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The Sack of the Capitol (410 AD)

The nation is in shock. Tyranny, corruption, and violence stalk the halls where justice and wisdom had seemed to be at home. The highest virtues are cast aside in a scramble for power. The memories of past leaders, flawed but decent, seem more and more appealing. We are of course talking about Rome in 410. What else? Less than a century after Christians had emerged from persecution and were enjoying the privileges of recognition and influence, the civic and political structures on which they had pinned their hopes for liberty, peace, and prosperity, were overwhelmed by alien forces when Alaric and his Visigoths sacked the city. The promise of this new project, a state and even an Empire ruled in the name of Christian values, was under threat; in fact it turned out to be fatally broken. While Rome recovered briefly from its desecration, the western Roman Empire would never really be great again. As the United States draws breath after its own brush with anarchy and an unprecedented thre

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