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Theodoric the Great

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THEODORIC THE GREAT, king of the Ostrogoths: b. about 454; d. 526. His father, Theodemer, was one of the three brothers who jointly ruled the Ostrogoths set tled in Pannonia, and he sent him, when only eight years of age, to Constantinople as a hostage, to secure the conditions of a treaty between the Goths and the Emperor Leo. After residing 10 years with that emperor he was restored to his father, then sole monarch of the Ostrogoths. On the death of Theodemer, about 474, he succeeded to the crown and be gan a course which, after menacing the safety of the Greek empire, and Constantinople itself, terminated in an expedition against Odoacer, who had assumed the title of king of Italy. After several bloody engagements the latter was finally induced to yield, on condition that he and Theodoric should govern Italy with equal authority (493). The murder of Odoacer at a banquet soon followed this agreement ; on which Theodoric caused himself to be pro claimed king of Italy, and he governed with extraordinary vigor and ability. He attached his soldiers by assigning them a third part of the lands of Italy, on the tenure of military service; among his Italian subjects he encour aged industry and the arts of peace. He im proved the administration of justice, issued edicts to protect the public monuments at Rome and elsewhere, and assigned revenues for the repair of the public edifices. Like his ancestors

he was an Arian, but was indifferent to con troversy and never violated the peace or privi leges of the Roman Catholic Church. The par ticulars of the government of this memorable prince, who shed a short-lived lustre on the Gothic name, are recorded in 12 books by his secretary, the senator Cassiodorus, a man of learning, who induced his illiterate master to become a patron of letters. The senators Boe thius and Symmachus were both put to death on the mere suspicion of an intrigue between a senatorial party and the imperial court. This cruel act had no sooner been perpetrated than Theodoric was seized with remorse, and a fever ensued, which terminated his life in three days. The ordinary residence of this king was at Ra venna, above which city his daughter Amalasun tha erected a splendid monument to his mem ory. Consult Dahn, Felix, (Die Konige der Germanen> (Vol. III, Wiirzburg 1866) ; Gib bon, Edward, (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' (Vol. IV, ed. by J. B. Bury, London 1912) ; Hodgkin, Thomas, 'Ostrogothic In vasion> (in and Her Invaders,' Vol. III, London 1885) ; id., (Theodoric the (New York 1893).