Theodoric, King of the
After precipitating collapse of the Western Roman Empire and seizing
control of Italy in 476, Odoacer, Italy's
first barbarian ruler, immediately set about consolidating and expanding
his territory. His
expansionist trends soon provoked the concern of the Byzantine [Eastern
Roman] Empire and the ambition of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths,
settled northeast of Italy.
In 489 Theodoric, acting with the blessing of the Byzantine Empire,
launched an invasion of Italy. Ostrogoth victory was quickly assured
in two devastating battles, although Odoacer managed to gather his remaining
forces at Ravenna and withstand Theodoric's siege there for four more
years. Terms of an honorable surrender were negotiated in 493, but Theodoric
soon thereafter treacherously murdered Odoacer with his own hands.
Control of Sicily thus shifted once again, as Theodoric's Ostrogoths
assumed dominion from 491.
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1999-2000 C. I. Gable