Alaric(370?–410), a king of the Visigoths who led barbarian hordes against the Roman Empire. Alaric belonged to a princely family of Visigoths (western Goths) from the Danubian provinces of the Roman Empire. In 394 he commanded a Visigoth army employed by Emperor Theodosius I in putting down a rebellion in northern Italy.
In 395 Alaric was elected king of the Visigoths and led his tribe in revolt. The Visigoths wanted land and the payment that was overdue for their military service. During 395–96, Alaric ravaged the Greek peninsula. He was stopped at the Peloponnesus in 396 by Stilicho, a Vandal general in the service of Honorius, emperor in the West. (Since 395 the Roman Empire had been split into two empires; the Eastern and the Western.) To pacify the Visigoths, Arcadius, the Eastern emperor, offered Epirus on the Balkan Peninsula to Alaric.
After a short period, discontent again broke out, and in 400 Alaric invaded northern Italy. He was resoundingly defeated by Stilicho at Pollentia in 402 and forced to withdraw. Alaric later returned to Italy and besieged Rome in 408 and 409. In 410 he captured the city and pillaged it for three days. Moving his warriors south toward Sicily, Alaric menaced the entire Western empire. His death from fever in southern Italy ended the immediate threat to the empire's survival.