Totila (tŏtˈĭlə) [key] or Baduila bădyōĭlˈə, d. 552, last king of the Ostrogoths (541–52). By defeating the Byzantines at Faenza and Mugello (542) and by taking Naples (543) and Rome (546), he became master of central and S Italy. Belisarius, the Byzantine commander, recovered Rome in 547 but was recalled in the following year. Rome again fell in 550 and left only Ravenna, Ancona, Otranto, and Crotona in Byzantine hands. Totila sent his fleet against Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, and Illyria and made several peace offers to Emperor Justinian I. Instead of yielding, Justinian sent (552) Narses to Italy at the head of a well-equipped army. Totila was thoroughly routed by Narses near Taginae, in the Apennines W of Ancona, and perished in the battle. Thus Byzantium regained temporary control over Italy.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.