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  • The Legend of Alaric's Treasure

    by Anthony Parente

    In 410 AD Alaric, king of the Visigoths, captured the great city of Rome and became the first foreign enemy to capture this city in over 800 years. This victory may have been the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. While he occupied the city Alaric treated the people of Rome humanely and left only destroying a small number of buildings. When he left Rome, Alaric had amassed a great amount of treasure from his conquest of the city.

    As legend has it Alaric left the city of Rome and headed south to take his troops into North Africa. On his journey he encountered a terrible storm that caused him to abandon his conquest of North Africa. He retreated and began to head back north through the region of Calabria. When they reached the area of Cosentia, Bruttium, which is now called Cosenza, he died. No one is for certain how this happened. Some believe he contracted a disease that ultimately took his life. Others feel that his death came from an attack by enemy forces. In any event his troops honored their King by burying him in a tomb. This was no normal tomb. The legend of his burial place is said to have been at the confluence of the Busento and Crati rivers. A horde of slaves were used to divert the water from the Busento allowing them to dig a tomb large enough for Alaric, his horse and all of the treasure amassed from his conquests. Once the tomb was completed the river was returned to its original site and Alaric's tomb was covered with water. To ensure that no one would reveal this location to anyone Alaric's troops had all of the slaves killed.

    Not all legends are true. During the mid 18th century a huge project took place to unearth the tomb of Alaric, but nothing was found. As legends evolve could the location of his tomb been mistakenly changed? Just upstream from his supposed burial place is the confluence of the Caronte and Canalicchio rivers. It is this spot that a new theory has evolved around the true burial tomb of Alaric. A lot of evidence to support this theory has been found by the Bosco brothers. For the time being this theory will remain just that, a theory. No funding has been secured by the brothers to commence an extensive excavation process, which would require one of the rivers to be diverted, and there has yet to be any authorization given by the Soprintendenza archeologica per la Calabria to excavate in this area.

    Maybe one day soon the legend of Alaric's treasure will be uncovered and we will be able to learn the truth surrounding his death.


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