Theodoric & The Ostrogoths In Italy
Theodoric the Ostrogoth was born at around the same time the Hunnic confederation collapsed. As a boy, he spent some years in Constantinople as a hostage, and he consequently gained an appreciation of Roman civilisation. When he returned home at around the age of seventeen, he was elected as one of the kings of the Ostrogoths. Theodoric and his father, Thiudemir, led their faction of the Ostrogoths into Macedonia and gained permission from Emperor Leo to settle there. Theodoric ruled alone after his fatherís death, and there was an ongoing rivalry with another Ostrogothic leader of the name Theodoric (also called Strabo) in the region. However, after the death of the last western emperor, Julius Nepos, in 480 A.D., and the death of Strabo in 481 A.D., Emperor Zeno (of the East Roman Empire) bestowed upon Theodoric the titles of patrician and magister militum (Master of Soldiers).
In 488 A.D., Theodoric started for Italy, with the secret blessing of Zeno, to overthrow the reigning power there, Odovacar. It is interesting to note that Odovacar himself was one of several Germanic leaders who had brushed off a series of ineffectual western Roman emperors, and sought formal recognition of their authority in Italy from Emperor Zeno of the east. Odovacar, in fact, was both a patrician and a Master of Soldiers, like Theodoric. By 490 A.D., Theodoric had established himself the ruler of Italy. Thus, as Italy passed from one Germanic ruler to another, the erosion of Roman presence had become decidedly pronounced. Theodoricís kingdom was still officially part of the Roman Empire, but virtually independent.
Updated >> 21 September 2004