(died 23 August 406
) was a pagan
, Gothic king
who led an invasion of Roman Italy
in late 405 and the first half of 406.
Radagaisus's force probably consisted of about 20,000 fighting men. Many of the fighters were accompanied by their families and other noncombatants
, meaning that the total size of Radagaisus's group may have approached 100,000.
Radagaisus invaded Italy without passing through the Balkans, which indicates that his invasion began somewhere on the Great Hungarian Plain, west of the Carpathian Mountains. Archaeological finds of coin hoards, buried by residents who were apparently aware of Radagaisus's approach, suggest that his route passed through southeastern Noricum and western Pannonia. An indeterminate number of refugees fled ahead of his army as it marched over the Alps.
The Western Roman Empire under Stilicho (pictured) mobilized thirty numerii (about 15,000 men) from the Italian field army in response to Radagaisus's invasion. A second contingent of Roman troops, possibly recalled from the Rhine frontier, complemented the Italian forces. In addition, they received help from Alan auxiliaries under Sarus and Hunnic forces under Uldin.
Radagaisus's army had the run of northern Italy for at least six months while the Empire mobilized its forces. They eventually made their way to Florentia (modern Florence), where they blockaded the city.
Capture, death, and aftermath
Stilicho's army relieved the siege of Florentia as the city was approaching the point of surrender. The Roman counterattack was extremely successful, and Radagaisus was forced to retreat into the hills of Fiesole
, about 8 km away. There, Radagaisus abandoned his followers and tried to escape, but was captured by the Romans. Historian Peter Heather
hypothesizes that Radagaisus's escape attempt may have been compelled by a revolt within his forces. He was executed on 23 August 406
. 12,000 of his higher-status fighters were drafted into the Roman army. Some of the remaining followers were dispersed, while others were sold into slavery
- Drinkwater, John F.., "The usurpers Constantine III (407-411) and Jovinus (411-413)", Britannia 29 (1998:269-98).
- Michael Kulikowski, "Barbarians in Gaul, Usurpers in Britain" Britannia 31 (2000:325-345).
- Heather, Peter (2006). The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. 2nd, New York: Oxford University Press.