Ostrogothic Kingdom

The Ostrogothic Kingdom, officially the Kingdom of Italy (Latin: Regnum Italiae),[5] was established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas from 493 to 553.

In Italy the Ostrogoths, led by Theoderic the Great, killed and replaced Odoacer, a Germanic soldier, erstwhile-leader of the foederati in Northern Italy, and the de facto ruler of Italy, who had deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus, in 476. Under Theoderic, its first king, the Ostrogothic kingdom reached its zenith, stretching from modern France in the west into modern Serbia in the southeast. Most of the social institutions of the late Western Roman Empire were preserved during his rule. Theodoric called himself Gothorum Romanorumque rex ("King of the Goths and Romans"), demonstrating his desire to be a leader for both peoples.

Starting in 535, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire invaded Italy under Justinian I. The Ostrogothic ruler at that time, Witiges, could not defend the kingdom successfully and was finally captured when the capital Ravenna fell. The Ostrogoths rallied around a new leader, Totila, and largely managed to reverse the conquest, but were eventually defeated. The last king of the Ostrogothic Kingdom was Teia.

Kingdom of the Ostrogoths

Regnum Italiae
Coin depicting Theoderic the Great (475-526) of Ostrogothic Kingdom
Coin depicting Theoderic the Great (475-526)
The Ostrogothic Kingdom at its greatest extent.
The Ostrogothic Kingdom at its greatest extent.
(493 to 540)
Common languagesVulgar Latin, Gothic
Arian and Chalcedonian Christianity[1]
Judaism,[2] Pelagian Christianity,[3] Manichaeism,[3] Roman paganism[4]
• 493–526
Theoderic (first)
• 552–553
Teia (last)
Historical eraLate Antiquity
• Battles of Isonzo and Verona
• Fall of Ravenna
• Start of Gothic War
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Italy (476–493)
Pannonia Valeria
Byzantine Empire under the Justinian dynasty
Avar Khaganate




The Ostrogoths were the eastern branch of the Goths. They settled and established a powerful state in Dacia, but during the late 4th century, they came under the dominion of the Huns. After the collapse of the Hunnic empire in 454, large numbers of Ostrogoths were settled by Emperor Marcian in the Roman province of Pannonia as foederati. Unlike most other foederati formations, the Goths were not absorbed into the structure and traditions of the Roman military but retained a strong identity and cohesion of their own.[6] In 460, during the reign of Leo I, because the payment of annual sums had ceased, they ravaged Illyricum. Peace was concluded in 461, whereby the young Theoderic Amal, son of Theodemir of the Amals, was sent as a hostage to Constantinople, where he received a Roman education.[7]

In previous years, a large number of Goths, first under Aspar and then under Theodoric Strabo, had entered service in the Roman army and were a significant political and military power in the court of Constantinople. The period 477-483 saw a complex three-way struggle among Theoderic the Amal, who had succeeded his father in 474, Theodoric Strabo, and the new Eastern Emperor Zeno. In this conflict, alliances shifted regularly, and large parts of the Balkans were devastated by it.[8]

In the end, after Strabo's death in 481, Zeno came to terms with Theoderic. Parts of Moesia and Dacia ripensis were ceded to the Goths, and Theoderic was named magister militum praesentalis and consul for 484.[8] Barely a year later, Theoderic and Zeno fell out, and again Theoderic's Goths ravaged Thrace. It was then that the thought occurred to Zeno and his advisors to kill two birds with one stone, and direct Theoderic against another troublesome neighbor of the Empire - the Italian kingdom of Odoacer.

Odoacer's kingdom (476–493)

In 476, Odoacer, leader of the foederati in the West, had staged a coup against the rebellious magister militum Orestes, who was seeking to have his son Romulus Augustulus recognized as Western Emperor in place of Emperor Julius Nepos. Orestes had reneged on the promise of land in Italy for Odoacer's troops, a pledge made to ensure their neutrality in his attack on Nepos. After executing Orestes and putting the teenage usurper in internal exile, Odoacer paid nominal allegiance to Nepos (now in Dalmatia) while effectively operating autonomously, having been raised to the rank of patrician by Zeno. Odoacer retained the Roman administrative system, cooperated actively with the Roman Senate, and his rule was efficient and successful. He evicted the Vandals from Sicily in 477, and in 480 he occupied Dalmatia after the murder of Julius Nepos.[9][10]

Conquest of Italy by the Goths (488–493)

An agreement was reached between Zeno and Theoderic, stipulating that Theoderic, if victorious, was to rule in Italy as the emperor's representative.[11] Theoderic with his people set out from Moesia in the autumn of 488, passed through Dalmatia and crossed the Julian Alps into Italy in late August 489. The first confrontation with the army of Odoacer was at the river Isonzo (the battle of Isonzo) on August 28. Odoacer was defeated and withdrew towards Verona, where a month later another battle was fought, resulting in a bloody, but crushing, Gothic victory.[12]

Odoacer fled to his capital at Ravenna, while the larger part of his army under Tufa surrendered to the Goths. Theoderic then sent Tufa and his men against Odoacer, but he changed his allegiance again and returned to Odoacer. In 490, Odoacer was thus able to campaign against Theoderic, take Milan and Cremona and besiege the main Gothic base at Ticinum (Pavia). At that point, however, the Visigoths intervened, the siege of Ticinum was lifted, and Odoacer was decisively defeated at the river Adda on 11 August 490. Odoacer fled again to Ravenna, while the Senate and many Italian cities declared themselves for Theoderic.[12]

Theoderic kills Odoacer (493)

The Goths now turned to besiege Ravenna, but since they lacked a fleet and the city could be resupplied by sea, the siege could be endured almost indefinitely, despite privations. It was not until 492 that Theoderic was able to procure a fleet and capture Ravenna's harbours, thus entirely cutting off communication with the outside world. The effects of this appeared six months later, when, with the mediation of the city's bishop, negotiations started between the two parties.[13]

An agreement was reached on 25 February 493, whereby the two should divide Italy between them. A banquet was organised in order to celebrate this treaty. It was at this banquet, on March 15, that Theoderic, after making a toast, killed Odoacer with his own hands. A general massacre of Odoacer's soldiers and supporters followed. Theoderic and his Goths were now masters of Italy.[13]

Reign of Theoderic the Great (493–526)

Theoderic's rule

"... Theoderic was a man of great distinction and of good-will towards all men, and he ruled for thirty-three years. Under his rule, Italy for thirty years enjoyed such good fortune that his successors also inherited peace. For whatever he did was good. He so governed two races at the same time, Romans and Goths, that although he himself was of the Arian sect, he nevertheless made no assault on the Catholic religion; he gave games in the circus and the amphitheatre, so that even by the Romans he was called a Trajan or a Valentinian, whose times he took as a model; and by the Goths, because of his edict, in which he established justice, he was judged to be in all respects their best king."
Anonymus Valesianus, Excerpta II 59-60

Like Odoacer, Theoderic was ostensibly a patricius and subject of the emperor in Constantinople, acting as his viceroy for Italy, a position recognized by the new Emperor Anastasius in 497. At the same time, he was the king of his own people, who were not Roman citizens. In reality, he acted as an independent ruler, although unlike Odoacer, he meticulously preserved the outward forms of his subordinate position.[14]

The administrative machinery of Odoacer's kingdom, in essence that of the former Empire, was retained and continued to be staffed exclusively by Romans, such as the articulate and literate Cassiodorus. The Senate continued to function normally and was consulted on civil appointments, and the laws of the Empire were still recognized as ruling the Roman population, though Goths were ruled under their own traditional laws. Indeed, as a subordinate ruler, Theoderic did not possess the right to issue his own laws (leges) in the system of Roman law, but merely edicts (edicta), or clarifications on certain details.[14]

The continuity in administration is illustrated by the fact that several senior ministers of Odoacer, like Liberius and Cassiodorus the Elder, were retained in the new kingdom's top positions.[15] The close cooperation between Theoderic and the Roman elite began to break down in later years, especially after the healing of the ecclesiastical rift between Rome and Constantinople (see below), as leading senators conspired with the Emperor. This resulted in the arrest and execution of the magister officiorum Boethius and his father-in-law, Symmachus, in 524.[16]

On the other hand, the army and all military offices remained the exclusive preserve of the Goths. The Goths were settled mostly in northern Italy, and kept themselves largely apart from the Roman population, a tendency reinforced by their different faiths: the Goths were mostly Arians, while the people they ruled over were following Chalcedonian Christianity. Nevertheless, and unlike the Visigoths or the Vandals, there was considerable religious tolerance, which was also extended towards Jews.[17]

Theoderic's view was clearly expressed in his letters to the Jews of Genoa: "The true mark of civilitas is the observance of law. It is this which makes life in communities possible, and which separates man from the brutes. We therefore gladly accede to your request that all the privileges which the foresight of antiquity conferred upon the Jewish customs shall be renewed to you..."[18] and "We cannot order a religion, because no one can be forced to believe against his will."[19]

Relations with the Germanic states of the West

It is in his foreign policy rather than domestic affairs that Theoderic appeared and acted as an independent ruler. By means of marriage alliances, he sought to establish a central position among the barbarian states of the West. As Jordanes states: "...there was no race left in the western realms which Theoderic had not befriended or brought into subjection during his lifetime."[20] This was in part meant as a defensive measure, and in part as a counterbalance to the influence of the Empire. His daughters were wedded to the Visigothic king Alaric II and the Burgundian prince Sigismund,[21] his sister Amalfrida married the Vandal king Thrasamund,[22] while he himself married Audofleda, sister of the Frankish king Clovis I.[23]

These policies were not always successful in maintaining peace: Theoderic found himself at war with Clovis when the latter attacked the Visigoth dominions in Gaul in 506. The Franks were rapidly successful, killing Alaric in the Battle of Vouillé and subduing Aquitania by 507. However, starting in 508, Theoderic's generals campaigned in Gaul, and were successful in saving Septimania for the Visigoths, as well as extending Ostrogothic rule into southern Gaul (Provence) at the expense of the Burgundians. There in 510 Theoderic reestablished the defunct praetorian prefecture of Gaul. Now Theoderic had a common border with the Visigothic kingdom, where, after Alaric's death, he also ruled as regent of his infant grandson Amalaric.[24]

Family bonds also served little with Sigismund, who as a staunch Chalcedonian Catholic cultivated close ties to Constantinople. Theoderic perceived this as a threat and intended to campaign against him, but the Franks acted first and invaded Burgundy in 523, quickly subduing it. Theoderic could only react by expanding his domains in the Provence north of the river Durance up to the Isère.

The peace with the Vandals, secured in 500 with the marriage alliance with Thrasamund, and their common interests as Arian powers against Constantinople, collapsed after Thrasamund's death in 523. His successor Hilderic showed favour to the Nicaean Catholics, and when Amalfrida protested, he had her and her entourage murdered. Theoderic was preparing an expedition against him when he died.[25]

Relations with the Empire

"It behoves us, most clement Emperor, to seek for peace, since there are no causes for anger between us. [...] Our royalty is an imitation of yours, modelled on your good purpose, a copy of the only Empire; and insofar as we follow you do we excel all other nations. Often you have exhorted me to love the senate, to accept cordially the laws of past emperors, to join together in one all the members of Italy. [...] There is moreover that noble sentiment, love for the city of Rome, from which two princes, both of whom govern in her name, should never be disjoined."
Letter of Theoderic to Anastasius
Cassiodorus, Variae I.1

Theoderic's relations with his nominal suzerain, the Eastern Roman Emperor, were always strained, for political as well as for religious reasons. Especially during the reign of Anastasius, these led to several collisions, none of which however escalated into general warfare. In 504-505, Theoderic's forces launched a campaign to recover Pannonia and the strategically important town of Sirmium, formerly parts of the praetorian prefecture of Italy, which were now occupied by the Gepids.[26]

The campaign was successful, but it also led to a brief conflict with imperial troops, where the Goths and their allies were victorious. Domestically, the Acacian schism between the patriarchates of Rome and Constantinople, caused by imperial support for the Henotikon, as well as Anastasius' Monophysite beliefs, played into Theoderic's hands, since the clergy and the Roman aristocracy of Italy, headed by Pope Symmachus, vigorously opposed them.[26]

Thus, for a time, Theoderic could count on their support. The war between the Franks and Visigoths led to renewed friction between Theoderic and the Emperor, as Clovis successfully portrayed himself as the champion of the Catholic Church against the "heretical" Arian Goths, gaining the Emperor's support. This even led to the dispatch of a fleet by Anastasius in 508, which ravaged the coasts of Apulia.[26]

With the ascension of Justin I in 518, a more harmonious relationship seemed to be restored. Eutharic, Theoderic's son-in-law and designated successor, was appointed consul for the year 519, while in 522, to celebrate the healing of the Acacian schism, Justin allowed both consuls to be appointed by Theoderic.[27] Soon, however, renewed tension would result from Justin's anti-Arian legislation, and tensions grew between the Goths and the Senate, whose members, as Chalcedonians, now shifted their support to the Emperor.[28]

The suspicions of Theoderic were confirmed by the interception of compromising letters between leading senators and Constantinople, which led to the imprisonment and execution of Boethius in 524. Pope John I was sent to Constantinople to mediate on the Arians' behalf, and, although he achieved his mission, on his return he was imprisoned and died shortly after. These events further stirred popular sentiment against the Goths.[28]

Death of Theoderic and dynastic disputes (526–535)

After the death of Theoderic on 30 August 526, his achievements began to collapse. Since Eutharic had died in 523, Theoderic was succeeded by his infant grandson Athalaric, supervised by his mother, Amalasuntha, as regent. The lack of a strong heir caused the network of alliances that surrounded the Ostrogothic state to disintegrate: the Visigothic kingdom regained its autonomy under Amalaric, the relations with the Vandals turned increasingly hostile, and the Franks embarked again on expansion, subduing the Thuringians and the Burgundians and almost evicting the Visigoths from their last holdings in southern Gaul.[29] The position of predominance which the Ostrogothic Kingdom had enjoyed under Theoderic in the West now passed irrevocably to the Franks.

This dangerous external climate was exacerbated by the regency's weak domestic position. Amalasuntha was Roman-educated and intended to continue her father's policies of conciliation between Goths and Romans. To that end, she actively courted the support of the Senate and the newly ascended Emperor Justinian I, even providing him with bases in Sicily during the Vandalic War. However, these ideas did not find much favour with the Gothic nobles, who in addition resented being ruled by a woman. They protested when she resolved to give her son a Roman education, preferring that Athalaric be raised as a warrior. She was forced to discharge his Roman tutors, but instead Athalaric turned to a life of dissipation and excess, which would send him to a premature death.[30]

"[Amalasuntha] feared she might be despised by the Goths on account of the weakness of her sex. So after much thought she decided [...] to summon her cousin Theodahad from Tuscany, where he led a retired life at home, and thus she established him on the throne. But he was unmindful of their kinship and, after a little time, had her taken from the palace at Ravenna to an island of the Bulsinian lake where he kept her in exile. After spending a very few days there in sorrow, she was strangled in the bath by his hirelings."
Jordanes, Getica 306

Eventually, a conspiracy started among the Goths to overthrow her. Amalasuntha resolved to move against them, but as a precaution, she also made preparations to flee to Constantinople, and even wrote to Justinian asking for protection. In the event she managed to execute the three leading conspirators, and her position remained relatively secure until, in 533, Athalaric's health began to seriously decline.[31]

Amalasuntha then turned for support to her only relative, her cousin Theodahad, while at the same time sending ambassadors to Justinian and proposing to cede Italy to him. Justinian indeed sent an able agent of his, Peter of Thessalonica, to carry out the negotiations, but before he had even crossed into Italy, Athalaric had died (on 2 October 534), Amalasuntha had crowned Theodahad as king in an effort to secure his support, and he had deposed and imprisoned her. Theodahad, who was of a peaceful disposition, immediately sent envoys to announce his ascension to Justinian and to reassure him of Amalasuntha's safety.[31]

Justinian immediately reacted by offering his support to the deposed queen, but in early May 535, she was executed.a[›] This crime served as a perfect excuse for Justinian, fresh from his forces' victory over the Vandals, to invade the Gothic realm in retaliation.[32] Theodahad tried to prevent the war, sending his envoys to Constantinople, but Justinian was already resolved to reclaim Italy. Only by renouncing his throne in the Empire's favour could Theodahad hope to avert war.

Gothic War and end of the Ostrogothic Kingdom (535–554)

The Gothic War between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom was fought from 535 until 554 in Italy, Dalmatia, Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica. It is commonly divided into two phases. The first phase lasted from 535 to 540 and ended with the fall of Ravenna and the apparent reconquest of Italy by the Byzantines.

During the second phase (540/541–553), Gothic resistance was reinvigorated under Totila and put down only after a long struggle by Narses, who also repelled the 554 invasion by the Franks and Alamanni. In the same year, Justinian promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction which prescribed Italy's new government. Several cities in northern Italy continued to hold out, however, until the early 560s.

The war had its roots in the ambition of Justinian to recover the provinces of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost to invading barbarian tribes in the previous century (the Migration Period). By the end of the conflict Italy was devastated and considerably depopulated. As a consequence, the victorious Byzantines found themselves unable to resist the invasion of the Lombards in 568, which resulted in the loss of large parts of the Italian peninsula.

List of kings



Theodoric's Palace - Sant'Apollinare Nuovo - Ravenna 2016 (crop)
The Palace of Theoderic, as depicted on the walls of St. Apollinare Nuovo. The figures between the columns, representing Theoderic and his court, were removed after the East Roman conquest.

Because of the kingdom's short history, no fusion of the two peoples and their art was achieved. However, under the patronage of Theoderic and Amalasuntha, large-scale restoration of ancient Roman buildings was undertaken, and the tradition of Roman civic architecture continued. In Ravenna, new churches and monumental buildings were erected, several of which survive.

The Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, its baptistry, and the Archiepiscopal Chapel follow the typical late Roman architectural and decorative motifs, but the Mausoleum of Theoderic displays purely Gothic elements, such as its construction not from the usual brick, but of massive slabs of Istrian limestone, or the 300-ton single-piece roof stone.


All of the surviving literature written in the Ostrogothic kingdom is in Latin, though some older works were copied in Greek and Gothic (e.g. the Codex Argenteus), and the literature is solidly in the Greco-Roman tradition. Cassiodorus, hailing from a distinguished background, and himself entrusted with high offices (consul and magister officiorum) represents the Roman ruling class. Like many others of his background, he served Theoderic and his heirs loyally and well, something expressed in the writings of the period.

In his Chronica, used later by Jordanes in his Getica, as well as in the various panegyrics written by him and other prominent Romans of the time for the Gothic kings, Roman literary and historical tradition is put in the service of their Gothic overlords. His privileged position enabled him to compile the Variae Epistolae, a collection of state correspondence, which gives great insight into the inner workings of the Gothic state. Boethius is another prominent figure of the period. Well-educated and also from a distinguished family, he wrote works on mathematics, music and philosophy. His most famous work, Consolatio philosophiae, was written while imprisoned on charges of treason.

In popular culture


^ a: The exact date and circumstances surrounding Amalasuntha's execution remain a mystery. In his Secret History, Procopius proposes that Empress Theodora might have had a hand in the affair, wishing to get rid of a potential rival. Although generally dismissed by historians such as Gibbon and Charles Diehl, Bury (Ch. XVIII, pp. 165-167) considers that the story is corroborated by circumstantial evidence.


  1. ^ Cohen (2016), pp. 510–521.
  2. ^ Cohen (2016), pp. 504–510.
  3. ^ a b Cohen (2016), pp. 523, 524.
  4. ^ Cohen (2016), pp. 521–523.
  5. ^ Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator, Variae, Lib. II., XLI. Luduin regi Francorum Theodericus rex.
  6. ^ Chris Wickham, “The Inheritance of Rome”, 98
  7. ^ Jordanes, Getica, 271
  8. ^ a b Bury (1923), Ch. XII, pp. 413-421
  9. ^ "At this time, Odovacar overcame and killed Odiva in Dalmatia", Cassiodorus, Chronica 1309, s.a.481
  10. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XII, pp. 406-412
  11. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XII, p. 422
  12. ^ a b Bury (1923), Ch. XII, pp. 422-424
  13. ^ a b Bury (1923), Ch. XII, pp. 454-455
  14. ^ a b Bury (1923), Ch. XIII, pp. 422-424
  15. ^ Bury (1923), Vol. II, Ch. XIII, p. 458
  16. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XVIII, pp. 153-155
  17. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XIII, p. 459
  18. ^ Cassiodorus, Variae, IV.33
  19. ^ Cassiodorus, Variae, II.27
  20. ^ Jordanes, Getica 303
  21. ^ Jordanes, Getica, 297
  22. ^ Jordanes, Getica, 299
  23. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XIII, pp. 461-462
  24. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XIII, p. 462
  25. ^ Procopius, De Bello Vandalico I.VIII.11-14
  26. ^ a b c Bury (1923), Ch. XIII, p. 464
  27. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XVIII, pp. 152-153
  28. ^ a b Bury (1923), Ch. XVIII, p. 157
  29. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XVIII, p. 161
  30. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XVIII, pp. 159-160
  31. ^ a b Bury (1923), Ch. XVIII, pp. 163-164
  32. ^ Procopius, De Bello Gothico I.V.1


Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • Cohen, Samuel (2016). "Religious Diversity". In Jonathan J. Arnold; M. Shane Bjornlie; Kristina Sessa (eds.). A Companion to Ostrogothic Italy. Leiden, Boston: Brill Publishers. pp. 503–532. ISBN 978-9004-31376-7.
  • Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol. IV, Chapters 41 & 43
  • Amory, Patrick (2003). People and Identity in Ostrogothic Italy, 489-554. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-52635-7.
  • Barnwell, P. S. (1992). Emperor, Prefects & Kings: The Roman West, 395-565. UNC Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-2071-1.
  • Burns, Thomas S. (1984). A History of the Ostrogoths. Boomington.
  • Bury, John Bagnell (1923). History of the Later Roman Empire Vols. I & II. Macmillan & Co., Ltd.
  • Heather, Peter (1998). The Goths. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-631-20932-4.
  • Wolfram, Herwig; Dunlap, Thomas (1997). The Roman Empire and its Germanic peoples. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-08511-4.
  • Eugenijus Jovaisa, Aisciai: Kilme

External links


Aligern or Aligernus was an Ostrogoth military leader, active in Gothic War (535-554). By the end of the war, Aligern had joined the Byzantine army. The main sources about him are Procopius and Agathias.

Amal dynasty

The Amali, also called Amals, Amalings or Amalungs, were a leading dynasty of the Goths, a Germanic people who confronted the Roman Empire in its declining years in the west. They eventually became the royal house of the Ostrogoths and founded the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy.

Arian Baptistery

The Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, Italy is a Christian baptismal building that was erected by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great between the end of the 5th century and the beginning of the 6th century A.D., at the same time as the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo.

Theodoric was an Arian Christian and decided to let the Goths (Arians) and the Orthodox Chalcedonian Christians live together but separately, and so there were separate neighborhoods and separate religious buildings.

Near his palace, the king commissioned an Arian cathedral, now called the Church of Spirito Santo, but originally named Hagia Anastasis (Holy Resurrection). It was re-consecrated as the Chalcedonian cathedral of Saint Teodoro (soldier and martyr of Amasea in Pontus) in 526 AD. Little remains of the original church after its reconstruction in 1543; some historians speculate that the original mosaics were lost over a thousand years earlier during its Catholic reconstruction due to Arian themes. During this same period, Theodoric also had the baptistry built, today referred to as "of the Arians" in order to distinguish it from the Baptistry of Neon (of the Orthodox) which is about one century older.

Battle of Horreum Margi

The Battle of Horreum Margi was fought between the Ostrogothic Kingdom and the Eastern Roman Empire in 505. The battle took place as the Ostrogothic Kingdom was expanding into the Balkans, eventually encroaching upon Eastern Roman territory. In this endeavor they were led by the general Pitzias and had allied themselves with the Hunnic-Gepidic robber-chieftain Mundo. As a response, the Eastern Roman Empire sent Sabinianus with a large force of Bulgars. At Horreum Margi, modern-day Ćuprija, Serbia, Sabinuanus was defeated.

Battle of Isonzo (489)

The Battle of the Isonzo, the Battle of the Aesontius, or the Battle of the Isontius 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. This battle should not be confused with the 12 Battles of the Isonzo during World War I.

Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, in 489 opened his first campaign against Odoacer to wrest Italy from him. On 28 August, the two armies met on the banks of the Isontius. Theoderic defeated Odoacer, who retreated. A second battle was fought at Verona.

Battle of Verona (489)

The Battle of Verona was fought on 30 September 489 between the Ostrogothic leader Theoderic the Great and the Germanic King of Italy Odoacer. Theoderic personally led his troops in battle, and achieved a decisive victory. Odoacer was subsequently forced to flee to Ravenna, and Theoderic was free to capture Pavia and Milan.

Battle of the Adda River

The Battle of the Adda River occurred in 490 between the Ostrogothic Forces under Theoderic and the remaining army of the Heruli and Scirii under Flavius Odoacer.


Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (c. 485 – c. 585), commonly known as Cassiodorus (), was a Roman statesman, renowned scholar of antiquity, and writer serving in the administration of Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. Senator was part of his surname, not his rank. He also founded a monastery, Vivarium, where he spent the last years of his life.

Codex Argenteus

The Codex Argenteus (Latin for "Silver Book/Codex") is a 6th-century manuscript, originally containing a 4th century translation of the Bible into the Gothic language. Traditionally ascribed to bishop Ulfilas, it is now established that the Gothic translation was performed by several scholars, possibly under Ulfilas's supervision. Of the original 336 folios, 188—including the Speyer fragment discovered in 1970—have been preserved, containing the translation of the greater part of the four gospels. A part of it is on permanent display at the Carolina Rediviva library in Uppsala, Sweden.


Gibal (Greek: Γίβαλ, fl. ca. 551) was a commander of the Ostrogoths in the final stages of the Gothic War against the Eastern Roman Empire.

Procopius mentions Gibal along with Indulf (Gundulf) and Scipuar as "the most notable among the Goths" under Totila. Together with Gibal and Indulf he was ordered to capture Ancona in Picenum. Totila also gave them a fleet of 47 ships to aid them in the siege. While Scipuar led the siege of Ancona, Gibal and Indulf assumed command of naval forces. In the fall of 551 they suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Sena Gallica, during which Gibal was captured while Indulf escaped.

Indulf (6th century)

Indulf (Greek: Ἰνδούλφ), also known as Gundulf (Greek: Γουνδούλφ), was a Byzantine mercenary who defected to the Ostrogoths and became a leader in their army in the last years of the Gothic War of 535–554.

Indulf is first mentioned, by the historian Procopius, as a barbarian (in all probability a Goth) bodyguard of the Byzantine general Belisarius. When Belisarius departed Italy in early 549, Indulf remained behind, and soon after joined the Goths. In late spring/early summer of 549, the Ostrogoth king Totila (r. 541–552) entrusted him with a large army and a fleet, and sent him to campaign in Dalmatia, which the Byzantines had taken in 535/536. There, he used his known association with Belisarius to capture the fortified towns of Movicurum and Laureate, whose inhabitants had not learned of his volte-face. Indulf killed the inhabitants and plundered the two settlements and the surrounding countryside. He also defeated a Byzantine force sent against him by the local Byzantine governor and captured a number of supply ships destined for the Byzantine army in Italy, before returning with his men to Italy.Indulf reappears in 551, when he was one of the three Gothic generals entrusted with besieging and capturing Ancona. When a Byzantine relief force sailed against them, Indulf and his fellow-general Gibal headed the fleet that confronted them. The resulting Battle of Sena Gallica was a disaster for the inexperienced Goths; Gibal fell and most of the ships were sunk or captured, but Indulf was able to escape with 11 vessels. Upon reaching land, the Goths burned their ships, and quickly abandoned the siege of Ancona, taking refuge in Auximum. Indulf makes a last appearance in Procopius's narrative after the Gothic defeat at the Battle of Mons Lactarius, where he was one of the leaders of the remnants of the Gothic army that refused to surrender and instead marched north to Ticinum.

Kingdom of Italy (disambiguation)

Kingdom of Italy in a modern context usually refers to the predecessor state of modern Italy, 1861–1946.

Kingdom of Italy may also refer to:

Kingdom of Rome (753-509 BCE)

Kingdom of Italy (476–493)

Ostrogothic Kingdom (493–553) (Regnum Italiae)

Kingdom of the Lombards (568–774)

Kingdom of Italy (Holy Roman Empire) (800–1648) (Regnum Italiae or Regnum Italicum)

Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) (1805–1814)

Liberius (praetorian prefect)

Petrus Marcellinus Felix Liberius (c. 465 – c. 554) was a Late Roman aristocrat and official, whose career spanned seven decades in the highest offices of both the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy and the Eastern Roman Empire. He held the highest governmental offices of Italy, Gaul, and Egypt, "an accomplishment not often recorded – Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte are the only parallels that come to mind!" as James O'Donnell observes in his biographical study of the man.

Magnus Felix Ennodius

Magnus Felix Ennodius (473 or 474 – 17 July 521 AD) was Bishop of Pavia in 514, and a Latin rhetorician and poet.

He was one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the fifth to sixth-century whose letters survive in quantity: the others are Sidonius Apollinaris, prefect of Rome in 468 and bishop of Clermont (died 485), Ruricius bishop of Limoges (died 507) and Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus, bishop of Vienne (died 518). All of them were linked in the tightly bound aristocratic Gallo-Roman network that provided the bishops of Catholic Gaul. He is regarded as a saint, with a feast day of 17 July.

Ostrogothic Ravenna

Ostrogothic Ravenna refers to the time period in which Ravenna was the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy. Ravenna is a city in Northeastern Italy that served as the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, which existed between 493 and 553 CE. During that time, Ravenna saw a great renovation, in particular under Theodoric the Great (454–526). During his rule, Ravenna saw many of its finest monuments constructed or renovated, including the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Palace of Theoderic, and Mausoleum of Theodoric. Many of these monuments reflected Theodoric's, as well as the Goths as a people, religion of Arian Christianity. Though an Arian Christian himself, Theodoric's rule was a time of religious tolerance in the city of Ravenna. His religious tolerance extended also to forging a balance between the Romans and Goths in Ravenna. Theodoric attempted to model Ravenna as a capital equivalent to that of Rome or Constantinople and as such was a defender of classical antiquity in a western world that saw much of its classical heritage disappearing.

Ravenna's newfound ascendance did not last under the successors of Theodoric as they lacked the respect that Theodoric commanded of both the Romans and Goths within his capital and the empire as a whole, in particular his grandson Athalaric who succeeded him at the age of eight under the regency of his mother Amalasuintha. The Gothic Kingdom eventually fell to the invasions by Belisarius as part of Justinian's ambitious plans of reconquering the territories of the western empire lost to Germanic invasions.

Probus (consul 525)

Flavius Probus iunior (c. 495 – aft. 525) was a Consul of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in 525.

Symmachus (consul 522)

Flavius Symmachus (fl. 522–526) was a Roman politician during the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy.

Son of the philosopher Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius and of Rusticiana (his aunts were Galla and Proba), he was the brother of Boethius, with whom he shared the consulate, chosen by the Ostrogothic court.

His father fell into disgrace with the Ostrogothic ruler and had his own property confiscated; at the death of king Theodoric the Great (526), these properties were given back to Boethius and Symmachus.

Theoderic the Great

Theoderic the Great (454 – 30 August 526), often referred to as Theodoric (; Gothic: *𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃, *Þiudareiks, Latin: Flāvius Theodericus, Italian: Teodorico, Greek: Θευδέριχος, Theuderikhos, Old English: Þēodrīc, Old Norse: Þjōðrēkr, German: Theoderich), was king of the Ostrogoths (475–526), ruler of Italy (493–526), regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patrician of the Roman Empire. As ruler of the combined Gothic realms, Theoderic controlled an empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea. He kept good relations between Ostrogoths and Romans, maintained a Roman legal administration and oversaw a flourishing scholarly culture and the largest building program in Italy in 100 years.Theoderic was born in Pannonia in 454 as the son of king Theodemir, a Germanic Amali nobleman, and his concubine Ereleuva. From 461 to 471, Theoderic grew up as a hostage in Constantinople, received a privileged education under imperial direction, and succeeded his father as leader of the Pannonian Ostrogoths in 473. Settling his people in lower Moesia, Theoderic came into conflict with Thracian Ostrogoths led by Theodoric Strabo, whom he eventually supplanted, uniting the peoples in 484. Emperor Zeno subsequently gave him the title of Patrician, Vir gloriosus, and the office of magister militum (master of the soldiers), and even appointed him as consul. Seeking further gains, Theoderic frequently ravaged the provinces of the Eastern Roman Empire, eventually threatening Constantinople itself. In 488, Emperor Zeno ordered Theoderic to overthrow the Germanic foederatus and King of Italy, Odoacer. After a victorious four-year war, Theoderic killed Odoacer with his own hands while they shared a meal, settled his 200,000 to 250,000 people in Italy, and founded an Ostrogothic Kingdom based in Ravenna. Theoderic extended his hegemony over the Burgundian and Vandal Kingdoms through marriage alliances. In 511, the Visigothic Kingdom was brought under Theoderic's direct control, forming a Gothic empire that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea.

Theoderic's achievements began to unravel in his later years. The Burgundians and Vandals threw off Ostrogothic hegemony by 523, and Theoderic's presumptive heir to both Gothic realms and son-in-law Eutharic died in 522, throwing his succession into doubt. Theoderic's good relations with the Roman Senate deteriorated due to a presumed senatorial conspiracy in 522, and, in 523, Theoderic had the philosopher and court official Boethius and Boethius' father-in-law Symmachus executed on charges of treason related to the alleged plot. Theoderic died in Ravenna on 30 August 526, and was succeeded by his grandson Athalaric, with Theoderic's daughter Amalasuntha serving as regent. The Visigothic Kingdom re-acquired its independence on Theoderic's death.

Seeking to restore the glory of ancient Rome, he ruled Italy in its most peaceful and prosperous period since Valentinian I. Memories of his reign made him a hero of German legends, as Dietrich von Bern.


Widin was the last attested Ostrogothic noble in Italy. After Teia's defeat at the hands of the Byzantine eunuch general Narses at the Battle of Mons Lactarius, south of present-day Naples, in October 552 or early 553, organized Ostrogothic resistance ended. Widin, however, was able to organize a Gothic revolt in the mountainous northern Italy in the 550s. According to Paul the Deacon, Widin comes Gothorum and Amingus, a Frank, rebelled against Narses.Widin was captured in 561 or 562 and sent to Constantinople. After that, the Ostrogoths faded in obscurity.

Etruscan civilization
Ancient Rome
Early Modern
French Revolutionary
and Napoleonic eras
Barbarian kingdoms established around the Migration Period
Hunnic kingdoms
Turkic kingdoms
Iranian kingdoms
Celtic kingdoms
Slavic kingdoms
Berber kingdoms
See also

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.