Rome sacked (ca. 390 B.C.)Rome sacked (ca. 390 B.C.) - Before Rome could become a world empire, it took a few lumps. The most humiliating moment in its early years came at the hands of the Gauls. The Gauls were the Celtic tribes which occupied the lands north of Rome, particularly in present-day France (known as Transalpine Gaul). But they also settled in Northern Italy, in what was referred to a Cisalpine Gaul (the land between the Alps and the Po Valley). From this region came a tribe known as the Senones led by a powerful warlord named Brennus. He migrated south and besieged the Etruscan city of Clusium. The Etruscans appealed to Rome for help. This event is recorded by the Roman historian Livy. He writes that Rome sent a delegation to assess the situation, and uncharacteristically violated the "law of nations" (Jus gentium) by taking up arms with the Etruscans in an attempt to drive off the Gauls. Brennus was so outraged that he broke off his attack of Clusium and turned his attention toward Rome. The Senone and Roman armies met at the Battle of the Allia (a river) where the Romans were defeated. The following day, the Gauls entered Rome itself and could have potentially destroyed it. But they were more interested in simply looting it. Brennus ransomed Rome in exchange for 1000 lbs. of gold. Livy records a famous line in which the Romans complained about the accuracy of the Gauls' scales. In response, Brennus threw his sword on the scales, adding its weight to the ransom and said, "Vae victis!", which means "Woe to the vanquished!". The Gauls got their booty and left. Rome survived to fight another day.