Alaric did not take Rome by force. His army was let in by slaves as part of his cunning “Trojan Horse” strategy to get inside the city.
Born on Peuce Island at the mouth of the Danube (in present day Romania), Alaric was a child during the Goths’ mass migration across the Danube and their subsequent war with Rome. After Fritigern’s death years later, Alaric emerged as leader and later King of the Visigoths from 395 to 410 A.D..
He had a charismatic personality, which attracted many oppressed slaves and barbarians within the Roman Empire to join his cause. He had a love/hate relationship with Rome, but he hoped that collaboration would secure a homeland for the long- displaced Goths.
Alaric sought to have his Goth warriors officially made part of the Roman army, so they would be entitled to rights like food and lands within the empire. But repeated mistreatment and betrayals by the Empire ultimately pushed Alaric to turn against the emperor. From 396 A.D. onwards, he raided both eastern and western empires, especially Illyricum and Thrace.