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The Sack of Rome in 410 by the Gothic General Alaric was the result of years of failed imperial negotiations. It dealt a significant psychological blow to the city, but the physical damage was limited. By focusing on the actions of Rome’s civic officeholders, I demonstrate how senatorial aristocrats engaged in competitive reconstruction efforts as they also developed new ties to the imperial court and the military. In contrast, the popes of Rome had limited resources and so left wide-scale rebuilding efforts to the emperor and senatorial officeholders. Only with the return to Rome of the emperor Valentinian III (425–55) do we see a rise in the civic profile of Rome’s then bishop, Leo (440–61).
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