The sixth century was a period of significant political, social and economic changes for Italy. As the main territory of an Ostrogothic kingdom allied to the eastern Roman empire since the early 500s, the peninsula eventually became the centre of a war between the two ‘states’ from 535 to 553/4. After this date, Constantinople believed it had sustainably recovered the historic centre of its empire, but the Lombards broke this illusion in 568. Never again were the Byzantines going to control the entirety of Italy.