Abstract: Barbarians at the Gates: Victims and Perpetrators of the Herulian Sack of Athens, AD 267


The sack of Athens by the Gothic tribe of the Herulians was long thought to be a relatively minor event, until excavations in the Athenian Agora began to reveal evidence of extensive destruction and a dramatic reduction in the size of the city.  Since 1931, the American excavations in the Agora have recovered large quantities of destruction debris from wells across the site.  Four of these also contained human skeletons in the midst of the destruction debris.  Extensive perimortem trauma on the remains reveals the last moments of these victims. On skeleton, an adult male, has other evidence to suggest that he is, in fact, one of the attackers, not an Athenian victim. The study of these skeletons has for the first time allowed us to understand some of the human costs of this attack on the city of Athens.

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