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The Legacy of Theoderic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 July 2016

Marios Costambeys
University of Liverpool
E-mail address:


In the penultimate sentence of his Historia Romana, Paul the Deacon inscribes a solid full-stop to his brief sketch of Ostrogothic Italy: having killed Totila, the eunuch Narses, he says, ‘universamque Italiam ad reipublicae iura reduxit’. Although the phrase reipublicae iura exemplifies the studied ambiguity with which Paul delighted to tantalize his readers, the whole statement can be understood as a judgement on Theoderic's régime that many modern historians of Late Antiquity have shared. Whatever innovations the Ostrogoths had attempted, in the end they came to nothing: Theoderic and his short-lived successors made no lasting imprint, leaving few identifiable traces even in archaeology.

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