Ostrogoths

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The Ostrogoths (Latin: Ostrogothi or Austrogothi) were a branch of the Goths (the other branch being the Visigoths), an East Germanic tribe that played a major role in political events of the last decades of the Roman Empire. The Ostrogoths established the Kingdom of Italy, a relatively short-lived successor state of the Western Roman Empire.

Ostrogothic power reached its zenith under the Romanised king Theodoric the Great, who patronised such late Roman figures as Boethius and Cassiodorus, in the first quarter of the sixth century. By mid-century, however, the Ostrogothic kingdom had been conquered by Justinian's army in the Gothic War (535–554), a war with devastating consequences for Italy.

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Divided Goths: Greuthungi and Ostrogothi

The division of the Goths is first attested in 291.[1] The Tervingi are first attested around that date, the Greuthungi, Vesi, and Ostrogothi are all attested no earlier than 388.[1] The Greuthungi are first named by Ammianus Marcellinus, writing no earlier than 392 and perhaps later than 395, and basing his account of the words of a Tervingian chieftain who is attested as early as 376.[1] The Ostrogoths are first named in a document dated September 392 from Milan.[1] Claudian mentions that they together with the Gruthungi inhabit Phrygia.[2] According to Herwig Wolfram, the primary sources either use the terminology of Tervingi/Greuthungi or Vesi/Ostrogothi and never mix the pairs.[1] All four names were used together, but the pairing was always preserved, as in Gruthungi, Austrogothi, Tervingi, Visi.[3] That the Tervingi were the Vesi/Visigothi and the Greuthungi the Ostrogothi is also supported by Jordanes.[4] 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, however, though very 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 often assume the converse, that Ostrogotha was named after the people.[1]

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