On August 24, 410, Imperial Rome was sacked by an invading force of Visigoths from northern Europe, an event that has been compared with September 11, 2001 in the United States.
"Probably even more so," said Philipp Von Rummel of the German Archaeological Centre in Rome. "I don't know if people will still be talking about 9/11 in 2,000 years time, but the events of that August day still influence our contemporary view of history."
The date marks the end of Rome's glory. Pagans of the time claimed that the Christian Visigoths destroyed centuries of civilization, while Christians believed they were preserving what was good from the ancient city.
Historians will meet in Rome in October and November 2010 to discuss the first sack of Rome.