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He succeeded to the throne of Italy in the early stages of the Gothic War, as Belisarius had quickly captured Sicily the previous year and was currently in southern Italy at the head of the forces of Justinian I, the Eastern Roman Emperor.
Witiges was the husband of Amalasuntha's only surviving child, Matasuntha, a marriage designed to bolster his claim to kingship. The panegyric upon the wedding in 536 was delivered by Cassiodorus, the praetorian prefect, and survives, a traditionally Roman form of rhetoric that set the Gothic dynasty in a flatteringly Roman light.
Soon after he was made king Witiges had his predecessor Theodahad murdered. Theodahad had enraged the Goths because he failed to send any assistance to Naples when it was besieged by the Byzantines, led by Belisarius. Justinian's general Belisarius took both Witiges and Matasuntha as captives to Constantinople, and Witiges died there, without any children. After his death Matasuntha married the patrician Germanus Justinus, a nephew of Justinian I by his sister Vigilantia.
|King of the Ostrogoths