Theodoric the Great

Theodoric the Great

Overview
Theodoric the Great was king of the Ostrogoths (471 – 526), ruler of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 (493 – 526), regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of the Visigoths (511 – 526), and a viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of the Eastern Roman Empire. His Gothic name Þiudareiks translates into "people-king" or "ruler of the people".

A son of King Theodemir
Theodemir
Theodemir was king of the Ostrogoths of the Amal Dynasty, and father of Theodoric the Great. He had two "brothers" actually brothers-in-law named Walamir and Widimir. Theodemir was Arian, while his wife Erelieva was Catholic...

, an Amali
Amali
The Amali, also called Amals or Amalings, were the leading dynasty of the Goths, a Germanic people who confronted the Roman Empire in its declining years in the west...

 nobleman, Theodoric was born in Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

, after his people had defeated the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 at the Battle of Nedao
Battle of Nedao
The Battle of Nedao, named after the Nedava, a tributary of the Sava, was a battle fought in Pannonia in 454. After the death of Attila the Hun, allied forces of the Germanic subject peoples under the leadership of Ardaric, king of the Gepids, defeated the Hunnic forces of Ellac, the son of Attila,...

. Growing up as a hostage in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Theodoric received a privileged education, and succeeded his father as leader of the Pannonian
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

 Ostrogoths in 471 AD.
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Timeline

489   Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths defeats Odoacer at the Battle of Isonzo, forcing his way into Italy.

489   Odoacer attacks Theodoric at the Battle of Verona, and is defeated again.

502   The Synodus Palmaris, called by Gothic king Theodoric the Great, discharges Pope Symmachus of all charges, thus ending the schism of Antipope Laurentius.

 
Encyclopedia
Theodoric the Great was king of the Ostrogoths (471 – 526), ruler of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 (493 – 526), regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of the Visigoths (511 – 526), and a viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of the Eastern Roman Empire. His Gothic name Þiudareiks translates into "people-king" or "ruler of the people".

A son of King Theodemir
Theodemir
Theodemir was king of the Ostrogoths of the Amal Dynasty, and father of Theodoric the Great. He had two "brothers" actually brothers-in-law named Walamir and Widimir. Theodemir was Arian, while his wife Erelieva was Catholic...

, an Amali
Amali
The Amali, also called Amals or Amalings, were the leading dynasty of the Goths, a Germanic people who confronted the Roman Empire in its declining years in the west...

 nobleman, Theodoric was born in Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

, after his people had defeated the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 at the Battle of Nedao
Battle of Nedao
The Battle of Nedao, named after the Nedava, a tributary of the Sava, was a battle fought in Pannonia in 454. After the death of Attila the Hun, allied forces of the Germanic subject peoples under the leadership of Ardaric, king of the Gepids, defeated the Hunnic forces of Ellac, the son of Attila,...

. Growing up as a hostage in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Theodoric received a privileged education, and succeeded his father as leader of the Pannonian
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

 Ostrogoths in 471 AD. Settling his people in lower Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, Theodoric came in conflict with Thracian
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 Ostrogoths led by Theodoric Strabo
Theodoric Strabo
Theodoric Strabo was an Ostrogoth chieftain who was involved in the politics of the Byzantine Empire during the reigns of Byzantine Emperors Leo I, Zeno and Basiliscus...

, whom he eventually supplanted, uniting the peoples in 484.

Subsequently Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno gave him the title of Patrician
Patrician
The term patrician originally referred to a group of elite families in ancient Rome, including both their natural and adopted members. In the late Roman Empire, the class was broadened to include high council officials, and after the fall of the Western Empire it remained a high honorary title in...

 and the office of Magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

 (master of the soldiers), and even appointed him as Consul
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

. Trying in vain to achieve further aims, Theodoric frequently ravaged the imperial provinces, eventually threatening Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 itself. In 488, Emperor Zeno ordered Theodoric to overthrow the Scirian warlord Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

, who had established himself as King of Italy
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

. After a victorious three-year long war, Theodoric killed Odoacer with his own hands, settled his people in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, around 100,000 to 200,000, and founded a Kingdom
Ostrogothic Kingdom
The Kingdom established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas lasted from 493 to 553. In Italy the Ostrogoths replaced Odoacer, the de facto ruler of Italy who had deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 476. The Gothic kingdom reached its zenith under the rule of its...

 based in Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

. Although promoting sepration between the Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 Ostrogoths and the Roman population, Theodoric stressed the importance of racial harmony. Seeking to restore the glory of Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, he ruled Italy in it's most peaceful and prosperous period since Valentinian
Valentinian I
Valentinian I , also known as Valentinian the Great, was Roman emperor from 364 to 375. Upon becoming emperor he made his brother Valens his co-emperor, giving him rule of the eastern provinces while Valentinian retained the west....

, until his death in 526. Memories of his reign made him a hero of Germanic legend as Dietrich von Bern.

Youth


The man who would later rule under the name of Theodoric was born in 454 AD, on the banks of the Neusiedler See
Neusiedler See
Lake Neusiedl is the second largest steppe lake in Central Europe, straddling the Austrian–Hungarian border. The lake covers 315 km², of which 240 km² is on the Austrian side and 75 km² on the Hungarian side. The lake's drainage basin has an area of about 1,120 km²...

 near Carnuntum
Carnuntum
Carnuntum was a Roman army camp on the Danube in the Noricum province and after the 1st century the capital of the Upper Pannonia province...

. This was just a year after the Ostrogoths had thrown off nearly a century of domination by the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

. The son of the King Theodemir
Theodemir
Theodemir was king of the Ostrogoths of the Amal Dynasty, and father of Theodoric the Great. He had two "brothers" actually brothers-in-law named Walamir and Widimir. Theodemir was Arian, while his wife Erelieva was Catholic...

 and Ereleuva
Ereleuva
Ereleuva was the mother of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great. She is often referred to as the concubine of Theodoric's father, Theodemir, although historian Thomas Hodgkin notes "this word of reproach hardly does justice to her position...

, Theodoric went to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 as a young boy, as a hostage
Hostage
A hostage is a person or entity which is held by a captor. The original definition meant that this was handed over by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against certain acts of war...

 to secure the Ostrogoths' compliance with a treaty Theodemir had concluded with the Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Leo
Leo I (emperor)
Leo I was Byzantine Emperor from 457 to 474. A native of Dacia Aureliana near historic Thrace, he was known as Leo the Thracian ....

 (ruled 457-474).

He lived at the court of Constantinople for many years and learned a great deal about Roman government and military tactics, which served him well when he became the Gothic ruler of a mixed but largely Romanized "barbarian people". Treated with favor by the Emperors Leo I
Leo I (emperor)
Leo I was Byzantine Emperor from 457 to 474. A native of Dacia Aureliana near historic Thrace, he was known as Leo the Thracian ....

 and Zeno
Zeno (emperor)
Zeno , originally named Tarasis, was Byzantine Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which nevertheless succeeded to some extent in foreign issues...

 (ruled 474-475 and 476-491), he became magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

(Master of Soldiers) in 483, and one year later he became consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

. Afterwards, he returned to live among the Ostrogoths when he was 31 years old and became their king in 488.

Reign




At the time, the Ostrogoths were settled in Byzantine territory as foederati
Foederati
Foederatus is a Latin term whose definition and usage drifted in the time between the early Roman Republic and the end of the Western Roman Empire...

(allies) of the Romans, but were becoming restless and increasingly difficult for Zeno
Zeno (emperor)
Zeno , originally named Tarasis, was Byzantine Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which nevertheless succeeded to some extent in foreign issues...

 to manage. Not long after Theodoric became king, the two men worked out an arrangement beneficial to both sides. The Ostrogoths needed a place to live, and Zeno was having serious problems with Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

, the King of Italy who had overthrown the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 in 476. Ostensibly a viceroy for Zeno, Odoacer was menacing Byzantine territory and not respecting the rights of Roman citizens in Italy. At Zeno's encouragement, Theodoric invaded Odoacer's kingdom.

Theodoric came with his army to Italy in 488, where he won the battles of Isonzo
Battle of Isonzo (489)
The Battle of Isonzo is the name given to the battle fought on August 28, 489 on the banks of the Isontius River, not far away from Aquileia. This river is now known as the Isonzo in Italian, and Soča in Slovene...

 and Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

 in 489 and at the Adda
Adda River
The Adda is a river in North Italy, a tributary of the Po. It rises in the Alps near the border with Switzerland and flows through Lake Como. The Adda joins the Po a few kilometres upstream of Cremona. It is 313 kilometres long...

 in 490. In 493 he took Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

. On February 2, 493, Theodoric and Odoacer signed a treaty that assured both parties would rule over Italy. A banquet was organised in order to celebrate this treaty. It was at this banquet that Theodoric, after making a toast, killed Odoacer with his own hands.

Like Odoacer, Theodoric was ostensibly only a viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 for the emperor in Constantinople. In reality, he was able to avoid imperial supervision, and dealings between the emperor and Theodoric were as equals. Unlike Odoacer, however, Theodoric respected the agreement he had made and allowed Roman citizens within his kingdom to be subject to Roman law and the Roman judicial system. The Goths, meanwhile, lived under their own laws and customs. In 519, when a mob had burned down the synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s of Ravenna, Theodoric ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense.

Theodoric the Great sought alliances with, or hegemony over, the other Germanic kingdoms in the west. He allied with the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 by his marriage to Audofleda
Audofleda
Audofleda was a Gothic queen. She was the sister of Clovis I, King of the Franks. She married Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths , around 493 AD . Theodoric sent an embassy to Clovis to request the marriage...

, sister of Clovis I
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

, and married his own female relatives to princes or kings of the Visigoths, Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 and Burgundian
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

. He stopped the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 from raiding his territories by threatening the weak Vandal king Thrasamund
Thrasamund
Thrasamund , King of the Vandals and Alans , was the fourth king of the north African Kingdom of the Vandals, and reigned longer than any other Vandal king in Africa other than his grandfather Genseric....

 with invasion, and sent a guard of 5,000 troops with his sister Amalafrida
Amalafrida
Amalafrida was the daughter of Theodemir, king of the Ostrogoths, and his wife Erelieva. She was the sister of Theodoric the Great, and mother of Theodahad, both of whom also were kings of the Ostrogoths....

 when she married Thrasamund in 500. For much of his reign, Theodoric was the de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

king of the Visigoths as well, becoming regent for the infant Visigothic king, his grandson Amalric
Amalaric
Amalaric, or in Spanish and Portuguese, Amalarico, was king of the Visigoths from 526 until his assassination in 531. He was a son of king Alaric II and his first wife Theodegotho, daughter of Theodoric the Great....

, following the defeat of Alaric II
Alaric II
Alaric II, also known as Alarik, Alarich, and Alarico in Spanish and Portuguese or Alaricus in Latin succeeded his father Euric on December 28, 484, in Toulouse. He established his capital at Aire-sur-l'Adour in Aquitaine...

 by the Franks under Clovis in 507. The Franks were able to wrest control of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 from the Visigoths, but otherwise Theodoric was able to defeat their incursions.

Thedoric's achievements began to unravel even before his death. He had married off his daughter Amalasuntha
Amalasuntha
Amalasuntha was a queen of the Ostrogoths from 526 to 534....

 to the Visigoth Eutharic
Eutharic
Eutharic Cilliga was a Visigothic prince from Iberia who, during the early 6th century, served as Roman Consul and "son in arms" alongside the Byzantine emperor Justin I...

, but Eutharic died in 522 or 523, so no lasting dynastic connection of Ostrogoths and Visigoths was established. In 522, the Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 Burgundian king Sigismund
Sigismund of Burgundy
Sigismund was king of the Burgundians from 516 to his death. He was the son of king Gundobad, whom he succeeded in 516. Sigismund and his brother Godomar were defeated in battle by Clovis' sons and Godomar fled. Sigismund was taken by Chlodomer, King of Orléans, where he was kept as a prisoner. He...

 killed his own son, Theodoric's grandson, Sergeric. Theodoric retaliated by invading the Burgundian kingdom and then annexing its southern part, probably in 523. The rest was ruled by Sigismund's Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 brother Godomar
Godomar
Godomar , son of king Gundobad, was king of Burgundy. He ruled Burgundy after his elder brother's death in 524 until 534.Both he and his brother Sigismund of Burgundy were defeated in battle by Clovis' sons. Godomar fled and Sigismund was taken prisoner by Chlodomer, King of Orléans. Godomar then...

, under Gothic protection against the Franks who had captured Sigismund. This brought the territory ruled by Theodoric to its height (see map), but in 523 or 524 the new Catholic Vandal king Hilderic
Hilderic
Hilderic was the penultimate king of the Vandals and Alans in North Africa in Late Antiquity . Although dead by the time the Vandal kingdom was overthrown in 534, he nevertheless played a key role in that event....

 imprisoned Amalfrida and killed her Gothic guard. Theodoric was planning an expedition to restore his power over the Vandal kingdom when he died in 526.

Family and progeny


Theodoric was married once.

He had a concubine in Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, name unknown, and had two daughters:
  • Theodegotha (ca. 473 – ?). In 494, she was married to Alaric II
    Alaric II
    Alaric II, also known as Alarik, Alarich, and Alarico in Spanish and Portuguese or Alaricus in Latin succeeded his father Euric on December 28, 484, in Toulouse. He established his capital at Aire-sur-l'Adour in Aquitaine...

     as a part of her father's alliance with the Visigoths.
  • Ostrogotha or Arevagni (ca. 475 – ?). In 494 or 496, she was married to the king Sigismund of Burgundy
    Sigismund of Burgundy
    Sigismund was king of the Burgundians from 516 to his death. He was the son of king Gundobad, whom he succeeded in 516. Sigismund and his brother Godomar were defeated in battle by Clovis' sons and Godomar fled. Sigismund was taken by Chlodomer, King of Orléans, where he was kept as a prisoner. He...

     as a part of her father's alliance with the Burgundians.


Married to Audofleda
Audofleda
Audofleda was a Gothic queen. She was the sister of Clovis I, King of the Franks. She married Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths , around 493 AD . Theodoric sent an embassy to Clovis to request the marriage...

 in 493 and had one daughter:
  • Amalasuntha
    Amalasuntha
    Amalasuntha was a queen of the Ostrogoths from 526 to 534....

    , Queen of the Goths. She was married to Eutharic and had two children: Athalaric
    Athalaric
    Athalaric was the King of the Ostrogoths in Italy. He was a son of Eutharic and Amalasuntha. His maternal grandfather was Theodoric the Great. He succeeded his grandfather as king in 526....

     and Matasuntha (the latter being married to Witiges
    Witiges
    Witiges or Vitiges was King of the Ostrogoths in Italy from 536 to 540.He succeeded to the throne of Italy in the early stages of the Gothic War, as Belisarius had quickly captured Sicily the previous year and was currently in southern Italy at the head of the forces of Justinian I, the Eastern...

     first, then, after Witiges' death, married to Germanus Justinus
    Germanus Justinus
    Germanus was an East Roman general, one of the leading commanders of Emperor Justinian I . Germanus was Emperor Justinian's cousin, and a member of the ruling dynasty. He held commands in Thrace, North Africa, and the East against Persia, and was slated to command the final Byzantine expedition...

    , neither had children). Any hope for a reconciliation between the Goths and the Romans in the person of a Gotho-Roman Emperor from this family lineage was shattered.


After his death in Ravenna in 526, Theodoric was succeeded by his grandson Athalaric
Athalaric
Athalaric was the King of the Ostrogoths in Italy. He was a son of Eutharic and Amalasuntha. His maternal grandfather was Theodoric the Great. He succeeded his grandfather as king in 526....

. Athalaric was at first represented by his mother Amalasuntha, who was a regent queen from 526 until 534. The kingdom of the Ostrogoths, however, began to wane and was conquered by Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 starting after the rebellion of 535 and finally ending in 553 with the Battle of Mons Lactarius
Battle of Mons Lactarius
The Battle of Mons Lactarius took place in 552 or 553 in the course the Gothic War waged on behalf of Justinian I against the Ostrogoths in Italy....

.

Religion



In about 520 the philosopher Boethius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius was a philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and important family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after...

 became his magister officiorum, (head of all the government and court services). Boethius was a man of science, a dedicated Hellenist bent on translating all the works of Aristotle into Latin and harmonizing them with the works of Plato. Eventually Boethius fell out of favor with Theodoric, perhaps out of a suspicion that he was in sympathy with Justinian, emperor of the East, for Arian Theodoric was always somewhat of an outsider among Nicaean Christians. Theodoric ordered Boethius executed in 525.

In the meantime Cassiodorus
Cassiodorus
Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator , commonly known as Cassiodorus, was a Roman statesman and writer, serving in the administration of Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. Senator was part of his surname, not his rank.- Life :Cassiodorus was born at Scylletium, near Catanzaro in...

 had succeeded Boethius as magister in 523. The pliant historian and courtier could be counted on to provide refined touches to official correspondence. "To the monarch you [Cassiodorus] were a friendly judge and an honored intimate. For when he got free of his official cares he looked to your conversation for the precepts of the sages, that he might make himself a worthy equal to the great men of old. Ever curious, he wanted to hear about the courses of the stars, the tides of the sea, and legendary fountains, that his earnest study of natural science might make him seem to be a veritable philosopher in the purple" (Cassiodorus' letterbook, Variae 9.24.8). The gulf was widening between the ancient senatorial aristocracy whose center was Rome and the adherents of Gothic rule at Ravenna: other distinguished public figures followed Boethius to the block.

Theodoric in his final years was no longer the disengaged Arian patron of religious toleration that he had seemed earlier in his reign. "Indeed, his death cut short what could well have developed into a major persecution of Catholic churches in retaliation for measures taken by Justinian in Constantinople against Arians there"

Theodoric was of Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 faith. At the end of his reign quarrels arose with his Roman subjects and the Byzantine emperor Justin I
Justin I
Justin I was Byzantine Emperor from 518 to 527. He rose through the ranks of the army and ultimately became its Emperor, in spite of the fact he was illiterate and almost 70 years old at the time of accession...

 over the Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 issue. Relations between the two nations deteriorated, although Theodoric's ability dissuaded the Byzantines from waging war against him. After his death, that reluctance faded quickly.

Legacy



Mausoleum


Theodoric the Great was interred in Ravenna, but his bones were scattered and his mausoleum was converted to a church after Belisarius
Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

 conquered the city in 540. His mausoleum
Mausoleum of Theodoric
The Mausoleum of Theodoric is an ancient monument just outside Ravenna, Italy. It was built in 520 AD by Theodoric the Great as his future tomb.-Description:...

 is one of the finest monuments in Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

, but his equestrian statue, the Regisole
Regisole
The Regisole was a bronze classical or Late Antique equestrian monument, highly influential during the Italian Renaissance but destroyed in 1796...

, which also once graced the city was later removed and ultimately destroyed during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

.

Medieval reception



Theoderich as Dietrich von Bern is an important figure in Middle High German
Middle High German
Middle High German , abbreviated MHG , is the term used for the period in the history of the German language between 1050 and 1350. It is preceded by Old High German and followed by Early New High German...

 literature, and as Þiðrekr in Old Icelandic.