"Theodoric's world" Ravenna Things to Do Tip by iandsmith

Ravenna Things to Do: 256 reviews and 700 photos

To understand what you see in Ravenna, it is important to know how much of what you see historically came to pass. This is Theodoric's story.
Born in Pannonia, in what is now Hungary, in 454 AD to Amalo, king of the Ostrogoths, he was given as a hostage when he was aged only eight to the emperor of Constantine in order to secure a peace treaty. He remained for 10 years in this cultured and illuminating court and was treated as a prince.
Here he became interested in military strategy, economics and the politics of the Byzantines.
When Theudimir asked for his son back, his wish was granted because illiterate boy was perceived as "too clumsy and timid" to ever be a threat and his father thought he would be "soft" from his years in the palace.
How much in error they both were was shown when he organized a war against the Sarmatae while his father was absent fighting the Suevi. He captured what is now Belgrade and broke every agreement with the Byzantines by refusing to hand it over to them.
Two years later his father died and he assumed the Ostrogoth throne, just as Zeno took over Constantinople.
He sided with Zeno in his conflict against Basiliscus and the Ostrogoth Strabo and gained important terrotorial concessions. He then saved him from the army leaders Leontius and Hyllus and received honours, a triumphal march and an equestrian statue erected in the city.
His relationship with Zeno was wearing thin and when the idea of a "personal" kingdom came up which entailed Theodoric ruling from Ravenna.

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  • Updated Dec 25, 2009
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