The Invasion of Europe
by the Barbarians
The Ostrogothic Conquest of Italy
Immediately after this election, Thiudemir and his son Theoderic led their portion of the Ostrogothic people southward into the Balkan peninsula, and forced the Emperor Leo to grant them new settlements in Macedonia—in the original Macedonia near  the sea. Their territory included the cities of Pella, Pydna, and Methone. After Thiudemir's death Theoderic reigned alone, and the next years were marked by his rivalry and struggle with another Ostrogothic chief of the same name who had also settled in the Balkan peninsula. It was a triangular struggle between the two rival Gothic chiefs and the Emperor Zeno, and the relations among the three vary and change like the figures of a kaleidoscope. I believe that the object of Theoderic's ambition, like the first object of Alaric's ambition, was to be appointed magister militum. In the year 483, after his rival's death, he obtained this coveted post, and was created magister militum praesentalis. In the following year, he was honoured by the consulship. He now, like Alaric, stood in a double relation to his people: he was not only their king; they were also bound to obey him as imperial commander-in-chief. But the new magister militum was still a thorn in the side of the Empire; he quarrelled with the Emperor in 487, revolted, and marched with his Ostrogoths to the walls of Constantinople. The Emperor now reached the conviction that the presence of the Ostrogoths and the Ostrogothic magister militum in the Illyrian provinces could never be placed on a satisfactory basis, and would be a constant source of trouble and danger. Could any expedient be found for getting rid of them? The idea occurred that a profitable and tempting task might be imposed upon the magister militum which would finally deliver Constantinople and the Illyrian provinces of his presence. He might be sent to Italy to conquer and displace Odovacar. Our material is too scanty to enable us to say whether Zeno adopted this resolution merely as an expedient  to remove Theoderic, or whether he had already independently cherished the notion of interfering in the regime of Italy, and perhaps of resuming the peninsula under his immediate rule. Odovacar was nominally his vice-regent, a magister militum of the Empire; but Zeno had never given him a wholehearted or unreserved recognition. One of our chief authorities tells us that Zeno intended ultimately to go to Italy himself. The words (which some historians have failed to understand) are these: "The Emperor made a bargain with Theoderic: if he (Theoderic) overcame Odovacar, he should (as a reward for his services) rule provisionally in Italy until he (Zeno) should come (dum adveniret)." I see no reason for rejecting this statement, but we must be careful how we interpret it. It need not seem that Zeno had made up his mind to go to Italy or resume in his own hands the immediate government. It may have been simply the official and diplomatic way in which the bargain was expressed, so as to reserve the imperial rights, and make it clear that, while Theoderic succeeded to the quasi-imperial power wielded by Odovacar, he was still responsible to the Emperor, who would at any moment have the right to recall him or suspend him.
It was not till the end of August (A.D. 489) that, having crossed the Julian Alps, the Ostrogoths reached the river Sontius (Isonzo), and that the struggle for Italy began. Of this memorable war we have only the most meagre outline. The result was decided within twelve months, but three and a half years were to elapse before the last resistance of Odovacar was broken down and Theoderic was completely master of Italy.
It was perhaps where the Sontius and the Frigidus meet that Theoderic found Odovacar in a carefully fortified camp, prepared to oppose his entry into Venetia. Odovacar had considerable forces, for besides his own army he had succeeded in enlisting foreign help. We are not told who his allies were: we can only guess that among them may have been the Burgundians, who, as we know, helped him at a later stage. The battle was fought on August 28; Odovacar was defeated and compelled to retreat, his next line of defence was on the Athesis (Adige), and he fortified himself in a camp close to Verona, with the river behind him. Here the second battle of the war was fought a month later (about September 20) and resulted in a decisive victory for Theoderic. The carnage of Odovacar's men is said to have been immense; but they fought desperately and the  Ostrogothic losses were severe; the river was fed with corpses. The defeated king himself fled to Ravenna. The greater part of his army, with Tufa who held the highest command, surrendered to Theoderic, who immediately proceeded to Milan.
Northern Italy was now at the feet of the Goth; Rome and Sicily were prepared to submit, and it looked as though nothing remained to complete the conquest but the capture of Ravenna. But the treachery of Tufa changed the situation. Theoderic imprudently trusted him, and sent him with his own troops and a few distinguished Ostrogoths against Odovacar. At Faventia (Faenza) Tufa espoused again the cause of his old master and handed over to him the Goths, who were put into irons.
Theoderic made Ticinum (Pavia) his headquarters during the winter, and it is said that one of his motives for choosing this city was to cultivate the friendship of the old bishop Epiphanius, who had great influence with Odovacar. In the following year Odovacar was able to take the field again, to seize Cremona and Milan, and to blockade his adversary in Ticinum. At this juncture the Visigoths came to the help of the Ostrogoths and sent an army into Italy. The siege was raised, and the decisive battle of the war was fought on the river Addua (Adda), a battle in which Odovacar was utterly defeated (August 11, A.D. 490). He fled for the second time to Ravenna. It was probably this victory that decided the Roman senate to abandon the cause of Odovacar, and to accept Theoderic. It made him master of Rome, southern Italy, and Sicily.
The agreement that Zeno made with Theoderic had been secret and unofficial. The Emperor had done  nothing directly to break off his relations with Odovacar. But Odovacar seems some time before the battle of the Addua to have courted a formal rupture. He created his son Thela a Caesar, and this was equivalent to renouncing his subordination to the Emperor and declaring Italy independent. He probably calculated that in the strained relations which then existed between the Italian Catholics and the Greek East, on account of an ecclesiastical schism, the policy of cutting the rope which bound Italy to Constantinople would be welcomed at Rome and throughout the provinces. The senators may have been divided on this issue, but the battle of the Addua decided them as a body to 'betray' Odovacar, and before the end of the year Festus, the princeps of the senate, went to Constantinople to announce the success of Theoderic, and to arrange the conditions of the new Italian government.
 It seems to have been in the same year that Theoderic resorted to a terrible measure for destroying the military garrisons which held Italian towns for Odovacar. The Italian population was generally favourable to the cause of Theoderic, and secret orders were given to the citizens to slaughter the soldiers on a prearranged day. The pious panegyrist, who exultantly, but briefly, describes this measure and claims Providence as an accomplice, designates it as a "sacrificial massacre"; and Theoderic doubtless considered that the treachery of his enemy's army in surrendering and then deserting justified an unusual act of vengeance. The secret of the plot was well kept, and it seems to have been punctually executed. The result was equivalent to another victory in the field; and nothing now remained for Theoderic but to capture the last stronghold of his adversary, the marsh city of Honorius.
The siege of Ravenna lasted for two years and a half. The Gothic forces entrenched themselves in a camp in the pine-woods east of the city, but were not able entirely to prevent provisions from reaching the garrison by sea. Yet the blockade was not ineffective, for corn rose to a famine price. One attempt was made by Odovacar to disperse the besiegers. He made a sortie at night (July 10, A.D. 491) with a band of Herul warriors and attacked the Gothic trenches. The conflict was obstinate; but he was defeated. Another year wore on, and it appeared that the siege might last for ever unless the food of the garrison could be completely cut off. Theoderic managed to procure a fleet of warships—we are not told whether or not they were built for the occasion—and, making the Portus Leonis, about six miles from Ravenna, his naval base, he was  able to blockade the two harbours of the city (August A.D. 492). Odovacar held out for six months longer, but early in A.D. 493 negotiations, conducted by the bishop of Ravenna, issued in a compact between the two antagonists (February 25) that they should rule Italy jointly. Theoderic entered the city a week later (March 5).
The only way in which the compact could have been carried out would have been by a territorial division. But Theoderic had no mind to share the peninsula with another king, and there can hardly be a doubt that, when he swore to the treaty, he had the full intention of breaking his oath. Odovacar's days were numbered. Theoderic, a few days after his entry into Ravenna, slew him with his own hand in the palace of Laretum (March 15). He alleged that his defeated rival was plotting against him, but this probably was a mere pretext. "On the same day", adds the chronicler, "all Odovacar's soldiers were slain wherever they could be found, and all his kin."
In three years and a half Theoderic had accomplished his task. The reduction of Italy cost him four battles, a massacre, and a long siege. His capital blunder had been to trust Tufa after the victory of Verona. We may be sure that throughout the struggle he spared no pains to ingratiate himself in the confidence of the Italian population. But when his rival had fallen, and when he was at last securely established, Theoderic's first measure was to issue an edict depriving of their civil rights all those Italians who had not adhered to his cause. This harsh and stupid policy, however, was not carried out, for the bishop Epiphanius persuaded the king to revoke it and to promise that there would be no executions.
The Emperor Anastasius, who succeeded Zeno in 491, did not at first recognise Theoderic. But six years later they came to terms. In 497 a definite agreement was made; Anastasius recognised the position of Theoderic in Italy, subordinate to himself, on certain conditions. Then capitulation determined the constitutional position of Theoderic.
In order to understand the political aims of Theoderic, and his place as a statesman, it is indispensable to have a clear view of his constitutional position and the nature of his administration, and these matters will occupy the rest of this lecture. Fortunately there is very good material, for besides valuable notices in Procopius and a long fragment of an Italian chronicle, we have numerous state papers of Theoderic, drawn up by his state secretary, Cassiodorus.
 The formal relation of Italy to the Empire, both under Odovacar and under Theoderic, was much closer and clearer than that of any other of the states ruled by Germans. Although practically independent, it was regarded officially both at Rome and at Constantinople as part of the Empire in the fullest sense. Two circumstances exhibit this theory very clearly. Odovacar and Theoderic never used the years of their own reigns for the purposes of dating, as the kings of the Visigoths did. Secondly, the right of naming one of the consuls of the year which had belonged to the emperor reigning in the west was transferred by the consent of the Emperors Zeno and Anastasius to Odovacar and Theoderic. So far as Theoderic is concerned, we have the express attestation of the historian Procopius; but Mommsen, who elucidated the whole subject, showed that the same principle applied to Odovacar. I may give a word of explanation as to the system of consular nomination in the fifth century. The rule was that the emperor reigning in the east and the emperor reigning in the west should each nominate one of the two men who were to be consuls for the one undivided Empire. But as a rule the two names were not published together. The name of the western consul was not known in the east, nor the name of the eastern in the west, in time for simultaneous publication. Hence the custom of successive publication. But there are exceptions. Between 421 and 530 there are twenty-three years in which the consular names were published together. Four of these are cases in which two emperors filled the consulship together, and as this was evidently done by prearrangement, the simultaneous publication is at once explained. But all the other cases, whether  of two private persons or of an emperor and a private person, are peculiar. In more than half of them it is demonstrable that both consuls belonged to the same half of the Empire, whether east or west; thus in 437 both Aetius and Sigisvult belonged to the west: and of the other cases there is not a single one in which it can be shown that they belonged to different realms. We can infer with certainty that in these cases, one of the two nominators resigned his right in favour of the other, and that both consuls were nominated by the ruler of the half of the Empire to which they respectively belonged. This at once accounts for the simultaneous publication of the names. In the years 473 to 479 no consul was nominated in the west, owing to the unsettled conditions, but in 479 Zeno must have conceded to Odovacar the right of nominating a consul, for one of the consuls of 480, Basilius, almost certainly belonged to the west and was recognised in the east; and from this year we have a series of consuls appointed in the west up to the year of Odovacar's death, 493. This right did not immediately pass to Theoderic, because the Emperor Anastasius, Zeno's successor, did not immediately recognise him. From 494 to 497 the consular fasti exhibit exclusively eastern consuls. This shows Theoderic's tact. He would not widen his breach with the Emperor by assuming the right of naming a consul without his consent. But in 497 matters were arranged, and from 498 forward Theoderic named one of the consuls as Odovacar had done before him. In 522 the Emperor Justin waived his own nomination and allowed Theoderic to name both consuls—Symmachus and Boethius. It would be interesting to know whether this exceptional favour had anything  to do with the anti-German and anti-Arian sentiments of these two patricians which brought about their fall.
There was one limitation which Theoderic recognised in this matter: he could not nominate a Goth; only Romans could fill the consulship, and indeed only Romans could fill the other magistracies. The rule is corroborated by the single exception: in 519 Eutharic, Theoderic's son-in-law, was consul. But it is expressly recorded that this nomination was not made by Theoderic; it was made by the Emperor. This shows that in the capitulations of Theoderic to the government of Constantinople, one article was that a Goth should not fill the consulship. And so when Theoderic desired an exception in favour of his son-in-law, the favour had to come from the Emperor.
The capitulation which excluded Goths from the consulship extended also to all the civil offices, which were maintained under Ostrogothic rule, as they had been under Odovacar's. There was still the praetorian prefect of Italy, and when Theoderic acquired Provence the office of Praetorian Prefect of Gaul was revived. There was the vicarius urbis Romae, as before. There were all the provincial governors, divided as before into the three ranks of consulares, correctores, and praesides. There were the two finance officers, the comes sacrarum largitionum and the comes rerum privatarum. Anastasius instituted a new financial officer, the comes patrimonii, who shared the functions of the comes rerum privatarum, and Theoderic followed his example. But in this case he did not conform to the rule which excluded Goths; several of his comites patrimonii have German names; the office does not seem to have been regarded as a regular  state office; or perhaps it was treated as an exception because it was instituted after the capitulation had been made. All the officia, or staffs of subordinate officials, were maintained under Theoderic's regime. In the state documents we often read of officium nostrum; that means the bureau of the magister officiorum, who was the chief commander of the scholae of bodyguards and was at the head of all the subordinate officials of the palace. Both the praetorian prefect and the magister officiorum reside at Ravenna, but they have each a representative at Rome, who belongs to the same rank of illustres as themselves. The drafting of state documents, the official correspondence of the king, was carried on by the quaestor palatii, an office which was long filled by Cassiodorus. It may be added that the exclusion of Goths also applied to the honorary title of Patricius. Under Theoderic no Goth bore that title but Theoderic himself, who had received it from the Emperor.
But if Goths were excluded from the civil posts, it was exactly the reverse in the case of the military posts. Here it was the Romans who were excluded. The army was entirely Gothic; no Roman was liable to military service; and the officers were naturally Goths. The regiments are formed by the Goths settled in the districts of the various towns. In consequence of the confiscation of one-third of the land for the Gothic freemen, every territory in the peninsula ought to have had a garrison of these settlers; but as a matter of fact the settlements were not uniformly distributed, and the Gothic population in the south of the peninsula did not amount to much. We know practically nothing about the organisation of the army; but it seems likely that each territory  in which Goths were settled had to supply men in proportion to the number of acres. The chief officers were called priors or counts. But although the old Roman troops and their organisation have disappeared (in consequence of the exclusion of Romans), it has been shown by Mommsen that the military arrangements of Theoderic were based in many respects on arrangements which had existed in Italy under imperial rule in the fifth century. Now what about the highest office of all, that of Master of Soldiers? Under Odovacar we hear of Masters of Soldiers. But under Ostrogothic rule no Master of Soldiers is mentioned. The generals employed by Theoderic are not described by this title. In the long list of the formulae of the various offices which existed in Italy at this time the Mastership of the Soldiers does not appear, and that cannot be explained as an oversight.
Yet the office had not ceased to exist; for we find in a letter of Cassiodorus the mention of an officialis magistri militum, 'a subaltern of the Master of Soldiers'. The solution, as Mommsen has shown, is that Theoderic himself was the magister militum. He had, as we saw, received that title—magister militum praesentalis—from Zeno ten years before he conquered Italy; he bore it when he conquered Italy, and he continued to retain it while he ruled Italy. It is intelligible that he did not designate himself by this title, because his powers as ruler of Italy far exceeded the powers of the most powerful magister militum; but this does not nean that he gave the office up. It explains why the title was never given to any of his generals. The matter is illustrated by certain measures taken after Theoderic's death. His grandson and successor, the vicious lad Athalaric, was out of the question as  commander of the forces, and his mother, Amalasuntha, who acted as regent, appointed a Gothic warrior, Tuluin, and Liberius, a Roman, who was the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul, to be patricii praesentales. This remarkable appointment involved two deviations from existing rules. It gave the rank of Patricius to Tuluin, who as a Goth was excluded from that title; and it gave a military command to Liberius, who as a Roman was incapable of such. The office, though under this modified title, was simply that of magister militum praesentalis, but the circumstance that the title was modified is significant, and illustrates the fact that the office of magister militum had become closely united to that of king, through the long tenure of it by Theoderic.
It need hardly be said that as the Goths were excluded from civil offices, so they were excluded from the Roman senate. The senate continued to exist under the Ostrogothic kings, and to perform the same functions as it had performed throughout the fifth century. It was still formally recognised as a sovran body. Theoderic writes: parem nobiscum reipublicae debetis adnisum. The senate like the emperor could leges constituere, and the constitutional difference between a senator and the emperor was that the senator was under the law and the emperor was not. But only the senators of the highest class, the illustres, had the right of voting, and as this class consisted of men who held the highest state offices, and were appointed by the emperor, it was the emperor who nominated the senators. Such was the constitutional position of the senate: politically it had no power, and its functions were practically confined to the affairs of Rome.
 The position of Theoderic as deputy-governor of the emperor, and the position of Italy as part of the empire is shown by the maintenance of the imperial sovran rights in coinage and in legislation. Theoderic did not claim the right of coining except in subordination to the emperor. The silver coins of his reign show the Emperor Anastasius (dominus noster Anastasius) on the obverse, and on the reverse Theoderic's monogram with the legend invicta Roma. Did he claim the right of making laws? In Procopius, it is expressly stated by representatives of the Goths, that neither Theoderic nor any of the Gothic rulers issued a law. This statement involves the admission that the right of legislation was the supreme prerogative of the emperor. And there is no formal contradiction between this statement and the fact that ordinances of Theoderic exist. None of these ordinances are designated as leges. They are only edicta. The lex, and the making of a lex, was the exclusive right of the emperor; but various high officials could issue an edictum. Here then, formally, the regime of Theoderic stands in marked contrast with the regime in the western kingdoms which did not depend on Constantinople. The Ostrogothic king issues edicts, the contemporary Burgundian king enacts leges, mansurae in aevum leges.
But was this difference between the law and the edict, between the right of the emperor and the right of the king, merely a formal one? Did it mean no more than the difference of a name, that Theoderic called his laws edicta, while the laws of Anastasius or Justin were leges? Theoderic certainly promulgated what Cassiodorus calls edicta generalia, laws which did not concern special cases, but were of a general kind  permanently valid, and which, if they had been enacted by the emperor, would have been called leges. But it must be remembered that the highest officials of the empire, especially the praetorian prefect, had the right of issuing an edictum generate, provided it did not run counter to any existing law. This may sound like a contradiction, but practically it was a very important distinction. It amounted to this, that the praetorian prefect could modify existing laws, in subordinate points, whether in the direction of mildness or severity or definition, but could not originate any new principle or institution. Now the ordinances of Theoderic which are collected in his code, known as the Edictum Theoderici, exhibit conformity to this rule. They introduce no new institutions; they alter no established principle. When he first appeared in Rome we are told that Theoderic addressed the people and promised that he would preserve inviolate omnia quod retro principes ordinaverunt. Procopius twice emphasises the fact that he preserved the laws of the empire. Theoderic himself, through the official mouthpiece of Cassiodorus, repeatedly dwells on this principle of the regime: "nescimus a legibus discrepare"; "sufficiens laus conscientiae est veterum decreta servare". Thus in the matter of legislation the king is neither nominally nor really co-ordinate with the emperor. His legislative powers are those of a great official, such as a praetorian prefect, and though he employed these powers to a greater extent than any praetorian prefect could have done, owing to the circumstances of the case, yet his edicts are qualitatively on the same footing, and are qualitatively quite distinct from the laws which the emperor might make. In legislation, the position  of Theoderic as an official of the empire is clear and unmistakable, and it is remarkable how loyally he adhered to the capitulations.
It is important to have a clear idea of the legal position of the Goths in Italy. The Goths settled by Theoderic, like the Germans settled by Odovacar, had legally exactly the same status as mercenaries, or travellers, or hostages who dwelled on Roman territory, but might at any time return to their homes beyond the Roman frontier. The fact that these Germans had made their homes on Roman soil, though it altered practically their position, did not alter their legal status. They were foreign soldiers, without Roman citizenship. But you must observe that this by no means implies that Roman law did not apply to them. We have to distinguish between the laws which have a territorial and those which have a personal application. To the former class belong all laws pertaining to criminal matters and to the general intercourse of life, and these were applicable to all foreigners who happened to be sojourning in Roman territory. The personal laws, which concerned only Roman citizens, were mainly those which related to marriage and inheritance. These had no application to foreigners, and one consequence was that if a foreigner died on Roman soil his property fell to the state as unowned property, there being no legal heir, the laws of inheritance not applying to him. This was the condition of the Gothic soldiers in Italy. They were not Roman citizens: Theoderic speaks of a certain Goth, who had acquired Roman culture, as civis paene vester, 'almost a Roman citizen'. The only Goth in Italy who possessed Roman citizenship was Theoderic himself. The Goths did not belong  to any municipal community. They were not even incolae. When a citizen of Naples went to live at Beneventum, he became an incola of Beneventum; but a foreigner, a Moor or a Frank, did not become an incola of the place where he lived, and neither did the Goth. And here we touch on another important restriction of Theoderic's powers. He could not turn a Goth into a Roman; he could not bestow Roman citizenship; that power was reserved for the Emperor.
The Goths then were foreign soldiers. Their quality as soldiers determined the character of the courts in which they were judged. The Roman rule at this time was that the soldier could be tried by a military court only, and Theoderic instituted military courts for the Goths on this principle. But here we come to a serious and important interference on the part of Theoderic with the rights of the Romans. All processes between Goths and Romans, to whichever race the accuser belonged, were brought before these military courts. In such cases a Roman lawyer was always present as an assessor; but probably no feature of the Gothic regime was so unpopular as this. So far as the personal law was concerned, the Goths and Romans lived side by side, each according to their own laws. But—and this is a very important fact—the territorial law, criminal jurisprudence and laws affecting general intercourse, applied to the Goths as well as to the Romans: this was the jus commune of which Theoderic speaks, and his Edict, which is based on Roman law, is addressed to Goths and Romans indiscriminately.
Theoderic, like the emperor, had a supreme royal court, which could withdraw any case from a lower court, or cancel its decision; and this court seems to  have been much more active than the corresponding court of the emperor. It is indeed in the domain of justice, in striking contrast with the domain of legislation, that the German kings in Italy asserted their actual authority.
Besides holding the Roman office of magister militum in regard to the foreign soldiers, Theoderic was likewise their king. I have already called your attention to the fact that Theoderic was originally not king of the whole Ostrogothic people, but only a gaukönig, one among other Ostrogothic kings. On the conquest of Italy, the extent of his kingly power, that is the number of his subjects, increased through the circumstance that those of Odovacar's German settlers whom he did not extirpate or banish acknowledged him as their king; this was notably the case with the Rugians. His position in Italy then in regard to the foreign settlers is that of a German king; but those settlers are not all Ostrogoths. As a matter of fact Theoderic did not call himself "king of the Goths": he designated his position by the Latin title rex, but he never called himself rex Gotorum. But his adoption of this style, rex, his avoidance of rex Gotorum, was certainly not influenced by the fact that his German subjects embraced a larger circle than the Ostrogoths whom he had led to conquer Italy. It was rather due to his relation to the Roman population. For although formally and constitutionally the Roman citizens of Italy were the subjects of the emperor, of whom Theoderic himself was a subject and official, yet actually and politically they were in the hands of Theoderic, who was their ruler. This actual relation of Theoderic to the Roman population was unconstitutional, or perhaps I should  say extra-constitutional, and there was no constitutional term to designate it. Theoderic used the word rex to signify this unwritten relation; for remember that rex had no constitutional meaning in the empire, no place in the vocabulary of the imperial constitution. It was an extremely convenient term, when used thus without any closer definition, to designate at once his regular relation to his German subjects, and his irregular relation, his quasi-kingship, to the Romans of Italy. If he had called himself rex Gotorum, he would thereby have seemed to exclude the Romans from that higher authority which he possessed beyond the power of an ordinary imperial official. On the other hand, it would have been impossible for him to describe himself as rex Gotorum et Romanorum, for rex Romanorum would have been a glaring unconstitutional monstrosity. The simple and vague rex was the most appropriate term to suggest that actual sovran authority which he exercised over the German settlers and Roman citizens alike.
But this title, this style, was not the invention of Theoderic. It was the usage of his predecessor Odovacar, and was clearly taken over by Theoderic from him. Fortunately we possess one original official document from the chancery of Odovacar. It is a deed of gift, written on papyrus, and is preserved in two fragments, of which one is at Vienna and the other at Naples. Odovacar grants therein some farms at Syracuse to Pierius the Count of Domestics. The important point is that Odovacar is here officially designated as rex. The Ostrogothic dynasty adopted this style. And this is a noteworthy fact, because it is part of a larger fact which has not been sufficiently  recognised and which I want to impress upon you, that in regard to the constitutional principle and the administrative system the Ostrogothic regime is simply a continuation of the regime of Odovacar: there is no break; the substitution of Theoderic is from this point of view simply a change of person. The historian who has most fully recognised this fact is Heinrich von Sybel. Everything points to the assumption that the capitulations of the agreement between Theoderic and Anastasius corresponded in all essential points to the arrangement which Odovacar had made with Zeno. And I think it is not unimportant to observe a circumstance which helped to secure and facilitate administrative continuity. The first Praetorian Prefect of Italy under Theoderic's government was Liberius, who held the office for seven years from A.D. 493 to 500. Now this Liberius was one of the chief ministers of Odovacar, though we do not know what post he held. He supported his first master loyally until the final catastrophe, and he transferred his services to Theoderic, who wisely accepted them. Another minister of Odovacar was Cassiodorus—not the famous Cassiodorus whose writings are our chief authority for the Ostrogothic period, but his father. Cassiodorus, the father, was a finance minister under Odovacar. He had held both of the great financial offices; he had been Count of the Sacred Largess, and Count of the Private Estate. He stood aloof apparently in the contest between Theoderic and Odovacar; and when that contest was decided, he served under Theoderic, and in the early years of the sixth century became praetorian prefect (1) [If I may remark in parenthesis that it would be very unreasonable to make any reflections upon the character of Cassiodorus because he stood aloof and did not support Odovacar under whom he had served against Odovacar's conqueror. You must remember that, in the eyes of the Roman citizens of Italy, Odovacar was an imperial official, and their own allegiance was due to the Emperor; thus when a new Master of Soldiers in the person of Theoderic came from the Emperor, sent by the Emperor to remove Odovacar, it was perfectly natural and reasonable that they should have stood aloof.]  To return to my point: Liberius and Cassiodorus were two conspicuous instances in which the ministers of Odovacar's regime continued to take part in Theoderic's administration; and there were doubtless a great many cases of the kind. This continuity of the personnel of the civil service is significant, because it helped to secure Italy against breach or change in the administration.
I have tried to bring out the thoroughly Roman character of the Italian kingdom. The question will naturally be asked: How far did Germanic influences make themselves felt in Theoderic's administration? In the first place, of course, as I have already noted, the Germans lived, so far as their own personal relations were concerned, according to Germanic laws and customs. But in the general administration there are one or two cases where Germanic influence may have operated. Let us take the case of the officer called by the Gothic name of saio, who was always a Goth. These officers were marshals or messengers whom the king employed to intimate his commands. They were employed to summon the Gothic soldiers to arms, or to call a Roman official to a sense of duty. If a praetorian prefect attempted an act of oppression, Theoderic sent a saio to inform him that this kind of thing could not be allowed. Now, the office of saio may well represent a German institution. But it is well to insist on the fact that it can be explained  without that assumption; there need be nothing Gothic about it but the name. For there were other officers who were called by a Roman name and had exactly similar functions. There were the comitiaci who were subordinate to the magister officiorum. Mommsen has shown that these comitiaci are identical with the well-known agentes in rebus, one whose duties was to execute special missions of the Emperor. Thus the saiones may merely represent a transference to the Goths of a Roman institution.
There is another institution which we find active under Theoderic, and in which I think a certain Germanic influence may have been at work. This is the tuitio. It is a purely Roman institution in itself. The earliest mention we have of it is in a law of A.D. 393. Any person who considered his personal safety in danger might apply for special protection, and a judge was bound to assign an officer to assist and protect him. The officer must not be a soldier, but a civil officer—an apparitor. Whether the Emperor ever himself granted a tuitio of this kind we do not know; no case is recorded, and we may assume that he was seldom or never called upon to do so. Such petitions cannot, in the ordinary course of things, have come before the highest court of all. Now this practice of tuitio plays a very prominent part in Ostrogothic Italy, and we find it mainly as a protection granted by the king himself. It was one of the methods by which the king preserved peace and order among the two races; it was used to protect Roman against Goth and Goth against Roman. A Roman proprietor who felt his life or property threatened by an aggressive Gothic neighbour could apply to the royal court for an officer to protect him,  and a saio would be quartered in his house for that purpose. Now it seems highly probable that the quickening of this Roman custom under the Gothic government, and its special association with the king himself, may have been partly due to the influence of the Germanic idea of the king's duty of protection, the Königsschutz—an idea which was very important among the Franks. The old German word for it was Munt, now obsolete, but preserved in some compounds like Vormund, 'guardian', and unmündig, 'under age.'
And just as he accepted the duality of religion, he accepted and maintained the dual system of Goth and Roman as two distinct and separate peoples living side by side. He accepted the government of this double population as the problem which he had to solve; he took no steps to bring about fusion; his only aim was that the two nations should live together in amity. It might be asked how far he regarded this state of things as no more than a stage; whether he thought that a day would come when the Gothic peregrini, assimilated by their Roman neighbours, would be admitted to Roman citizenship and intermarriage; whether he looked forward to a fusion of the two races in the future. To such a question I think we may answer, probably, No. He did not look beyond the dual system, nor comprehend that  the dual system could not be permanent. The Ostrogothic kingdom was overthrown before such a fusion could begin. But the development in the Visigothic kingdom, under similar conditions, suggests that some fusion would have ensued, if the Ostrogothic kingdom had endured.
In foreign politics Theoderic acted as an independent sovran, and his great aim here corresponded to his aim in his own kingdom. As his object in Italy was to maintain law and order, what he called civilitas, so on the wider scene of Western Europe his object was to maintain peace and the existing order of things. The four chief powers which came into account were the Visigoths, the Vandals, the Burgundians, and the Franks. It was natural that Theoderic should look for special co-operation from the Visigoths, who besides being Arian were a kindred folk. But his policy was not to form a close, intimate alliance with the Visigoths, which could only seem a threat and a danger to the other powers. He sought to form bonds of friendship and alliance with all the reigning houses. If he wedded one of his daughters to Alaric, king of the Visigoths, the other married Sigismund, who became king of the Burgundians after his father Gundobad's death. Theoderic himself took as his second wife a Frankish princess, sister of Clovis. Moreover, his own sister married Thrasamund, king of the Vandals. Thus he formed close ties by marriage with all the chief powers of the west. In addition, his niece married a king of the Thuringians.
The character and spirit of Theoderic's policy are exhibited in his intervention in favour of the Alamanni. This people, after their defeat by Clovis, had  moved southward into Baden, Würtemburg, and eastern Switzerland. Some years later Clovis decided to pursue them and extirpate them. Theoderic wrote to his brother-in-law advising him not to push his victory further. "Hear the counsel of one who has experience in such matters. Those wars of mine have been successful the ending of which has been guided by moderation." The Alamanni were taken under the protection of Theoderic, being settled in the province of Rhaetia, which officially belonged to Italy; and they served there as a sort of frontier garrison.
But the family alliances of Theoderic did not avail to hinder war or to prevent the inevitable struggle between the Franks and Visigoths in Gaul. No moment in his reign perhaps caused more anxiety and vexation than when Clovis declared war against Alaric. He did all he could to avert it. We have the three letters he wrote at this crisis to Alaric, to Gundobad, and to Clovis himself. It was in vain. But the remarkable thing is that Theoderic did not render the help which he promised to his son-in-law Alaric. The probability seems to be that he had not calculated upon the Burgundians taking the side of the Franks, and that they cut him off in 507 from marching to Aquitaine in time to intervene in the struggle. But in 508 and the next two years his generals conducted campaigns in Gaul, and succeeded in rescuing the city of Arles and in saving Narbonensis for the Visigoths. These campaigns resulted also in an acquisition for Theoderic himself. Provence was wrested from the Burgundians and annexed to Italy. The power of Theoderic also received another extension. The heir of Alaric, who  had fallen in the battle of Vouille, was a child. The government of Spain was consigned to Theoderic, who was the boy's grandfather and his most powerful protector; and for the rest of his life he ruled Spain in his own name. He ruled it quite independently, and the union in the same hands of Spain, the independent kingdom, and Italy, the imperial dependency, exhibits in a striking way the contrast between them.
Theoderic died in 526, and within ten years from his death the struggle began which ended in the destruction of his work, the overthrow of the Ostrogothic kingdom. The stage was cleared for a new development. It may then seem unnecessary to have dwelt at such comparative length on the reign of Theoderic and the Ostrogothic period, seeing that it was an episode which led to nothing and had no morrow. But the importance of studying the Ostrogothic regime is not so much due to its place in the development of events, as to the light it throws, both by way of similarity and by way of contrast, on the process of the formation and on the conditions of the kingdoms into which the western half of the Empire broke up. It helps us to understand the position of the Visigothic federate kingdom and the Burgundian federate kingdom in Gaul when they were first planted; it helps us to understand how the parallel dual systems worked in other lands; it helps us to realise the problems of government which the other German kings had to solve, whether they were still federate or had ceased to be federate; it helps us to apprehend the attitude and aims of the half-Romanised Germans.
I cannot include the story of the fall of the Ostrogothic kingdom, and the resumption of Italy under  the immediate government of the emperor, within the compass of these lectures. I have only to remind you that Justinian's conquest of Africa and his conquest of Italy differed in one important point. In the case of Africa, he was recovering lost provinces from a power which was quite independent of the Empire. In the case of Italy, he was resuming the direct government of a territory which had been committed to the sway of a regent who in theory fully acknowledged the imperial authority and accepted the limitations which had been laid down by that authority. Observe also that to the Roman population of Italy the change of masters was welcome; the Goths were still aliens to them, and they were heretical aliens as well. This difference in religion was of fundamental importance.
The fall of the Ostrogothic kingdom reminds us of the comparative failure of the East German peoples to perform their early promise. It had seemed, a century earlier, that the fate of western Europe lay with them. The Vandal and the Ostrogothic kingdoms had now both disappeared. The Visigothic still survived, but at the beginning of the eighth century it was to go down before invaders from Asia. It was the only one of the three which was to have abiding effect on the country in which it was established. The fourth, the Burgundian, had already been absorbed into the Merovingian realm. Two of the sons of Clovis conquered it in 532. But it maintained an integral identity of its own within that realm; an identity which was marked by the continued use of Burgundian law.
[Visigoths and Franks in Gaul]