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988 UNIVERSAL HISTORYTHE ANCIENT WORLD

The barbarians soon afterwards withdrew

from the peninsula. For the present no leader

arose capable of wearing Alaric's mantle. The

sack of Rome was made the occasion of the

promotion of the Christian cause. The pious

pagans had tried their sacrifices and incantations as a means of defending the city; but

the gods were either sick or on a journey.

The Etruscan performance on the Capitol

seemed to have no visible effect on the Goths

outside of the walls. All these failures did

the Christians turn to good account. Not

only did the event furnish them an opportunity to point to the impotency of pagan ceremonies and to assert that if they had been

intrusted with the defense of the capital the

barbarians would have perished as did the

army of Sennacherib, but the zealous believers

proceeded to demonstrate that Rome was the

apocalyptic Babylon, on which for her crimes

the wrath of heaven was now poured out from

the buckets of barbarism. Under these multiplied assaults paganism went to the wall; for

nothing fails like failure.

Alaric, being himself an Arian Christian,

had interposed to save Rome from destruction.

The city, though pillaged, still survived.

With the recession of barbarism the old population in great measure returned and began the

work of restoration. ATAULPHUS, the Gothic

chieftain who succeeded to the command, refused to continue the destructive assaults

which had prostrated civil authority in Italy.

This somewhat refined barbarian had taken to

wife Placidia, the daughter of Theodosius,

and by her his resolution to end the war was

encouraged. He accordingly left Southern

Italy, retired into Spain, and established a