June 2, 2009

When in Rome

June 2, 455: The Vandals enter Rome for a 2 week stay of problem child proportions, with the burning and the stabbing and the grabbing the women and the Geiseric! Beautiful Rome, beat senseless by the brutes, is sadly sweeped clean by a dictionary maker who decides that from then onward, all senseless destruction shall be said to be the work of vandals. Thus, a new word is born of a name of a tribe of destruction and anger, and probably beards with bits of corn matted in.

The Vandal's sack was spawned by the murder of Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III by Petronius Maximus (who had subsequently volunteered himself to replace the murdered Emperor). The Vandals saw this as an invalidation of their peace treaty with the Roman Empire. They came, they saw, they conquered, bloodied some heads, however the saying goes...

There actually are different accounts of what actually happened, actually. Some believe that the sack was relatively clean, meaning that there wasn't too much murder and violence or burning of the city. This stems from a claim that the Pope successfully pleaded with Geiseric not to go too hard on the city. Other accounts, however, seem to indicate otherwise. One record reports shiploads of captives arriving in Africa from Rome with slavery pricetags and giant "Everything Must Go" banners. Another historian reports that at least one church was burnt down, although this could have been one of those Church of Pyrus churches that routinely burn down their church in sacrifice every summer.

Most of us will never know, and the rest of us will never care.

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