians, when 'tis thee that gave thy consent to the Roman Senate present to execute Serena, the former wife of the proscribed Stilicho and a cousin of the Emperor Honorius. Hast thou forgotten that Serena was then strangled to death? Thou art no different than the corrupted members of the Senate. Thou shalt be my slave!

GALLA PLACIDIA.

I am not thy property, I am the sister of the emperor! How darest thou treat me like a common slave!

Pelagius, a Roman monk from Britain steps forward to address Alaric and his warriors.

PELAGIUS.

This dismal calamity is over, and thou art a witness to how Rome, that once commanded the world was astonished at the alarm of the Gothic trumpet, when ye stormed her walls, and made thy way through the breach. Look at us now! Where are then the privileges of birth and the distinctions of quality? Were not all ranks and degrees heretofore levelled at that time and promiscuously huddled together? Every house is a scene of misery and equally filled with grief and confusion. Thus, the slave and the man of quality are in the same circumstances, and everywhere the terror of death and slaughter is the same, unless we may say the fright made the greatest impression on those who had the greatest interest in living. We are the living! Now, I make no presumption on thy part, instead, I beseech upon thy civility to respect the provenance of this sacred house of worship. Leave Rome and stop this madness forthwith!

The powerful speech and plea convince the Visigoth King.

ALARIC.

As for the members of the Senate and the rest, ye shall be spared, because my revenge is not upon ye, but upon Honorius.

CAELIUS.

I suppose we are to be thankful, but I know and thou knowest that thine hatred for us the Romans is embedded in thee, since thou wert a child Alaric.

ALARIC.

Indeed, ye are fortunate that mine heart is merciful and I am not truly wroth this day. If not, I would have allowed my men to destroy the famous Rome of the Roman Empire for good.

PELAGIUS.

Avaunt then, and do not return, for the sake of thy souls and the ire of God!

ALARIC.

The ire of God thou hast uttered monk? The next time we come to Rome, it shall be to not pillage it, but to destroy it.

HILARIUS.

Forgive the hasty words of the monk. He is a visitor from Britain, but is not familiar with thy ways.

ALARIC.

Naturally! But this man that standeth, in front of my warriors and me hath more valour than any of ye the members of the Senate.

CAELIUS.

We the members of the Senate are mere statesmen, as this man is a mere monk.

ALARIC.

We leave now, but we leave the remnants of Rome, as a vestige of our power and as a direct message to thine emperor Honorius.

SCENE VI.

At the court of the Imperial Palace at Ravenna.

The Emperor Honorius in Ravenna is initially shocked, when he receives the message from one of the eunuchs, evidently that Rome had perished.

EUNUCH.

Rome has perished, mine emperor!

HONORIUS.

And yet it hath just eaten from mine hands! For he is a very large fowl, Rome by name.

EUNUCH.

Nay, emperor! 'Twas the city of Rome which had perished at the hands of the barbarian Alaric!

HONORIUS.

But I thought that my fowl Rome had perished!

The eunuchs and ministers demonstrate their disbelief afterwards, as they witness the callous nature of their young emperor.

EUNUCH.

I fear that the emperor hath lost touch with reality and may be going mad minister.

LIVIANUS.

I too fear the same, but that is the reason, why we must guide him. Not for his sake, but for the sake of the Roman Empire!

EUNUCH.

Can his ego be reasoned enough to be guided properly?

LIVIANUS.

We shall soon see, if that is the case. Nonetheless, I have the peculiar sensation that everything shall be as 'twas before.

EUNUCH.

What dost thou mean by that statement minister?

LIVIANUS.

I really do not know!

EUNUCH.

And what about Alaric and the Goths? They shall not go away so easily. What shall become of them in the end?

LIVIANUS.

O, I suppose that time shall tell, whether or not time rewards them favourably or they are lost in the pages of world history.

EUNUCH.

But for the Roman Empire, what doth this mean?

LIVIANUS.

As long as Alaric is alive, he shall continue to be a visible menace to the empire and to the emperor as well.

EUNUCH.

And what if he dieth or is murdered?

LIVIANUS.

Then, the powerful Goths shall no longer be a menace!

EUNUCH.

Let us hope that for the sake of Ravenna that he never cometh!

LIVIANUS.

If he doth, then we shall be waiting for him readily!

EUNUCH.

And Rome itself, what shall become of Rome?

LIVIANUS.

Rome shall either continue to exist as we know it or it shall be altered forever!

After three days of looting and pillage, Alaric quickly left Rome and headed for southern Italy to continue his campaign of pillage, as he ravaged Campania, Lucania, and Calabria. Alaric the mighty king of the Visigoths died of illness at Consentia in late 410, several months after the sacking of Rome. According to the legend established, he was properly buried with his treasure by slaves in the bed of the Busento River. The slaves were then killed to hide its secret location. The Visigoths elected Ataulf, Alaric's brother-in-law, as their new king. Consequently, the Visigoths moved northward, heading for Gaul. Ataulf married Galla Placidia in 414, but he died one year later. The Visigoths established the Visigothic Kingdom in southwestern Gaul in 418, and they would go on to help the Western Roman Empire fight Attila the Hun at the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields in 451.

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