Theodahad: A Platonic King at the Collapse of Ostrogothic Italy
Educated in Platonic philosophy rather than the military arts, the Ostrogothic king Theodahad was never meant to rule. His unexpected nomination as co-regent by his cousin Queen Amalasuintha plunged him into the intrigues of the Gothic court, and Theodahad soon conspired to assassinate the queen. But, once alone on the throne, his lack of political experience and military skill made him ineffective at best and dangerously incompetent at worst. Defeated by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, Theodahad was killed by his own subjects.
In Theodahad, Massimiliano Vitiello rigorously investigates the ancient sources in order to reconstruct the events of Theodahad’s life and the contours of sixth-century diplomacy and political intrigues. Painting a picture of an unlikely king whose reign helped spell the end of Ostrogothic Italy, Vitiello’s book not only illuminates Theodahad’s own life but also offers new insight into the sixth-century Mediterranean world.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 352 pages
- Illustrations: 1
- Dimensions: 6.6in x 1.2in x 9.3in
‘Theodahad is a powerful and convincing narrative. Therefore the reviewer’s advice to the audience runs as follows: Tolle lege.’
Speculum vol 91:03:2016
“Theodahad is a fascinating overview of the man and the political and cultural forces at work in his era. Vitiello provides a nuanced interpretation of the failure of Theodahad’s diplomacy and the limitations of his character, as well as new perspectives on Justinian, Theodora, and the later Roman popes.”
Michele Salzman, Department of History, University of California, Riverside
“Vitiello’s fine study of Theodahad will be very valuable for scholars of the sixth century.
Michael Kulikowski, Department of History, Pennsylvania State University
Author InformationMassimiliano Vitiello is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Table of contents
- i. Towards a biography of Theodahad
- ii. Theodahad between Procopius of Caesarea and Cassiodorus
Chapter One: Theodahad the man
- i. Theodahad’s childhood and early education
- ii. Theodahad, the education of the Gothic youth and Amal family
- iii. Philosophy in the education of Theodahad
- iv. Theodahad’s Platonism and his disinterest in war
- v. Theodahad, landowner of Etruria
- vi. An anxious, fearful and hesitant king
Chapter Two: Theodahad the noble
- i. The influence of teachers from the Roman schools on the Gothic court
- ii. Theodahad and the women of the Amal family
- iii. Theoderic and Theodahad: between the Roman and Gothic worlds
- a. Theoderic and Roman culture
- b. Theoderic and royalty
- iv. Theodahad as successor of Theoderic?
- v. Theodahad and Theoderic: an animosity badly hidden or deliberately flaunted?
Chapter Three: Theodahad the co-regent
- i. Athalarich’s death and Theodahad’s call to the throne
- ii. The co-regency
- iii. The path to legitimation
- iv. A ‘Gothic philosopher’ is introduced to the kingdom
- v. The building of consent
- vi. The philosopher-king and the representation of his co-regent
- vii. Theodahad, Boethius’ friends, and the Anician family
- a. A family drama
- b. Two ‘friends’ of Boethius: Maximianus and Patricius
- c. Maximus: a marriage to save the kingdom?
Chapter Four: Theodahad the king
- i. Ingratidude, conspiracy, or diplomatic incident?
- ii. Theodahad, Justinian, and Theodora
- iii. Theodahad and Rome
- iv. Theodahad’s diplomatic policy: the embassies
- v. Pope Agapetus’ embassy to Constantinople
- vi. Theodahad’s ‘adventus’ and sojourn in Rome
- vii. Theodahad and religion
- viii. Theodahad between the two Italies: the body politic dismembered
- ix. Theodahad in war: diplomatic operations and attempted alliances
- a. The desertion of his son-in-law
- b. Military operations conducted at a distance
- c. Unsuccessful attempts to form alliances
- d. The end of hope and despair
Chapter Five: Theodahad, the end
- i. Theodahad’s fall and Witiges’ coup
- ii. Legalize the succession or repair the damages? Witiges and Justinian
- iii. The end of Rome’s Liberty
- Appendix I: Cassiodorus’ travels beween Ravenna and Rome
- Appendix II: ‘A Roman of note among the Goths’
- Appendix III: The embassies of Variae X 19–24 and XI 13: the ‘status quaestionis’
Subjects and Courses