ILLUSTRATION: Ivory portrait of Stilicho.

Stilicho was a man between eras. A Vandal by descent, and reviled by political enemies as a barbarian, he nevertheless had entirely assimilated as a Roman, and was part of the imperial family by marriage. In the future, generals from similar backgrounds would find it more advantageous, like Alaric, to emphasize their barbarian heritage and their status as leaders of distinct peoples, than to try to control the central institutions of the empire, as Stilicho had.

Back to text.