Ravenna Revisited: Mausoleum of Theoderic – Farce

The Mausoleum of Theoderic is a fascinating structure with an intriguing history that lurches between tragedy and farce as the mainstream desperately attempts to control the narrative.

Act 1: Farce

Scene 1: King Theoderic’s Sarcophagus

English Wikipedia proudly displays an image of the Sarcophagus of Theodoric.
Their main text describes this object as a “circular” stone “grave”.

The Mausoleum of Theoderic (Italian: Mausoleo di Teodorico) is an ancient monument just outside Ravenna, Italy.

It was built in 520 AD by Theoderic the Great as his future tomb.

Located in the centre of the floor is a circular porphyry stone grave, in which Theoderic was buried.


However, the topless Sarcophagus of Theodoric isn’t actually “circular” and it’s most definitely not a “grave” because it was originally designed for topless bathing in the Roman era.

The porphyry labrum (vessel or basin with an overhanging lip), possibly from a Roman thermal building, which is said to heve been reused in 526 AD as sarcophagus for king Theodoric in Ravenna, Italy.

The item was subsequently reused after 540 AD by the new rulers, the Byzantines, in the facade of the so-called “Palace of Theodoric” in Ravenna, whence it was moved in 1913 to the Mausoleum of Theoderic in Ravenna, where it stands today.

The labrum in architecture was a large water-filled vessel or basin with an overhanging lip.

Marble labrums were a common feature of Roman thermae.


In an unusual fit of honesty [way back in 2007] Wikipedia accurately described this item as a “tub”.

Located in the centre of the floor is a circular porphyry tub, in which Theodoric was supposed to be buried.

Wikipedia – 1 August 2007

Scene 2: King Theoderic’s Silt

Wikipedia blames a “rivulet” for creating King Theoderic’s Silt in the “late 19th century”.

In the late 19th century, silting from a nearby rivulet that had partly submerged the mausoleum was drained and excavated.


A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and banks.

Rivulet is an term encountered in Victorian era publications.


Unsurprisingly, there are a few problems with this explanation.

Firstly, King Theoderic’s Silt existed before the “late 19th century”.

Secondly, it would take more than a “rivulet” to deposit a layer of King Theoderic’s Silt that reaches to the level of a ground floor door lintel.

Others say the “nearby river Badareno” created King Theoderic’s Silt.

It became partly submerged as a result of silting from the nearby river Badareno, and was not drained and excavated until the 19th century.

Advisory Body Evaluation (ICOMOS) – 1996
Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna – UNESCO World Heritage Centre


Unfortunately, this “river” appears to be a canal [come drainage channel] some 390 meters distant.

[English Translation]

The Badareno canal track is retrieved, realized by Teodorico, which today is only a drainage channel, the remains of the canal that connects the Port of Ravenna with the Po Eridano.

[Original Italian]

Viene recuperato il tracciato del canale Badareno, realizzato da Teodorico che oggi è solo un canale di scolo, residuo del canale navigabile che collegava il Porto di Ravenna con il Po Eridano.

Ciclabile Parco Teodorico-Pineta S.Vitale – Ciclovie & Greenways – Gea Progetti

Scene 3: King Theoderic’s Tenuous Link With Reality and Ravenna

King Theoderic, like every “barbarian king” from this era, has a very tenuous link with reality.

It is the unique surviving example of a tomb of a barbarian king of this period.

Advisory Body Evaluation (ICOMOS) – 1996
Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna – UNESCO World Heritage Centre


The only real world evidence that associates King Theoderic with his “mausoleum” is the billboard outside the building that reads: Mausoleum of Theoderic.

Apparently, the remains of Theoderic were removed from his “mausoleum” [after about 35 years] so that the building could begin it’s “somewhat chequered” career as an oratory-come-lighthouse.

This lighthouse narrative sounds like a very tall story [the “mausoleum” is currently about 7.35 kilometers inland] unless King Theoderic’s Silt is associated with a catastrophic event such as the Greek Termination Event 607 CE or the Roman Termination Event in 912 CE.

His remains were removed during Byzantine rule, when the mausoleum was turned into a Christian oratory.


This building was constructed by Theodoric himself, shortly before his death in 526, outside the city walls in a Gothic burial ground.

Its subsequent history was somewhat chequered:

Theodoric’s body was removed after Justinian’s edict condemning Arianism in 561 and it became an oratory, with a square tower surmounting it that served as a lighthouse.

Advisory Body Evaluation (ICOMOS) – 1996
Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna – UNESCO World Heritage Centre


That’s not to say the mainstream hasn’t tried to find evidence.

Between 1907 and 1911 they desperately dug down in the dirt looking for the Palace of Theoderic and [without any hint of irony] found sewer pipes engraved with his name.

The palace of Theoderic was a structure in Ravenna, Italy, that was the residence of the Ostrogothic ruler and king of Italy Theoderic the Great (d. 526), who was buried in the nearby Mausoleum of Theoderic.

Both the location of the former palace and a large part of the ground plan can be gathered from excavations of the remains of foundations and walls carried out by Corrado Ricci in the period between 1907 and 1911 in the garden of the Monghini family and in the adjacent area between the Viale Farini und Via Alberoni.

Ricci identified the building on the basis of lead sewer pipes on which the name of Theoderic was engraved.

The lead pipes revealed by the excavation, along with other finds, are kept in a dedicated room of the National Museum, Ravenna.


And if you believe that story then I’ve got some very expensive artefacts I would like to sell that are engraved with the name of the real King of King’s Road: The Venerable Thomas Crapper.

Thomas Crapper (1836-1910) was a plumber who founded Thomas Crapper & Co in London.

He was noted for the quality of his products and received several royal warrants.


Scene 4: Dietrich von Bern

King Theoderic’s tenuous grip on reality is further undermined by the German legends that detail his battles with “dwarfs, dragons, giants and other mythical beings”.

The Gothic King Theoderic the Great was remembered in Germanic legend as Dietrich von Bern (Bern is the Middle High German name for Verona, where Theoderic had one of his residences).

The majority of poems about Dietrich/Theoderic are composed in Middle High German, and are generally divided by modern scholars into historical and fantastical.

The historical poems can loosely be connected with the life of the historical Theoderic and concern his expulsion from Verona by his uncle Ermenrich (Ermanaric) and his attempts to regain his kingdom with the help of Etzel (Attila).

The fantastical poems concern his battles with dwarfs, dragons, giants, and other mythical beings, as well as other heroes such as Siegfried.


But the Veronese legend was certainly influenced by the Teutonic legend of Dietrich of Bern, and the Teutonic legend cannot be accounted for by the fact that Theodoric erected some buildings at Verona, or occasionally stayed there.

The problem arises why the figure of the legend was Dietrich of Verona, and not Dietrich of Ravenna, which was the permanent residence of Theodoric during his reign.

The History of The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon – 1909


These German legends started to appear somewhere between 525 and 850 years after the death of King Theoderic [aka Dietrich von Bern] and we are instructed that we “must” believe these legendary poems stem from a “long-standing oral tradition”.

Dietrich figures in a number of surviving works, and it must be assumed that these draw on long-standing oral tradition.


Middle High German is the term for the form of German spoken in the High Middle Ages. It is conventionally dated between 1050 and 1350, developing from Old High German and into Early New High German.


The unthinkable alternative is that these legends are pure pulp fiction produced by the monasteries.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/the-heinsohn-horizon-the-academic-abyss/

Scene 5: The Battle of Adrianople

Which brings us to King Theoderic and the nomadic tribes of Germanic Goths that were miraculously materialised in manuscript form by the monasteries.

Theoderic the Great (454-526 AD), often referred to as Theodoric, was king of the Ostrogoths (475–526), ruler of Italy (493–526), regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patricius of the Roman Empire.


The Ostrogoths were the eastern branch of the later Goths (the other major branch being the Visigoths).


The Visigoths were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths.

These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period.

The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups (possibly the Thervingi) who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378.


The monastic manuscript narrative is that the “Gothic rebels” defeated the Eastern Roman army.

The Battle of Adrianople (9 August 378), sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between an Eastern Roman army led by the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels (largely Thervings as well as Greutungs, non-Gothic Alans, and various local rebels) led by Fritigern.

The battle took place about 13 km (8 mi) north of Adrianople (modern Edirne in European Turkey, near the border with Greece and Bulgaria) in the Roman province of Thracia.

It ended with an overwhelming victory for the Goths and the death of Emperor Valens.


The more likely explanation is that these tall tales from the monasteries were designed to explain away the natural disaster that was the Roman Termination Event in 912 CE – an event that most decidedly was associated with “heat, fire and dust”.

We have a detailed account for the lead up to the battle from the Roman perspective from Ammianus Marcellinus, which forms the culminating point at the end of his history.

The position in his histories and the lack of a detailed history for the following century has tended to exaggerate the significance of the battle for later historians.

Ammianus’s account of the battle itself, as to be expected from a losing side, is far from clear.

Heat, fire and dust seem to have been particularly significant.

Much of what follows about the battle itself is modern supposition.


See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/comet-halley-and-the-roman-time-line/

Evidently, the monasteries believed they should never let a good crisis go to waste.

Scene 6: The Wiki War of Words

A weird Wikipedia War of Words has broken out between the English and German language factions of this august body.

The English faction is very tight lipped about the Mausoleum of Theoderic and struggles to string 300 words together.

The German faction is very long winded and manages to waffle for an award winning grand total of 38,589 characters [strangely based upon a study from 1928].

The English language faction is being urged to expand their article with “text translated from the corresponding article in German.”

The English language faction have responded by including a bizarre reference to a very “approximate replica” of the Mausoleum of Theoderic in a Minnesota township that’s named after Freiburg in Germany.

An approximate replica of this tomb was constructed in the US in 1925 when the Taplin Gorge Dam was constructed north of Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

The designer (Vernon Wright, who was also the president of the dam’s owner, the Otter Tail Power Company) based the design of the powerhouse on this mausoleum.


Friberg Township is a township in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 774 at the 2000 census.

Friberg Township was organized in 1874, and named after Freiburg, in Germany.



Act Two begins after the break…

Please note:
Overrated and overpriced King Theoderic merchandise are available for purchase in the foyer. Proceeds are for the benefit of the Academic Rehabilitation Scheme in Europe.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Catastrophism, Comets, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Ravenna Revisited, Round Towers. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Ravenna Revisited: Mausoleum of Theoderic – Farce

  1. thx1138 says:

    Well you seem to have caught them in a big fat lie.

  2. Gunnar Heinsohn says:

    Rivulets running havoc are more than once invoked to explain the annihilation of cities. Paestum, in the south of Italy (Magna Graecia), supposedly was shattered and swamped by Capodifiume. That small stream had behaved nicely for some 600 years before it went wild in the 4th/5th century. After that it turned back to normal, and never misbehaved again. However, it is not yet understood why the survivors waited until the 9th/10th c. to build a new village, Capaccio Vecchio. It grew between 900 and 1000 up high in the safety of the hills. That date at the end of the Early Middle Ages must have been the date of the disaster, too. No other site has been found where the last citizens of Paestum had taken shelter the 500 years in between.
    Gunnar Heinsohn

  3. It’s the predictable outcome when one only thinks with a limited number of ideas, and when any thinking outside the box is severely punished. So fantastic scenarios are fabricated, all speciously plausible if you actually don’t do any in-situ field work.

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  8. Tito says:

    >> The only real world evidence that associates King Theoderic with his “mausoleum” is the billboard outside the building that reads: Mausoleum of Theoderic.

    Yeah, sure. Anonymus Valesianus writes “Se autem vivo fecit sibi monimentum ex lapide quadrato, mirae magnitudinis opus, et saxum ingens quod superponeret inquisivit” [1].
    There must be another mausoleum topped by a huge monolith In Ravenna.
    [1] http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Excerpta_Valesiana/2*.html#96

  9. malagabay says:

    Anonymus Valesianus: First published in 1636…

    Anonymus Valesianus is the conventional title of a compilation of two fragmentary vulgar Latin chronicles, named for its 17th-century editor, Henri Valois, or Henricus Valesius (1603–76), who published the text for the first time in 1636, together with his first printed edition of the Res Gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus.


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