Most have heard the phrase "Barbarians at the gates," a reference to Aleric and his Germanic tribes camping outside the gates of Rome in the fifth century AD. It was a cataclysmic moment representing the fall of Roman civilization. Of course, things are rarely as simple as cute phrases make them seem, and the fall of Rome was much more complicated than the final capitulation to the Huns would represent. Still, the phrase has lasted throughout the years, probably because of the clarity of the image of a hord of unwashed, "uncivilized," violent, blood-thirsty conquerors swarming in anticipation of rape and pillage. One can only imagine the horror of being helpless against the oncoming assault against one's property, family, wives, and daughters.