Amalafreda of the Ostrogoths (c.455 - c.525) MP

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Birthplace: Pannonia (Present Hungary), Kingdom of the Ostrogoths
Death: Died in Carthago, Zeugitana (Present Tunisia), Africae, Kingdom of the Vandals
Cause of death: Killed while imprisoned by her husband's cousin and successor, Hilderic
Occupation: Queen of the Vandals 500-523
Managed by: Flemming Allan Funch
Last Updated:

About Amalafreda of the Ostrogoths

Summary

Relationships

Parents:

  • Father: Theodemir or Thiudimir, Co-King of the Ostrogoths (451-468), King of the Ostrogoths (468-474)
  • Mother: Unknown wife (not Ereleuva, Theodemir's concubine)

Half-Siblings (children of Ereleuva):

  • 1. Theoderic I (b. c451), King of the Ostrogoths (474 - 30 August 526)
  • 2. Theodimund (fl. 479)
  • 3. Unknown daughter (d. c479)

Spouses and children:

  • First Husband: Hugo Rex Francorum (Peter Heather from the English Wikipedia page apparently does not identify this individual, but FMG does)
    • 1. Theodahad, King of Italy (d. December 536, murdered by his own men mid-flight from battle near Rome toward Ravenna, m. Gudeliva and had two children)
    • 2. Amalaberga, Queen of the Thuringians (510-534, m. Hermanafred, King of the Thuringians, died after 534 in Ravenna)
  • Second Husband: Thrasamund (b. before 460), King of the Vandals (496-523)

Basic information:

Birth: 455/460 according to Mittelalter Genealogie. The Ostrogoths under her father didn't leave Pannonia until 473, so this is likely her birth location.

Baptism: Unknown, but Arian Christian

Marriage:

  • 1. Before 500 - Hugo Rex Francorum
  • 2. 500 - Thrasamund, King of the Vandals

Death: 525 - imprisoned in Carthago

Burial: Unknown

Occupation:

  • Before 500, wife of Hugo Rex Francorum (an unknown Frankish King named Hugo)
  • 500-523, Queen of the Vandals, or wife of King Thrasamund of the Vandals.
  • 523-525, prisoner in Carthago.

Alternate Names: Amalafrida, Amalfrida, Amalafréde

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From the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy page on Italy Kings:

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ITALY,%20Kings%20to%20962.htm#Amalafrida

THEODEMIR [Thiudimir], son of VANDALARIUS (-Kyrrhos 474). Iordanes names "Thiudemer et Valamir et Vidimir" as the sons of Vandilarius[231]. King of the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, under his brother Valamir, he ruled over the western part of their domain which covered the county of Somogy and northeastern Croatia. He succeeded his brother in [468/49] as King of all the Pannonian Ostrogoths. When the Ostrogoths left Pannonia in [473], Theodemir and his contingent went towards Constantinople. They were settled in Macedonia, based in the city of Kyrrhos[232].

m ---. The name of Theodemir's wife is not known.

Concubine: ERELEUVA [Erelieva]. She was baptised a Catholic as EUSEBIA[233]. Iordanes names "Erelieva concubina" as mother of Theodoric[234]. She went with her son to Italy.

Theodemir & his wife had one child:

---

1. AMALAFRIDA (-murdered [523/25]).

Iordanes names "Amalfridam germanam suam [Theoderici]" as the mother of "Theodehadi" and wife of "Africa regi Vandalorum…Thrasamundo"[235]. Emperor Zeno used her as ambassador to her half-brother in 487 to thwart his attack on Constantinople[236].

Her second marriage was arranged by her half-brother, Theodoric King of Italy, as part of his efforts to foster the support of the Vandals. Amalafrida's dowry was Lilybæum in western Sicily[237].

After the death of her husband, she unsuccessfully protested his successor's withdrawal of support from her brother, but she was outmanœuvred and killed[238].

---

m firstly [HUGO ---] (-before 500).

The Widukindi Res Gestæ Saxonicæ names "Huga rex Francorum…unicam filiam Amalbergam" who married "Irminfredo regi Thuringorum"[239], but there is no indication to whom "Huga rex Francorum" could refer.

m secondly ([500]) THRASAMUND, King of the Vandals, son of [GENTO the Vandal or GELIMER the Vandal] (before 460-523).

Amalafrida & her first husband had two children:

a) THEODAHAD (-murdered Dec 536).

Iordanes names "Amalfridam germanam suam [Theoderici]" as the mother of "Theodehadi qui postea rex fuit" but does not name his father[240]. Disappointed in not succeeding his uncle King Theodoric, Theodahad acquired considerable private estates in Tuscany "where he led a retired life at home" according to Jordanes[241].

He was planning to sell this "kingdom" to the emperor, in return for retirement in Constantinople and an annual pension, when his cousin Queen Amalasuintha recalled him and appointed him co-regent in 534[242].

Procopius records that “Theodatus, filius Amalafridas sororis Theoderici” possessed "agrorum Tusciæ" and planned to deliver "Tusciam in Iustiniani Augusti potestatem"[243]. In a later passage, Procopius records that “Theodatus” was appointed regent by "Amalasuntha"[244].

He arrested the Queen end-534 and imprisoned her on an island in Lake Bolsena[245], assuming the title THEODAHAD King of Italy. Iordanes records that "Theodahadum consobrinum suum" succeeded Athalric, appointed by the latter's mother whom Theodahad killed soon after his accession[246].

After the Queen's murder, Emperor Justinian ordered a two-pronged attack against Sicily and Dalmatia in revenge. Theodahad repelled the initial threat in Dalmatia in 536, but an imperial fleet occupied Split and Dubrovnik. The forces in Sicily, under Belisarius, moved into mainland Italy, occupied Naples. Theodahad marched as far as Rome to meet the invaders, but was murdered while trying to escape back to Ravenna[247].

m GUDELIVA, daughter of ---. The primary source which names the wife of Theodahad has not so far been identified.

Theodahad & his wife had two children.

b) AMALABERGA .

Iordanes names "Amalabergam" as the daughter of "Amalfridam germanam suam [Theoderici]" and records her marriage to "Thuringorum regi…Herminefredo"[252]. “Theodericus rex” wrote to “Herminafrido Regi Thuringorum” granting him “neptis” in marriage[253]. Procopius records that “Hermenefrido Thoringorum regi” married "Theoderici…Amelobergam, Amalafridæ sororis suæ filiam"[254]. The Widukindi Res Gestæ Saxonicæ names "Huga rex Francorum…unicam filiam Amalbergam" who married "Irminfredo regi Thuringorum"[255].

Gregory of Tours calls Amalaberg, wife of Hermanfrid, a "wicked and cruel woman" who sowed the seeds of civil war between her husband and his brother Baderic[256]. She escaped to Ravenna with her children after the Franks attacked Thuringia and killed her husband[257].

m ([510]) HERMANFRED, King of the Thuringians, son of --- (-534).

References:

[231] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 77.

[232] Wolfram, H. (1998) History Of The Goths (Berkeley, California), pp. 267 and 269.

[233] Wolfram (1998), p. 261.

[234] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 128.

[235] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 132.

[236] Wolfram (1998), p. 278.

[237] Wolfram (1998), p. 308.

[238] Wolfram (1998), p. 308.

[239] Widukindi Res Gestæ Saxonicæ I.9, MGH SS III, p. 420.

[240] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 132.

[241] Jordanes, LIX, p. 51.

[242] Jordanes, LIX, p. 51, and Wolfram (1998), p. 333.

[243] Procopius, Vol. II, De Bello Gothico I.3, pp. 16-17.

[244] Procopius, Vol. II, De Bello Gothico I.4, p. 23.

[245] Jordanes, LIX, p. 51, and Wolfram (1998), p. 338.

[246] Iordanes Romanorum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 48.

[247] Wolfram (1998), pp. 339-41.

[252] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 132.

[253] RHGF IV, p. 8.

[254] Procopius, Vol. II, De Bello Gothico I.12, p. 65.

[255] Widukindi Res Gestæ Saxonicæ I.9, MGH SS III, p. 420.

[256] Thorpe, L. (trans.) (1974) Gregory of Tours: The History of the Franks (Penguin) III.4, p. 164.

[257] Wolfram (1998), p. 320.

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From the Wikipedia page on Amalafrida:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalafrida

Amalafrida was the daughter of Theodemir, king of the Ostrogoths, and his wife Erelieva. She was the sister of Theodoric the Great, and mother of Theodahad, both of whom also were kings of the Ostrogoths.

In 500, to further cement his authority over the Vandals, Theodoric arranged a marriage alliance with Thrasamund, king of the Vandals, who became her second husband. She brought a very large dowery, but also 5,000 Gothic troops. In 523, Hilderic, successor to Thrasamund, had her arrested and imprisoned in a successful bid to overthrow Ostrogothic hegemony; he also had her Gothic troops killed. She died in prison, exact date unknown.

Amalafrida had two children, the aforementioned Theodahad and Amalaberga, who married Hermanfrid, king of the Thuringii. It is not known who the father of these children was.

Sources

Peter Heather. The Goths (1996). Chapter 8.

-----------------------

From Jordanes' Getica, on the Boudicca's Bard website:

http://www.boudicca.de/jordanes4-e.htm

LVIII

(297) Now before he had a child from Audefleda, Theodoric had children of a concubine, daughters begotten in Moesia, one named Thiudigoto and another Ostrogotho. Soon after he came to Italy, he gave them in marriage to neighboring kings, one to Alaric, king of the Visigoths, and the other to Sigismund, king of the Burgundians.

(298) Now Alaric begat Amalaric. While his grandfather Theodoric cared for and protected him-- for he had lost both parents in the years of childhood--he found that Eutharic, the son of Veteric, grandchild of Beremud and Thorismud, and a descendant of the race of the Amali, was living in Spain, a young man strong in wisdom and valor and health of body. Theodoric sent for him and gave him his daughter Amalasuentha in marriage.

(299) And that he might extend his family as much as possible, he sent his sister Amalafrida ( the mother of Theodahad, who was afterwards king) to Africa as wife of Thrasamund, king of the Vandals, and her daughter Amalaberga, who was his own niece, he united with Herminefred, king of the Thuringians.

------------------------

From "Theodoric the Goth: The Barbarian Champion of Civilisation":

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20063/20063-h/20063-h.htm#p292

Page 183: Westward from the Empire, along the southern shore of the Mediterranean, stretches the great kingdom of the Vandals, with Carthage for its capital. They have a powerful navy, but their kings, Gunthamund (484-496) and Thrasamund (496-523), do not seem to be disposed to renew the buccaneering expeditions of their grandfather, the great Vandal Gaiseric. They are decided Arians, and keep up a stern, steady pressure on their Catholic subjects, who are spared, however, the ruthless brutalities practised upon them by the earlier Vandal kings.

The relations of the Vandals with the Ostrogothic kingdom seem to have been of a friendly character during almost the whole reign of Theodoric. Thrasamund, the fourth king who reigned at Carthage, married Amalafrida, Theodoric's sister, who brought with her, as dowry, possession of the strong fortress of Lilybæum (Marsala), in the west of Sicily, and who was accompanied to her new home by a brilliant train of 1,000 Gothic nobles with 5,000 mounted retainers.

---

Page 266: Perhaps about the middle of 523, there came a great and calamitous change. We must revert for a few minutes to the family circumstances of Theodoric, in order to understand the influences which were embittering his spirit against his Catholic--that is to say, his Roman--subjects.

The year before, his grandson Segeric, the Burgundian, had been treacherously assassinated by order of his father, King Sigismund, who had become a convert to the orthodox creed, and after the death of Theodoric's daughter had married a Catholic woman of low origin. In the year 523 itself, Thrasamund, king of the Vandals, died and was succeeded by his cousin Hilderic, son of one of the most ferocious persecutors of the Catholic Church, but himself a convert to her creed.

Notwithstanding an oath which Hilderic had sworn to his predecessor on his death-bed, never to use his royal power for the restoration of the churches to the Catholics, Hilderic had recalled the Bishops of the orthodox party and was in all things reversing the bitter persecuting policy of his ancestors, Amalafrida, the sister of Theodoric and widow of Thrasamund, who had been for nearly 20 years queen of the Vandals, passionately resented this undoing of her dead husband's work and put herself at the head of a party of insurgents, who called in the aid of the Moorish barbarians, but who were, notwithstanding that aid, defeated by the soldiers of Hilderic at Capsa. Amalafrida herself was taken captive and shut up in prison, probably about the middle of 523.

Thus everywhere the Arian League, of which Theodoric had been the head, and which had practically given him the hegemony of Teutonic Europe, was breaking down; and in its collapse disaster and violent death were coming upon the members of Theodoric's own family.

If Eutharic himself, as seems probable, had died before this time, and was no longer at the King's side to whisper distrust of the Catholics at every step, and to put the worst construction on the actions of every patriotic Roman, yet even Eutharic's death increased the difficulties of Theodoric's position, and his doubts as to the future fortunes of a dynasty which would be represented at his death only by a woman and a child. And these difficulties and doubts bred in him not depression, but an irascible and suspicious temper, which had hitherto been altogether foreign to his calm and noble nature.

---

Page 298: The first of the Teutonic states to fall was the kingdom of the Vandals. Its ruin was certainly hastened by the estrangement between its royal house and that of the Ostrogoths. We left Theodoric's sister, the stately and somewhat domineering Amalafrida in prison at Carthage. Soon after her brother's death (30 August 526) she was executed or murdered, by order of her cousin the Catholic reformer, Hilderic.

This outrage was keenly resented by the court of Ravenna. Hostilities between the two states were apparently imminent, but probably Amalasuentha felt that war, whether successful or unsuccessful, would be too dangerous for the dynasty, and sullen alienation took the place of the preparation of fleets and armies.

In June, 531, five years after the accession of Athalaric, the elderly and effeminate Hilderic was deposed by his martial subjects who had long chafed under the rule of such a sovereign, and his cousin, the warlike Gelimer, ascended the throne. The deposition of Hilderic, followed for the present not by his death but by his close imprisonment, furnished the ambitious Justinian with a fair pretext for war, since Hilderic was not only the ally of the Empire, and a Catholic, but was descended on his mother's side from the great Theodosius and related to many of the Byzantine nobility.

In spite of the opposition of the more cautious among his counsellors, Justinian decided to despatch an expedition for the conquest of Carthage, and about Midsummer, 533, a fleet of 500 ships, manned by 20,000 sailors and conveying 15,000 soldiers (10,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry), sailed forth from the Bosphorus into the Sea of Marmora, bound for the Libyan waters.

At the head of the army was Belisarius, now about 28 years of age, a man who came, like his Imperial master, from the highlands of Illyricum, but who, unlike that master, was probably of noble lineage. Three years before, he had won the battle of Daras, defeating the Persian general, whose army was nearly twice as numerous as his own, and he had already shown signs of that profound knowledge of the science, and that wonderful mastery of the art of war which he was afterwards to display in many a hard-fought campaign, and which entitled him to a place in the innermost circle of the greatest generals that the world has seen.

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No longer a functioning link:

http://familytrees.genopro.com/318186/jarleslekt/default.htm?page=toc_families.htm

--------------------

From the English Wikipedia page on Amalafrida (error noted on name of mother):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalafrid

Amalafrida was the daughter of Theodemir, king of the Ostrogoths, and his wife Erelieva. She was the sister of Theodoric the Great, and mother of Theodahad, both of whom also were kings of the Ostrogoths.

In 500, to further cement his authority over the Vandals, Theodoric arranged a marriage alliance with Thrasamund, king of the Vandals, who became her second husband. She brought a very large dowery, but also 5,000 Gothic troops. In 523, Hilderic, successor to Thrasamund, had her arrested and imprisoned in a successful bid to overthrow Ostrogothic hegemony; he also had her Gothic troops killed. She died in prison, exact date unknown.

Amalafrida had two children, the aforementioned Theodahad and Amalaberga, who married Hermanfrid, king of the Thuringii. It is not known who the father of these children was.

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Amalafreda "the Elder", Queen of the Vandals's Timeline

455
455
Pannonia (Present Hungary), Kingdom of the Ostrogoths
470
470
Age 15
490
490
Age 35
500
March 2, 500
Age 45
Carthago, Zeugitania (Present Tunisia), Africae, Kingdom of the Vandals
500
Age 45
Probably Carthago, Zeugitana (Present Tunisia), Africae, Kingdom of the Vandals
525
525
Age 70
Carthago, Zeugitana (Present Tunisia), Africae, Kingdom of the Vandals
????
????
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