Theodoric the Great

Theodoric (or Theoderic) the Great (454 – 30 August 526), also called Theodoric the Amal (Latin: Flāvius Theoderīcus, Greek: Θευδέριχος, Theuderichos), was king of the Ostrogoths (471–526), and ruler of the independent Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy between 493–526,[3] regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patrician of the East Roman Empire. As ruler of the combined Gothic realms, Theodoric controlled an empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea. Though Theodoric himself only ever used the title 'king' (rex), some scholars characterize him as a Western Roman Emperor in all but name,[lower-alpha 2] since he ruled large parts of the former Western Roman Empire, had received the former Western imperial regalia from Constantinople in 497, and was referred to by the title augustus by some of his subjects.

Medallion (or triple solidus) featuring Theodoric, c. AD 491–501[lower-alpha 1]
King of the Ostrogoths
Reign475  30 August 526
King of Italy
Reign15 March 493  30 August 526
King of the Visigoths
Reign511  30 August 526
near Carnuntum (now in Lower Austria), Western Roman Empire
Died30 August 526(526-08-30) (aged 71–72)
Ravenna, Ostrogothic Kingdom

As a young child of an Ostrogothic nobleman, Theodoric was taken as a hostage in Constantinople, where he spent his formative years and received an East Roman education (paideia). Theodoric returned to Pannonia around 470, and throughout the 470s he campaigned against the Sarmatians and competed for influence among the Goths of the Roman Balkans. The emperor Zeno made him a commander of the Eastern Roman forces in AD 483, and in AD 484 he was named consul. Nevertheless, Theodoric remained in constant hostilities with the emperor and frequently raided East Roman lands.

At the behest of Zeno, in 489 Theodoric attacked Odoacer, the king of Italy, emerging victorious in 493. As the new ruler of Italy, he upheld a Roman legal administration and scholarly culture and promoted a major building program across Italy.[4] In 505 he expanded into the Balkans, and by 511 he had brought the Visigothic Kingdom of Spain under his direct control and established hegemony over the Burgundian and Vandal kingdoms. Theodoric died in 526 and was buried in a grand mausoleum in Ravenna. He lived on as the figure Dietrich von Bern in Germanic heroic legend.