Battles of the Isonzo
The Battles of the Isonzo were a series of 12 battles between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies in World War I on the territory of present-day Slovenia, the remainder in Italy along the Isonzo River on the eastern sector of the Italian Front between June 1915 and November 1917. In April 1915, in the secret Treaty of London, Italy was promised by the Allies some of the territories of Austro-Hungarian Empire which were inhabited by ethnic Slovenes. Italian Field Marshal Luigi Cadorna, a staunch proponent of the frontal assault planned breaking onto the Slovenian plateau, taking Ljubljana and threatening Vienna; the area between the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea and the sources of the Isonzo River thus became the scene of twelve successive battles. As a result, the Austro-Hungarians were forced to move some of their forces from the Eastern Front and a war in the mountains around the Isonzo River began; the sixty-mile long Soča River at the time ran inside Austria-Hungary in parallel to the border with Italy, from the Vršič and Predil passes in the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea, widening a few kilometers north of Gorizia, thus opening a narrow corridor between Northern Italy and Central Europe, which goes through the Vipava Valley and the low north-eastern edge of the Karst Plateau to Inner Carniola and Ljubljana.
The corridor is known as the "Ljubljana Gate". By the autumn of 1915 one mile had been won by Italian troops, by October 1917 a few Austrian mountains and some square miles of land had changed hands several times. Italian troops did not reach the port of Trieste, the Italian General Luigi Cadorna's initial target, until after the Armistice. With the rest of the mountainous 400-mile length of the Front being everywhere dominated by Austro-Hungarian forces, the Soča was the only practical area for Italian military operations during the war; the Austrians had fortified the mountains ahead of the Italians' entry into the war on 23 May 1915. Italian Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna judged that Italian gains were most feasible at the coastal plain east of the lower end of the Soča; however he believed that the Italian army could strike further north and bypass the mountains either side of the river so as to come at the Austro-Hungarian forces in the rear. Cadorna had not expected operations in the Isonzo sector to be easy.
He was well aware that the river was prone to flooding – and indeed there were record rainfalls during 1914–18. Further, when attacking further north the Italian army was faced with something of a dilemma: in order to cross the Isonzo safely it needed to neutralise the Austro-Hungarian defenders on the mountains above. In the south geographic peculiarities, including an array of ridges and valleys gave an advantage to the Austro-Hungarian defenders. Despite the huge effort and resources poured into the continuing Isonzo struggle the results were invariably disappointing and without real tactical merit given the geographical difficulties that were inherent in the campaign. Cumulative casualties of the numerous battles of the Isonzo were enormous. Half of the entire Italian war death total – some 300,000 of 600,000 – were suffered along the Soča. Austro-Hungarian losses, while by no means as numerous were high at around 200,000. More than 30,000 casualties were ethnic Slovenes, majority of them being drafted in the Austro-Hungarian Army, while Slovene civil inhabitants from the Gorizia and Gradisca region suffered in many thousands because they were resettled in refugee camps where Slovene refugees were treated as state enemies by Italians and some thousands died of malnutrition in Italian refugee camps.
With continuous combat in the area, the precise number of battles forming the Isonzo campaign is debatable. Some historians have assigned distinct names to a couple of the Isonzo struggles, most notably at Kobarid in October 1917, which would otherwise form the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo; the fact that the battles were always named after the Isonzo River in Italy, was considered by some a propaganda success for Austria-Hungary: it highlighted the repeated Italian failure to breach this landmark frontier of the Empire. The Isonzo campaign comprised the following battles: First Battle of the Isonzo – 23 June–7 July 1915 Second Battle of the Isonzo – 18 July–3 August 1915 Third Battle of the Isonzo – 18 October–3 November 1915 Fourth Battle of the Isonzo – 10 November–2 December 1915 Fifth Battle of the Isonzo – 9–17 March 1916 Sixth Battle of the Isonzo – 6–17 August 1916 Seventh Battle of the Isonzo – 14–17 September 1916 Eighth Battle of the Isonzo – 10–12 October 1916 Ninth Battle of the Isonzo – 1–4 November 1916 Tenth Battle of the Isonzo – 12 May–8 June 1917 Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo – 19 August–12 September 1917 Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo – 24 October–7 November 1917 known as the Battle of Caporetto Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms is set in the events along this front.
Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti's autobiographical poem, "I Fiumi", was written about the Isonzo whilst he was stationed on the Front. Mark Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War refers to parts of the Isonzo campaign; the twelfth battle is the subject of the novel Caporetto by the Swedish author F. J. Nordstedt, Stockholm 1972. FirstWorldWar. Com The Battles of the Isonzo, 1915–17 FirstWorldWar. Com Battlefield Maps: Italian Front 11 battles at the Isonzo The Walks of Peace in the Soča Reg
The Soča or Isonzo is a 138-kilometre long river that flows through western Slovenia and northeastern Italy. An Alpine river in character, its source lies in the Trenta Valley in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia, at an elevation of 876 metres; the river runs past the towns of Bovec, Tolmin, Kanal ob Soči, Nova Gorica, Gorizia, entering the Adriatic Sea close to the town of Monfalcone. It has a nival-pluvial regime in its upper pluvial-nival in its lower course. Prior to the First World War, the river ran parallel to the border between Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During World War I, it was the scene of bitter fighting between the two countries, culminating in the Battle of Caporetto in 1917; the river was recorded in antiquity as Aesontius and Isontius. Attestations include super Sontium, a flumine Isontio, in Lisonçum, an die Ysnicz, an der Snicz; the Slovene name Soča is derived from the form *Sǫťa, borrowed from Latin Sontius. In turn, this is based on the substrate name *Aisontia derived from the PIE root *Hei̯s-'swift, rushing', referring to a moving river.
Another possible origin is the pre-Romance root *ai̯s-'water, river'. The present course of the river is the result of several dramatic changes that occurred during the past 2,000 years. According to the Roman historian Strabo, the river named Aesontius, which in Roman times flowed past Aquileia to the Adriatic Sea, was the Natisone and Torre river system. In 585, a landslide cut off the upper part of the Natisone riverbed, causing its avulsion and subsequent stream capture by the Bontius River; the original subterranean discharge of the Bontius into the Timavo became obstructed, another avulsion returned the new watercourse into the bed of the lower Natisone. During the next centuries the estuary of this new river—the Soča—moved eastward until it captured the short coastal river Sdobba, through which the Soča now discharges into the Adriatic Sea; the former estuary in the newly formed lagoon of Grado became an independent coastal rivulet. Due to its emerald-green water, the river is marketed as "The Emerald Beauty."
It is said to be one of the rare rivers in the world that retain such a colour throughout their length. Giuseppe Ungaretti, one of the greatest Italian poets, describes the Isonzo in the poem "The Rivers." The Soča inspired the poet Simon Gregorčič to write his best-known poem Soči, one of the masterpieces of Slovene poetry. This region served as a location for the 2008 Disney film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; the Soča is well known for its unique trout species Salmo marmoratus, which lives in the upper course of the crystal-clear river. This species is endangered due to the introduction of other non-indigenous trout species sometime between World War I and World War II; the valley was the stage of major military operations including the twelve battles of the Isonzo on the Italian front in World War I between May 1915 and November 1917, in which over 300,000 Austro-Hungarian and Italian soldiers lost their lives. The Isonzo campaign comprised the following battles: First Battle of the Isonzo: 23 June – 7 July 1915 Second Battle of the Isonzo: 18 July – 3 August 1915 Third Battle of the Isonzo: 18 October – 3 November 1915 Fourth Battle of the Isonzo: 10 November – 2 December 1915 Fifth Battle of the Isonzo: 9–17 March 1916 Sixth Battle of the Isonzo: 6–17 August 1916 Seventh Battle of the Isonzo: 14–17 September 1916 Eighth Battle of the Isonzo: 10–12 October 1916 Ninth Battle of the Isonzo: 1–4 November 1916 Tenth Battle of the Isonzo: 12 May – 8 June 1917 Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo: 19 August – 12 September 1917 Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo: 24 October – 7 November 1917 known as the Battle of Caporetto Karst topography Battles of the Isonzo Gorizia Goriška Condition of Soča at Log Čezsoški and Solkan - graphs, in the following order, of water level and temperature data for the past 30 days The Walks of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation.
The Foundation preserves and presents the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War in the area of the Isonzo Front for the study and educational purposes. Galleries of Soca river in kayak Awarded "EDEN - European Destinations of Excellence" non traditional tourist destination 2008
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Theoderic the Great
Theoderic the Great referred to as Theodoric, was king of the Ostrogoths, ruler of Italy, regent of the Visigoths, a patrician of the Roman Empire. As ruler of the combined Gothic realms, Theoderic controlled an empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea, he kept good relations between Ostrogoths and Romans, maintained a Roman legal administration and oversaw a flourishing scholarly culture and the largest building program in Italy in 100 years. Theoderic was born in Pannonia in 454 as the son of king Theodemir, a Germanic Amali nobleman, his concubine Ereleuva. From 461 to 471, Theoderic grew up as a hostage in Constantinople, received a privileged education under imperial direction, succeeded his father as leader of the Pannonian Ostrogoths in 473. Settling his people in lower Moesia, Theoderic came into conflict with Thracian Ostrogoths led by Theodoric Strabo, whom he supplanted, uniting the peoples in 484. Emperor Zeno subsequently gave him the title of Patrician, Vir gloriosus, the office of magister militum, appointed him as consul.
Seeking further gains, Theoderic ravaged the provinces of the Eastern Roman Empire threatening Constantinople itself. In 488, Emperor Zeno ordered Theoderic to overthrow the Germanic foederatus and King of Italy, Odoacer. After a victorious four-year war, Theoderic killed Odoacer with his own hands while they shared a meal, settled his 200,000 to 250,000 people in Italy, founded an Ostrogothic Kingdom based in Ravenna. Theoderic extended his hegemony over the Vandal Kingdoms through marriage alliances. In 511, the Visigothic Kingdom was brought under Theoderic's direct control, forming a Gothic empire that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea. Theoderic's achievements began to unravel in his years; the Burgundians and Vandals threw off Ostrogothic hegemony by 523, Theoderic's presumptive heir to both Gothic realms and son-in-law Eutharic died in 522, throwing his succession into doubt. Theoderic's good relations with the Roman Senate deteriorated due to a presumed senatorial conspiracy in 522, and, in 523, Theoderic had the philosopher and court official Boethius and Boethius' father-in-law Symmachus executed on charges of treason related to the alleged plot.
Theoderic died in Ravenna on 30 August 526, was succeeded by his grandson Athalaric, with Theoderic's daughter Amalasuntha serving as regent. The Visigothic Kingdom re-acquired its independence on Theoderic's death. Seeking to restore the glory of ancient Rome, he ruled Italy in its most peaceful and prosperous period since Valentinian I. Memories of his reign made him a hero of German legends, as Dietrich von Bern; the man who would rule under the name of Theoderic was born in AD 454, on the banks of the Neusiedler See near Carnuntum. This was just a year, his Gothic name, reconstructed by linguists as *Þiudareiks, translates into "people-king" or "ruler of the people". The son of King Theodemir and Ereleuva, Theoderic went to Constantinople as a young boy, as a hostage to secure the Ostrogoths' compliance with a treaty Theodemir had concluded with the Byzantine Emperor Leo the Thracian, he was Leo's hostage at the Great Palace of Constantinople from 461 to 471 and was well-educated by Constantinople's best teachers.
Theoderic was treated with favor by Zeno. He settled his people in Epirus in 479 with the help of his relative Sidimund. Theoderic became magister militum in 483, one year he became consul in a ceremony in the presence of Emperor Zeno. Afterwards, he returned to live among the Ostrogoths when he was 31 years old and became their king in 488; the legend that he was illiterate arose from the fact that he used a stamp to affix his approval of laws. At the time, the Ostrogoths were settled in Byzantine territory as foederati of the Romans, but were becoming restless and difficult for Zeno to manage. Not long after Theoderic became king, the two men worked out an arrangement beneficial to both sides; the Ostrogoths needed a place to live, Zeno was having serious problems with Odoacer, the King of Italy who had come to power in 476. Ostensibly a viceroy for Zeno, Odoacer was menacing Byzantine territory and not respecting the rights of Roman citizens in Italy. At Zeno's encouragement, Theoderic invaded Odoacer's kingdom.
In this endeavor he received the support of the Rugian king Frideric, the son of Theoderic's cousin Giso. Theoderic moved with his people towards Italy in the autumn of 488. On the way he was opposed by the Gepids, whom he defeated at Sirmium in August 489. Arriving in Italy, Theoderic won the battles of Isonzo and Verona in 489, he was defeated by Odoacer at Faenza in 490, but regained the upper hand after securing victory in the Battle of the Adda River on August 11, 490. In 493 he took Ravenna. On February 2, 493, Theoderic and Odoacer signed a treaty that assured both parties would rule over Italy. A banquet was organised on 15 March 493. At this banquet, after making a toast, killed Odoacer. Theoderic struck him on the collarbone. Like Odoacer, Theoderic was ostensibly only a viceroy for the emperor in Constantinople. In reality, he was able to avoid imperial supervision, dealings between the empero
The Ostrogoths were the eastern branch of the older Goths. The Ostrogoths traced their origins to the Greutungi – a branch of the Goths who had migrated southward from the Baltic Sea and established a kingdom north of the Black Sea, during the 3rd and 4th centuries, they built an empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The Ostrogoths were literate in the 3rd century, their trade with the Romans was developed, their Danubian kingdom reached its zenith under King Ermanaric, said to have committed suicide at an old age when the Huns attacked his people and subjugated them in about 370. After their annexation by the Huns, little is heard of the Ostrogoths for about 80 years, after which they reappear in Pannonia on the middle Danube River as federates of the Romans. After the collapse of the Hun empire after the Battle of Nedao, Ostrogoths migrated westwards towards Illyria and the borders of Italy, while some remained in the Crimea. During the late 5th and 6th centuries, under Theodoric the Great most of the Ostrogoths moved first to Moesia and conquered the Kingdom of Italy of the Germanic warrior Odoacer.
In 493, Theodoric the Great established a kingdom in Italy. A period of instability ensued, tempting the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian to declare war on the Ostrogoths in 535 in an effort to restore the former western provinces of the Roman Empire; the Byzantines were successful, but under the leadership of Totila, the Goths reconquered most of the lost territory until Totila's death at the Battle of Taginae. The war lasted for 21 years and caused enormous damage and depopulation of Italy; the remaining Ostrogoths were absorbed into the Lombards who established a kingdom in Italy in 568. A division of the Goths is first attested in 291; the Tervingi are first attested around that date. The Greuthungi are first named by Ammianus Marcellinus, writing no earlier than 392 and later than 395, basing his account on the words of a Tervingian chieftain, attested as early as 376; the Ostrogoths are first named in a document dated September 392 from Milan. Claudian mentions. According to Herwig Wolfram, the primary sources either use the terminology of Tervingi/Greuthungi or Vesi/Ostrogothi and never mix the pairs.
All four names were used together, but the pairing was always preserved, as in Gruthungi, Tervingi, Vesi. That the Tervingi were the Vesi/Visigothi and the Greuthungi the Ostrogothi is supported by Jordanes, he identified the Visigothic kings from Alaric I to Alaric II as the heirs of the fourth-century Tervingian king Athanaric and the Ostrogothic kings from Theodoric the Great to Theodahad as the heirs of the Greuthungian king Ermanaric. This interpretation, though common among scholars today, is not universal. According to the Jordanes' Getica, around 400 the Ostrogoths were ruled by Ostrogotha and derived their name from this "father of the Ostrogoths", but modern historians assume the converse, that Ostrogotha was named after the people. Both Herwig Wolfram and Thomas Burns conclude that the terms Tervingi and Greuthungi were geographical identifiers used by each tribe to describe the other; this terminology therefore dropped out of use after the Goths were displaced by the Hunnic invasions.
In support of this, Wolfram cites Zosimus as referring to a group of "Scythians" north of the Danube who were called "Greuthungi" by the barbarians north of the Ister. Wolfram asserts, he further believes that the terms "Vesi" and "Ostrogothi" were used by the peoples to boastfully describe themselves. On this understanding, the Greuthungi and Ostrogothi were less the same people; the nomenclature of Greuthungi and Tervingi fell out of use shortly after 400. In general, the terminology of a divided Gothic people disappeared after they entered the Roman Empire; the term "Visigoth", was an invention of the sixth century. Cassiodorus, a Roman in the service of Theodoric the Great, invented the term Visigothi to match Ostrogothi, which terms he thought of as "western Goths" and "eastern Goths" respectively; the western-eastern division was a simplification and a literary device of sixth-century historians where political realities were more complex. Furthermore, Cassiodorus used the term "Goths" to refer only to the Ostrogoths, whom he served, reserved the geographical term "Visigoths" for the Gallo-Hispanic Goths.
This usage, was adopted by the Visigoths themselves in their communications with the Byzantine Empire and was in use in the seventh century. Other names for the Goths abounded. A "Germanic" Byzantine or Italian author referred to one of the two peoples as the Valagothi, meaning "Roman Goths". In 484 the Ostrogoths had been called the Valameriaci because they followed Theodoric, a descendant of Valamir; this terminology survived in the Byzantine East as late as the reign of Athalaric, called του Ουαλεμεριακου by John Malalas. The Gothic name makes its first appearance sometime between 16 and 18 AD with earlier indications related to the Guti of Scandia or attributable to the Gutones. Procopius wrote of the Gauts in Thule and Cassiodorus mentioned the Gauthigoths amid his list of Scandinavian peoples. Two distinct groups of Gothic peoples are first attested to in 291, the western Tervingi-Vesi and the eastern Greutungi-Ostrogothi. "Greuthungi" may mean "steppe dwellers" or "people of t
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Flavius Odoacer known as Flavius Odovacer or Odovacar, was a barbarian statesman who in 476 became the first King of Italy. His reign is seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Odoacer is the earliest ruler of Italy for whom an autograph of any of his legal acts has survived to the current day. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of the emperor in Constantinople. Odoacer used the Roman honorific patrician, granted by the emperor Zeno, but is referred to as a king in many documents, he himself used it in the only surviving official document that emanated from his chancery, it was used by the consul Basilius. Odoacer introduced few important changes into the administrative system of Italy, he had the support of the Roman Senate and was able to distribute land to his followers without much opposition. Unrest among his warriors led to violence in 477–478, but no such disturbances occurred during the period of his reign. Although Odoacer was an Arian Christian, he intervened in the affairs of Trinitarian state church of the Roman Empire.
Of East Germanic descent, according to most opinions, Odoacer was a military leader in Italy who led the revolt of Herulian and Scirian soldiers that deposed Romulus Augustulus on 4 September AD 476. Augustulus had been declared Western Roman Emperor by his father, the rebellious general of the army in Italy, less than a year before, but had been unable to gain allegiance or recognition beyond central Italy. With the backing of the Roman Senate, Odoacer thenceforth ruled Italy autonomously, paying lip service to the authority of Julius Nepos, the previous Western emperor, Zeno, the emperor of the East. Upon Nepos's murder in 480 Odoacer invaded Dalmatia, he did so, executing the conspirators, but within two years conquered the region and incorporated it into his domain. When Illus, master of soldiers of the Eastern Empire, asked for Odoacer's help in 484 in his struggle to depose Zeno, Odoacer invaded Zeno's westernmost provinces; the emperor responded first by inciting the Rugii of present-day Austria to attack Italy.
During the winter of 487–488 Odoacer crossed the Danube and defeated the Rugii in their own territory. Zeno appointed the Ostrogoth Theoderic the Great, menacing the borders of the Eastern Empire, to be king of Italy, turning one troublesome, nominal vassal against another. Theoderic invaded Italy in 489 and by August 490 had captured the entire peninsula, forcing Odoacer to take refuge in Ravenna; the city surrendered on 5 March 493. Except for the fact that he was not considered Roman, Odoacer's precise ethnic origins are not known. Most opinions consider him to be of Germanic descent, from one of several East Germanic tribes such as the Turcilingi, Heruli and Gothi, or also of partial Thuringii descent. Both the Anonymus Valesianus and John of Antioch state. However, it is unclear whether this Edeko is identical to one—or both—men of the same name who lived at this time: one was an ambassador of Attila to the court in Constantinople, escorted Priscus and other Imperial dignitaries back to Attila's camp.
Since Sebastian Tillemont in the 17th century, all three have been considered to be the same person. In his Getica, Jordanes describes Odoacer as king of the Turcilingi. However, in his Romana, the same author defines him as a member of the Rugii; the Consularia Italica calls him king of the Heruli, while Theophanes appears to be guessing when he calls him a Goth. The sixth-century chronicler, Marcellinus Comes, calls him "the king of the Goths". Reynolds and Lopez explored the possibility that Odoacer was not Germanic in their 1946 paper published by The American Historical Review, making several arguments that his ethnic background might lie elsewhere. One of these is that his name, "Odoacer", for which an etymology in Germanic languages had not been convincingly found, could be a form of the Turkish "Ot-toghar", or the shorter form "Ot-ghar". Other sources believe the name Odoacer is derived from the Germanic Audawakrs, from aud- "wealth" and wakr- "vigilant"; this form finds a cognate in another Germanic language, the titular Eadwacer of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer.
Odoacer's identity as a Hun was accepted by a number of authorities, such as E. A. Thompson and J. M. Wallace-Hadrill—despite Otto J. Maenchen-Helfen's objection that personal names were not an infallible guide to ethnicity. Subsequently, while reviewing the primary sources in 1983, Bruce Macbain proposed that while his mother might have been Scirian and his father Thuringian, in any case he was not a Hun; the earliest recorded incident involving Odoacer is from a fragment of a chronicle preserved in the Decem Libri Historiarum of Gregory of Tours. Two chapters of his work recount, in a confused or confusing manner, a number of battles fought by King Childeric I of the Franks, Count Paul, one "Adovacrius" or "Odovacrius". If this is an account of Aegidius' victory over the Visigoths, otherwise known from the Chronicle of Hydatius this occurred in 463. Reynolds and Lopez, in their article mentioned above, suggested that this "A