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The Visigoth's Lament

by Niamh

A little background for those who have never heard about this part of history: near the end of the Roman Empire, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths, two very peaceful Germanic tribes (sounds like an oxy-moron, haha?), were frequently attacked by the Huns, and thus asked the Romans for permission to move across the Danube River, were they would be more protected, and they could better grow food. The Romans allowed them to cross, but on what terms they did not say. The Goths were taken as slaves, and very poorly treated, until the rebellion in the Battle of Adrianople, led by Alaric of the Visigoths.

I came in ragged clothes, and they laughed; laughed with their upturned noses, the sun of this warm new land gleaming on their gold-hemmed dresses. Were I not a slave, Italy would be beautiful; but now it stands hence as prison, and I am in chains.

The year is 395, and for too long we have been bound by Roman law. Promises they once made to us are not fulfilled, for we crossed the river with the promise of food and protection: we are now but possessions.

These Romans--I suppose they do not hate us, but neither do they value us. On a whim we do their bidding:

"This man threatens my land. See to it, slave, that he is forgotten."

Regrettable, yes, and I will always refuse to rid an innocent for another's greed.

Though I am bitter to admit, these Romans are a most talented people, skilled in all they do. The shining, bustling cities sometimes make it hard not to become enamoured in their lies and wonder if they do need us here, to keep the city alive. Then flooding back comes the truth that we are more needed at home, and that I long to go back. I do not mind that it is colder there, for one only freezes when alone. Even in this balmy city of Rome, I walk a frozen path, isolated from all I once knew as a Visigoth. Warmth will only return to my soul when I return to the snowy embrace of home, though I am farther away than I can fathom.

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36 Reviews

Points: 172
Reviews: 36

Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:46 am
GodfreysBouillon wrote a review...

Its always good to see someone write something about a part of history that is untouched.

Everyone loves to talk about WW2, Ancient Greece and Egypt, Julius Caesar, napoleon, etc. but the years 300-1000 AD are a clean blank slate.
Your story is fun to read and gives off a realistic vibe, my only suggestion is to make it longer, so I can read more and love more.

Your descriptive words are great.
Also, that last paragraph is magical.
"One only freezes when alone" is a statement i'll remember for a long time.

Great job, 9/10

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Points: 890
Reviews: 99

Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:16 pm
Niamh says...

Thank you. I do not like my work to sound as if it was written in the present, and I'm glad I have gotten that across. This is all very encouraging. Unfortunately, I do not think I will write any further on this piece. I like it the way it is, and I don't have any further plot line.

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15 Reviews

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Reviews: 15

Sun Mar 05, 2006 8:15 am
Bronco wrote a review...

well first let me commend you on an interesting little piece! It would be well worth continuing it. In particular, I like the phrase "snowy embrace of home". Very poetical!
The flow of the whole thing isn't bad, however I found it slightly disjointed to read. But the tone is obviously not 21st century, you have done a decent job of transporting the reader back to the days of the Romans.... :D

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Points: 890
Reviews: 99

Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:23 pm
Niamh says...

No, I'm not going to carry on with it. I like it as it is. I wrote it after I saw a special on the history channel about the Battle of Adrianople. Thanks to you all for the encouragement!

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1259 Reviews

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Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:44 pm
Firestarter says...

I like your style of writing. The last paragraph alone made the piece what it was. However, what is this? Just a short piece of writing? I'm cnfused as to what your intentions are.

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820 Reviews

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Reviews: 820

Mon Feb 20, 2006 3:56 pm
Myth says...

^ Ditto. :D

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614 Reviews

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Reviews: 614

Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:45 pm
Swires says...

Short and sweet, sort of a narrative prologue to something more. Are you going to carry on writing this piece?

You cannot understand and disagree.
— P. D. Ouspensky