Origin of Theodoric Tribe
Theodoric the Great belong to the Ostrogoths tribe.
They had settled in Southern Russia, at length pushed southward and westward to the mouth of the Danube.
Theodoric continuously invaded land belonging to the Romans.
The emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire who lived at Constantinople, dreaded their raid.
One emperor gave them land and money, and thus stopped their invasions for a time.
He was the son of Theodemir, who was also a king of the Ostrogoths.
Rise of Theodoric
His father sent eight years old Theodoric to Constantinople.
Leo, the Emperor of the East held him hostage to fulfill the conditions of the treaty.
His father gave him as a hostage to roman emperor in carrying out a treaty with the Emperor.
Theodemir died in 475, and then Theodoric returned to his own country and became king of the Ostrogoths.
At this time he was eighteen years of age.
He was handsome and brave and people loved him.
For some years after he became king Theodoric had frequent wars with other Gothic kings and also with the Roman Emperor Zeno.
He won nearly all his battles.
Theodoric – Imperial Guard of Constantinople
At last Zeno began to think it would be better to try to make friends with him.
So he gave Theodoric some rich lands and made him commander of the Imperial Guard of Constantinople.
But the Emperor soon became tired of having the Ostrogoth king at his court. He tried to get rid of him.
He supported Theodoric in his invasion of Italy, and take that country from Odoacer.
Delighted Theodoric at once began his preparations.
Odoacer was at that time king of Italy. He called himself the “patrician” of Italy, and he ruled the country well.
Theodoric Invasion of Italy
He started for Italy, not only with a great army, but with all the people of his country.
He meant to take Italy and be its king and settle in it with all his Ostrogoths.
When he set out he had with him two hundred and fifty thousand men, women, and children.
He had also an army of sixty thousand brave soldiers.
It was a long and weary journey from the shores of the Black Sea overland across the Alps into Italy.
The journey took months, but at last the Ostrogoths reached the top of the Alps.
Then they could see, stretched out before them, the beautiful land of Italy.
They were all delighted. They shouted and danced with joy, and Theodoric cried out:
“There is the country which shall be our home. Let us march on. It certainly shall be ours.”
Then they passed quickly down, and soon they invaded Italy.
Theodoric war with Odoacer
Odoacer had heard of their coming and he got ready an army to drive them away.
He also got his fighting men ready.
The two armies met, and fought the great battle near the town of Aquileia.
Odoacer was defeated. Then he tried to get Theodoric to leave Italy by offering him a large sum of money.
But Theodoric would not go.
He said he had as good a right to be king of Italy as Odoacer.
Soon after there was another battle, near Verona, and Odoacer was again defeated.
He came very near being killed in battle. His mother’s courage saved him.
She was in his camp, and at one time she saw a number of the Ostrogoths running away from that part of the battle-field.
The mother rushed forward and stopped the fleeing men.
She made them feel that it was a shame for them to desert their leader.
They at once returned to the field and fought beside their king until the battle was won.
Siege of Ravenna
After the battle of Verona, Odoacer went with his army to the city of Ravenna, and remained there for some time.
He followed with his Ostrogoths.
He tried to take the city, but there was a very strong wall around it.
The Ostrogoths could not capture it.
Although he was not able to take Ravenna, he did not remain idle.
He marched off to other parts of the country, and took possession of towns and districts.
King of Italy
After a while Odoacer got together a better army than he had before, and made another effort to defeat Theodoric.
Theodoric defeated him in another great battle, which was fought on the banks of the River Adda.
After this battle Odoacer again fled to Ravenna. He followed again and laid siege to the city.
This time his army surrounded it and kept provisions from being sent in, and at last, Odoacer had to surrender.
A treaty was then made between the two kings and both agreed that they should rule together over Italy.
But a few days afterwards Theodoric murdered Odoacer while sitting at a banquet.
Soon he made himself the sole king of Italy.
Death of Theodoric
He divided one-third of the land of the country among his own followers.
So Theodoric governed Ostrogoths, Romans, and Visigoths as one people.
Theodoric died at the age of seventy-one after ruling Italy for thirty-three years.