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
King, or king regnant is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, while the title of queen on its own refers to the consort of a king. In the context of prehistory and contemporary indigenous peoples, the title may refer to tribal kingship. Germanic kingship is cognate with Indo-European traditions of tribal rulership. In the context of classical antiquity, king may translate in Latin as rex and in Greek as archon or basileus. In classical European feudalism, the title of king as the ruler of a kingdom is understood to be the highest rank in the feudal order subject, at least nominally, only to an emperor. In a modern context, the title may refer to the ruler of one of a number of modern monarchies; the title of king is used alongside other titles for monarchs: in the West, emperor, duke or grand duke, in the Middle East, sultan or emir, etc. The term king may refer to a king consort, a title, sometimes given to the husband of a ruling queen, but the title of prince consort is sometimes granted instead.
A king dowager is the male equivalent of the queen dowager. A king father is a king dowager, the father of the reigning sovereign; the English term king is derived from the Anglo-Saxon cyning, which in turn is derived from the Common Germanic *kuningaz. The Common Germanic term was borrowed into Estonian and Finnish at an early time, surviving in these languages as kuningas; the English term "King" translates, is considered equivalent to, Latin rēx and its equivalents in the various European languages. The Germanic term is notably different from the word for "King" in other Indo-European languages, it is a derivation from the term *kunjom "kin" by the -inga- suffix. The literal meaning is that of a "scion of the kin", or "son or descendant of one of noble birth"; the English word is of Germanic origin, refers to Germanic kingship, in the pre-Christian period a type of tribal kingship. The monarchies of Europe in the Christian Middle Ages derived their claim from Christianisation and the divine right of kings influenced by the notion of sacral kingship inherited from Germanic antiquity.
The Early Middle Ages begin with a fragmentation of the former Western Roman Empire into barbarian kingdoms. In Western Europe, the kingdom of the Franks developed into the Carolingian Empire by the 8th century, the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England were unified into the kingdom of England by the 10th century. With the breakup of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, the system of feudalism places kings at the head of a pyramid of relationships between liege lords and vassals, dependent on the regional rule of barons, the intermediate positions of counts and dukes; the core of European feudal manorialism in the High Middle Ages were the territories of the former Carolingian Empire, i.e. the kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. In the course of the European Middle Ages, the European kingdoms underwent a general trend of centralisation of power, so that by the Late Middle Ages there were a number of large and powerful kingdoms in Europe, which would develop into the great powers of Europe in the Early Modern period.
In the Iberian Peninsula, the remnants of the Visigothic Kingdom, the petty kingdoms of Asturias and Pamplona, expanded into the kingdom of Portugal, the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon with the ongoing Reconquista. In southern Europe, the kingdom of Sicily was established following the Norman conquest of southern Italy; the Kingdom of Sardinia was claimed as a separate title held by the Crown of Aragon in 1324. In the Balkans, the Kingdom of Serbia was established in 1217. In eastern-central Europe, the Kingdom of Hungary was established in AD 1000 following the Christianisation of the Magyars; the kingdoms of Poland and Bohemia were established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1025 and 1198, respectively. In Eastern Europe, the Kievan Rus' consolidated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which did not technically claim the status of kingdom until the early modern Tsardom of Russia. In northern Europe, the tribal kingdoms of the Viking Age by the 11th century expanded into the North Sea Empire under Cnut the Great, king of Denmark and Norway.
The Christianization of Scandinavia resulted in "consolidated" kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, by the end of the medieval period the pan-Scandinavian Kalmar Union. Fifteen kings are recognized as the heads of state of sovereign states. Most of these are heads of state of constitutional monarchies. Thomas J. Craughwell, 5,000 Years of Royalty: Kings, Princes, Emperors & Tsars. David Cannadine, Simon Price, Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies. Jean Hani, Sacred Royalty: From the Pharaoh to the Most Christian King. Media related to Kings at Walter Alison. "King". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15. Pp. 805–806
Zeno the Isaurian named Tarasis Kodisa Rousombladadiotes, was Eastern Roman Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which succeeded to some extent in foreign issues, his reign saw the end of the Western Roman Empire following the deposition of Romulus Augustus and the death of Julius Nepos, but he contributed much to stabilising the Eastern Empire. In ecclesiastical history, Zeno is associated with the Henotikon or "instrument of union", promulgated by him and signed by all the Eastern bishops, with the design of solving the monophysite controversy. Zeno's original name was Tarasis, more Tarasikodissa in his native Isaurian language. Tarasis was born in Isauria, at Rusumblada renamed Zenonopolis in Zeno's honour, his father was called his mother Lallis, his brother Longinus. Tarasis had a wife, whose name indicates a relationship with the Constantinopolitan aristocracy, whose statue was erected near the Baths of Arcadius, along the steps that led to Topoi.
Near Eastern and other Christian traditions maintain that Zeno had two daughters and Theopiste, who followed a religious life, but historical sources attest the existence of only one son by Arcadia, called Zenon. According to ancient sources, Zeno's prestigious career—he had fought against Attila in 447 to defend Constantinople and been consul the following year—was the reason why another Isaurian officer, chose the Greek name Zeno when he married into the Imperial family, thus being known as Zeno when he rose to the throne; some modern historians suggest that the Isaurian general Zeno was the father of the emperor, but there is no consensus about this, other sources suggest that Tarasis was a member of Zeno's entourage. The Isaurians were a people who lived inland from the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia, in the core of the Taurus Mountains. Like most borderland tribes, they were looked upon as barbarians by the Romans though they had been Roman subjects for more than five centuries. However, being Orthodox Christians rather than Arians, as the Goths and other Germanic tribes were, they were not formally barred from the throne.
According to some scholars, in the mid-460s, the Eastern Roman Emperor, Leo I, wanted to balance the weight of the Germanic component of the army, whose leader was the Alan magister militum Aspar. He thought that Tarasis and his Isaurians could be that counterweight, called him, with many Isaurians, to Constantinople; this interpretation, has been contested. By the mid-460s, Arcadia and Zeno had been living at Constantinople for some time, where Lallis and Longinus lived, the latter married to a Valeria a woman of aristocrat rank. According to ancient sources, the earliest reference to Tarasis dates back to 464, when he put his hands on some letters written by Aspar's son, which proved that the son of the magister militum had incited the Sassanid King to invade Roman territory, promising to support the invasion. Through these letters, which Tarasis gave to Leo, the Emperor could dismiss Ardabur, who at the time was magister militum per Orientem and patricius, thus reducing Aspar's influence and ambition.
As reward for his loyalty, which Leo praised to Daniel the Stylite, Tarasis was appointed comes domesticorum, an office of great influence and prestige. This appointment could mean that Tarasis had been a protector domesticus, either at Leo's court in Constantinople, or attached at Ardabur's staff in Antioch. In 465, Leo and Aspar quarrelled about the appointment of consuls for the following year. To make himself more acceptable to the Roman hierarchy and the population of Constantinople, Tarasis adopted the Greek name of Zeno and used it for the rest of his life. In mid-late 466, Zeno married elder daughter of Leo I and Verina; the next year their son was born, Zeno became father of the heir apparent to the throne, as the only son of Leo I had died in his infancy. Zeno, was not present at the birth of his son, as in 467, he participated in a military campaign against the Goths. Zeno, as a member of the protectores domestici, did not take part in the disastrous expedition against the Vandals, led in 468 by Leo's brother-in-law Basiliscus.
The following year, during which he held the honour of the consulate, he was appointed magister militum per Thracias and led an expedition in Thrace. The sources do not state what enemy he fought there, historians had proposed either Goths or Huns, or the rebels of Anagastes. Either way, before leaving and Zeno asked for Daniel the Stylite's opinion about the campaign, Daniel answered that Zeno would be the target of a conspiracy but would escape unharmed. Indeed, Leo sent some of his personal soldiers with Zeno to protect him, but they were bribed by Aspar to capture him instead. Zeno was informed of their intention and fled to Serdica, because of this episode, Leo grew more suspicious of Aspar. After the attack, Zeno did not return to Constantinople, where Aspar and Ardabur were, still with considerable power. Instead, he moved to the "Long Wall" to Pylai and from there to Chalcedon. While waiting here for an opportunity to return to the capital, he was appointed magister militum per Orientem.
Rügen is Germany's largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania; the "gateway" to Rügen island is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, where it is linked to the mainland by road and railway via the Rügen Bridge and Causeway, two routes crossing the two-kilometre-wide Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea. Rügen has a maximum length of 51.4 km, a maximum width of 42.8 km in the south and an area of 926 km². The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches and open bays, as well as projecting peninsulas and headlands. In June 2011, UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King's Chair, the main landmark of Rügen island; the island of Rügen is part of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen, with its county seat in Stralsund. The towns on Rügen are: Bergen, Sassnitz and Garz. In addition, there are the Baltic seaside resorts of Binz, Baabe, Göhren and Thiessow.
Rügen is popular as a tourist destination because of its resort architecture, the diverse landscape and its long, sandy beaches. Rügen, together with the Danish island of Møn on the far side of Rügen in the Baltic Sea and the area around Dover, once belonged to a large chalk plateau, pushed by tectonic movements to the earth's surface; the vast majority of this land mass has disappeared as a result of erosion and faulting, leaving the two islands with their characteristic white chalk cliffs. The main body of the island, known as Muttland, is surrounded by several peninsulas. To the north lie the peninsulas of Wittow and Jasmund, connected to each other by the Schaabe sandbar and to Muttland by the Schmale Heide, an embankment at Lietzow and the Wittow Ferry; the northern peninsulas are separated from Muttland by several lagoons or bodden, the largest of which are the Großer Jasmunder Bodden and Kleiner Jasmunder Bodden. Major peninsulas in the south are Mönchgut which both face the Bay of Greifswald.
Rügen has 974 km2 if the adjacent small islands are included. The maximum diameter is 51.4 km from north to south, 42.8 km from east to west. Of an overall 574 km-long coastline, 56 km are sandy Baltic Sea beaches, 2.8 km sandy bodden beaches. The highest elevations are on the Jasmund peninsula: Königsstuhl; the northern part of the Bay of Greifswald, the Rügischer Bodden, is a large bay in the south of Rügen island, with the island of Vilm lying just offshore. At the western end of the bay, the peninsula of Zudar runs out to the southernmost point of Rügen, at the eastern end the indented peninsula of Mönchgut projects into the sea; this peninsula ends in the east at the cape of Nordperd near Göhren and in the south at the cape of Südperd by Thiessow. In the west of the peninsula of Mönchgut a narrow, 5-km-long bar, the Reddevitz Höft, separates the two bays of Having and Hagensche Wiek. In the north-east of the island of Rügen is formed by the peninsula of Jasmund, joined to the heart of the island, Muttland, by the bar of Schmale Heide between Binz-Prora and Sassnitz-Mukran and by a rail and road embankment at Lietzow.
The Schmale Heide separates the outer bay of Prorer Wiek from the lagoon of the Kleiner Jasmunder Bodden. On the peninsula of Jasmund are the Piekberg, the highest point on Rügen, the Königsstuhl, a 118-metre-high chalk cliff in Stubbenkammer, which forms the most striking landmark on the island. Another bar, the Schaabe, links Jasmund to the peninsula of Wittow in the north of Rügen; the Schaabe, in turn, separates the outer bay of Tromper Wiek from the lagoon of the Großer Jasmunder Bodden. The peninsula of Wittow and the long, narrow peninsula of Bug to the west are separated from the main body of Rügen by the Rassower Strom, the Breetzer Bodden and the Breeger Bodden; the Wittow peninsula is adjoined in the north by Cape Arkona. Just under a kilometre to the northwest, located at 54°41' N, is the northernmost point of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Below this cliff on the shoreline is the Siebenschneiderstein - the fourth largest glacial erratic boulder on Rügen; the northwestern and western sides of Rügen are highly indented, but a little flatter.
Offshore are the larger islands of Hiddensee and Ummanz as well as the smaller islands Öhe Liebitz and Heuwiese. Sand removal and deposition by the Baltic Sea has to be countered by dredging operations to the north and south of Hiddensee, otherwise Hiddensee would merge with Rügen within a few years. Rügen is dotted with many glacial erratic boulders, of which the 22 largest belong to legally-protected geotopes; the heartland of Rügen is rolling, the area is characterized by agriculture. East of the town of Bergen auf Rügen the land climbs to 90 m above NN and to 107 m above NN in the southeastern hill country of the Granitz; the soil on Rügen is fertile and productive in Wittow, the granary of the island. There are major coal-producing regions. Two German national parks are situated on Rügen: the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, in the west, the Jasmund National Park, a smaller park including the famous chalk cliffs. There is a nature reserve, the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve, consisting of the peninsulas in the southeast.
The climate is in the temperate zone. The winters are not cold, with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 °C.
Pomerania is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland. The name derives from the Slavic po more, meaning "by the sea" or "on the sea". Pomerania stretches from the Recknitz and Trebel rivers in the west to the Vistula river in the east; the largest Pomeranian islands are Usedom/Uznam and Wolin. The largest Pomeranian city is Gdańsk, or, when using a narrower definition of the region, Szczecin. Outside its urban areas, Pomerania is characterized by farmland, dotted with numerous lakes and towns; the region was affected by post–World War I and II border and population shifts, with most of its pre-war inhabitants leaving or being expelled after 1945. Pomerania is the area along the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea between the rivers Recknitz and Trebel in the west and Vistula in the east, it reached as far south as the Noteć river, but since the 13th century its southern boundary has been placed further north. Most of the region is coastal lowland, being part of the Central European Plain, but its southern, hilly parts belong to the Baltic Ridge, a belt of terminal moraines formed during the Pleistocene.
Within this ridge, a chain of moraine-dammed lakes constitutes the Pomeranian Lake District. The soil is rather poor, sometimes sandy or marshy; the western coastline is jagged, with many peninsulas and islands enclosing numerous bays and lagoons. The eastern coastline is smooth. Łebsko and several other lakes were bays, but have been cut off from the sea. The easternmost coastline along the Gdańsk Bay and Vistula Lagoon, has the Hel Peninsula and the Vistula peninsula jutting out into the Baltic; the Pomeranian region has the following administrative divisions: Hither Pomerania in northeastern Germany, stretching from the Recknitz river to the Oder–Neisse line. This region is part of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; the southernmost part of historical Vorpommern is now in Brandenburg, while its historical eastern parts are now in Poland. Vorpommern comprises the historical regions inhabited by Slavic tribes Rugians and Volinians, otherwise the Principality of Rügen and the County of Gützkow.
The West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland, stretching from the Oder–Neisse line to the Wieprza river, encompassing most of historical Pomerania in the narrow sense. The Pomeranian Voivodeship, with similar borders to Pomerelia, stretching from the Wieprza river to the Vistula delta in the vicinity of Gdańsk; the northern half of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, comprising most of Chełmno Land. The bulk of Farther Pomerania is included within the modern West Pomeranian Voivodeship, but its easternmost parts now constitute the northwest of Pomeranian Voivodeship. Farther Pomerania in turn comprises several other historical subregions, most notably the Principality of Cammin, the County of Naugard, the Lands of Schlawe and Stolp, the Lauenburg and Bütow Land. Parts of Pomerania and surrounding regions have constituted a euroregion since 1995; the Pomerania euroregion comprises Hither Pomerania and Uckermark in Germany, West Pomerania in Poland, Scania in Sweden. "Pomerania" and its cognates in other languages are derived from Old Slavic po, meaning "by/next to/along", more, meaning "sea", thus "Pomerania" means "seacoast" or "land by the sea", referring to its proximity to the Baltic Sea.
Pomerania was first mentioned in an imperial document of 1046, referring to a Zemuzil dux Bomeranorum. Pomerania is mentioned in the chronicles of Adam of Bremen and Gallus Anonymous; the term "West Pomerania" is ambiguous, since it may refer to either Hither Pomerania or to the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. The term "East Pomerania" may carry different meanings, referring either to Farther Pomerania, or to Pomerelia or the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Settlement in the area called Pomerania for the last 1,000 years started by the end of the Vistula Glacial Stage, some 13,000 years ago. Archeological traces have been found of various cultures during the Stone and Bronze Age, Baltic peoples, Germanic peoples and Veneti during the Iron Age and, in the Dark Ages, Slavic tribes and Vikings. Starting in the 10th century, early Polish dukes on several occasions subdued parts of the region from the southeast, while the Holy Roman Empire and Denmark augmented their territory from the west and north. In the 12th century, narrow Pomerania became Christian under saint Otto of Bamberg.
Since the Griffin Duchy of Pomerania stayed with the Holy Roman Empire and the Principality of Rugia with Denmark, while Pomerelia, under the ruling of Samborides, was a part of Poland. Pomerania, during its alliance in the Holy Roman Empire, shared borders with Slavic state Oldenburg, as well as Poland and Brandenburg; the Teutonic Knights succeeded in integrating Pomerelia into their monastic state in the early 14th century. Meanwhile, the Ostsiedlung started to turn Slavic narrow Pomerania into an German-settled area. In 1325 the line of the pri
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. It was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476, it served as the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom until it was re-conquered in 540 by the Byzantine Empire. Afterwards, the city formed the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna until the invasion of the Lombards in 751, after which it became the seat of the Kingdom of the Lombards. Although it is an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal, it is known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture, with eight buildings comprising the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna". The origin of the name Ravenna is unclear; some have speculated that "ravenna" is related to "Rasenna", the term that the Etruscans used for themselves, but there is no agreement on this point. The origins of Ravenna are uncertain; the first settlement is variously attributed to the Etruscans and the Umbrians.
Afterwards its territory was settled by the Senones the southern countryside of the city, the Ager Decimanus. Ravenna consisted of houses built on piles on a series of small islands in a marshy lagoon – a situation similar to Venice several centuries later; the Romans ignored it during their conquest of the Po River Delta, but accepted it into the Roman Republic as a federated town in 89 BC. In 49 BC, it was the location. After his battle against Mark Antony in 31 BC, Emperor Augustus founded the military harbor of Classe; this harbor, protected at first by its own walls, was an important station of the Roman Imperial Fleet. Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaport on the Adriatic until the early Middle Ages. During the German campaigns, widow of Arminius, Marbod, King of the Marcomanni, were confined at Ravenna. Ravenna prospered under Roman rule. Emperor Trajan built a 70 km long aqueduct at the beginning of the 2nd century. During the Marcomannic Wars, Germanic settlers in Ravenna revolted and managed to seize possession of the city.
For this reason, Marcus Aurelius decided not only against bringing more barbarians into Italy, but banished those, brought there. In AD 402, Emperor Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Milan to Ravenna. At that time it was home to 50,000 people; the transfer was made for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes, was perceived to be defensible. However, in 409, King Alaric I of the Visigoths bypassed Ravenna, went on to sack Rome in 410 and to take Galla Placidia, daughter of Emperor Theodosius I, hostage. After many vicissitudes, Galla Placidia returned to Ravenna with her son, Emperor Valentinian III, due to the support of her nephew Theodosius II. Ravenna enjoyed a period of peace, during which time the Christian religion was favoured by the imperial court, the city gained some of its most famous monuments, including the Orthodox Baptistery, the misnamed Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, San Giovanni Evangelista; the late 5th century saw the dissolution of Roman authority in the west, the last person to hold the title of emperor in the West was deposed in 476 by the general Odoacer.
Odoacer ruled as King of Italy for 13 years, but in 489 the Eastern Emperor Zeno sent the Ostrogoth King Theoderic the Great to re-take the Italian peninsula. After losing the Battle of Verona, Odoacer retreated to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theoderic, until the taking of Rimini deprived Ravenna of supplies. Theoderic took Ravenna in 493 slew Odoacer with his own hands, Ravenna became the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy. Theoderic, following his imperial predecessors built many splendid buildings in and around Ravenna, including his palace church Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, an Arian cathedral and Baptistery, his own Mausoleum just outside the walls. Both Odoacer and Theoderic and their followers were Arian Christians, but co-existed peacefully with the Latins, who were Catholic Orthodox. Ravenna's Orthodox bishops carried out notable building projects, of which the sole surviving one is the Capella Arcivescovile. Theoderic allowed Roman citizens within his kingdom to be subject to Roman law and the Roman judicial system.
The Goths, lived under their own laws and customs. In 519, when a mob had burned down the synagogues of Ravenna, Theoderic ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense. Theoderic died in 526 and was succeeded by his young grandson Athalaric under the authority of his daughter Amalasunta, but by 535 both were dead and Theoderic's line was represented only by Amalasuntha's daughter Matasuntha. Various Ostrogothic military leaders took the Kingdom of Italy, but none were as successful as Theoderic had been. Meanwhile, the orthodox Christian Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, opposed both Ostrogoth rule and the Arian variety of Christianity. In 535 his general Belisarius in 540 conquered Ravenna. After the conquest of Italy was completed in 554, Ravenna became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy. From 540 to 600, Ravenna'