The Death of Odoacer and the Rise of Theodoric the Great

In a previous post  I wrote about how in 476 AD the German warlord Odoacer had overthrown the last Western Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustus. After the overthrow of Romulus Augustus, the Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno wanted Odoacer to recognize a new Western Roman Emperor, in particular one hand picked by Zeno himself. However Odoacer refused, dispensing with the old Imperial system and declaring himself King of Italy. Zeno was greatly angered by this, but with internal revolts and rampaging Goths tearing apart his empire, there wasn’t anything he could do about it.  Ten years later, the Goths were still rampaging through the Eastern Roman Empire, in fact they had laid siege to Constantinople itself.  Things were going badly for Zeno, while the Byzantines were well defended behind the walls of Constantinople and generous supplies were being shipped into the city, it was only a matter of time before rebellions broke out somewhere in the empire, or foreign powers such as the Huns or the Sassanid Persians took advantage of the situation. For the sake of his empire, he had to do something to get those dang Goths off his back. Likewise for the Ostrogothic King Theodoric, besieging Constantinople was no picnic either. Constantinople was perhaps the mostly heavily fortified city in Europe, and many attempts to sack the city would fail miserably.  Thus, Emperor Zeno approached King Theodoric with an offer, one that would kill two birds with one stone.  Odoacer was still on Zeno’s shit list, thus he told Theodoric, “You know, Italy is ripe for the taking and Italian cities are not nearly as well defended as Constantinople.  Why not go to Italy and become their problem?”  Theodoric was like, “OK, that’s sounds cool bye now :) “

In 488 AD Theodoric and the Ostrogoths crossed the Alps and invaded Italy.  Theodoric won victory after victory against Odoacer. By 491 Theodoric had won control of almost all of Italy, with the exception of the old Imperial capital of Ravenna.  Ravenna had been made capital of the Western Roman Empire in 402 because the city was surrounded by swamps, with only a few available approaches to the city.  Thus the city was easy to defend.  Theodoric found that laying siege to Ravenna was no better than laying siege to Constantinople.  Despite Odoacer being backed into a corner with few loyal troops left, the war dragged on.  On February 25th, 493 the Bishop of Ravenna finally brokered a peace deal between the two kings in which the two rulers would share power. To celebrate the new peace deal, Theodoric invited Odoacer to a grand banquet.  Those who are avid viewers of the show Game of Thrones can probably predict what happened next.

Originally posted by ridgecastkyle

In the midst of the banquet, Theodoric unexpectedly drew his sword and struck Odoacer right through the collar bone.  Odoacer’s entourage were also grabbed and their throats were cut, while his wife was taken away and stoned to death.  As Odoacer was dying he cried out, “Where is God!?” Theodoric, standing over his body responded, “This is what you did to my friends”. When Odoacer was dead Theodoric remarked, “ There certainly wasn’t a bone in this wretched fellow.”

The Emperor Zeno would give Theodoric the title of Viceroy of Italy.  Thus Theodoric was a subject of Zeno and Italy was officially a part of the Roman Empire once again… but not really.  In reality Theodoric was now King of Italy, and his rule would bring a short lived measure of peace and prosperity the likes of which hadn’t been seen for over a century.  Under Theodoric, Italy would undergo a renaissance, with a revival of trade, commerce, and culture.  Today, Theodoric is known posthumously as “Theodoric the Great”.

Crimean Tatars (Crimean Tatar: Qırımtatarlar or Qırımlar, Turkish: Kırım Tatarları or Kırımlılar, Russian: Крымские Татары, Ukrainian: Кримськi Татари or Кримцi) are a Turkic ethnic group that formed in the Crimean Peninsula in the 13th–17th centuries, primarily from the Turkic tribes that moved to the land now known as Crimea in Eastern Europe from the Asian steppes beginning in the 10th century, with contributions from the pre-Cuman population of Crimea.

Crimean Tatars constituted the majority of Crimea’s population from the time of its ethnogenesis until mid-19th century, and the relative largest ethnic population until the end of 19th century. Almost immediately after the liberation of Crimea, in May 1944, the USSR State Defense Committee ordered the removal of all of the Tatar population from Crimea, including the families of Crimean Tatars serving in the Soviet Army – in trains and boxcars to Central Asia, primarily to Uzbekistan. Starting in 1967, some were allowed to return to Crimea, and in 1989 the USSR Parliament condemned the removal of Crimean Tatars from their motherland as inhumane and lawless. Today, Crimean Tatars constitute approximately 12% of the population of Crimea.

Historians suggest that inhabitants of the mountainous parts of Crimea lying to the central and southern parts (the Tats), and those of the Southern coast of Crimea (the Yalıboyu) were the direct descendants of the Pontic Greeks, Armenians, Scythians, Ostrogoths (Crimean Goths) and Kipchaks along with the Cumans while the latest inhabitants of the northern steppe represent the descendants of the Nogai Horde of the Black Sea nominally subjects of the Crimean Khan. It is largely assumed that the Tatarization process that mostly took place in the 16th century brought a sense of cultural unity through the blending of the Greeks, Armenians, Italians and Ottoman Turks of the southern coast, Goths of the central mountains, and Turkic-speaking Kipchaks and Cumans of the steppe and forming of the Crimean Tatar ethnic group.However, the Cuman language is considered the direct ancestor of the current language of the Crimean Tatars with possible incorporation of the other languages like Crimean Gothic.

“With clacking oars the Phoenicians arrived millennia ago to found their centre of ancient exchange. Under golden Roman yoke the port gained gleaming palaces and mosaics. Ostrogoths, vandals, and Byzantines alternately wrecked and rebuilt. Moorish and Berber emirs dug irrigation and harvested new fruits - the bergamot oranges they planted still grow. Norman kings wrested the island back from the east. Garibaldi’s thousand redshirts galloped through, and Italy was born. All those centuries of interleaved layers, one bled into the other, remain palpable in the air, the water, the art, the architecture, the spirit.”


The Last Emperor of Rome,

The traditional date for the fall of the Western Roman Empire is set at 476 AD.  Other dates can be arguably used, but 476 is a good date to use when looking at Roman history from a simple viewpoint.  The last Roman Emperor was Romulus Augustus, ironically named after Romulus, the founder of Rome, and Augustus the first Roman Emperor.  The interesting thing about the story of the last Roman Emperor was that it had little to with Romulus Augustus.  Rather, the de facto last Roman ruler was his father, a military man named Orestes.

By 475 AD the Western Roman Empire had almost crumbled away to dust.  The empire consisted of little more than Italy, with some isolated territories in northwestern Gaul which had declared independence decades before, and some territories in North Africa which again were so far out of reach from the Imperial court that by that point they were managing their own affairs.

The Roman Army was barely Roman, mostly being made up of Germanic mercenaries which the empire could barely afford to pay. The capital of the empire wasn’t even Rome,having been moved to Ravenna in the year 402 because it was a more defensible location.  The Roman Emperor ruled over nothing, rather being a puppet of Germanic rulers such as Ricimer and Gundobad.  Orestes was the Roman magister militum appointed by the Empror Julius Nepos, basically the chief general of the army.  Orestes date of birth is unknown but he had a long military career, at one point being ambassador to and secretary of Attila the Hun, then working his way up the ranks until he became a Roman general.  Orestes wanted to restore the glory of Rome, to bring Rome back to the good old days when emperors were gods, the empire stretched across Europe and Africa, and no one dared mess with the legions.  

On the 31st of October, 475 AD Orestes orchestrated a coup resulting in the overthrow of Nepos.  Orestes had cultivated the loyalty of the mercenaries which made up the Roman Army, but also added some important incentives such as cash bonuses and Italian land.  Orestes sent Nepos packing to Dalmatia, where Nepos would carve out a small rump state in exile until his death in 480 AD.  Rather than naming himself emperor, Orestes chose his 16 year old son Romulus as emperor.  Orestes was half German and believed the Roman people would be more accepting of a new emperor who had more Roman blood.  However, the Roman people didn’t really take the young Romulus Augustus seriously, nicknaming him “Momyllus Augustulus”, Momyllus meaning “little disgrace” and Augustulus meaning “little Augustus”. While Orestes looked to restore the Roman Empire, the truth of the matter was that most Roman commoners were sick and tired of Imperial rule and all the bullshit that went with it such as overbearing taxes, rampant corruption, civil war, idiotic leaders, and a stagnant economy.  In addition, the Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno also refused to recognize Romulus Augustus as a legitimate emperor, the blessings of the east being necessary for a stable reign.

Neither Orestes nor the “emperor” could really get anything done during their short reign, by that point the Imperial government was so powerless and crippled by lack of funds and corruption it might as well have not existed at all.  Worse yet, the Germanic mercenaries who made up the ranks of the Roman Army were beginning to complain that Orestes wasn’t living up to his promises.  Unfortunately for Orestes, the empire had no cash to spare and no patricians were willing to give up their lands for a bunch of barbarians.  In anger, the mercenaries revolted against Orestes, naming an officer among their ranks named Odoacer to be their leader.  Orestes gathered what few Italian troops he could that were still loyal to him and fled to Piacenza.  However, Orestes small army was no match against Odoacer and his army.  The last loyal Roman forces were easily crushed. Orestes was quickly captured and executed on the 28th of August.  On the 4th of September, 476 Odoacer marched on Revenna and took the city without resistance.  Romulus Augustus also abdicated without a fight. 

Odoacer chose not to name another emperor, instead naming himself King of Italy and dispensing with the old Imperial system entirely.   As for Romulus Augustus, the remainder of his life is unknown to history, but it is rumored that he was granted a state pension by Odoacer and lived out the rest of his life in peace. The Eastern Emperor Zeno gave Odoacer the title of Patrician and demanded that he recognize the rule of Julius Nepos.  Odoacer refused to allow Nepos to return to Italy, and the Eastern Romans were to occupied dealing with the Ostrogoths to do anything about it. Thus, the Western Roman Empire came to an end.

The Ostrogothic period of Roman rule was one of relative religious tolerance.

Theoderic the Great aggressively punished pogroms and enforced the privilegia of Jews. Seeming exasperated by anti-Jewish sentiment, he criticized those who “foolishly attacked innocent buildings because they were angry at the men who used them."  He instituted new taxes to rebuild synagogues that had been burned, whipping those through the streets who didn’t pay.

The presence of Jewish advisors at his court became a subject of comment among the Byzantines who opposed him; they regarded these men as soothsayers.  Though Jews were forbidden to bear arms under the Theodosian Code, Theoderic recruited Jewish fighters.  Even Justinian’s military historian Procopius praises their martial spirit and their role in defending Gothic Italy.  Unlike in northern Africa, pro-Jewish policies endured in Italy even though Justinian tried to reverse them, and were preserved under the Lombards as well.

-summarized from Bernard Bachrach, Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977, p. 35-6


The Other Capitals of the Roman Empire,

What’s the capital of the Roman Empire? Why Rome of course! While Rome was the heart of the Roman Republic and Empire for many centuries, there were actually two other capitals that not a lot of people who aren’t well versed in history know about.  To clarify in the context of this post when I say the “Roman Empire” I specifically am focusing on the Western Roman Empire, not the east and Constantinople. That’s a story perhaps for another day.

So for many centuries Rome was the heart of the Republic and Empire.  However by the end of the third century Rome was becoming less important when it came to Roman commerce, politics, and culture. The population of Rome was decreasing, dropping from 1.5- 2 million in in the 1st century to around 500,000 at the end of the 3rd. During the Crisis of the Third Century, there were many emperors who had never even stepped foot in Rome.  In 286 AD the Emperor Diocletian moved the capital from Rome to Mediolanum, known today as the city of Milan.  At this point in Roman history, the empire was beginning to decline as a result of civil war, corruption, and economic factors.  The relocation of the capital was a result of Diocletian’s reforms to stabilize the empire.  Ever since the times of the first emperor, Augustus, the Rhine and Danube border had always been problematic for Rome as trouble making Germans would often raid or invade Roman territory. Thus under the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian, the empire had developed a system of walls and fortifications to secure the border.  The fortifications of the Rhine and Danube border had always been important in defending the empire from barbarian invaders.  Odds were, if something was going to happen, whether invasion, rebellion, or general unrest, it was most likely going to happen there. Over the decades, the Rhine and Danube legions became more and more important, even deciding the political fates of the empire at several points in history.   By the third century, the Germans were causing even more problems and the arrival of the Goths made the situation even more complex.  Thus the capital was moved to Milan as it was closer to the border, making administration and communication easier.  

By the 5th century, the empire was rapidly collapsing and it was apparent that both Milan and the city of Rome itself was becoming vulnerable to invasion.  In 402 AD, Emperor Honorius moved the capital from Milan to Ravenna. This was a wise decision since the Visigoths would sack Rome eight years later, and the Vandals would sack it again in 455.  A small city along the northern coast of the Adriatic Sea, Ravenna was located in the midst of a delta and was surrounded by a system of rivers and swamps.  Only a few passable routes led to the city, and thus Ravenna was relatively easy to defend, even if few loyal troops were available.  The relocation of the capital also serve another purpose. As the empire crumbled the emperor ceased to be important, with limited powers which were easily surpassed by a large abundance of incompetence. More often then not, the emperor was a puppet of Roman generals such as Stilicho or Aetius, or Germanic warlords such as Gundobad or Ricimer.  Ravenna was a good place to stash the emperor where he was out of the way, allowing for real leaders to take up the job of running the empire. After the fall of the empire, Ravenna would remain the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy, and later the the seat of governorship when the Eastern Roman Empire briefly reclaimed Italy in the 6th century.

Why I find this topic interesting is because the location of the capital symbolically reflects the state of the Roman Empire throughout history.  When the capital was in Rome, the empire was strong, in the midst of its golden age, and it was inconceivable that Rome would ever fall victim to barbarian invaders. After all, the legions were doing a good job of defending the borders and it had been hundreds of years since the Gauls had sacked Rome, way back in the days of the early Republic.  When the capital was moved to Milan in the late 3rd century, cracks were beginning to form in the Imperial system, and the empire was becoming less and less able to fend off barbarian invaders at the border.  However the empire was still strong enough to do something about it, with the emperor commanding his troops and resources from a heavily defended alpine fortress close to the front lines. By the time the capital was moved to Ravenna, the empire was crumbling to pieces, the emperor was typically an incompetent idiot or spoiled asshole, and perhaps it would be best to just stash him away in the middle of a swamp somewhere.

anonymous asked:

why the fuck did you do this? Southern Italy already exists, this is dumb

((R R A N T.

I coiuld have brushed this off as anon hate (but I don’t really think it is, idk), but I will use this as an occasion to explain my point of view about Hima’s Romano.

First of all, the name!

Lovino is NOT an actual italian name, it is a butchering of the italian verb ‘Rovino’, ‘I ruin’ or (this idea is a little joke of mine, an italian confused as you about it), the archaic form 'Lo vino’, “The Wine”.
My Southern Italy’s name is Romano, an actual name with its origin on the Roman Empire’s age.
It comes from Romanus “citizien of Rome”, and many Byzantine emperors and rulers had this name, including the modern poltician Romano Prodi. Vargas is ok, since it is a surname that is widely used in all of the peninsula, from Milan to Palermo.
I would like to give him a second name, now I am set on Ferdinando (widely used in the Kingdom of Naples, the Two Sicilies and modern Naples itself), Enea (Aeneas, the mythological hero) or Achille.

Second point: Family.

Hima sets North Italy as his brother and Grandpa Rome as his, well, grandpa, but I am not too sure about it, nor is the Italian-Hetalia Rp fandom (most of us are history nerds, including me).
First of all, the last time Italy was unified properly before the Risorgimento, was before the fall of Western Rome and during the Kingdom of Ostrogoths/Odoacer, so how can they be brothers, if not under the good ol’ Roman Empire? I am a proud classicist, so I support the idea of them being Rome’s sons like pretty much everyone in the italian fandom.
Who is the mother? There are two: Romano is son to Rome and Ancient Greece, making it Greece’s brother, since Southern Italy’s name itself, Magna Graecia (widely used nowadays, too!), comes from the time when Greek colonies were founded along pretty much all of S. Italy’s coasts, but I will talk more about this next time, N. Italy’s mother may probably be Gallia Cisalpina, so they are 50% brothers.
In the end, according to me, Romano’s family is:
Rome (Dad★), N. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, France, the Italian Regions and Greece (a lot of brothers, yeah?).
He is not 100% Feliciano’s brother, but he loves him anyways.

Third point: looking and acting.

Romano’s design is fine, I’d expect him to be pretty more tanned, and his hair should be curlier, but I am not complaining at all.
I think of him as older, pretty much at Spain’s age, tho.
Acting, here comes the real problem.
Romano is shown to be a stressed, whiny kid who depends on Spain and gets angry for ANYTHING, plus the “Potato Bastard” thing, ugh.
By stereotypes and a good 50% of truth, Southern Italians are more similar to Feliciano rather than being close to Romano. We are, and trust me we actually ARE, more welcoming, open minded and generally always happy about life, go lucky people. By stereotypes, we could say Hima is right on us being very flirty with tourists (I have a lot of friends who only date tourists and random foreigners, fml), pretty much hot headed, and lazy (yes, I won’t lie to myself, most of us are very lazy).
Also, the fact about him and his relationships–
They are pretty fucked up. We do joke a lot about Germany, but we like them! The greatest king Southern Italy had was Holy Roman Emperor of a German Dinasty (Frederick II of Swabia, google it) (i am using this to say something Germano related will come very soon ;)) ), and they invade us in summer with their precious tourists, bringing us money, so yes, WE LOVE YOU GERMANY.
Also Chigi in Italian is not an actual word, it is the name of a roman family and one of the italian government’s palaces in Rome but not anything really-

I will talk more about this another time, anyways! Please, PLEASE SUPPORT NON CANON VERSIONS OF CANON CHARACTERS!

nobody will probably will read this, but I had to))


1984. Ecstacy And Danger

is the debut album by band Ostrogoth.

Calling these guys a cult band is a pretty big understatement. Even in the ‘80s very few people were paying attention to the metal scene in Belgium. Still, they put out some very solid metal.

Musically, Ostrogoth sounds about like you’d expect a European metal band to sound like in the early ‘80s. They were clearly influenced by (NWOBHM) movement.

This album is perfect for the die-hard collectors of classic heavy metal. Fans of the NWOBHM in particular ought to love it, but anyone into bands like Overdrive, Sortilege, and ‘80s metal in general ought to check Ostrogoth out.

Marnix van de Kauter    Mario Pauwels   Rudy Vercruysse    Marc de Brauwer   Hans van de Kerckhove

Large Gothic Rock Crystal Loop Buckle with Garnets, 5th Century AD

Of gilt-bronze with carved rock crystal loop and inlaid garnets

A small number of belt buckles made from rock crystal have been found and mostly related to the Ostrogoths, the Eastern branch of the Gothic confederacy of tribes; the Western branch being the Visigoths who would go on to settle Southern France, Spain and North Africa. The Ostrogoths traced their origins to the Greutungi – a branch of the Goths who had migrated southward from the Baltic Sea and established a kingdom north of the Black Sea, during the third and fourth centuries, and their name would appear to mean ‘glorified by the rising sun.’

The relative scarcity of rock crystal buckles would indicate that they were reserved for the elite and that they were only used for special occasions, such as religious ceremonies, diplomatic meetings, and other court ceremonial; the fragile nature of the stone would make them unpractical to wear on a daily basis, particularly in warfare. Rock crystal had been regarded as having special qualities since the Neolithic when pebbles of the crystal had been placed in graves. It would go on to be revered by the Romans and manufactured into luxury items, and it is possibly this influence, along with a native belief in the magical power of the stone, that led to it being used for the aristocracy.

The Venetian Language

Venetian is a Romance language spoken as a native language by over 2 mio people, mostly in the Veneto region of Italy, where most of the 5 mio inhabitants can understand it. It’s sometimes spoken and often well understood outside Veneto, in Trentino, Friuli, Venezia Giulia, Istria, and some towns of Dalmatia, totalling 6-7 million speakers. The language is called Vèneto or Vènet in Venetian, Veneto in Italian. The variant spoken in Venice is called Venexiàn/Venesiàn or Veneziano. Venetian is usually referred to as an Italian dialect, in spite of it being a Western Romance language - a branch Italian does not belong to. Some authors include it among the Gallo-Italic languages; by most, it is treated as separate. Venetian has little in common with the Gallo-Italic languages of northwestern Italy, but shows some affinity to nearby Istriot of Croatia. Venetian is not closely related to Venetic, an extinct Indo-European language that was spoken in the Veneto region before Roman expansion. 

Venetian descends from Vulgar Latin and is influenced by the Italian language. It also has a minor influence from Celtic languages, possibly the Venetic substratum and from the languages of some Germanic tribes (Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Lombards) who invaded Italy in the 5th century. Venetian, as a known written language, is attested in the 13th century. We also find influences and parallelism with Greek and Albanian. The language enjoyed substantial prestige in the days of the Venetian Republic, when it attained the status of a lingua franca in the Mediterranean. As a literary language, Venetian was overshadowed by Dante’s Tuscan “dialect” and the French languages like Provençal and Oïl. Even before the demise of the Republic, Venetian gradually ceased to be used for administrative purposes in favor of the Tuscan-derived Italian language that had been proposed and used as a vehicle for a common Italian culture strongly supported by eminent Venetian humanists and poets.  

At present, virtually all its speakers are diglossic, and use Venetian only in informal contexts. This raises questions about the language’s medium term survival. Despite recent steps to recognize it, Venetian remains far below the threshold of inter-generational transfer with younger generations preferring standard Italian.Venetian spread to other continents through mass migration, creating large Venetian-speaking communities in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico , where the language is still spoken today. Venetian is spoken mainly in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and in both Slovenia and Croatia (Istria, Dalmatia and the Kvarner Gulf). Smaller communities are found in Lombardy, Trentino, Emilia Romagna, Sardinia, Lazio, and formerly in Romania. Until the mid 20th Century, Venetian was spoken on the Greek Island of Corfu, which had been long under the rule of the Republic of Venice. Moreover Venetian had been adopted by a large proportion of the population of Cefalonia, another Ionian Island, because it was part of the Domini da Màr for almost 3 centuries.