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Re: Gothic Rule and the Roman Senatorial Class

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  • 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 1 of 3 , Apr 9, 2002
      --- 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

      > 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.


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