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In the year 395, some of Alaric’s ambitions were finally realized when he was elected king of the Visigoths at the age of thirty. The election made Alaric the first true Visigoth king, <ref>Rousseau, Philip. “Visigothic Migration and Settlement, 376-418: Some Excluded Hypotheses.” <i>Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte</i> 41 (1992) p. 335</ref> but it did help him gain entry into the Roman elite. The title of Visigoth king must have seemed like an inferior door prize to Alaric I, because as soon as he was crowned he set out to punish Rome.
Alaric I led his Visigoth army into Roman territory and for a time it seemed that there was nothing the Western or Eastern emperors could do about it, until the Roman general Stilicho came to the rescue. Like Alaric, Stilicho was actually of German ancestry, but he was from the Vandal tribe and by the late fourth century his reputation as a excellent tactician and charismatic general preceded him, which eventually resulted in Theodosius I appointing him as the young Honorius’ regent. Honorius later married Stilicho’s daughter Thermania, placing the Vandal firmly in the imperial family. <ref> Sennigen, William B., and Arthur E.R. Boak <i>The History of Rome to A.D. 565. </i> Sixth Edition. (New York: Macmillan, 1977), p.451</ref> Most now believe that Stilicho was the one who truly held the reins of power in the Western Roman Empire and that he largely controlled Alaric I’s early movements in southern Europe.
===The Invasions of Italy and Sieges of Rome===