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Re: [gothic-l] Gothic Rule and the Roman Senatorial Class

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  • andreas.schwarcz@univie.ac.at
    Dear Dirk, as in most cases I find your message extremely useful and of course support your opinion about the relation ship between the Senate and the
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 9, 2002
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      Dear Dirk,
      as in most cases I find your message extremely useful and of course support your
      opinion about the relation ship between the Senate and the Ostrogothic kings up to
      Theodahad. But I differ in one little point: the Ostrogothic kings were not "foreign
      rulers". Theoderic was born in the Empire, he had been consul and was therefore both
      a Roman citizen and a member of the East Roman Senate and he was the son-of-
      arms of the emperor Zenon. Up to Theodahad all his successors were confirmed by
      the emperor as rightful rulers of Italy and even Witigis had to abdicate formally to end
      the Ostrogothic rule legally. Only Hildebad, Eraric, Totila and Teja were never
      acknowledged by the East and of these kings only Totila got temporarily the support of
      a Roman Senate.
      Kind regards
      Andreas
      Ao.Univ.Prof.Dr.Andreas Schwarcz
      Institut für österreichische Geschichtsforschung
      Universität Wien
      Dr.Karl Lueger-Ring 1
      A-1010 Wien
      Österreich
      Tel.0043/1/42-77/272-16
      Fax 0043/142-77/92-72
    • faltin2001
      ... support your ... Ostrogothic kings up to ... were not foreign ... was therefore both ... the son-of- ... Hello Andreas, I agree the term foreign was not
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 9, 2002
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        --- In gothic-l@y..., andreas.schwarcz@u... wrote:
        > Dear Dirk,
        > as in most cases I find your message extremely useful and of course
        support your
        > opinion about the relation ship between the Senate and the
        Ostrogothic kings up to
        > Theodahad. But I differ in one little point: the Ostrogothic kings
        were not "foreign
        > rulers". Theoderic was born in the Empire, he had been consul and
        was therefore both
        > a Roman citizen and a member of the East Roman Senate and he was
        the son-of-
        > arms of the emperor Zenon.




        Hello Andreas,

        I agree the term 'foreign' was not well chosen. I suppose I wanted to
        refere to some form of loosely defined ethnic difference not so much
        of the Gothic king himself, but of his Gothic following. I am aware
        that many Roman Emperors were 'non-Italians', (e.g. Philippus Arabs
        (from Arabia), Maximinus Thrax (from Trakia) or the Franks Silvanus
        and probably Magnentius) and many were not even members of the
        senatorial elites. As such a Roman senator Flavius Theodericus would
        probably have fitted in easily into the ranks of West Roman rulers.

        I suppose the resurgence of some senatorial privileges (like the
        minting of bronze coinage, which is not only profitable but also of
        high propagandistic value because of its wide circulation) had to do
        first and foremost with the breakdown of central government at the
        advent of Odoacer and later Theoderic. In addition, it might have
        been useful in placating the Roman elites and ensuring their support.




        > Up to Theodahad all his successors were confirmed by
        > the emperor as rightful rulers of Italy and even Witigis had to
        abdicate formally to end
        > the Ostrogothic rule legally.



        This is also well documented by Jordanes who regarded Witigis as the
        last legitimate Ostrogothic ruler in Italy. Interestingly, the
        propagandistic value of coins is well displayed in the reign of
        Witigis, who 'restored' the monogramm of Theoderic to the most common
        denomination the quarter-siliqua, thus professing some form of
        continuity within the Amal-dynasty to which he only belonged by
        marriage.



        > Only Hildebad, Eraric, Totila and Teja were never
        > acknowledged by the East and of these kings only Totila got
        temporarily the support of
        > a Roman Senate.


        That is interesting, because it might (at least partly) explain the
        existence of bronze coins in the name of Baduela/Totila, while no
        bronze coins are known of Teja and no coins at all were minted by
        Hildebad and Eraric. While the Senatus Consulto (SC) formular was
        abandoned in the reign of Totila, the actual minting may still have
        been under the authority and/or organisation of the senate of Rome
        and the municipal authorities of Ticinium/Pavia. In fact, Totila's
        bronze coinage comprises the full set of denomiations (Dekanummia,
        Pentanumia, 2.5-Nummus and Nummus). They show the frontal bust of
        Totila with the inscription (DN BADUELA REX) with the reverse
        inscription repeating in four lines DN BADUELA REX in a wreath. The
        pieces minted in Rome show the full figure of Totila dressed as Roman
        officer (!) with shield and lance and a value mark X. His 2.5-nummi
        show a walking lion. A picture not seen on Roman coins since the time
        of Caracalla some 300 years earlier. The reason for its re-emergence
        remains an open question.

        Interestingly, Totila (who is always called Baduela/Baduila on his
        coins) abandoned the use of Justinian's name on gold coins. Instead,
        he minted tremisses in the name of the long dead Anastasius. The
        latter act must have been an insult to Justinian, because it implied
        that he was not the legitimate emperor. On the other hand, Totila
        refrained from mining gold in his own name as the Frankish king
        Theodebert was doing at about the same time. Hence, while rejecting
        the authority of Justinian, Totila may have been careful not to
        openly infringe on this imperial prerogative in view of animosities
        of the Roman senate.


        cheers,

        Dirk
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