Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Queen of the Ostrogoths (526-534)

Amalasuntha was the daughter of Theodoric the Great, King of Ostrogoths, on whose death (526) she became regent for her 10yo son Athalaric. She was said to be handsome, intelligent, educated, cultured, strong-willed. On assuming the regency, she encountered opposition from nobles, whom she forced to swear allegiance to her son. Amalasuntha attempted to curb corruption within the Ostrogoth Empire, and she put an end to the incursions of the northern Barbarians.

On a more personal level, Amalasuntha showed little interest in her 13yo son (529), whom she handed over to his tutors to be raised and educated. When her son was grown he lost power (533) and sought asylum at Constantinople. Soon after there followed the swift murders of three of her chief enemies. Whilst in Constantinople Amalasuntha secretly began negotiations with Emperor Justinian to turn the Ostrogoth Kingdom over to him.

Following the death of her son (534) Amalasuntha proposed her cousin Theodahad to share throne with her. He, however, had other ideas and had her banished. Amalasuntha was then taken from Ravenna by her cousin the Emperor (535) to small island on Lake Bolsena. Soon after her arrival there, she was strangled in her bath. Emperor Justinian invaded the Ostrogoth Kingdom.

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 Women of History)


Christine said...

my ancestors sure were badass

sarah goldstein said...

see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalasuntha for a more flattering and more complete account.

Melisende d'Outremer said...

Thanks Sarah, when I first published my original post (1998) on Amalasuntha wikipedia did not exist. How far we have come to be now able to get information and a clock of a mouse.