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He kept good relations between Ostrogoths and Romans, maintained a Roman legal administration and oversaw a flourishing scholarly culture as well as overseeing a significant building program across Italy.
Theodoric was born in AD 454 in Pannonia on the banks of the Neusiedler See near Carnuntum, the son of king Theodemir, a Germanic Amali nobleman, and his concubine Ereleuva.
This was just a year after the Ostrogoths had thrown off nearly a century of domination by the Huns.
His Gothic name, which is reconstructed by linguists as *Þiudareiks, translates into "people-king" or "ruler of the people".
The Ostrogoths needed a place to live, and Zeno was having serious problems with Odoacer, the Germanic foederatus and King of Italy, who although ostensibly viceroy for Zeno, was menacing Byzantine territory and not respecting the rights of Roman citizens in Italy.
In 488, Emperor Zeno ordered Theodoric to overthrow Odoacer.
Zeno attempted to play one Germanic chieftain against another and take advantage of an opportunity sometime in 476/477 when—after hearing demands from Theodoric for new lands since his people were facing a famine—he offered Theodoric Strabo the command once belonging to Theodoric.
The Franks were able to wrest control of Aquitaine from the Visigoths, but otherwise Theodoric was able to defeat their incursions.
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