Italian Ostrogothic

Italian Ostrogothic

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Historical Overview Section

The Ostrogothic Kingdom established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas lasted from 493 to 553. In Italy the Germanic leader Odoacer had become de facto ruler of Italy after deposing the last emperor of the Foederate Roman Western Empire in 476. This fact was recognized by Emperor Zeno in 477, when he appointed Odoacer to the rank of patrician. Odoacer retained the Roman administrative system, cooperated actively with the Roman Senate, and his rule was efficient and successful. He evicted the Vandals from Sicily in 477, and in 480 he conquered Dalmatia.

Having been forced to recognise Odacer somewhat under duress, Zeno consopired with another Gothic leader Theodoric, stipulating that Theodoric, if victorious, was to rule in Italy as the emperor's representative. Theodoric with his people set out from Moesia in the autumn of 488, passed through Dalmatia and crossed the Julian Alps into Italy in late August 489. The first confrontation with the army of Odoacer was at the river Isonzo (the battle of Isonzo) on August 28. Odoacer was defeated and withdrew towards Verona, where a month later another battle was fought, resulting in a bloody, but crushing, Gothic victory. Odoacer fled to his capital at Ravenna, while the larger part of his army under Tufa surrendered to the Goths. Theodoric then sent Tufa and his men against Odoacer, but he changed his allegiance again and returned to Odoacer. In 490, Odoacer was thus able to campaign against Theodoric, take Milan and Cremona and besiege the main Gothic base at Ticinum (Pavia). At that point, however, the Visigoths intervened, the siege of Ticinum was lifted, and Odoacer decisively defeated at the river Adda on 11 August 490. Odoacer fled again to Ravenna, while the Senate and many Italian cities declared themselves for Theodoric.

The Goths now turned to besiege Ravenna, but since they lacked a fleet and the city could be resupplied by sea, the siege could be endured almost indefinitely, despite privations. It was not until 492 that Theodoric was able to procure a fleet and capture Ravenna's harbours, thus entirely cutting off communication with the outside world. The effects of this appeared six months later, when, with the mediation of the city's bishop, negotiations started between the two parties. An agreement was reached on 25 February 493, whereby the two should divide Italy between them. A banquet was organised in order to celebrate this treaty. It was at this banquet, on March 15, that Theodoric, after making a toast, killed Odoacer with his own hands. A general massacre of Odoacer's soldiers and supporters followed. Theodoric and his Goths were now masters of Italy.

Theodoric was ostensibly a patricius and subject of the Early Byzantine emperor in Constantinople, but in effect was independant both in domestic and foreign policy matters - the latter where he wove a web of marriage alliances and fought wars to extablish himself as the leadeing western "barbarian" leader. After the death of Theodoric on 30 August 526, his achievements began to collapse. The lack of a strong heir caused the network of alliances that surrounded the Ostrogothic state to disintegrate: the Visigothic kingdom regained its autonomy under Amalaric, the relations with the Vandals turned increasingly hostile, and the Merovingian Frankish embarked again on expansion, subduing the Thuringians and the Burgundians and almost evicting the Visigoths from their last holdings in southern Gaul.

Starting in 535, the Eastern Roman Empire led by the famour general Belisarius invaded Italy and initiated the The Gothic War from 535 until 554. The War is commonly divided in two phases, the first (535-540) which ended with the fall of Ravenna and the apparent conquest of Italy by the Romans, and the second phase (540/541-553), where the Gothic resistance was reinvigorated under Totila and was put down only after long struggle by Narses, who also defeated the Frankish-Alamannic invasion of 554. However, various cities in northern Italy continued to hold out until the early 560s.

Using the army in FoG

include your tactical tips or advice in here

Allied Contingents

  • Burgundi - Early Frankish, Alamanni, Burgubdi, Limigantes, Rugian, Suebi or Turcilingi . Date restrictions: None Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 59 - 8 minimum HF Impact foot swordsmen make these rather uninspiring as an ally
  • Frankish, Merovingian (Middle Frankish) : Date restrictions After 548 Book: Wolves from the Sea Page: 13 - 8-32 HF as either Impact foot, L/S Swordsmen foot or (post 600AD) Offensive Spearmen, plus some lancer cavalry. Worth considering

UK Tournament Results with this army

  • First Early Period Britcon 09

User-contributed links about this army:


Put information on allied contingents here - including recommendations on which to use, and why

15mm Manufacturer directory

There are several fairly generic Gothic/Avar type figures useable for this army. There are plenty of manufacturers with such ranges.
You can see some of the figures in the Madaxeman Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image

Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

Italian Ostrogoth - Britcon 09

This is the army Phil Powell used to win Britcon 2009. It is extremely unbalanced, but could be worse, but that was the plan. Some lancers people can cope with, lots of them can be too many

  • 4 BG LF Average Unprotected Undrilled Bow
  • 7 BG Cav Superior Armoured Lancer Sword
  • 1 BG LH Average Unprotected Bow Sword
  • Fortified camp

797 points

Phil had an Adrianople type plan. Fortified camp to tempt and slow the enemy placed in the centre as far forward as he could. Flank march and mass all the cavalry to one side of it. Use the LF as ameoba vests to stop the cavalry getting shot.

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