Totila, original name Baduila, was the penultimate King of the Ostrogoths, reigning from 541 to 552 AD. A skilled military and political leader, Totila reversed the tide of the Gothic War, recovering by 543 almost all the territories in Italy that the Eastern Roman Empire had captured from his Kingdom in 540.
A relative of Theudis, sword-bearer of Theodoric the Great and king of the Visigoths, Totila was elected king by Ostrogothic nobles in the autumn of 541 after King Witigis had been carried off prisoner to Constantinople. Totila proved himself both as a military and political leader, winning the support of the lower classes by liberating slaves and distributing land to the peasants. After a successful defence at Verona, Totila pursued and defeated a numerically superior army at the Battle of Faventia in 542 AD. Totila followed these victories by defeating the Romans outside Florence and capturing Naples. By 543, fighting on land and sea, he had reconquered the bulk of the lost territory. Rome held out, and Totila appealed unsuccessfully to the Senate in a letter reminding them of the loyalty of the Romans to his predecessor Theodoric the Great.