Amalasuntha

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Amalasuntha (also known as Amalasuentha, Amalaswintha, Amalasuintha, Amalswinthe or Amalasontha) (ca. 495 – 30 April 534/535) was a queen of the Ostrogoths from 526 to 534.

A daughter of Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great, she secretly married a slave named Traguilla. When her mother Audofleda found them together, Traguilla was killed.

She was married in 515 to Eutharic (b. ca 480 - 522), an Ostrogoth noble of the old Amal line, who had previously been living in Visigothic Iberia, son of Widerich (b. ca 450), grandson of Berismund (b. ca 410), and great-grandson of Thorismund (d. aft. 400), King of the Ostrogoths ca 400.

Her husband died, apparently in the early years of her marriage, leaving her with two children, Athalaric and Matasuntha (ca 517 - aft. 550), wife ca 550 of Germanus. On the death of her father in 526, her son succeeded him, but she held the power as regent for her son. Deeply imbued with the old Roman culture, she gave to that son's education a more refined and literary turn than suited the ideas of her Gothic subjects. Conscious of her unpopularity she banished, and afterwards put to death, three Gothic nobles whom she suspected of intriguing against her rule, and at the same time opened negotiations with the emperor Justinian I with the view of removing herself and the Gothic treasure to Constantinople. Her son's death in 534 made little change in the posture of affairs.

Now queen, Amalasuntha made her cousin Theodahad partner of her throne (not, as sometimes stated, her husband, for his wife was still living), with the intent of strengthening her position. The choice was unfortunate, for Theodahad fostered the disaffection of the Goths, and either by his orders or with his permission, Amalasuntha was imprisoned in the island of Martana in the Tuscan lake of Bolsena, where on 30 April in the spring of 534/535 she was murdered in her bath.

The letters of Cassiodorus, chief minister and literary adviser of Amalasuntha, and the histories of Procopius and Jordanes, give us our chief information as to the character of Amalasuntha.

The life of Amalasunta was made the subject of a tragedy, the first play written by the young Goldoni and presented at Milan in (1733).

References

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