Totila

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Totila

(tŏt`ĭlə) or

Baduila

(bădyo͞oĭl`ə), d. 552, last king of the Ostrogoths (541–52). By defeating the Byzantines at Faenza and Mugello (542) and by taking Naples (543) and Rome (546), he became master of central and S Italy. BelisariusBelisarius
, c.505–565, Byzantine general under Justinian I. After helping to suppress (532) the dangerous Nika riot (see Blues and Greens), he defeated (533–34) the Vandals of Africa, and captured their king.
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, the Byzantine commander, recovered Rome in 547 but was recalled in the following year. Rome again fell in 550 and left only Ravenna, Ancona, Otranto, and Crotona in Byzantine hands. Totila sent his fleet against Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, and Illyria and made several peace offers to Emperor Justinian I. Instead of yielding, Justinian sent (552) NarsesNarses
, c.478–c.573, Byzantine official and general, one of the eunuchs of the palace. He assisted in the suppression of the Nika riot (532) by bribing the Blues of the Circus (see Blues and Greens) to return their allegiance to Justinian I.
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 to Italy at the head of a well-equipped army. Totila was thoroughly routed by Narses near Taginae, in the Apennines W of Ancona, and perished in the battle. Thus Byzantium regained temporary control over Italy.

Totila

 

Date of birth unknown; died A.D. 552 near Taginae (now Gualdo Tadino). Ostrogoth king (541–552).

Totila led a national liberation struggle against the Byzantine conquerors in Italy, drawing his support from slaves, colons, and the Roman and Italic peasants, who opposed Byzantine attempts to restore slave ownership and the Roman tax system. As part of his campaign, Totila confiscated the lands of the old Roman aristocracy and the Catholic Church, distributing them among his comités and free warriors. For his army he recruited fugitive slaves and colons.

Totila won a series of brilliant victories over the Byzantine army, so that between 542 and 551 the Ostrogoths succeeded in liberating most of Italy. When, however, the Byzantine emperor, Justinian I, sent reinforcements under Narses, Totila found himself hopelessly outnumbered. He was mortally wounded in a battle near Taginae.