The Great Sack of Trantor, also known as the Fall of Trantor, was a major event of the Interregnum, in which Trantor was devastated. It lasted weeks and caused the fallen Empire to relocate its capital from the usurped world.


As early as 12,068 GE, Hari Seldon had calculated using his science of psychohistory the capital being sacked for the first time almost three hundred years later. He also predicted later minor sacks, but this was likely an error in his calculations. He arranged for the Second Foundation's headquarters to be shifted away from the equator in the course of the distant event itself.

The early First Speakers of the Second Foundation also worked out a clear vision of the Sack with more developed psychohistory (although they already had at least an outline from Hari), decades before it occured but had found no solution, no way of assuring both the salvation of Trantor and the eventual establishment of the Second Empire. The lesser evil had to be chosen, and they chose to allow Trantor to die.

In 255 FE, a great rebel leader named Gilmer attempted a coup, in the process initiating the Sack. On the surface of the world, a "blasting ruin of death" caused the metal shell that circled the planet to wrinkle and crumple into "an aching mock of its own grandeur". Its citizens were killed by the millions and left to starve by the billions, when its mighty metal coating was scarred and punctured and fused by the attack of the "barbarian" fleet of Gilmer.

Imperial power quickly collapsed, and Gilmer and his soldiers occupied the Imperial palace as Galactic Emperor Dagobert VIII, his son Dagobert IX, and the remaining citizens of the Empire, who were evacuated by the dedicated Grey bureaucracy, were forced to flee to the nearby world of Delicass, which they chose to rename Neotrantor, in the Seven Days Flight.

In one phase of the event, the space elevators of Trantor broke apart. The upper half of each great tether, including the transfer stations, spun away into space, while the lower half, weighing billions of tons, plummeted into the ground at incredible speeds, releasing enough explosive force to pierce the metal veneer all the way to Trantor's geothermal power pipes, unleashing a global chain of new volcanoes.

In preparation for this part of the Sack, well before the time of the event itself, the Second Foundation's headquarters were indeed shifted away from the equator, according to the Seldon Plan. Meanwhile, their vital base of operations at the Imperial Library/University complex was protected by the students, who formed a protective volunteer army to protect the central shrine of the science of the Galaxy. The students apparenty used ingeniously devised weapons, but some thought the defense by the students might have been thoroughly romanticized. In any case, of all of Trantor the Library/University complex endured through the period of devastation.

After the Sack, Gilmer ruled Trantor for a short time. The Second Foundation signed a peace treaty with him in the first years of his reign, remaining untouched, and Quindor Shandess was of the restrospective opinion that the Great Sack had "liberated" the Second Foundation. The population dwindled rapidly from 40 billion to less than 100 million. Most of the buildings on the planet were destroyed during the Sack, and over the course of the next two centuries the metal on Trantor was gradually sold off, as farmers uncovered more and more soil to use in their farms. Eventually the farmers grew to become the sole recognized inhabitants of the planet, and the era of Trantor as the central world of the galaxy came to a close. It began to develop a dialect very different from Galactic Standard Speech, and the people unofficially renamed their planet "Hame", or "home".

The news that Trantor had been sacked slowly spread across the Galaxy, and all were shocked and afraid, especially on the world of Rossem, whose people feared that the end of the Galaxy itself was at hand.

Behind the Scenes[]

The Sack of Trantor may have been inspired by the Sack of Rome in 546 AD which was carried out by the Gothic king Totila during the Gothic War of 535–554 AD between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantine Empire. Totila was based at Tivoli and, in pursuit of his quest to reconquer the region of Latium, he moved against Rome. The city endured a siege lasting almost a year before falling to the Goths.