Upon becoming the ruler of Italy, Odovacar assumed an attitude of marked independence. Zeno was fully aware of it; unable to struggle against Odovacar openly, he decided to act through the Ostrogoths. The latter, after the collapse of the power of Attila, remained in Pannonia and, under the leadership of their king, Theodoric, carried on devastating raids in the Balkan peninsula, menacing even the capital of the Empire. Zeno succeeded in directing the attention of Theodoric to the rich provinces of Italy, thus attaining a double aim: He got rid of his dangerous northern neighbors and settled his disagreements with the undesirable ruler of Italy through the efforts of an outside party. In any event, Theodoric in Italy was less of a menace to Zeno than he would have been had he remained in the Balkan peninsula.
Theodoric moved on to Italy, defeated Odovacar, seized his principal city, Ravenna, and after Zeno's death, founded his Ostrogothic kingdom on Italian territory with the capital at Ravenna. The Balkan peninsula was thus definitely freed from the Ostrogothic menace
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