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«Inter duas potestates»: The Religious Policy of Theoderic the Great


Monika Ożóg

This book discusses Theoderic the Great’s years of political activity, which coincided with the advent of a new era and were marked by features of two distinct civilizations. From the political and cultural viewpoint, he stood at the boundary between the Roman tradition and his Germanic origin. From the religious perspective, when he came to power in Italy at the Emperor’s behest, he found himself amid the conflict embroiling Rome and Constantinople at that time. It was the so-called Acacian schism centred around the issue of the recognition of the Council of Chalcedon (451) with its teaching on the two natures in Christ as well as the acknowledgement of Constantinople as the principal see of the Church in the East. Another ecclesiastical – and strictly Roman – problem noted in the Liber Pontificalis is the Laurentian schism, named after Lawrence, who was elected Pope on the same day as Symmachus.
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Chapter II Liber Pontificalis 50 on Felix III (13 III 483–25 II 492)



“1. Felix160, born in Rome, son of Felix, [priest of the titulus of Fasciola]161 held the see 8 years, 11 months and 15 days.162 [He was bishop in the time of king Odoacer until the time of Theodoric [king163]. He built the basilica of St Agapitus close to the basilica of St Laurence the martyr].”164

“2. During his episcopate, among other things, the fathers in Greece communicated that Peter of Alexandria established communion with Acacius [of Constantinople]. Then, the venerable Felix [archbishop of the Apostolic See of Rome] designated a plenipotentiary appointed by a synod assembled at the see and condemned Acacius and Peter.”165

The following passage that can be found in the second recension: “in the time of king Odoacer until the time of Theodoric [king]” seems to suggest that a certain period of time would have elapsed between the rule of Odoacer166 and Theoderic’s reign.167 Most probably, however, this sentence had been added to ← 45 | 46 → the original text, as it might no longer have been obvious that the reader remembered that fact.

1. The Beginning of Theoderic’s Rule in Italy

The question of the dates relating to Theoderic’s ascension to power has already been discussed in much detail by many authors,168 and I will only refer to this issue as much as may be necessary. To the author of the note on Felix III in the Liber Pontificalis, it would have been...

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