Monday, August 3rd at 7PM CDT

Alaric the Goth

This event will be broadcast live on Zoom

In conversation with Jessica Luther

Register to attend HERE.



Denied citizenship by the Roman Empire, a soldier named Alaric changed history by unleashing a surprise attack on the capital city of an unjust empire.

Stigmatized and relegated to the margins of Roman society, the Goths were violent “barbarians” who destroyed “civilization,” at least in the conventional story of Rome’s collapse. But a slight shift of perspective brings their history, and ours, shockingly alive.

Alaric grew up near the river border that separated Gothic territory from Roman. He survived a border policy that separated migrant children from their parents, and he was denied benefits he likely expected from military service. Romans were deeply conflicted over who should enjoy the privileges of citizenship. They wanted to buttress their global power, but were insecure about Roman identity; they depended on foreign goods, but scoffed at and denied foreigners their own voices and humanity. In stark contrast to the rising bigotry, intolerance, and zealotry among Romans during Alaric’s lifetime, the Goths, as practicing Christians, valued religious pluralism and tolerance. The marginalized Goths, marked by history as frightening harbingers of destruction and of the Dark Ages, preserved virtues of the ancient world that we take for granted.

The three nights of riots Alaric and the Goths brought to the capital struck fear into the hearts of the powerful, but the riots were not without cause. Combining vivid storytelling and historical analysis, Douglas Boin reveals the Goths’ complex and fascinating legacy in shaping our world.


Douglas Boin is an associate professor of history at Saint Louis University and the author of Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome and Coming Out Christian in the Roman World, as well as two scholarly books on antiquity. He lives in Austin, Texas.


Jessica Luther is a freelance journalist in Austin, Texas. Her work has appeared in ESPN Magazine, New York Times Magazine, the Texas Observer, and Austin Woman, and at Sports Illustrated, BuzzFeed, Texas Monthly, and Vice Sports, among others. She is the author of Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape and co-author of the forthcoming Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Sports Fan. She has a Masters in Latin Literature at the University of Texas and is currently pursuing a PhD at UT in Physical Culture and Sport Studies. She co-hosts a weekly feminist sports podcast called Burn It All Down.


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Event date: 
Monday, August 3, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635690
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 9th, 2020

Loving Sports When They Don't Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Fan Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477313138
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - September 1st, 2020

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