Law and order in the age of Theoderic the Great (c.493–526)



Theoderic the Great has long been considered a supremely able ruler whose reign ushered in a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity to the Italian peninsula. A common explanation for this was his ability to provide justice swiftly and equitably by means of a highly Romanized judiciary. But as in the later empire, corruption and venality posed serious challenges, as did problems associated with the limitations of a pre-modern government. While Theoderic attempted to remedy these structural weaknesses through the creation of new offices, the available evidence challenges long-held assumptions as to just how successful he was in this regard.