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Theoderic the Great vs. Boethius: Tensions in Italy in the Late 5th and Early 6th Centuries
Sarah V. Coelho
Western Oregon University: Senior Seminar Thesis, June 6, (2008)
In 524AD the Roman senator Boethius was executed for committing treason against Theoderic the Great, the ruling gothic king in Italy. Boethius was never given a trial, and the charge of treason may have been an exaggeration of what actually happened. The charges levied against Boethius were never actually given in a detailed account; they have merely been hearsay on the part of historians throughout the ages. The reasoning behind the fall of Boethius has been told in a variety of accounts giving various reasons for the downfall of the friendship between the gothic king and the roman senator. There were three major reasons causing tension in Italy during this time which were; the relations between the Goths and the Romans, differences in the two main religions in Italy; Arianism and Catholicism, and Theodericís relationship with the Romans in Italy and Constantinople. Each of these reasons plays a part in Theodericís decision to arrest and execute Boethius without trial.
Because Theoderic was a Goth and Boethius was a Roman Senator, the relationships between the Goths and Romans were divided among those loyal to either the gothic monarchy or the roman senate.
Doubtless the Romans had reason to dislike the Goths. The Goths, a people of virtus, did not always trouble themselves to behave civiliter, and no matter what compact Theoderic came to with Constantinople the fact remained that Italy was still what it had been in the time of Odovacer, a land under the control of barbarians.