VISIGOTHS,  King Theodoric the Great of the

VISIGOTHS, King Theodoric the Great of the

Male 454 - 526  (72 years)

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  • Name VISIGOTHS, Theodoric the Great of the 
    Title King 
    Born 454 
    Gender Male 
    Died 30 Aug 526 
    Notes 
    • Theodoric the Great (Gothic: Þiudareiks; Latin: Fl?vius Theodericus; Greek: ??????????, (The?'ðerichos, [??u?ð?rixos]); Old English: Þ?odr?c; German: Theoderich der Große; Old Norse: Þjóðrekr, Þiðrek; 454 ? August 30, 526), was king of the Ostrogoths (471-526),[1] ruler of Italy (493?526), regent of the Visigoths (511?526), and a viceroy of the (Eastern) Roman Empire. His Gothic name "Þiuda reiks" translates into "people's king". He became a hero of Germanic legend.

      Youth

      The man who ruled under the name of Theodoric was born in 454 AD on the banks of the Neusiedler See near Carnuntum, a year after the Ostrogoths had thrown off nearly a century of domination by the Huns. The son of the King Theodemir and Erelieva, Theodoric went to Constantinople as a young boy, as a hostage to secure the Ostrogoths' compliance with a treaty Theodemir had concluded with the Byzantine Emperor Leo.

      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 and Zeno, he became magister militum (Master of Soldiers) in 483, and one year later he became consul. 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 (allies) of the Romans, but were becoming restless and increasingly difficult for Zeno 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, the King of Italy who had overthrown the Western Roman 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 and Verona in 489 and at the Adda in 490. In 493 he took Ravenna. 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 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 synagogues 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 by his marriage to Audofleda, sister of Clovis I, and married his own female relatives to princes or kings of the Visigoths, Vandals and Burgundian. He stopped the Vandals from raiding his territories by threatening the weak Vandal king Thrasamund with invasion, and sent a guard of 5,000 troops with his sister Amalafrida when she married Thrasamund in 500. For much of his reign, Theodoric was the de facto king of the Visigoths as well, becoming regent for the infant Visigothic king, his grandson Amalric, following the defeat of Alaric II by the Franks under Clovis in 507. The Franks were able to wrest control of Aquitaine 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 his daughter Amalasuntha to the Visigoth Eutharic, but Eutharic died in 522 or 523, so no lasting dynastic connection of Ostrogoths and Visigoths was established. In 522, the Catholic Burgundian king Sigismund 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 brother Godomar, 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 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 Issue

      Theodoric was married once.

      He had a concubine in Moesia, name unknown, and had two daughters:

      Theodegotha (ca. 473 ? ?). In 494, she was married to Alaric II 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 as a part of her father's alliance with the Burgundians.
      Married to Audofleda in 493 and had one daughter:

      Amalasuntha, Queen of the Goths. She was married to Eutharic and had two children: Athalaric and Matasuentha (the latter being married to Witiges first, then, after Witiges' death, married to Germanus Justinus, 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 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 starting after the rebellion of 535 and finally ending in 553 with the Battle of Mons Lactarius.

      from Wikiedia
    Person ID I186049  voyer_7_28_2008
    Last Modified 19 Apr 2010 

    Father VISIGOTHS, Theodemir of the,   b. Abt 440,   d. 474  (Age ~ 34 years) 
    Mother VISIGOTHS, Ereleuva of the,   b. Bef 440,   d. Abt 500  (Age ~ 60 years) 
    Family ID F73964  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Historical Maps

    Maximum extent of territories ruled by Theodoric, in 523.



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