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The Gallic Ransom and the Sack of Rome

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Livy 5.48.7-8

image of Mnemosyne

The article challenges the widespread view that the Gallic ransom mentioned in a number of sources for the events traditionally known as the Sack of Rome in 390 BC should be understood as evidence that the Gauls did not take Rome in its entirety. The article shows in contrast that, whatever happened in the night when the geese suffered from insomnia on the Capitoline Hill, a ransom is a perfectly suitable element in a story of a Gallic take-over of Rome—hill and all; and that it cannot be taken as evidence that an alternative narrative to the successful defence of the Capitoline Hill never existed.

Affiliations: 1: University of Edinburgh


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