Ostrogoths(redirected from Ostrogothi)
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See T. Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders, Vol. I–III (2d ed. 1892–96, repr. 1967); T. S. Burns A History of the Ostrogoths (1984).
(East Goths), a Germanic tribe, the eastern branch of the Goths. In the third century they settled in the steppes of the northern Black Sea region, and partly in the Crimea (Crimean Ostrogoths). In the second half of the fourth century they formed a tribal confederation headed by Ermanaric, which included other Germanic tribes, as well as Scythian-Sarmatian and Slavic tribes. In 375 the confederation was defeated by the Huns, and most of the Ostrogoths migrated westward and settled in Pannonia. Under Theodoric the Ostrogoths moved on to Italy in 488, defeating the forces of Odovacar and forming their own kingdom in 493 with Ravenna as its capital. At its height the kingdom included Italy, Sicily, the Cisalpine regions, Dalmatia, and Provence. Most of the Ostrogoths settled in northern and eastern Italy.
The vestiges of Roman social, governmental, and legal institutions exerted a strong influence on the social system of the Ostrogoths, who had reached the stage of disintegration of the clan system at the time of their conquest of Italy. Some of the Ostrogoth elite merged with the Roman-Italic aristocracy. The policies of Theodoric (ruled 493–526), strongly opposed by some Ostrogoths and Italo-Romans, represented an attempt to reach a compromise between the Ostrogoth and Roman-Italic elites. The murder of Amalasuntha, Theodoric’s daughter (ruled 526–534), who had favored an alliance with the Roman aristocracy, served as a pretext for the invasion of Italy by the army of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor Justinian I in 535. The Ostrogoths were defeated in the early stage of the war by the Byzantine general Belisarius. The next Ostrogoth king, Totila (ruled 541–552), united all the enemies of the Eastern Roman Empire, including slaves and coloni (bondmen), whom he accepted into his army and emancipated, and won a series of brilliant victories over the Byzantine forces. In 552, however, the Ostrogoths were defeated by the Byzantine general Narses at Tagina. By 554 most of the Ostrogoth kingdom was conquered by Byzantium and ceased to exist.
REFERENCEUdal’tsova, Z. V. Italiia i Vizantiia v VI veke. Moscow, 1959.
Z. V. UDAL’TSOVA