Ostrogothic Kingdom

Witigis, King 536-540

COI 63; MIB 57; MEC 1, 151, Very Fine

Ravenna, in the name of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (527-565). D N IVSTI-NIAN AVC, diademed and mantled bust of Justinian I right. Reverse: DN/VVIT/ICES/REX in four lines within wreath.

Witiges was elected king by the Ostrogothic nobility to replace the ineffectual Theodahad. He had the unenviable task of facing the full might of the Byzantine army led by Justinian’s able general, Belisarius, as the Gothic War (AD 535-540) began in earnest. In AD 540, Witiges and the Ostrogoths accepted the lenient terms of submission offered by Justinian I, who had become anxious to redirect his forces against Sasanian Persia. Italy south of the Po was to belong to the Byzantine Empire while the Ostrogoths were to retain the lands north of this river. Witiges was granted the rank of a patrician and sent into comfortable retirement.