Egypt (Roman province)
The Roman province of Egypt was established in 30 BC after Octavian defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed Pharaoh Cleopatra, annexed the Ptolemaic Kingdom to the Roman Empire. The province encompassed most of modern-day Egypt except for the Sinai Peninsula. Aegyptus was bordered by the provinces of Crete and Cyrenaica to Judea to the East; the province came to serve as a major producer of grain for the empire and had a developed urban economy. Aegyptus was by far the wealthiest Eastern Roman province, by far the wealthiest Roman province outside of Italia. In Alexandria, its capital, it possessed the largest port, the second largest city of the Roman Empire; as a key province, but the'crown domain' where the emperors succeeded the divine Pharaohs, Egypt was ruled by a uniquely styled Praefectus augustalis, instead of the traditional senatorial governor of other Roman provinces. The prefect was appointed by the Emperor; the first prefect of Aegyptus, Gaius Cornelius Gallus, brought Upper Egypt under Roman control by force of arms, established a protectorate over the southern frontier district, abandoned by the Ptolemies.
The second prefect, Aelius Gallus, made an unsuccessful expedition to conquer Arabia Petraea and Arabia Felix. The Red Sea coast of Aegyptus was not brought under Roman control until the reign of Claudius; the third prefect, Gaius Petronius, cleared the neglected canals for irrigation, stimulating a revival of agriculture. Petronius led a campaign into present-day central Sudan against the Kingdom of Kush at Meroe, whose queen Imanarenat had attacked Roman Egypt. Failing to acquire permanent gains, in 22 BC he razed the city of Napata to the ground and retreated to the north. From the reign of Nero onward, Aegyptus enjoyed an era of prosperity. Much trouble was caused by religious conflicts between the Greeks and the Jews in Alexandria, which after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 became the world centre of Jewish religion and culture. Under Trajan a Jewish revolt occurred, resulting in the suppression of the Jews of Alexandria and the loss of all their privileges, although they soon returned.
Hadrian, who twice visited Aegyptus, founded Antinopolis in memory of his drowned lover Antinous. From his reign onward buildings in the Greco-Roman style were erected throughout the country Under Antoninus Pius oppressive taxation led to a revolt in 139, of the native Egyptians, suppressed only after several years of fighting; this Bucolic War, led by one Isidorus, caused great damage to the economy and marked the beginning of Egypt's economic decline. Avidius Cassius, who led the Roman forces in the war, declared himself emperor in 175, was acknowledged by the armies of Syria and Aegyptus. On the approach of Marcus Aurelius, Cassius was deposed and killed and the clemency of the emperor restored peace. A similar revolt broke out in 193, when Pescennius Niger was proclaimed emperor on the death of Pertinax; the Emperor Septimius Severus gave a constitution to Alexandria and the provincial capitals in 202. Caracalla granted Roman citizenship to all Egyptians, in common with the other provincials, but this was to extort more taxes, which grew onerous as the needs of the emperors for more revenue grew more desperate.
There was a series of revolts, both civilian, through the 3rd century. Under Decius, in 250, the Christians again suffered from persecution, but their religion continued to spread; the prefect of Aegyptus in 260, Mussius Aemilianus, first supported the Macriani, usurpers during the rule of Gallienus, in 261, became a usurper himself, but was defeated by Gallienus. Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, took the country away from the Romans when she conquered Aegyptus in 269, declaring herself the Queen of Egypt also; this warrior queen claimed that Egypt was an ancestral home of hers through a familial tie to Cleopatra VII. She was well educated and familiar with the culture of Egypt, its religion, its language, she lost it when the Roman emperor, severed amicable relations between the two countries and retook Egypt in 274. Two generals based in Aegyptus and Domitius Domitianus, led successful revolts and made themselves emperors. Diocletian reorganised the whole province, his edict of 303 against the Christians began a new era of persecution.
This was the last serious attempt to stem the steady growth of Christianity in Egypt, however. As Rome overtook the Ptolemaic system in place for areas of Egypt, they made many changes; the effect of the Roman conquest was at first to strengthen the position of the Greeks and of Hellenism against Egyptian influences. Some of the previous offices and names of offices under the Hellenistic Ptolemaic rule were kept, some were changed, some names would have remained but the function and administration would have changed; the Romans introduced important changes in the administrative system, aimed at achieving a high level of efficiency and maximizing revenue. The duties of the prefect of Aegyptus combined responsibility for military security through command of the legions and cohorts, for the organization of finance and taxation, for the administration of justice; the reforms of the early 4th century had established the basis for another 250 years of comparative prosperity in Aegyptus, at a cost of greater rigidity and more oppressive state control.
Aegyptus was subdivided for administrative purposes into a number of smaller provinces, s
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
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
A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum. Each year, the citizens of Rome elected two consuls to serve jointly for a one-year term; the consuls alternated in holding imperium each month, a consul's imperium extended over Rome and the provinces. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls became mere symbolic representatives of Rome's republican heritage and held little power and authority, with the Emperor acting as the supreme authority. After the legendary expulsion of the last Etruscan King, Tarquin the Proud, a harsh ruler at the end of the Roman Kingdom, most of the powers and authority of the king were ostensibly given to the newly instituted consulship; this change in leadership came about when the king's son, Sextus Tarquinius, raped the wife and daughter of powerful Roman nobles. A group of nobles led by Lucius Junius Brutus, with the support of the Roman Army, expelled Tarquinius and his family from Rome in 509 BC.
Consuls were called praetors, referring to their duties as the chief military commanders. By at least 300 BC the title of Consul became used. Ancient writers derive the title consul from the Latin verb consulere, "to take counsel", but this is most a gloss of the term, which derives—in view of the joint nature of the office—from con- and sal-, "get together" or from con- and sell-/sedl-, "sit down together with" or "next to". In Greek, the title was rendered as στρατηγὸς ὕπατος, strategos hypatos, simply as ὕπατος; the consul was believed by the Romans to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 BC, but the succession of consuls was not continuous in the 5th century BC. During the 440s, the office was quite replaced with the establishment of the Consular Tribunes, who were elected whenever the military needs of the state were significant enough to warrant the election of more than the two usual consuls; these remained in place until the office was abolished in 367/366 BC and the consulship was reintroduced.
Consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, in wartime held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rites which, as a sign of their formal importance, could only be carried out by the highest state officials. Consuls read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field. Two consuls were elected each year, serving together, each with veto power over the other's actions, a normal principle for magistracies, it is thought that only patricians were eligible for the consulship. Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had an aristocratic bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. However, they formally assumed powers only after the ratification of their election in the older Comitia Curiata, which granted the consuls their imperium by enacting a law, the "lex curiata de imperio". If a consul died during his term or was removed from office, another would be elected by the Comitia Centuriata to serve the remainder of the term as consul suffectus.
A consul elected to start the year - called a consul ordinarius - held more prestige than a suffect consul because the year would be named for ordinary consuls. According to tradition, the consulship was reserved for patricians and only in 367 BC did plebeians win the right to stand for this supreme office, when the Lex Licinia Sextia provided that at least one consul each year should be plebeian; the first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was elected the following year. The office remained in the hands of a few families as, according to Gelzer, only fifteen novi homines - "new men" with no consular background - were elected to the consulship until the election of Cicero in 63 BC. Modern historians have questioned the traditional account of plebeian emancipation during the early Republic, noting for instance that about thirty percent of the consuls prior to Sextius had plebeian, not patrician, names, it is possible that only the chronology has been distorted, but it seems that one of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus, came from a plebeian family.
Another possible explanation is that during the 5th century social struggles, the office of consul was monopolized by a patrician elite. During times of war, the primary qualification for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. With the passage of time, the consulship became the normal endpoint of the cursus honorum, the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman who chose to pursue political power and influence; when Lucius Cornelius Sulla regulated the cursus by law, the minimum age of election to consul became, in effect, 41 years of age. Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a consular year, a former consul would serve a lucrative term as a proconsul, the Roman Governor of one of the provinces; the most chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul. Although throughout the early years of the Principate, the consuls were still formally elected by the Comitia Centuriata, they were in fact nominated by the princeps.
As the years progressed, the distinction between the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa appears to have disappeared, so for the purposes of the consular
Praetorian prefecture of Italy
The praetorian prefecture of Italy was one of four Praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided. It comprised the Italian peninsula, the Western Balkans, the Danubian provinces and parts of North Africa; the Prefecture's seat moved from Rome to Milan and Ravenna. The prefecture was established in the division of the Empire after the death of Constantine the Great in 337, was made up of dioceses; these were the Diocese of Africa, the Diocese of Italy, the Diocese of Pannonia, the Diocese of Dacia and the Diocese of Macedonia. The Diocese of Italy was split in two, the Diocese of Suburbicarian Italy and the Diocese of Annonarian Italy. In 347, the praetorian prefecture of Illyricum was established, comprising the dioceses of Pannonia and Macedonia. Vulcaius Rufinus was the prefect, 347-352; the new prefecture was reestablished in 375 by Gratian. Its territory was contested between the two halves of the Empire, until the final partition in 395, when the Diocese of Pannonia was split off from the Illyricum and joined to the Western Empire and the prefecture of Italy as the Diocese of Illyricum.
Despite the end of the Western Empire in 476, the Germanic successor states under Odoacer and Theodoric the Great continued to use the Roman administrative machinery, as well as being nominal subjects of the Eastern emperor at Constantinople. The Prefecture thus survived, came again into Roman hands after Justinian's Gothic War. However, with the Lombard invasion in 568, Roman rule became reduced to fragmented and isolated territories, the Prefecture gave its place to the Exarchate of Ravenna, established by the emperor Maurice. Prefects continue however to be attested until well into the 7th century; the last attested holder occurs in 639, a couple of seals bearing the title eparchos survive from the late 7th century, although it has been suggested that they are a misprint for exarchos. Aemilianus Lucius Pupius Pacatianus Fabius Aconius Catullinus Philomathius Marcus Maecius Memmius Furius Baburius Caecilianus Placidus Vulcacius Rufinus Gaius Ceionius Rufius Volusianus Lampadius Taurus Claudius Mamertinus Vulcacius Rufinus Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus Decimius Hilarianus Hesperius Flavius Afranius Syagrius Flavius Hypatius Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus Nonius Atticus Vettius Agorius Praetextatus Neoterius Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus Virius Nicomachus Flavianus Nummius Aemilianus Dexter Eusebius Mallius Theodorus Valerius Messala Avienus Rufus Synesius Hadrianus Flavius Macrobius Longinianus Curtius Flavius Macrobius Longinianus Mallius Theodorus Caecilianus Jovius Melitius Seleucus Ioannes Rufus Synesius Hadrianus Seleucus Junius Quartus Palladius Anicius Auchenius Bassus Anicius Auchenius Bassus Anicius Acilius Glabrio Faustus Petronius Maximus Caecina Decius Aginatius Albinus Caecina Decius Basilius Caelius Aconius Probianus Caecina Decius Basilius Felix Himelco Under Odoacer: Nar.
Manlius Boethius Caecina Decius Maximus Basilius iunior Caecina Mavortius Basilius Decius iunior Under the Ostrogoths: Liberius Flavius Albinus iunior Cassiodorus the Elder Anicius Probus Faustus iunior Rufius Magnus Faustus Avienus Faustus or 529 Cassiodorus the Younger Fidelis Reparatus Athanasius Maximinus Flavius Marianus Michaelius Gabrielius Petrus Iohannes Narses Aurelianus Limenius Stephanus Aurelianus
James J. O'Donnell
James Joseph O'Donnell is a classical scholar and University Librarian at Arizona State University. He served as University Professor at Georgetown University and as Provost of Georgetown University from 2002–2012. O'Donnell served as Vice Provost for Information Systems and Computing at the University of Pennsylvania, he is a former President of the American Philological Association and a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. Since 2012, he chairs the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies. O'Donnell writes and lectures on topics of the late Roman Empire, Augustine of Hippo, on information technology in the modern academic and cultural world, he was an early adopter of the World Wide Web for academic collaboration within the humanities. He has been involved with Bryn Mawr Classical Review since it was founded in 1990. In 1994, he offered the first Internet MOOC when five hundred students around the world participated in his University of Pennsylvania seminar on the life and work of St. Augustine through gopher and email connectivity.
O'Donnell's books include more technical scholarly works on history and philosophy, with a special interest in Augustine of Hippo, but he has three books that are addressed to a general audience. Avatars of the Word outlines the history of writing and media from ancient Greek times to the present, while Augustine: A New Biography was reviewed. An account of the end of Roman grandeur, The Ruin of the Roman Empire, was praised, his Pagans was published in 2015. His latest book, a new translation of Julius Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic Wars, is forthcoming; the Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History Ecco Press. Princeton University 1975 Ph. D. Yale University O'Donnell's website includes a biographical sketch of Doughbelly Price. Price was a cowboy turned real estate agent in New Mexico; the biography includes a profile from Life in 1949 and feature audio clips of old cowboy songs by Price. The 2007 edition of the Edge - the third culture Annual Question O'Donnell offered positive words on humanity: "we turn out to be a stubbornly smart and persistent species, we do not forget the most important things."
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