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Book IV
Chapter 7

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

by
Thomas Hodgkin


2nd edition
Oxford University Press
London
1896

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Book IV
Note E

Book 4 (continued)

Vol. III
p257
Chapter VIII

Theodoric and his Court

Authorities

Sources: —

The Anonymus Valesii (described in the text), the Variae of Cassiodorus, Procopius de Bello Gothico, and Jordanes de Rebus Geticis.

Guides: —

For the life of Cassiodorus, Herm. Usener's 'Anecdoton Holderi' (Bonn and Wiesbaden, 1877), which will be described in a later chapter, R. Köpke's 'Anfänge des Königthums bei den Gothen' (Berlin, 1859), Ebert's 'Christlich-Lateinische Litteratur' (Leipzig, 1874), and Monographs on Cassiodorus by August Thorbecke (Heidelberg, 1867) and Adolph Franz (Breslau, 1872). This will be the best place for noticing the chief works of the special Theodoric literature.

'Vita Theodorici regis Ostrogothorum et Italiae,' by Joannes Cochlaeus annotated by John Peringskiöld (Stockholm, 1699), was a pretty good book for its time, consisting largely of extracts from Cassiodorus, interspersed with some statements made on very inferior authority. Cochlaeus's want of accurate knowledge of the history of the time is shown by his quoting the celebrated description by Sidonius of the Court of Theodoric the Visigoth, as if it applied to Theodoric the Ostrogoth, who came to the throne after the death of Sidonius; but this error, which is frequently made by scholars of the eighteenth century, is probably due to the fact that that letter is included in the editio princeps of the works of Cassiodorus. Their is an amusing display of inapposite and probably inaccurate learning, as to Runic inscriptions and the like, in the notes of Peringskiöld.

The three best books on the subject of Theodoric (always  p258 excepting Dahn's volume on the Ostrogothic Kingship) were called forth directly or indirectly by a prize offered in 1808 by the French Institute, for the best essay on the following subject, 'What was the condition of the peoples of Italy in respect of public and private law during the rule of the Ostrogoths? What were the chief principles of the legislation of Theodoric and his successors? and especially, What was the difference which it established between the Conquerors and Conquered?' The thought occurs to one, that the Institute possibly wished to suggest a parallel between Theodoric and Napoleon, or to deduce from the generous policy of the former some rules for the guidance of the latter.

The first prize was taken by a German, Georg Sartorius, Professor at Göttingen (Versuch über die Regierung der Ostgothen während ihrer Herrschaft in Italien; Hamburg, 1811), the second by a Frenchman, Naudet (Histoire de la Monarchie des Gothes en Italie; Paris, 1810). Sartorius's book, with which I am best acquainted, is an extremely painstaking and helpful treatise on Ostrogothic administration, chiefly, of course, compiled from the letters of Cassiodorus.

Fifteen years later (in 1824), the seed sown by the announcement of the French Institute bore fruit in another German book, 'Geschichte des Ost‑Gothischen Reiches in Italien,' by J. C. F. Manso (Breslau, 1824). This book deals more with external events than either of the other two just named, and carries on the history to the fall of the Ostrogothic kingdom; but it also gives a very useful survey of the laws and administration of Theodoric. Manso reprints at the end of his essay Ennodius's Panegyricus, with some comments on difficult passages which have aroused the rather contemptuous criticism of Fertig (Magnus Felix Ennodius und seine Zeit, Abth. III).

Of inferior quality are the two following, 'Histoire de Théodoric le Grand, Roi d'Italie,' par L. M. du Roure (2 vols., Paris, 1846), and 'Théodoric Roi des Ostrogothes et d'Italie' (the title seems taken from Cochlaeus), par Paul Deltuf, Paris, 1869. Both of these books are very inaccurate, and neither can be considered of much value as a historical authority. Du Roure puts in the forefront of his work Cardinal Maury's maxim 'Pour écrire l'histoire il faut la deviner,' and he certainly has guessed it, often with amusing inaccuracy. Yet the book no  p259 doubt served its author's purpose, since it gave him an opportunity of informing his readers (p29, n. 1) that the du Roures were a noble family in the South of France descended from a Gothic or Burgundian chief. And, however unfitted he may be for the task of writing a history, it seems impossible for a Frenchman to be dull. Both du Roure and Deltuf have provided us with pleasant reading, and it is an interesting employment for the student to mark their frequent errors. Some of du Roure's political reflections on the character of Theodoric's government are really good, and Deltuf, alone as far as I know among Theodoric's biographers, has noticed the letter which is apparently addressed by Theodoric to the deposed Emperor Augustulus (Cass. Var. III.35).

Theodoric from the Roman point of view. We have endeavoured in the previous chapter to look at Theodoric king of the Goths and the Romans with the eyes of such of his old barbarian comrades as survived the hardships of the march and the perils of four bloody battles, and found themselves quartered in the pleasant lands of Italy, with every possession that heart could desire except freedom. Let us now hear what the Roman inhabitants of the land, the orators and churchmen, who alone could translate his deeds into literature and so transmit his fame to posterity, have to tell us concerning him.

No stirring events mark his reign. It may be stated at once that no great events and no great historian illustrate his reign. Seldom has there been a better illustration of the proverb, 'Happy is the nation that has no annals;' for in the comparative poverty of our historical information one thing is clear, that the period during which Theodoric bore sway, a period equivalent to the average length of a generation of mankind, was a time of great and generally diffused happiness for the Italian population, one that stood out in emphatic contrast to the century of creeping paralysis which preceded, and to the  p260 ghastly cycle of wars and barbarous revenges which followed that peaceful time.

And no great historian. But, had the events of this reign been many we could have said little about them. By some strange fatality, the Ostrogothic King, with all his generous patronage of arts and literature, never lighted on the 'sacred bard' who should keep his fame green through the centuries, nor on the fluent historian who should weave the various actions of his time into a connected history. Or, if such a work ever was written — and possibly the later books of Cassiodorus' history of the Goths would have answered to this description — the foolish sieve of Time, which so often retains the sand and lets the pure gold fall through into oblivion, has not preserved it to our days.

Much valuable and interesting information however, as to both home and foreign affairs, can be obtained from the official correspondence of Cassiodorus, the manner of the composition of which has been glanced at in the previous chapter. But the only continuous account of the history of his reign — except a few meagre sentences of Jordanes — is contained in the mysterious fragment which is quoted by historians as 'Anonymus Valesii'. Anonymus Valesii, and which is always printed (for no very obvious reason) at the end of the history of Ammianus Marcellinus.

This unknown scribe, with whom we have already made some acquaintance,1 takes his literary name from Henri de Valois, a French scholar of the seventeenth century, who first introduced him to the modern world. 546‑556 According to an opinion now generally accepted, he is  p261 none other than that Maximian Bishop of Ravenna whose mosaic portrait we still see on the walls of S. Vitale, where, arrayed in alb and pallium and with a jewelled cross in his hand, he consecrates the new church in the (imaginary) presence of Justinian and his Court. Whoever the writer be, he writes as an ecclesiastic and as an inhabitant of Ravenna. A vein of something like legendary adornment runs through his narrative, nor should we be justified in quoting him as an absolutely accurate witness for events, some of which may have happened twenty or thirty years before his birth, and the latest of which (as recorded by him) probably happened in his boyhood. But, as has been before hinted, there is every reason to think that for some of his names and dates he relies upon the absolutely contemporary but now perished 'Annals of Ravenna';2 and on the whole, as historical authorities go, notwithstanding his anonymousness, a very fair voucher for the truth of the facts which he records.

As the extract is not long,a and is of considerable importance, it will be well to translate it entire: —

The Anonymus Valesii on Theodoric

Theodoric king in Ravenna.

'Now Theodoric had sent Faustus Niger on an embassy to Zeno. But as the news of that Emperor's death arrived before the return of the embassy, and as the entry into Ravenna and the death of Odoacer had intervened, the Goths confirmed Theodoric to themselves as king, without waiting for the orders of the new Emperor.

'He was a man most brave and warlike, the natural  p262 son of Walamir3 king of the Goths. Theodoric's pedigree, and character. His mother was called Ereriliva,4 a Gothic woman but a Catholic, who took at baptism the name Eusebia.

'He was an illustrious man and full of good‑will towards all. He reigned thirty-three years, and during thirty of those years so great was the happiness attained by Italy that even the wayfarers were at peace.5 For he did nothing wrong. Thus did he govern the two nations, the Goths and Romans, as if they were one people, belonging himself to the Arian sect, but arranging that the civil administration of the Romans should continue as it was under the Emperors.6 His administration. He gave presents and rations to the people, yet though he found the Treasury quite bankrupt,7 by his own labour he brought it round into a flourishing condition. Nothing did he attempt against the Catholic faith. He exhibited games in the Circus and Amphitheatre, so that he received from the Romans the titles Trajan and Valentinian  p263 (as he did in truth seek to bring back the prosperous times of those emperors); and on the other hand, the obedience rendered by the Goths to the Edictum Theodorici showed that they recognised its author as in all things their Mightiest.8

His sayings.

'Unlettered as he was, so great was his shrewdness that some of his sayings still pass current among the common folk, a few of which we may be allowed here to preserve.

'He said, "He who has gold and he who has a devil can neither of them hide what they have got."

'Also, "The Roman when in misery imitates the Goth, and the Goth when in comfort imitates the Roman."9

The Judgment of Theodoric.

'A certain man dying left a wife and a little boy too young to know his mother. The child was taken away by a friend of the father's into another province, and there educated. Returning as a young man to his mother, he found that she had betrothed herself to a suitor. When however she saw her son she embraced him, and blessed God for restoring him to her: so he abode with her thirty days. At the end of that time her lover returns, sees the youth and  p264 asks "Who is this?" She replied, "My son." When he found that she had a son, he began to claim back again his earnest-money,10 and to say, "Either deny that this is your son, or else I go hence." Thus compelled by her lover, the woman began to deny the son whom she had previously owned, and ordered him out of the house as a stranger to her. He answered that he had returned, as he had a right to do, to his mother in the house of his father. Eventually the son appealed to the King against his mother, and the King ordered her to appear before him. "Woman!" said he, "thou hearest what this young man urges against thee. Is he thy son or no?" She answered, "He is not my son, but as a stranger did I entertain him." Then when the woman's son had told all his story in the King's Court, the King said to her again, "Is he thy son or no?" And again she said, "He is not my son." Said the King to her, "And what is the amount of thy possessions, woman?"11 She answered, "As much as 1000 solidi" [£600]. Then the King swore that nothing would satisfy him, unless the woman took him (the young man) for her husband instead of the suitor. With that the woman was struck with confusion, and confessed that he was indeed her son. And many more stories of the same kind are related of him.

His royal alliances.

 p265  'Afterwards he received from the Franks a wife named Augofleda;12 for he had had a wife before his accession to the throne who had borne him two daughters. One, named Arevagni,13 he gave in marriage to Alaric king of the Visigoths in Gaul, and the other, named Theodegotha, to Sigismund son of King Gundebaud [the Burgundian].

Peace with Anastasius.

'Having made his peace with the Emperor Anastasius through the mediation of Festus for his unauthorised assumption of the royal title,14 [the Emperor] also restored to him all the ornaments of the palace which Odoachar had transmitted to Constantinople.

Contested election to the Papacy, 498.

'At the same time there arose a strife in the city of Rome between Symmachus and Laurentius, both of whom were consecrated [bishops]. By Divine ordering Symmachus, the worthier of the two, prevailed. Visit to Rome, 500. After peace had been restored King Theodoric went to Rome, the Church's capital,15 and paid his devotions to the Blessed Peter as devoutly as any Catholic. To meet him, Pope Symmachus and all the Senate and people of Rome poured forth, with every mark of joy, outside the gates of the city. Then Theodoric entering the city came to the Senate, and at the Palma16 delivered an address to the people of Rome, promising that by God's help he would keep inviolate all that the preceding Roman sovereigns had ordained.

Largesse to the people.

 p266  'Celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of his accession17 he entered the city in triumph, rode to the palace, and exhibited to the Romans the games of the Circus. He also gave to the Roman people and to the poor a yearly supply of grain to the amount of 120,000 modii [3750 quarters], and for the restoration of the palace or the repair of the walls of the city he ordered 200 lbs [of gold = £8000] to be paid annually from the proceeds of the duty on wine.18

His sister, Vandal queen.

'Moreover, he gave his sister Amalafrigda in marriage to Transimund king of the Vandals.

Liberius Praetorian Prefect, 493‑500.

'He made Liberius, whom in the beginning of his reign he had appointed Praetorian Prefect, Patrician, and gave him his as successor in the former office — [The name seems to have dropped out.] Conspiracy of Odoin, 4 May, 500. Therefore Theodorus son of Basilius [and] Odoin his Count (?) conspired against him.19 When he had discovered this plot he ordered his head to be cut off20 in the palace which is called "Sessorium."21 For (?) at the request of the  p267 people he directed that the words of the promise which he had made them in his popular harangue should be engraved on a brazen tablet and fixed in a place of public resort.

His niece queen of the Thuringians.

'Then returning to Ravenna in the sixth month he gave Amalabirga his sister's daughter in marriage to Herminifrid king of the Thuringians. And thus he pleased all the nations round about him; for he was a lover of manufactures and a great restorer of cities.

Buildings at Ravenna,

'He restored the aqueduct of Ravenna which Trajan had built, and after a long interval of time again introduced water into the city. He made the palace perfect, but did not dedicate it, and he finished the porticoes round the palace.

at Verona,

'Also at Verona he erected baths and a palace, and carried a portico from the gate to the palace. The aqueduct, which had long been destroyed, he renewed, and introduced water through it. Moreover he surrounded the city with new walls.

at Pavia.

'At Ticinum [Pavia] also he built a palace, baths, and an amphitheatre, and carried new walls round the city. On many other cities also he bestowed many benefits. Thus he so charmed the neighbouring nations that they came under a league with him, hoping that he would be their king. Peace The merchants too from divers provinces came flocking together to him, for so great was the order which he maintained, that, if any one wished to leave gold or silver on his land, it was deemed as safe as if within a walled city. An indication of this was the fact that throughout all  p268 Italy he never made gates for any city, and the gates that were in the cities were not closed. Any one who had any business to transact did it at any hour of the night as securely as in the day.

and plenty.

'In his time men bought wheat at 60 modii for a solidus [about 12s. a quarter], and for 30 amphorae of wine they paid the same price [2s. 4d. per gallon].

* * * * * *

His want of education.

'Now King Theodoric was an unlettered man, and so successful as a student22 that after ten years of reigning he was still utterly unable to learn the four letters of his own signature to one of his edicts [𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳 Thiud, if in Gothic, Theo if in Latin]. Wherefore he ordered a golden plate to be engraved, having the four letters of the royal name pierced through it, so that when he used to sign any document he could place the plate upon the paper, and drawing his pen through the holes could give it the appearance of his own signature.

Consulship of Eutharic his son-in‑law, 519.

'Then Theodoric, having conferred the honours of the consulship on [his son-in‑law] Eutharic, triumphed at Rome and Ravenna. But this Eutharic was a man of very harsh disposition, and a bitter enemy of the Catholic faith.

Religious disturbances at Ravenna.

'After this, when Theodoric was staying at Verona through fear of hostile movements among the barbarians [north of the Alps],23 a strife arose between  p269 the Jews and Christians of the city of Ravenna. For the Jews, disliking those who were baptized, often by way of derision threw persons into the water of the river, and in the same way they made sport of the Lord's Supper.24 Hereupon the people being inflamed with fury, and being quite past the control of the King, of Eutharic, and even of Peter who was then bishop, arose against the synagogues and soon burned them. Then the Jews rushed to Verona, where the King was, and by the agency of Triwan the Grand Chamberlain,25 himself a heretic and a favourer of their nation, they got their case against the Christians presented to the King. He promptly ordered that, for their presumption in burning the synagogues, all the Roman population of Ravenna should pay a contribution sufficient for their restoration; and those who had no money to pay were to be flogged through the streets of the city while the crier proclaimed their offence. Orders to this effect were given to Eutharic-Cilliga and to the Bishop Peter, and thus it was done.'

The 'Anonymus' then begins to narrate the story of the religious troubles and persecutions which clouded the last years of Theodoric, and which will be described in a later chapter.

Let us try to bring to a focus the somewhat confused and inartistic picture which is here drawn for us  p270 by the most valuable of all witnesses to character, an unfriendly contemporary.

Strength of Theodoric's position. Evidently there was peace and prosperity, at any rate comparative prosperity, throughout Italy in the reign of Theodoric. Absolute freedom from hostile invasion — except, as we shall see, some trifling ravages of the Byzantines in Apulia — was a great thing; a thing to which Italy may almost be said to have been a stranger during the ninety years that had elapsed, since the clarions of Alaric first sounded in the plains of Pollentia. But yet more important for Italy, in her then condition, was the presence in the royal palace of a strong will, wielding irresistible power and guided by benevolence towards all classes of the people. Long enough had the name and the reality of power been disjoined the one from the other. Long enough had flatterers and rhetoricians pretended to worship the almost divine majesty of the Emperor, while every one knew that in reality some menacing barbarian freebooter, or some yet more intolerable barbarian life-guardsman, was master of the situation. Now, the man who was hailed as king was once more in truth a king of method. He knew, every Goth in his disbanded army, every Roman possessor in the most secluded valleys of the Appennines, knew, that Theodoric was and would be undisputed master. He could be terrible to all extortionate and unjust governors, because behind him there loomed no figure greater than his own; he could be just, because the welfare of his subjects was in truth his own highest interest; he could be gentle, because he was irresistible.

This picture of firm and just rule is brought before us by a few sentences of Procopius, who again,  p271 as a man employed in the Byzantine army, may be considered as a witness unfriendly to the Gothic rule.

Testimony of Procopius. 'Theodoric,' says he,26 'was an extraordinary lover of justice, and adhered rigorously to the laws. He guarded the country from barbarian invasion, and displayed both intelligence and prudence in the highest degree. Of injustice towards his subjects there was hardly a trace in his government, nor would he allow any of his subordinates to attempt anything of the kind, save only that the Goths divided among themselves the same proportion of the land of Italy which Odoacer had given to his partisans. So then Theodoric was in name a tyrant, but in deed a true king, not inferior to the best of his predecessors, and his popularity grew greatly, contrary to the ordinary fashion of human affairs, both among Goths and Italians. For generally, as different classes in the State want different things, the government which pleases one party, has to incur the odium of those who do not belong to it.

'After a reign of thirty-seven years he died, having been a terror to all his enemies, and left a deep regret for his loss in the hearts of his subjects.'

Who were Theodoric's ministers? The fact that such results were achieved by an unlettered chieftain, the scion of an only half-civilised German tribe, must be accounted a signal victory of human intelligence and self-restraint, and justifies, if anything can justify, the tight rein which, while curbing himself, he kept upon the old Teutonic freedom. Obviously however, with the best good-will on the part of the King, these results could not have been obtained in detail unless he had been well  p272 served by ministers — from the necessity of the case chiefly Roman ministers — like-minded with himself. To these men, the Sullys and the Colberts of the Gothic King, let us now turn our attention.

Liberius, 493‑500. The first man who served as Praetorian Prefect under Theodoric, holding that great office for the first seven years of his reign, was Liberius. This man — who was of course Roman, not Teutonic, by origin — had occupied an important place among the ministers of Odovacar.27 Unlike the treacherous Tufa, he remained faithful to the last to his barbarian chief, and took an active part in directing the operations against Theodoric.28 On the downfall of his old patron, he showed no unmanly fear for his own fortunes, no servile haste to propitiate the new lord of Italy, but, with calm sadness, intimated that he accepted the judgment of Heaven, and since he could no longer be loyal to Odovacar, he was willing to serve with equal loyalty that monarch's conqueror. Theodoric was wise enough to accept the proffered service, and, as we have seen, to confer upon the true-hearted Roman the still vast powers of the Praetorian Prefect.

No details of his administration. Unhappily these seven first years of the reign of Theodoric — perhaps its most interesting portion — are an almost absolute blank. Liberius left no such copious record of official work behind him as was left by the fluent Cassiodorus. But we are informed incidentally that one of the chief cares of the new ministry was, as we might have expected, finance.  p273 He introduced a wise economy into every department of the State, and while the Exchequer found itself every year in a more flourishing condition, the taxpayer was conscious that, at any rate, there was no addition to his previous burdens. It seems probable that some, at least, of that praise which arose from a prosperous and contented Italy should be attributed to these early measures of Liberius.

Apportionment of lands (Tertiarum distributio). One work of great delicacy and importance, which was successfully performed by him, was the assignment of the Tertiae, or third part of the soil of Italy, to the new‑comers. Broadly, as has been already said, the new land-settlement was probably a transfer of these Land-thirds from the men of Odovacar to the men of Theodoric. But there may have been reasons, unknown to us, which prevented this from being the sole principle of distribution, and which obliged the commission, of which Liberius was the head, to proceed in many instances to a new division as between Roman and Goth. Here we are told he showed great tact and skill, settling neighbour by neighbour in such a way that not rivalry but friendship sprang out of their new relation, introducing probably the Gothic settlers chiefly into those parts of the country where the land really cried out for more numerous cultivators, and ever impressing upon his Roman countrymen the great principle of the new government, that the Goth was there for the defence of the whole land, and that, by sacrificing one‑third, the Roman cultivator might reckon on enjoying the remaining two‑thirds in security.29

 p274  497 It was probably through the hands of Liberius that the tedious negotiations with Byzantium passed, those negotiations which ended at length in the recognition of Theodoric as legitimate ruler of Italy. The chief persons employed in these negotiations were Faustus and Festus, two Roman noblemen of about equal rank, and whom it is not easy to distinguish from one another. Faustus. Faustus was a successor, though not the immediate successor, of Liberius in the office of Praetorian Prefect;30 Festus. and Festus, who was dignified with the high title of Patrician, was apparently at about the same time Prefect of the City.31 It may be useful, as a note of distinction between them, to observe that Faustus was the unsuccessful ambassador to Constantinople in 493, Festus the successful one in 497. Further, that while Faustus, in the disputed Papal election of 498,32 took the part of  p275 the ultimately successful candidate, Pope Symmachus, Festus, who desired to obtain a pontiff favourable to the Henoticon of Zeno, sided with the Anti-Pope Laurentius.

Theodoric's visit to Rome, 500. It was in one of the lucid intervals of this prolonged struggle for the chief place in the Roman Church that Theodoric visited the ancient capital of the Empire. 'Murders, robberies, and infinite evils' had afflicted the citizens of Rome, and even the nuns had been cruelly maltreated in this street warfare, which was to decide whether Symmachus or Laurentius was henceforth to have the power of binding and loosing in the kingdom of heaven. But, as has been said, there was a lull in the storm, during which the Ostrogothic King wisely determined to visit the city. Constantinople, the New Rome by the Bosporus, he had gazed upon near forty years before with eyes of boyish wonder. Now he was to see for himself the mysterious and venerable city by the Tiber; that city which had so long cast her spell upon his people, but of which he, a barbarian from the Danube, was now unquestioned lord. Having knelt devoutly at the shrine of St. Peter, in the long pillar-lined basilica (so unlike its modern representative) reared amid the gardens of Nero, he was met outside the gates of the city by the procession of Pope, senators and people, who, with shouts of loyal welcome, pressed forth to greet him. Then came, as the Anonymus Valesii has told us, the speech in the Forum, the games in the Circus, probably also in the Colosseum, and the solemn renewal of the grain largesse to the Roman populace, which had perhaps been interrupted since the days of Odovacar.

 p276  Was the Edictum promulgated at this time? It seems probable that this may have been the occasion chosen by the King and his enlightened minister for the formal publication of the Edictum Theodorici. It is true that the somewhat obscure language of the Anonymus Valesii does not prove, as was once supposed, that it was promulgated at this time. The solemn covenant, to which he refers, engraved on a brazen tablet and posted in the Forum, was quite a different document, and little more than a promise to observe the laws of his predecessors, such a promise as William the Norman gave to govern according to the laws of King Edward. But there is a certain amount of concurrent testimony in favour of this date, and no valid argument against it. Upon the whole, it may fairly be stated as a probable conjecture, though not an ascertained fact, that Theodoric's visit to Rome was the occasion of the publication of the Edict, and that Liberius was its author.

Roman character of the Edictum. This Edict, of which a slight sketch is given in the Note at the end of this chapter, is (as was stated in the last chapter) utterly unlike the codes which formulated the laws of the other barbarian monarchies. There is hardly a trace in it of German law or German ideas: it is Roman and imperial throughout. We may remember how Sidonius33 complained of a certain renegade Roman governor, as 'trampling under foot the laws of Theodosius and setting forth the laws of Theodoric.' But here it is a German, a Theodoric himself, who, wisely no doubt for the most part, and with statesmanlike insight into the  p277 necessities of the case, treads the laws of his Amal forefathers in the dust and exalts on high the laws of Theodosius.

Conspiracy of Odoin. It may have been — though there is nothing but one darkly enigmatic sentence in the Anonymus Valesii to confirm the conjecture — the publication of this obviously Romanising edict, and the evident desire of Theodoric to draw as close as possible to his Roman subjects, which brought the Gothic disaffection to a head. Odoin, a barbarian Count,34 planned a conspiracy against his lord. We have no details of the plot or of its discovery. We only know that it failed, and that in the Sessorian Palace, just within the southern wall of Rome (hard by the Basilica della Croce, where rests Helena, mother of Constantine and discoverer of the Holy Cross), the treacherous Goth knelt down to receive the blow of the executioner, and the headless trunk of Odoin showed to all the world that the mild and righteous Theodoric could also be terrible to evil-doers.

Draining of the Pontine Marshes. It may have been during this tarriance at Rome that Theodoric commenced his great works of draining the Pontine Marshes and repairing the Appian Way, works commemorated in an inscription still preserved in the Piazza at Terracina.35 'Palazzo di Teodorico' at Terracina. At the last-named place, situated about sixty miles from Rome, where a spur of the Volscian Mountains juts out into the blue Tyrrhene Sea, stand yet on the brow of the hill the massive ruins  p278 of the so‑called Palace of Theodoric. It may be doubtful how far this name is correctly given to them:b but if the great Ostrogoth ever did dwell here, and look forth from these windows over the sea, which his wise rule was covering with the white-winged messengers of commerce, and over the plain where the peaceful army of his labourers was turning the wilderness of the Pontine Marshes into a fruitful field, it was probably during this visit to Rome, in some weeks of villeggiatura, away from the sun‑baked capital, that he thus sojourned at Terracina.

Repairs of walls of Rome. We see, from the statement of the Anonymus Valesii, that it was also during the King's residence in Rome that he took in hand the repair of the walls and of the imperial residence on the Palatine. So large a sum as £8000, spent yearly on these objects, would make a marked difference in the condition of both sets of buildings. We learn, from a letter of Cassiodorus (I.25), that 25,000 tegulae — the square flat bricks which the antiquary knows so well — were used yearly in the restoration of the walls. We may well wonder, not that some tiles have been discovered bearing the name and titles of 'Our Lord Theodoric, the benefactor of Rome,' but that the number of these is not much larger.36

 p279  Upon the whole we may probably conclude that this Roman visit, which lasted for six months, was one of the happiest periods in the life of Theodoric. There was peace abroad and at home. The barbarian stranger had borne the ordeal of an entry into the fastidious city by the Tiber, once the capital of the world, successfully, though it was an ordeal before which born Romans, like Constantius and Honorius, had well-nigh quailed. He had addressed the people in the Forum, he had shared the deliberations of the Conscript Fathers in the Senate House, and it seems safe to say that he had produced a favourable impression upon both assemblies. As he journeyed along the Flaminian Way to his chosen home by the Hadriatic, he felt himself more firmly settled in his seat, more thoroughly king of all the Italians as well as of all the Goths, than he had done before. The headless corpse of Odoin was well atoned for by the remembrance of the enthusiastic shouts, both of welcome and farewell, of the Roman people.

Liberius ceases to be Prefect. During this sojourn in Rome, Liberius, who was now probably a man advanced in years, was honourably dismissed from the laborious though dignified post of Praetorian Prefect, and received the rank of Patrician, which was generally conferred on those who were retiring from this office with the favour of their sovereign.

Cassiodorus the elder takes the office. His successor as Praetorian Prefect, though perhaps not his immediate successor,37 was Cassiodorus, father of the writer so often named in this history. And here, in order to disentangle a needlessly complicated  p280 discussion, a few sentences must be devoted to the Cassiodorian pedigree.

Ancestors of the author. From a sketch of the history of his ancestors, which Cassiodorus38 (the author) included in the official letter announcing to the Senate his father's elevation to the Patriciate,39 we learn that, for at least three generations, the family had taken an active part in public life.

Cassiodorus I. The first Cassiodorus who is here mentioned attained to the rank of an Illustris, and held a leading position in the province of Bruttii, which, with the neighbouring  p281 island of Sicily, he defended, apparently with a troop raised at his own cost, from an invasion of the Vandals. This may very probably have occurred in the year 440, when, as we learn from the Chronicle of his descendant, 'Gaiseric sorely afflicted Sicily.'40

Cassiodorus II, the friend of Aetius. His son, the second Cassiodorus, was a Tribune (or, as we should say, Colonel) in the army of Valentinian III, and a Notarius in the secret cabinet of the Emperor. In both capacities he seems to have attached himself zealously to the party of the brave and statesmanlike Aetius, the man to whom all true Roman hearts then turned with longing. In company with the hero's son Carpilio he went on an embassy to the court of Attila, one doubtless of the innumerable embassies with which the Emperor sought to soothe the anger of the terrible Hun in the years between 440 and 450.41 According to his descendant, Cassiodorus exercised, over the quarrelsome Mongol, something of the same magnetic influence that was afterwards obtained by Pope Leo. He dared to meet the omnipotent victor in argument; he calmly braved his wrath; he convinced him of the reasonableness of the Roman demands; he inspired him with respect for the State which could still send forth ambassadors: finally, he brought back with him the peace which was well-nigh despaired of. We are not bound to believe all this highly-coloured picture, which seems to be at least suggested by the embassy of Leo, perhaps simply adapted from that well-known scene. But we may fairly presume that his conduct  p282 earned the approbation of his superiors, since Aetius offered him the rank of an Illustris, and some charge upon the public revenues, if he would remain at court.42 Cassiodorus, however, preferred returning to his believed Bruttii, and there, under the shadow of the purple hills of Calabria, ended his days in quietness, undisturbed apparently by the ruins of the falling Empire.

Cassiodorus III serves Odovacar, His son, the third Cassiodorus, entered more boldly into public life. When still a young man he discharged the duties of Comes Privatarum Rerum and Comes Sacrarum Largitionum (the two offices which represent the duties of our Commissioners of Woods and Forests, and Chancellor of the Exchequer), and in both capacities he earned the good opinion alike of his own countrymen and of his barbarian master Odovacar. In the struggle between Rugian and Ostrogoth he seems not to have taken part, and then Theodoric. but, as soon as Theodoric's throne was set up at Ravenna, he at once offered his services to the new monarch, and they were gladly accepted. The inhabitants of Sicily, who looked upon the Gothic rule with doubt and suspicion, were won over by their neighbour to the side which he had made his own; and, on the other hand, his wise and soothing words restrained Theodoric from the revenge to which some hostile acts of the Sicilians might otherwise have impelled him.43 For these services  p283 he had been rewarded with the post of Corrector of Lucania and Bruttii, chief governor, that is to say, of his own native province.44 He had large herds of horses on his estates — the Calabria of that day by the dense shade of its forests afforded great advantages to the horse-breeder — and out of these he made such generous presents to Theodoric that his son in later years, speaking by the mouth of the King, said (no doubt hyperbolically), 'he has mounted our whole army.'45

Praetorian Prefect (between 500 and 504?). This was the man who, having passed through all the lower ranks of the official service with credit and success, was now, in the first or second year of the sixth century, raised to the high honour of Praefectus Praetorio; an honour which had been already held for the extraordinary term of eighteen years by his kinsman Heliodorus, at Constantinople,46 when Theodoric himself was a guest of the Eastern Emperor. His own tenure of office was not long47 — we may  p284 conjecture it to have ended by the year 504 — nor, except from the general terms of laudation in which it is referred to by his son,48 have we any information respecting it. We are fairly entitled to infer that he carried forward the policy of mild firmness and equal justice to both nations, which had been inaugurated by Theodoric and Liberius, and that his short administration contributed its share to the peaceful happiness of Italy.

Cassiodorus III is the means of bringing forward his son, Its chief event however, and that which has made it worth while to dwell upon the family honours in so much detail, was the fact that it introduced his son to the notice of Theodoric, and was the means of starting that son on an official career which lasted for nearly forty years, and will for ever connect his name beyond any other name in literature with the varying fortunes of the Ostrogothic monarchy.

Cassiodorus IV (Senator). Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator, the fourth of the family whose fortunes we have to trace, was born at Squillace in Calabria about the year 480.49  p285 The year was a memorable one, since it witnessed the birth of three of the foremost men of their age — Cassiodorus, Boethius, and Benedict, the politician, the philosopher, and the saint. The place — let it be sketched for us by the loving hand of the greatest of its sons:—50

His birthplace, Squillace. 'Scyllacium, the first city of Bruttii, founded by Ulysses the overthrower of Troy, is a city overlooking the Hadriatic Sea [more strictly the Gulf of Tarentum], and hangs upon the hills like a cluster of grapes; hills which are not so high as to make the ascent of them a weariness, but high enough to give a delicious prospect over the verdant plains and the deep blue back of the sea.51 This city sees the rising sun from its very cradle. The coming day sends forward no Aurora as herald of its approach, but with one burst uplifts its torch, and lo! the brightness quivers over land and sea.52 It beholds the rejoicing Sun‑god, and so basks in his brightness all the day, that with good reason it might challenge the claims of Rhodes to represent itself as his birthplace. Its sky is clear, its climate temperate. Sunny in winter, it yet enjoys cool summers, and this moderation reflects itself in the character of its inhabitants. For a burningly hot country makes its children sharp and fickle, a cold one  p286 heavy and cunning; the best characters are produced by a more temperate clime.

The Vivarium. 'Scyllacium has an abundant share of the delicacies of the sea, possessing near it those Neptunian doors which we ourselves constructed.53 At the foot of Mount Moscius we hewed out a space in the bowels of the rocks, into which we caused the streams of Nereus to flow. The sight of the fishes sporting in their free captivity delights all beholders. There man feeds the creatures on which he himself will shortly feed; they swim eagerly to take the morsels from his hand: sometimes, when he has fished to satiety, he sends them all back into the water.54

'Fair is it to see the labours of the husbandmen all round while tranquilly reposing in the city. Here are the cluster-dropping vineyards, there the prosperous toil of the threshing-floor, there the dusky olive shows her face. Thus, as Scyllacium is an unwalled town, you might at choice call it a rural city or an urban farm;55 and, partaking of both characters, its praises have been sounded far and wide.'56

Such was Scyllacium57 and such Bruttii in the days  p287 of Theodoric's minister. Modern aspect of the place. It may be feared that a modern traveller would not find all the delights in the modern Squillace and the modern Calabria which then existed, still less that delicate and lovely civilisation which ten centuries before had tinged every shore and headland of 'the Greater Greece.' Still, as then, the purple chain of the Aspromonte divides the sparkling waters of the Eastern and the Western seas. Still do cities, beautiful at a distance, crown the finely-modelled hills that project into the plain. But the temple, with its pure white marble columns, has disappeared: a squalid comune replaces the Greek republic, instinct with life and intelligence, or the well-ordered Roman civitas. Instead of the white-robed Hellenes, wild-looking peasants, clad in goat-skins, with their guns in their hands, slouch along through the cactus-bordered ways. The Saracen, the Spaniard, and the Bourbon have laid their heavy hands on the lovely region and brutalised its inhabitants. May better days be in store for it and for them in the Italy of the future!58

Name of Cassiodorus Senator. The son who was born to Odovacar's minister at Squillace was named, as we have seen, Senator. It seems a strange thing to give a title like this as a personal name; but there is no doubt that it was  p288 done in this case. Cassiodorus speaks of himself as Senator, and is so addressed by others.59 His letters are written by 'Senator, a man of illustrious rank;' and in his Chronicle, when he has to record his own consulship (A.D. 514), his entry is 'Senatore, viro clarissimo, consule.'

His education. It is evident that the young Senator received the best education that Italy could furnish in his day, and imbibed with enthusiasm all that the rhetoricians and grammarians who conducted it could impart to so promising a pupil. All through life he was essentially a literary man. We may perhaps in this aspect compare him to Guizot, a man of letters who rose to be first minister of a mighty monarchy, but whose heart was always given to the studies which engrossed him when still a professor in the University of Paris. There are some indications in Cassiodorus' works that, next to Rhetoric, next to the mere delight of stringing words together in sonorous sentences, Natural History had the highest place in his affections. He never misses an opportunity of pointing a moral lesson by an allusion to the animal creation, especially to the habits of birds. Of course most of the stories which he thus introduces are mere imaginations, and often of a very laughable kind; but, had he fallen on a happier and more scientific age, it is reasonable to think that there might have been found in him some of the qualities of a Buffon or an Audubon.

His entry into public life. It seems probable that, immediately on the elder Cassiodorus receiving the post of Praetorian prefect, Senator, still quite a young man, obtained an appointment  p289 as his Consiliarius, or legal assessor, a post generally filled by young men with some legal training, — we shall find Procopius holding it in the tent of Belisarius, — and one which no doubt gave valuable experience to any man who hoped some day to sit himself on the judgment-seat.60

It was while he was thus acting as Consiliarius to his father that he pronounced in presence of Theodoric an oration in his praise, which by_its_eloquence_so_delighted_the_King_that brings_him_the_Quaestorship"> His great speech It was while he was thus acting as Consiliarius to his father that he pronounced in presence of Theodoric an oration in his praise, which by its eloquence so delighted the King that brings him the Quaestorship. he appointed him, still quite a young man, to the office of Quaestor,61 which brought with it what we should call cabinet-rank. The rank of Illustris gave him the privilege of sharing the secret and friendly conversation of the monarch, and entitled him to pronounce in his master's name solemn harangues to the ambassadors of foreign nations, to the Senate, sometimes perhaps to the citizens and the army. Allusion has already been made62 to the spirit in which Theodoric probably regarded the necessary labour of translating his own weighty, sledge-hammer sentences into the tumid Latin of the Lower Empire. But, however Theodoric may have regarded that work, there can be no doubt that Cassiodorus thoroughly enjoyed it. To have the charge of the correspondence of so great a king, to address to the officials of Italy, or even to the Sacred Majesty of Byzantium, a series of flowing sentences interspersed with philosophical  p290 reflections, excellent if not new, and occasionally to illustrate one's subject with a 'delicious digression'63 on the habits of birds, the nature of the chameleon, the invention of letters, or the fountain of Arethusa, — this was happiness indeed; and, though the emolumenta of the office were large, one may believe that Cassiodorus would have been willing to pay, instead of receiving them, for the privilege of doing the very work which was more to his liking than that done by any other Italian between the mountains and the sea.64

His faults as a writer. Cassiodorus has been aptly likened65 to one of the  p291 improvisatori of modern Italy. The Variae 'are State papers put into the hands of an improvisatore to throw into form, and composed with his luxuriant verbiage, and also with his coarse taste. The shortest instructions begin with an aphorism or an epigram. If they are more important or lengthy, they sparkle and flash with conceits or antitheses, and every scrap of learning, every bit of science or natural history, every far‑fetched coincidence which may start up in the writer's memory, however remote in its bearing on the subject, is dragged in to exalt or illustrate it, though the subject itself may be of the plainest and most matter-of‑fact kind. You read through a number of elaborate sentences, often tumid and pompous, sometimes felicitous and pointed, but all of the most general and abstract sort; and nestling in the thick of them, towards the end of the letter or paper, you come upon the order, or instruction, or notification, for which the letter or paper is written, almost smothered and lost in the abundance of ornament round it.'

His merits as a statesman. Yet let us not be unjust to the rhetorician-statesman. We can all see, and seeing must smile at, the literary vanity which peeps out from every page of his letters. All who consult those letters for historical facts must groan over the intolerable verbosity of his style, and must sometimes wish that they could have access to the rough, strong sentences of the Gothic King, instead of the wide expanse of verbiage into which his secretary has diluted them. Yet literary vanity was by no means the only motive of his service. Like his father, and like Liberius, he had perceived that this so‑called barbarian was the best and wisest ruler that Italy had had for centuries, and that the  p292 course of true civilisation could be best served by helping him to work out his own scheme of a State, defended by German arms but administered by Roman brains. Perhaps too he saw, what we can see so plainly, the heavy price which Italy as a land had paid for Rome's dominion over the world. The desert expanse of the Campagna, though

'A less drear ruin then than now,'

may have spoken to him, as it does to us, of the disastrous change since the days when Rome was a little town and those plains were covered with the farms of industrious and happy husbandmen. Above all, as the instincts of a true statesman may have showed him, a return, at that time of day, to the imperial order of things meant dependence on the Eastern Emperor, on grasping, grovelling, eunuch-governed Byzantium. 'Let the old Roman Empire go, and let Italy live: and if she is to live, none so fit to guide her destinies as Theodoric.' It would be unsafe to assert that this thought, thus definitely expressed, found an entrance to the mind of Cassiodorus or any other patriotic Roman of the sixth century. But it was the limit towards which many thoughts were tending (ignorant, as ours are, of the future that is before us but conscious that some bit of the past has to be put away); and the subsequent history of Italy, traced in characters of blood from Belisarius to Barbarossa, showed how well it had been for her if that idea, of dissevering her from the wreck of the ruined Empire, might but have been realized.

Cassiodorus' History of the Goths. It was with this hope doubtless, of reconciling the proud and sensitive Roman to the hegemony of the  p293 sturdy Goth, that Cassiodorus, near the middle of his official life,66 composed in twelve books that history of the Goths with which we have already made acquaintance through the extracts taken from it by the hasty and ignorant Jordanes.67 In this book as he himself says, speaking of it through the mouth of his king,68 'he carried his researches up to the very cradle of the Gothic race, gathering from the stores of his learning what even hoar antiquity scarce remembered. He drew forth the kings of the Goths from the dim lurking-place of ages, restoring to the Amal line the splendour that truly belonged to it, and clearly proving that for seventeen generations Athalaric's69 ancestors had been kings. Thus did he assign a Roman origin to Gothic history, weaving as it were into one chaplet the flowers which he had culled from the pages of widely-scattered authors.'

Principle of its composition. In other words, he collected what 'hoar antiquity' among the Gothic veterans had to tell him of the old Amal kings, the fragments of their battle-songs and sagas, and persuaded or forced them to coalesce with what his classical authors, Dio and Trogus and Strabo, had to tell him about the early history of the dim  p294 Northern populations. By identifying the Goths with the Getae — an error for which he is not originally responsible — and by claiming for them all the fantastic imaginations of the poets about the 'Scythians' — a word as wide and indefinite a meaning as the 'Indians' of modern discoverers — he succeeded in constructing for the fore-elders of Theodoric a highly respectable place in classical antiquity. He 'made the Gothic origin Roman' — nay, rather pre‑Roman, carrying back their earliest kings to Hercules and Theseus and the siege of Troy, and thus giving that connection with the cycle of Homeric legend which an upstart nation valued, as an upstart family with us values a pedigree which shows that it came over with the Conqueror.

The fictions which it contains may have been useful at the time. All this seems a little childish to us now, and indeed the chief work of a modern enquirer is to unwind that which Cassiodorus wound together so carefully, to disentangle what 'hoar antiquity' told him (the only thread that is of any value) from the flimsy and rotten threads which he collected from various authors in his library. But, for the man and the age, the work was doubtless a useful and creditable one. Many a Roman noble may have accepted a little more readily the orders of the so‑called barbarian, who turned out to be not so great a barbarian after all, now that Cassiodorus, nearly the most learned man of his day, had proved that Goths fought against the Greeks at the siege of Troy, and that possibly even Theodoric might be the remote descendant of Telephus. And the great King himself, who from those early days at Byzantium had always half-loved and admired the Roman State, though he felt that his rude Goths had in them something  p295 nobler; — to him this reconciling history of his clever secretary, which showed that he might be a true-hearted Goth and yet listen with delight to the verses of Homer, and gaze with rapture on the statues of Praxiteles, since these too were kinsmen of his forefathers, must have been a welcome discovery, and must have given him fresh courage to persevere in his life-work of conveying the blessings of civilitas to both nations of his subjects.

Strange is it to reflect that, after all, there was a truth underlying this odd jumble of Scytho-Geto-Gothic-Greek traditions, — a truth which scarcely till the beginning of this century was fully brought to light. Philology has now made it clear that Goth, Roman, and Greek were not really very distant relations, and the common home of the Aryan nations in the Asiatic highlands or elsewhere is something like a scientific compensation for the lost belief that all European nations were represented by their progenitors at the siege of Troy.

Conferences between the King and his Ministers. If Cassiodorus, with a true conviction that he was thus best serving his country, brought his loyal service to Theodoric, there can be no doubt that the heart of Theodoric also warmed towards him. He found in him the very minister whom he needed, to help him in fashioning his own great ideas of government, and to put them in the most acceptable shape before the Roman people. Often, we may be sure, in the 'gloriosa colloquia' which the subject so lovingly commemorates, did King and Quaestor talk over the difficulties of the state, the turbulent freedom of the Goths, the venality and peculation of the Roman officials, the want of any high aim among the nobles or great purpose among  p296 the citizens, still proud of the name of Romans, but incapable of being stirred by anything nobler than a chariot-race, a battle between the Blues and Greens, or at best a contested Papal election. Often too would the remedies for these evils be discussed. Cassiodorus, like so many fluent rhetoricians, would perhaps think that it only required a sufficient number of his eloquent essays to establish civilitas in the new state, to make the Romans honest and the Goths law‑abiding. Theodore, with the Northern patience and the Northern melancholy, would refuse to accept any such optimist view of the situation; and sometimes, while feeling that the work was long and his life was shortening, would heave a sigh at the remembrance that Providence, so gracious to him in all else, had denied him the gift of a son, strong and valiant, to carry on his great enterprise.

Theodoric's only legitimate child, his daughter Amalasuntha. Amalasuntha, the only legitimate child of Theodoric, was a woman endowed with much of her father's courage and strength of will, and more than her father's love for the civilisation and literature of Rome. Possibly foreseeing that this tendency to copy the manners of the less warlike people might bring her into collision with the martial Goths after his decease, Theodoric determined to marry her to no Roman noble, but to a Goth of the purest blood that he could meet with. He had beside her one daughter (the child of a concubine) living in Spain as the widow of Alaric the Visigoth. Her marriage to Eutharic. From his connection with that country he heard that there was dwelling there a scion of the old Ostrogothic house, Eutharic70 son of Wideric, grandson  p297 (or more likely great-grandson) of King Thorismund the Chaste, and therefore a lineal descendant of the mighty Hermanric, who once ruled all the lands between the Baltic and the Euxine. Eutharic was well reported of for valour and prudence and comeliness of person. 515 The King summoned him to his court, gave him his daughter's hand in marriage, Eutharic's Consulship. 519 and four years later conferred upon him the honour of the consulship. The Gothic prince-consort visited Rome in order to celebrate his assumption of the consular trabea with becoming magnificence. Senate and people poured forth to meet him. The games which he exhibited in the amphitheatre were on a scale of surpassing magnificence. The wild beasts, especially those from Africa, amazed and delighted the mob, many of whom had seen no such creatures before. Even Symmachus71 the Byzantine, who was present at the time in Rome on an embassy from the Eastern Emperor, was obliged to confess his stupefied admiration of the scene. When his sojourn in Rome was ended, Eutharic returned to Ravenna, and there exhibited the same shows, with even greater magnificence, in the presence of his father-in‑law.72

His character. Of the prince thus romantically brought into the family of Theodoric we know very little, but that little makes us believe that he might have been found a useful counterpoise to the Romanising tendencies of Amalasuntha. The Anonymus Valesii, in the extract before quoted, calls him 'a man of harsh disposition  p298 and an enemy to the Catholic faith.'73 This perhaps means no more than that he stood firmly by the customs of his Arian forefathers, and was not inclined to bandy compliments with the priests and prefects whom he found standing round the throne of his father-in‑law. His early death. But, whatever were his good or bad qualities, he died, before the death of Theodoric gave him an opportunity of making his mark on history.74 Amalasuntha was thus left a widow, with a son and a daughter, Athalaric and Matasuentha, the former of whom was born about 516.75

From the family of Theodoric we return to the description of his ministers and friends. The elder Cassiodorus seems to have retired from office soon after his son had entered public life, and to have spent the rest of his years in the ancestral home in Bruttii, which was dear to four generations of Cassiodori. Faustus, Praetorian Prefect. For some years the great office of Praetorian Prefect was administered by Faustus, to whom a large number of letters in the Variarum are addressed. An act of oppression, however, against a neighbour in the country alienated from him the favour of the just Theodoric and caused his downfall. A certain Castorius, who seems to have got into debt, perhaps into other kinds of trouble, had his farm unjustly wrested from him by the all‑powerful Prefect. On making his complaint to the King and proving the  p299 justice of his cause, he obtained a decree for the restitution of his own farm and the addition of another, of equal value, from the lands of the wrong-doer. 'Grimoda the Saio' and 'Ferrocinctus the Apparitor," apparently one Goth and one Roman officer, were charged with the execution of this decree, which further declared that if 'that well-known schemer' should attempt anything further against Castorius he should be punished with a fine of fifty pounds of gold (£2000). With some allowable complacency Theodoric was hereupon made by his quaestor to exclaim, 'Lo a deed which may henceforward curb all overweening functionaries! A Praetorian Prefect is not allowed to triumph in the spoliation of the lowly, and on the cry of the miserable his power of hurting them is taken from him at a blow.'

His fall. The Illustrious Faustus received leave of absence from the sacred walls of Rome for four months: and it may be doubted whether, when he returned thither, he any longer wore the purple robes of the Praetorian Prefect.76

Invitation to the elder Cassiodorus. Soon after this signal display of the King's justice an invitation was sent to the elder Cassiodorus, inviting him, in very flattering terms, to return to Court,77 where probably he would have been asked to reassume the great office which he had previously held. Apparently, however, the hill of Squillace had greater  p300 charms for him than the palace of Ravenna. We have no evidence that he again took any active part in public affairs.

Artemidorus, the King's friend. A pleasing contrast to the rapacious and intriguing Faustus was afforded by one who had been faithful through good and evil fortune, the King's friend Artemidorus. This man, one of the nobles of Byzantium, a friend and relation of the Emperor Zeno, had been strangely attracted by the young barbarian, to whom he was sent as ambassador, on the eve of his march into Epirus.78 He left, for his sake, the splendid career which awaited him in the Eastern Empire, followed him through all his campaigns, and sat, an ever-welcome and genial guest, at the royal table. Not aspiring to high dignity, nor desirous to burden himself with the cares of State, he found for several years sufficient occupation for his artistic, pleasure-loving nature, in arranging the great shows of the circus for the citizens of Ravenna. At length, however (in 509), Theodoric persuaded him to undertake the weightier charge of Prefect of the City, and sent him in that capacity to Rome to govern the capital and preside over the Senate. The light-hearted Byzantine seems to have discharged the duties of this serious office more creditably than might have been expected.

Count Tulum. Very different from this brilliant, joyous Greek was the other close friend of Theodoric, the rugged Gothic soldier Tulum. Sprung from one of the noblest Gothic families, he mounted guard as a stripling in the King's antechamber. His first experience in war was earned 504 in the campaign of Sirmium,79 and here he showed such vigour and courage, and such a comprehension  p301 of the art of war, as procured for him in early manhood the place of chief military counsellor to Theodoric. A marriage with a princess of Amal blood80 still further consolidated his position. He was admitted to the friendly conversation of the King in his moments of least reserve, and, surest mark of friendship, often dared to uphold against his master the policy which he deemed best for that master's interests. In the Gaulish campaign of 509,81 in the campaign, or rather the armed neutrality, of 524,81 he was again conspicuous. Returning from the last by sea he suffered shipwreck, probably somewhere on the coast of Tuscany. The ship and crew were swallowed up by the waves. Tulum, with his only child, took to an open boat, and he had to depend on his own strength and skill to save them both by rowing. Theodoric, who was awaiting his arrival, saw with agony the imminent danger of his friend. The aged monarch would fain have rushed into the waves to rescue him, but, to his delight, Tulum battled successfully with the billows, and soon leaping ashore received his master's affectionate embrace.82

We may perhaps conjecture that at the close of Theodoric's reign Tulum and Cassiodorus stood in friendly rivalry, the one at the head of the Gothic, the other at the head of the Roman party, among the nobles who were loyal to the new dynasty.

Symmachus and Boethius. Of two other names by which the Court of Theodoric was rendered illustrious, Symmachus the orator and historian, with his son-in‑law Boethius, the Marquis  p302 of Worcester of his age, it will be well to speak later on, when we have to discuss the melancholy history of their end. Enough to say here that, during the greater part of this period, they appear to have been on friendly terms with the King, though not zealously and continuously engaged in his service like Cassiodorus and Liberius.

Theodoric's residence at Ravenna. The usual residence of Theodoric was Ravenna, with which city his name is linked as inseparably as those of Honorius or Placidia. The letters of Cassiodorus show his zeal for the architectural enrichment of this capital. Square blocks of stone were to be brought from Faenza, marble pillars to be transported from the palace on the Pincian Hill: the most skilful artists in mosaic were invited from Rome, to execute some of those very works which we still wonder at in the basilicas and baptisteries of the city by the Ronco.

His chief buildings there. The chief memorials of his reign which Theodoric has left at Ravenna are a church, a palace, and a tomb. Of the last it will be the fitting time to speak when the great Amal is carried thither for burial.

Church of S. Martino (now S. Apollinare Nuovo). The marvellous basilica which now bears the name of S. Apollinare Nuovo83 was originally dedicated to St. Martin, and from its beautiful gold-inlaid roof received the title S. Martinus in Caelo Aureo. An inscription under the windows of the tribune, still visible in the ninth century, recorded that King Theodoric had built that church from its foundations in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.84 Notwithstanding  p303 the words of the ecclesiastical biographer, who ascribes the work to an orthodox bishop, Agnellus, it is difficult not to believe that to Theodoric's order are due those great pictures in mosaic which give the church its peculiar glory. Its mosaics. On the opposite sides of the nave, high attics above the colonnades are lined with two long processions. On the north wall, the virgin martyrs of the Church proceed from the city of Classis, each one bearing her crown of martyrdom in her hand, to offer it to the infant Christ, who sits on Mary's lap, attended by four angels. Between the virgin martyrs and the angels intervene the three wise men from the East, who, with crowns on their heads, run forward with reverent haste to present their offerings to the holy Child. The star glows above them in the firmament. On the south wall a corresponding procession of martyred men, also bearing crowns in their hands, moves from the palace at Ravenna onwards to the Christ in glory, who sits upon His judgment-seat and is also guarded by four angels. The dignity of both groups is their most striking characteristic. Not all the quaint stiffness of the mosaic can veil the expression of solemn sadness in the faces of the martyrs, who look like men who have come out of great tribulation and have not yet seen the face of Him for whom they suffered. Nor does the same deficiency in the mode of representation prevent our seeing the look of radiant triumph on the faces of the virgins. Here are Agnes with her lamb, the child-martyr Eulalia of Merida, Lucia of Syracuse, Agatha of Catana, all the most celebrated maidens who suffered for the faith in the terrible days of Diocletian. No wrinkled and faded convent-dwellers are  p304 these. Fresh, young, and beautiful, apparelled like the daughters of a king, they move on with a smile of triumph upon their lips to see the wondrous Child for whose sake they, scarcely yet emerged from childhood, gave up their tender bodies to torture and to death.85

Representations of Classis Besides the human interest of these figures, there is the local interest derived from the fact that we have here contemporary views of the Ravenna of the sixth century. Classis is represented as a walled city, with colonnades, domes and pediments. Hard by, three ships, one with sails fully spread, the others under bare poles, are entering the narrow lighthouse-guarded passage from the sea. and the Palace. The palace of Theodoric, as represented on the other side, consists of four tall Corinthian columns with arches springing from their capitals, a pediment above, and in a horizontal space of white the word palativm. On one side of this, the main entrance, is a long low colonnade with an upper storey over it. The objects which most catch the stranger's eye are the curtains between the pillars. Looped up half‑way, and with large square patches of purple upon them, they have a singularly modern  p305 aspect, but are no doubt a pretty faithful representation of the veil which guarded the privacy both of the Eastern Emperor and the Gothic King.

Theodoric's Palace. The palace itself, as we learn from local records, occupied a large space on the eastern side of the town.86 It adjoined the beautiful church of S. Martinus in Caelo Aureo, which was perhaps used as a royal chapel. Only one fragment of it, but one of pretty well-ascertained genuineness, exists to the present day. It is a high wall, built of the square brick-tiles with which we are so familiar in Roman work, and with eight marble pillars in the upper part supporting nine arched recesses, one of them of considerable width. It is the mere shell of a ruin: the house behind it is entirely modern. A porphyry vase, or rather high trough, let into the lower part of the wall used to be shown as the former coffin of Theodoric, but this notion is now generally abandoned, and the prevalent idea seems to be that it was once a bath. The palace we are told was surrounded with colonnades, and had many dining apartments (triclinia) within it.87 We learn from the Anonymus Valesii that this edifice, which no doubt took many years to build, was completed but not 'dedicated,' at the time of Theodoric's death.

Here then, on the eastern side of his capital, dwelt for more than thirty years the great Ostrogoth, looking forth towards the dark Pineta where he had had that  p306 terrible night of battle with Odovacar, and seeing it may be, from some high tower in his palace, the blue rim of the Hadriatic. Beyond that sea, but of course invisible, lay his own fair province of Dalmatia; beyond that again those wasted plains of Moesia, where he had wandered so often, the fugitive lord of a brigand people.

His Statues. Statues in abundance were reared in his honour, at Rome, at Ravenna, at Ticinum, in all the chief cities of Italy. We hear of one statue made by Boethius with so much art that it ever turned towards the sun, and hence was called Regisol; but this is probably a mere legend of the Middle Ages.88 In another group (apparently a colossal picture in mosaic), erected on a pinnacle of his palace, and conspicuous to mariners from afar, Theodoric, grasping shield and spear and clothed in a coat of mail, sat on a brazen horse covered over with gold. The two cities of Rome and Ravenna completed the group. Rome was apparently standing guarding him in calm dignity, with shield and spear; while Ravenna seemed gliding rapidly forward to meet her lord, her right foot passing over the sea and her left resting on the land. There was also an equestrian statue of Theodoric, the horse which he bestrode having been originally intended to support the Emperor Zeno. Both horse and rider, Charles the Great, after his coronation in Rome, carried across the Alps to Aix-la‑Chapelle declaring that he had seen nothing like them in his whole realm of Francia.89

 p307  Theodoric at Pavia and Verona. Pavia and Verona were also places honoured with the occasional residence of Theodoric. At both he built a palace and public baths. Of neither of these two palaces is any remnant now to be seen. A grim square fortress of the fifteenth century, much injured by the French Republicans, stands (it is believed) on the site of Theodoric's palace at Pavia. So too at Verona: the palace, of which there were still some noble remains incorporated into the castle of the Viscontis, was blown up by the French in 1801, and an absolutely modern building stands upon its site. This, like the castle at Pavia and so many buildings in Italy of great historic name, is now occupied as a barrack.

It seems probable that Theodoric's residence at both these places depended on the state of Transalpine politics. When the tribes of the Middle Danube were moving suspiciously to and fro, and the vulnerable point by the Brenner Pass needed to be especially guarded, he fixed his quarters at Verona.90 When Gaul menaced greater danger, then he removed to Ticinum. It was apparently the fact that Verona was his coign of vantage, from whence he watched the German barbarians, Dietrich of Bern. which obtained for him from their minstrels the title of Dietrich of Bern. Thus strangely travestied, he was swept within the wide current of the legends relating to Attila, and hence it is that the really grandest figure in the history of the migration of the peoples appears in the Nibelungen Lied, not as a great king and conqueror on his own account, but only as a faithful squire of the terrible Hunnish king  p308 whose empire had in fact crumbled into dust before the birth of Theodoric.91


The Author's Notes:

1 See vol. II p475, and chapter VI of this volume.

2 The 'Ravennatische Fasten' of the German scholars.

3 This is the persistent error of the Byzantines, who never could be made to understand that he was the son of Theudemir.

4 Erelieva in Jordanes.

5 'Qui regnavit annos xxxiii cujus temporibus felicitas est secuta Italiam per annos triginta,' etc. Perhaps the writer does not mean to contrast the thirty and the thirty-three years. If he does, he probably wishes to except the three years 523‑526 during which Theodoric was oppressing the Catholics.

6 'Sic gubernavit duas gentes in uno Romanorum et Gothorum, dum ipse quidem Arrianae sectae esset, tamen militia [militiam] Romanis sicut sub principes esse praecepit.' It seems a bold thing to translate militia 'civil administration,' but the language of the Theodosian Code, of Cassiodorus, and of Lydus (De Dignitatibus) fully justifies us in doing so. It is impossible that the author can mean that the army was exactly what it had been under the Emperors.

7 'Ex toto foeneum;' literally, 'stuffed with hay.'

8 'Et a Gothis secundum edictum suum quem [quod] eis constituit, rex fortissimus in omnibus judicaretur.' The above translation, or rather paraphrase, of a very difficult passage, is, it must be confessed, a very hazardous one. Dahn (Kön. der Germ. IV.5) supposes a line to have got out of its place and reads, 'Ut etiam a Romanis Trajanus vel Valentinianus adpellaretur, quorum tempora secundum edictum suum quem eis constituit, rex fortissimus in omnibus judicaretur.' Yet even this makes a very flat ending.

9 Item, 'Romanus miser imitatur Gothum, et utilis Gothus imitatur Romanum.' The antithesis seems to require utilis instead of the better supported reading vilis.

10 Arrhae. The suitor evidently wants the woman only for the sake of her property, which she cannot make over to him if she has a son.

11 The King at this point suspects that there is some pecuniary reason for the woman's obstinate denial. Having satisfied himself on this point, he then, by an artifice not unlike the Judgment of Solomon, elicits the truth. See a similar story about Claudius in Suetonius, cap. XV.

12 Audefleda (Jordanes); she was sister of Clovis.

13 Ostrogotho (Jordanes).

14 'Facta pace de praesumptione regni.'

15 'Post factam pacem in urbem ecclesiae [?] ambulavit rex Theodoricus Romam.'

16 Otherwise called 'domus Palmata,' probably between the Temple of Concord and the Arch of Severus (Gregorovius, I.271).

Thayer's Note: Platner & Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, Domus Palmata.

17 'Per tricennalem triumphans populo ingressus palatium.' How are we to explain this passage? Is it the thirtieth anniversary of Theodoric's association with his father in the Gothic kingship that is here commemorated?

18 'De arca vinariâ.'

19 This is all that we an make of the text as it stands. Possibly Theodorus was really the successor of Liberius, so that Odoin was the sole rebel. The word translated above 'conspired' (insidiabatur) is in the singular.

20 Compare Contin. Prosperi (M. S. Hafn.): 'Celso v. c. consule [504]: His consulibus Theodoricus rex Romam ingressus occidit Odomum comitem IIII. non. Mai.' Marius has, at the right year 500, 'Eo anno interfectus est Odoind Romae.' The chronology of Contin. Prosperi is very inaccurate just here.

21 On the authority of a passage in Anastasius' Lives of the Popes (ap. Muratori, III.108), this Sessorian palace is fixed near the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, at the E. S. E. angle of the city. Its supposed remains, a large semicircular apse of brick with round-headed windows, are still visible.

Thayer's Note: Platner & Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, Sessorium.

22 'Sic obruto (or perhaps 'obtuso') sensu.' I strongly suspect that this paragraph was originally written concerning the Emperor Justin (of whom precisely the same story is told) and has been transferred to Theodoric by mistake. The paragraph immediately preceding refers to Byzantine affairs.

23 'Propter metum gentium.'

24 A conjectural translation of 'Judaei baptizatos nolentes dum ludunt frequenter oblatam in aquam fluminis jactaverunt. . . . . Quod et in cena eadem similiter contigit.'

25 'Praepositus Cubiculi.' Possibly this is the 'Trigguilla regiae praepositus domus' who is vituperated by Boethius (Phil. Cons. I.4).

26 De Bello Gothico, I.1.

27 Our knowledge of the career of Liberius is derived from Var. II.16, written on the promotion of his son.

28 'Contra quos [Theodoricum sc.] multa fecisse videbatur inimicus.'

29 'Juvat nos referre quemadmodum in tertiarum deputatione, Gothorum Romanorumque et possessiones junxerit et animos. Nam, cum se homines soleant de vicinitate collidere, istis praediorum communio causam noscitur praestitisse concordiae. Sic enim contigit ut utraque natio, dum communiter vivit, ad unum velle convenerit. En factum novum et omnino laudabile. Gratia dominorum de cespitis divisione conjuncta est. Amicitiae populis per damna crevere: et ex parta agri defensor acquisitus est, ut substantiae securitas integra servaretur. Una lex illos et aequabilis disciplina complectitur. Necesse est enim, ut inter eos suavis crescat affectus qui servant jugiter terminos constitutos' (Cass. Var. II.16).

30 I conjecture that Faustus succeeded Cassiodorus the elder as 'Praefectus Praetorio' about 504, and held the office till about 508, but the want of strict chronological arrangement in the Variae makes it difficult to come to any precise conclusion.

31 He is not thus addressed in the titles of the letters in the Variae, but the subjects of those letters seem to show that this was his office.

32 To be described in chapter XI.

33 II.1: 'Leges Theodosianas calcans, Theodoricianasque proponens.'

34 Possibly assisted by Theodorus, son of Basilius, a Roman, and perhaps a disappointed candidate for the prefecture. But, as has been said, from the appearance of the passage it seems more likely that Odoin was sole conspirator.

35 See Note F.

36 According to Fabretti (Inscriptiones Antiquae, p521) many tiles and stones have been found with the inscription —

reg dn Theode
rico Felix Roma

or

✠ reg dn Theode
✠ rico bono Romae.

✠ reg dn Theode

✠ rico bono Romae.

Gregorovius (Geschichte der Stadt Rom, I.295)º estimates the number of such tiles at twelve only.

37 If, that is to say, my conjecture be correct that Theodorus, the son of Basilius, really followed Liberius.

38 Spelling of the name, Cassiodorus or Cassiodorius? German scholars are now nearly unanimous in spelling the name Cassiodorius. There is MS. authority for both forms of the name, but it is argued with some force that, though it is easy to understand how rus could arise from the ignorance of transcribers, who met with the genitive ri, and did not know that that was a proper inflection of rius, it is not easy to see how the contrary change could have taken place and rius have arisen from rus. On the other hand, it is clear that the classical form of the name was Cassiodorus. In the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 2322 b32 (vol. II p1044), is the sepulchral inscription (found at the island of Rhenea, close to Delos) of a woman who was 'a Roman citizen and sister of Q. Acilius (?) Casiodorus' (Ῥωμαία, ἀδελφὴ δὲ Κοΐντου Ἀκειλίου Κασιοδώρου). No. 4466 (vol. IV p218) is from Antioch, an inscription on the tomb of a certain Cassiodorus who died at the age of twenty-four, leaving an infant daughter one year old. The important line runs, Εἴκοσι τέσσαρ’ ἔχων Κασσιόδωρος ἔτη. There is no inscription with the form rius. Further, it appears from a verse of Alcuin's that Cassiodorus was the accepted form in the eighth century —

'Cassiodorus item Chrysostomus atque Johannes.'

It seems therefore undesirable to abandon the spelling which is most usual with English scholars. (The above quotation from Alcuin is from the De Pontificibus et Sanctis Ecclesiae Eboracensis, p843 of 2nd volume in Migne's edition of his works, and is borrowed by me from A. Franz.)

39 Cassiodori Variarum I.14 (see also 3).

40 'His consulibus Gaisericus Siciliam graviter affligit.'

41 See vol. II p157, n. 1. (In the first Edition this mission was incorrectly assigned to the father of Cassiodorus.)

42 'Mox honore [honorem] illustratus, mox reddituum dona aequus arbiter offerebat.' A very obscure sentence. Is it possible that for 'aequus' we should read 'Aetius'? It looks as if the offer were of the Comitiva Sacrarum Largitionum, but it is hard to make this out of the words.

43 'Siculorum suspicantium mentes ab obstinatione praecipiti deviasti, culpam removens illis, nobis necessitatem subtrahens ultimis.' This passage occurs in Var. I.3, from which most of this part of my sketch is taken.

44 'Bruttiorum et Lucaniae tibi dedimus mores regendos' (Var. I.3). Is there not in this phrase an allusion to the title Corrector, which (instead of Consularis) denoted the governor of this province?

45 'Hinc est quod candidatus noster Gothorum semper armat exercitus.' Compare Var. VIII.31 for the horse-breeding of Bruttii.

46 Var. I.4: 'Hi autem et in partibus Orientis parentum laude viguerunt. Heliodorus enim, qui in illa republica nobis videntibus praefecturam bis novenis annis gessit eximie, eorum consanguinitati probatur adjungi.' Beyond the words 'nobis videntibus,' which fix Heliodorus's prefecture to a date between 462 and 488, we seem to have no precise indication of the time.

47 I infer this from the fact that we have no letters of Cassiodorus Senator addressed to his father as Praetorian Prefect.

48 'Meministis enim, et adhuc vobis recentium rerum memoria ministratur, qua moderatione praetoriano culmini locatus insederit, et evectus in excelsum, inde magis despexerit vitia prospectorum. . . . Junxit bene cum universorum gaudiis nostra compendia, aerario munificus et juste solventibus gratiosus. . . . Fuit itaque, ut scitis, militibus verendus, provincialibus mitis, dandi avidus, accipiendi fastidiosus, detestator criminis, amator aequitatis,' and so on.

49 This date, at any rate as an approximation, may now, especially since the appearance of Usener's monograph, be considered definitely established. With the disentanglement of the lives of Senator and his father, all inducement to put back the birth of the former to 467, or thereabouts, vanishes, and Trittheim's notice, 'Claruit temporibus Justini Senioris usque ad imperii Justini junioris paene finem, annos habens aetatis plusquam 95 A.D. 575,' becomes so probable that we cannot reject it, though it remains a mystery whence he obtained this information.

50 The following extract is from Variarum, XII.15.

51 No doubt Cassiodorus was thinking of Homer's

Εὐρέα νῶτα θαλάσσης.

52 Just in the moment of dawn it was my fortune to see Squillace, perched upon its conical hill, after a long night-journey from Naples in the spring of 1882.

53 The Vivaria or salt-water fish ponds, from which the monastery of Cassiodorus derived its name Vivariense.

54 A conjectural translation of 'Dum habet in potestatem quod capiat, frequenter evenit ut repletus omnia derelinquat.'

55 'Hoc quia modo non habet muros, civitatem credis ruralem, villam judicare possis urbanam.'

56 Too widely in fact for the inhabitants, whose forced labour in providing post-horses for official visitors was the grievance which called forth this letter from Cassiodorus.

57 There is an admirable sketch of Scyllacium in Lenormant's 'La Grande Grèce' (Paris, 1881).

Thayer's Note: II.253 ff. (Lenormant's comments on the supposed Byzantine bas-relief are, however, a blunder: it was carved, dated, and signed Michele Barilari, da Serra, fece. MDCCCLIVArte e Storia, IX.101, 1890.)

See also 'The Letters of Cassiodorus' by the present author (London, 1884), where there is a note on the Topography of Squillace furnished to me by Mr. A. J. Evans.

58 Even the climate of Calabria would seem to have changed for the worse, probably owing to the destruction of the forests. Cassiodorus found it 'aeris dotatione temperata.' The country now had a parched and desolate appearance. Very recently a murderous quarrel in some Italian barracks arose out of the contemptuous expression of a northern soldier, 'What can you find to do in that sun‑baked Calabria?'

59 He is called Senator by Jordanes, and by Anastasius Bibliothecarius in his life of Pope Hormisdas.

60 I do not understand why the word consiliarius does not occur in the elaborate Notitia Dignitatum, unless perhaps it is a general word to denote all the members of the Prefect's 'Officium,' from the Princeps to the Singularii.

61 The authority for this statement is the 'Anecdoton Holderi,' edited by Usener.

62 See preceding chapter.

63 'Voluptuosa digressio.'

64 For further information as to the twelve books of Various Letters of Cassiodorus, I must refer my readers to my Abstract of them published at the same time as this volume. Finding it impossible to draw all the manifold details furnished us in these letters into one harmonious picture, I have thought it best to let the collection speak for itself, and invite the student (with the help of a full Index) to pick out the letters on those subjects in which he is most interested. Some points of Theodoric's state-system are discussed in the Abstract at greater length than was possible in this history.

Without going here into a discussion as to the chronology, it may be stated that the collection (which is not arranged in strict order of time) begins about 504 (certainly not earlier than 501), and ends not later than 540, probably a year or two earlier. The first five books contain letters written in the name of Theodoric; the sixth and seventh, the Formulae of admission to various dignities; the eighth and ninth, letters written in the name of Athalaric; the tenth, in the names of Amalasuntha, Theodahad and his wife, and Witigis. The eleventh and twelfth are entirely composed of the letters of Cassiodorus himself, when holding the office of Praetorian Prefect.

Twelve was a favourite number with Senator. His Gothic History, his History of the Church, and his collection of letters (Variarum) are all arranged in twelve books.

65 By Dean Church in an article in the Church Quarterly Review (July 1880).

66 Köpke thinks that Cassiodorus brought down his Gothic History to the death of Athalaric (534). But Usener is, I think, right in maintaining that Variarum, IX.25, implies that it was finished before the death of Theodoric (526). On the authority of the newly-discovered fragment (Anecdoton Holderi) he assigns its composition to the period between 518 and 521.

67 'Suades ut nostris verbis duodecim Senatoris volumina De Origine actibusque Getarum, ab olim adusque nunc per generationes regesque descendentia, in uno et hoc parvo libello coartem' (Jordanes, Prologue to De Rebus Geticis).

68 Variarum, IX.25.

69 The grandson of Theodoric.

70 Surnamed Cillica or Cilliga, I know not for what reason.

71 Not the father-in‑law of Boethius.

72 The account of Eutharic's marriage comes from Jordanes (De Reb. Get. 58), that of his pageant from Cassiodorus, who ends his Chronicle at this point.

73 'Nimio asper et contra fidem catholicam inimicus.'

74 I think the precise date of Eutharic's death is not recorded.

75 Jordanes, who is a better authority here than Procopius, says that Athalaric was 'infantem vix decennem' at the death of his grandfather in 526. Procopius makes him eight years old at that time.

76 Variarum, III.20, 21. Some later letters are addressed to him as Prefect, but it is unsafe to draw a conclusion from this, as the order of the collection is evidently not strictly chronological.

77 Variarum, III.28. In this letter Theodoric thus alludes to the fall of Faustus: 'Nam qui alterum reprimere conati sumus, te etiam palatio teste laudavimus.'

78 See p93.

79 Described in chapter X.

80 Her name and degree of relationship to Theodoric are not recorded.

81a 81b See chapter IX.

82 Cass. Var. VIII.10.

83 Otherwise called S. Apollinare dentro le Mura, to distinguish it from S. Apollinare in Classe.

84 'Theodoricus rex hanc ecclesiam a fundamentis in nomine domini nostri Jesu Christi fecit' (Agnelli Liber Pontificalis, § 86, p335, ed. 1878).

85 Several other churches were built at Ravenna in the time of Theodoric, chiefly no doubt for the Arian worship. One, erected by Eutharic in 518 and dedicated to S. Andrea dei Goti, was destroyed by the Venetians to construct with the stones the fortress of Brancaleone. The church of Santo Spirito (originally dedicated to St. Theodore), and the neighbouring S. Maria in Cosmedin, which is still called the Arian Baptistery, are among the few ecclesiastical relics of the Arian rule. The baptistery is of octagonal form. On the roof are represented the Apostles, in a standing position: in a circular medallion in the middle, the Baptism of Christ. The Saviour is depicted as a young man, beardless. Over against John the Baptist is the figure of an old man, seated, supposed to represent the river Jordan.

86 It stretched, says C. Ricci (the best authority on the antiquities of Ravenna), from the church of S. Giovanni Evangelista to the Strada di Porta Alberoni, and from S. Apollinare Nuovo to the city walls. It thus probably included a corner of the side of the modern railway station.

87 Ricci (Ravenna, p139), quoting Agnellus.

88 Rubeus (Historiae Ravennates, p127) tells this curious story, but does not give his authority.

89 Agnellus, Liber Pontificalis, § 94 (S. Peter Senior).

90 Anon. Valesii, 81: 'Theodorico Veronae consistente propter metum gentium.'

91 The interesting but difficult subject of the Theodoric of Saga is one which I prefer not to enter upon, not having the requisite materials for its satisfactory treatment. I observe that Maffei (Verona Illustrata, 387)º says that most of the common writers, even of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, call Theodoric by the surname Veronensis.


Thayer's Notes:

a The complete Latin text, a different English translation of it, and introductory material are onsite: see my orientation page. The passage quoted here is II.57‑83.

b Hodgkin's instincts were on target. The prominent and well-preserved porticoed structure known to local tradition in Terracina as the "Palazzo di Teodorico" was excavated starting in 1894, about the time Hodgkin was writing; these excavations would eventually prove that it was much older than Theodoric, being the terrace structure that supported the now vanished temple of Jupiter Anxur (similar to the arched platform supporting the Basilica at Assisi, and for the same reasons). An excellent view may be found at AreaWellness.Eu.

That is not to say that Theodoric might not have set up quarters in some part of the buildings, of course.


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