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Empire of Theodoric the Great 523

The zenith of the Gothic Empire, under Theoderic the Great

The Goths were a barbarian Germanic tribe. They originated in Scandinavia. Eventually, over the many decades, they migrated into modern-day Ukraine, near the Black Sea. From here, however, they were pushed out by the Huns. The Goths made the decision then to move into Roman territory, falling under the emperor's dominance, in order to find more food for themselves. When the empire could not provide enough food for the Goths, however, they often placed harsh conditions upon them, in exchange for the desperately needed food. The food was often exchanged for a Gothic, child slave. Finally, after too many years of oppression, the Goths revolted all over the Roman lands. They, ultimately, organized themselves into formidable armies. They split into two groups, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. The Ostrogoths went and successfully conquered all of Italy, including Rome. The Visigoths marched further west until they spotted the Iberian Peninsula, which they conquered from the Roman Empire as well. However, the two groups were quite often warring with themselves and were still greatly dominated by the Huns. This changed when Theoderic, later known as "the great", came to the throne of Italy. He claimed the Visigothic throne for himself and sought many diplomatic relationships with other kingdoms, such as the Vandals, Franks, and Byzantines. Sometimes, he had to fight these kingdoms as well; he was usually successful in his military campaigns. However, he, and many other Goths, were not Christian, instead they believed in pagan gods. Later into his reign, he grew more intolerant of the Christian community within his kingdom. But his death in 526, cut short any such plans of persecution he had. His successors were, however, much weaker and they left the state vulnerable to the Byzantine's reconquest of Italy in 554 C.E. The Visigoths, however, lived on until they too fell, to the Muslim Umayyad Caliphate in 711.

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