Roman Tradition of the Image of an Ideal Ruler in Ostrogothic Italy

Shkarenkov Pavel P.

The article deals with the formation of theoretical conditions for the royal power in Ostrogothic Italy on the basis of the material of «Variae» by Cassiodor, a prominent writer, statesmen and diplomat of the transitional period from antiquity to the Middle Ages. Cassiodor created a unique, idealistic image of the Ostrogothic kingdom as a natural successor of the Western Roman Empire. The article draws attention to the literal image contained in Cassiodor’s works, which does not reflect the real way the Ostrogothic state worked. The king holds the central place within that image. In all King Theoderic’s deeds Cassiodor finds devotion to a certain cultural and historical ideal. His actions illustrate his royal nature. He is the incarnation of the merits of an ideal sovereign and this is more important than his title of «rex». Cassiodor’s ideas and images were greatly influenced by the Neo-Platonic classical political theory and philosophical tradition so popular during the decline of the Roman Empire.

Keywords: Ostgoths, Roman tradition, early Middle Ages, Cassiodor