Theoderich vs. Theoderich. Zur Konkurrenz gotischer Warlords im Osten des Römischen Reiches

  • Guido D. Berndt Geschichte der Spätantike und des frühen Mittelalters Freie Universität Berlin Koserstr. 20 D-14195 Berlin
Keywords: Theoderich, Goten, Warlords, Kriegergruppen


Following the decline of Attila’s empire in the middle of the fifth century, several Gothic warrior groups emerged in the former Roman provinces of Pannonia. Three of them were led by members of the pre-eminent Amal family. Theoderic, the most successful of all Gothic warlords, was able to unite these forces in the 470s, thereby creating a new and severe menace for the eastern Roman Empire. Whilst raiding and looting Roman territories the number of warriors increased, perhaps growing to some 10,000 men. For nearly a decade, the Amal family competed for territory/dominance with another Gothic warlord, also named Theoderic. In Thrace, on the soil of today’s Bulgaria, this military leader had gathered a strong following, in no way inferior to the Amal war-band. The “Thracian Goths” were obliged to perform military service for the Roman emperor, who rewarded them with regular payment. Yet the emperor was not willing to satisfy the demands of both Gothic leaders, and tried to play the two Theoderics off against each other. The aim of this contribution is to investigate and discuss the competition between the two warlords for imperial recognition, and consequently to shed some light on a decisive period in the history of the Roman Balkans in Late Antiquity.