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Melania the YoungerFrom Rome to Jerusalem$
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Elizabeth A. Clark

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190888220

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190888220.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 April 2021

Exiting Rome and the Sack of the City

Exiting Rome and the Sack of the City

(p.98) 6 Exiting Rome and the Sack of the City
Melania the Younger

Elizabeth A. Clark

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 explores the dramatic events spurring Melania and her entourage to leave Rome in advance of the Gothic sack of the city in August 410. After the death of Melania’s father in perhaps 405 or 406, Melania and Pinian went to a suburban property to begin their renunciations. Goths advanced into Italy starting in 401; from 407 onward, Alaric demanded ransom money and goods to prevent his attack on the city. Serena, wife of Stilicho and a member of the imperial court, had arranged with the emperor for court officials to assist the couple with the divestment of their property. When both Stilicho and Serena were killed, Melania and Pinian lost a major source of protection. The emperor Honorius dawdled in meeting Alaric’s requests, and Roman senators resisted parting with their wealth to pay the ransom. The Roman city prefect perhaps attempted to confiscate the couple’s property in order to pay the ransom but was killed in a riot over the bread supply. The extreme difficulty of divesting themselves of their possessions is clearly on display (Serena herself had claimed that she could not afford to buy their Roman mansion), as is the fierce opposition of their relatives, especially Pinian’s brother. The sack of Rome elicited various responses from Christian and pagan writers.

Keywords:   barbarians, divestment, Goths, ransom, sack of Rome, slaves

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