Member of a division of the Goths (Ostrogoth means Eastern Goth) who built an empire north of the Black Sea in the 3rd century and established a kingdom in Italy in the late 5th century. At its zenith in the 4th century, the Ostrogoth empire stretched from the Don to the Dniester (in present-day Ukraine) and from the Black Sea to southern Belarus. The Ostrogoths were conquered by the Hunsc. 370 and remained part of the Huns' empire until the mid 5th century. When the Hun empire collapsed (455), the Ostrogoths emerged as an independent people once again. Their greatest ruler, Theodoric, led the Ostrogothic invasion of Italy and declared himself king (493). Theodoric maintained good relations with the native population, especially the senatorial class, throughout most of his reign and promoted a cultural revival. The turmoil in Italy following his death provided the Byzantine emperor Justinian I with the opportunity to invade the peninsula. The ensuing war lasted almost 20 years (c. 535–54) and ended the national existence of the Ostrogoths.