Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Theodoric
The thirty-three years reign of Theodoric was a time of unexampled happiness for Italy. Unbroken peace reigned within her borders (with the exception of a trifling raid made by Byzantine corsairs on the coast of Apulia in 508). The venality of the Roman officials and the turbulence of the Gothic nobles were sternly repressed. Marshes were drained, harbours formed, the burden of the taxes lightened, and the state of agriculture so much improved that Italy, from a corn-importing, became a corn-exporting country. Moreover Theodoric, though adhering to the Arian creed of his forefathers, was during the greater part of his reign so conspicuously impartial in religious matters that a legend which afterwards became current represented him as actually putting to death a catholic deacon who had turned Arian in order to win his favour. At the time of the contested papal election between Symmachus and Laurentius (496-502), Theodoric's mediation was welcomed by both contending parties. Unfortunately, at the very close of his reign (524), the emperor Justin's persecution of the Arians led him into a policy of reprisals. He forced Pope John to undertake a mission to Constantinople to plead for toleration, and on his return threw him into prison, where he died. Above all, he sullied his fame by the execution of Boetius and Symmachus (see Boetius). It should be observed, however, that the motive for these acts of violence was probably political rather than religious, jealousy of intrigues with the imperial court rather than zeal on behalf of the Arian confession. Theodoric's death, which is said to have been hastened by remorse for the execution of Symmachus, occurred on 30th August 526. He was buried in the mausoleum which is still one of the marvels of Ravenna (q.v.), and his grandson Athalaric, a boy of ten years, succeeded him, under the regency of his mother Amalasuntha.
Genealogy of Theodoric. THKL d. A first wife = or a concubine. DKMiR=Erel 474. = THEODORIC = 454-526., AMALAS d. 51 eva, = Audefl sist kin; TNTHA = 4. eda,;r of Clovis, j of the Franks. =Eutharic, a descendant of the Amals.
- Germanus, nephew of Justinian, j Postumus, death by is fins Ostrogothd (or Arevagni), married Alaric II., king of the West Goths. 1
Amalaric, king of the West Goths, d. 531. Theudegothc married Sigismund, king of the Burgundians Segeric, murdered by his father's orders, 522. 1 1 ATHALARIC, Witigis=MAiAscENTHA= d. 534. Germanu put to Phnn J. 1IUUU3, UV/e/. Amalafrida, a full sister of Theodoric, married Thrasamund, king of the Vandals, and was mother, by an earlier marriage, of Theodahad.(d. 536).
Authorities.—The authorities for the life of Theodoric are very imperfect. Jordanes, Procopius, and the curious fragment known as Anonymus Valesii (printed at the end of Ammianus Marcellinus) are the chief direct sources of narrative, but far the most important indirect source is the Varies (state-papers) of Cassiodorus, chief minister of Theodoric. Malchus furnishes some interesting par ticulars as to his early life, and it is possible to extract a little information from the turgid panegyric of Ennodius. Among German scholars Dahn (Konige der Germanen, ii., iii., and iv.), Manso (Geschichte des Ostgothischen Reichs in Italien), and Sartorius ( Versuch iiber die Regierung der Ostgothen, &c. ) have done most to illustrate Theodoric's principles of government. The English reader may consult Gibbon's Decline and Fall, chap, xxxix., and Hodgkin's Italy and her Invaders, vol. iii., and Letters of Cassiodorus.(T. H.)
- ↑ In one of the intervals of friendship with the emperor in 483 Theodoric was made master of the household troops and in 484 consul.