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

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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 IX Religious aspects in the edict of Theoderic

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Chapter IX Religious aspects in the edict of Theoderic

1. The Authorship of the Edict

This chapter is concerned with the so-called Edict of Theoderic, thus named after the final words of the document Explicit Edictum Theoderici Regis.767 It remains as one of the most enigmatic documents from the early period of Gothic rule in Europe, especially as it is not certain which Theoderic it really refers to. It was published for the first time in Paris in 1579, by Pierre Pithou, on the basis of two, later lost, manuscripts, and it is now impossible to verify the authenticity of that edition. The publisher had no doubt as to ascribing the ET to Theoderic the Great.768 No one would have questioned this attribution until 1953, when Piero Rasi ascribed it to Theodoric II, king of the Visigoths in the years 453–466.769

Perhaps the most significant advocate of the latter innovative hypothesis in the following decades was the professor of law from Milan Giulio Vismara (d. 2005), who would take every opportunity to discuss and defend this view.770 He embraced Rasi’s hypothesis almost immediately after its publication and proceeded to elaborate on it, becoming probably the most vocal proponent of attributing the authorship of the Edict to someone other than Theoderic the Great. From the beginning, Vismara771 had based his reasoning on the premise that the well-informed sources on Theoderic’s political activity, and taking every opportunity to extol his achievements, are...

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