The fall and collapse of the Roman Empire was a long process, but few events shocked people at the time as the sack of Rome, the first such event in almost 1000 years. St. Jerome who was in Bethlehem at the time wrote "the city which had taken the whole world was itself taken."
The Visigoth barbarians were responsible, led by their leader Alaric I. The Western Roman Empire was already in a state of disarray, having split from the East fifteen before. After sacking and looting the capital, Alaric looted and pillaged several other towns and cities before dying only months after taking Rome.
- 0410-08-24 Rome overrun by Visigoths under Alaric I for the first time in nearly 800 years, seen as the fall of the Western Roman Empire