Lombards

Lombards

Overview
The Lombards also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian
Scandinavian
Scandinavian refers to a resident of or something associated with Scandinavia, including:* Scandinavians, a Nordic ethnic group* Scandinavian Airlines , an aviation corporation* Scandinavian Defense, a chess opening...

 origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...



The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

, writes in the Origo Gentis Langobardorum
Origo Gentis Langobardorum
The Origo Gentis Langobardorum is a short 7th century account offering a founding myth of the Lombard people. The first part visions the origin and naming of the Lombards, and the following text more resembles a king-list, up until the rule of Perctarit , which helps date the original writing of...

 that the Lombards descended from small tribe called the Winnili, dwelling in southern Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 (Scadanan), who had migrated southward fo seek new lands. In the 1st century AD they formed part of the Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

, in in northwestern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Lombards also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian
Scandinavian
Scandinavian refers to a resident of or something associated with Scandinavia, including:* Scandinavians, a Nordic ethnic group* Scandinavian Airlines , an aviation corporation* Scandinavian Defense, a chess opening...

 origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...



The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

, writes in the Origo Gentis Langobardorum
Origo Gentis Langobardorum
The Origo Gentis Langobardorum is a short 7th century account offering a founding myth of the Lombard people. The first part visions the origin and naming of the Lombards, and the following text more resembles a king-list, up until the rule of Perctarit , which helps date the original writing of...

 that the Lombards descended from small tribe called the Winnili, dwelling in southern Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 (Scadanan), who had migrated southward fo seek new lands. In the 1st century AD they formed part of the Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

, in in northwestern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. By the end of the 5th century they had moved into the area roughly coinciding with modern Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 north of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 river, where they subdued the Heruls and later fought frequent wars with the Gepid
Gepid
The Gepids were an East Germanic tribe who were closely related to the Goths. The Gepids were recorded in the area along the southern Baltic coast in the 1st century AD, having migrated there from southern Sweden some years earlier...

s. After the Lombard King Audoin
Audoin
Alduin, Auduin, or Audoin was king of the Lombards from 546 to 560. The Lombards became, under him, fœderati of the Byzantines , signing a treaty with Justinian I which gave them power in Pannonia and the north. Beginning in 551, he was obliged to send troops to serve Narses in Italy against the...

 defeated their leader Thurisind
Thurisind
Thurisind was king of the Gepids, an East Germanic Gothic people, from c. 548 to 560. He was the penultimate Gepid king, and succeeded King Elemund by staging a coup d'état and forcing the king's son into exile...

 in 551 or 552, his succesor Alboin
Alboin
Alboin was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572...

 eventually destroyed the Gepids at the Battle of Asfeld
Battle of Asfeld
The Battle of Asfeld was fought in 552 between the Lombards and the Gepids. The Lombards, led by King Audoin, were victorious, and, Thorismund, the son of King Thorisind was slain in the battle....

 in 567.

Following his victory, Alboin decided to migrate to Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, which had become severly depopulated after the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the Ostrogothic Kingdom
Ostrogothic Kingdom
The Kingdom established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas lasted from 493 to 553. In Italy the Ostrogoths replaced Odoacer, the de facto ruler of Italy who had deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 476. The Gothic kingdom reached its zenith under the rule of its...

 had fought for dominance over the peninsula between 535 and 554. Joined by numerous Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

, Heruls, Gepids, Thuringians and Ostrogoths, the Lombard's invasion of Italy was almost unopposed, and by late 569 they had conquered all the principal cities north of the Po River except Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

, which fell in 572. At the same time, they occupied areas in the central
Central Italy
Central Italy is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy used by the National Institute of Statistics , a first level NUTS region and a European Parliament constituency...

 and southern parts of the peninsula. They established a Lombard Kingdom in Italy, later named Kingdom of Italy, which reached its zenith under the eighth-century ruler Liutprand
Liutprand, King of the Lombards
Liutprand was the King of the Lombards from 712 to 744 and is chiefly remembered for his Donation of Sutri, in 728, and his long reign, which brought him into a series of conflicts, mostly successful, with most of Italy. He profited by Byzantine weakness to enlarge his domains in Emilia and the...

. In 774, the Kingdom was conquered by the Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 King Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, and integrated into his Empire. Lombard
Lombard
The term Lombard refers to members of or things related, directly or indirectly, to the Lombards , a Germanic tribe that dominated northern Italy and adjoining areas from the 6th to 8th centuries...

 nobles would however continue to rule parts of the Italian peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

 well into the 11th century, until merged by the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 into the Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

. Their legacy is apparent in the regional appellation Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

.

Early history



Legendary origins and name



The fullest account of Lombard origins, history, and practices is the Historia Langobardorum (History of the Lombards) of Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

, written in the 8th century. Paul's chief source for Lombard origins, however, is the 7th-century Origo Gentis Langobardorum
Origo Gentis Langobardorum
The Origo Gentis Langobardorum is a short 7th century account offering a founding myth of the Lombard people. The first part visions the origin and naming of the Lombards, and the following text more resembles a king-list, up until the rule of Perctarit , which helps date the original writing of...

 (Origin of the People of the Lombards).

The Origo Gentis Langobardorum tells the story of a small tribe called the Winnili dwelling in southern Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 (Scadanan) (The Codex Gothanus
Codex Gothanus
One Codex Gothanus is an early ninth-century codex written at Fulda, that was commissioned by Eberhard of Friuli, probably about 830, from the scholar Lupus Servatus, abbot of Ferrières. The original is lost, but Codex Gothanus is one of two extant copies...

 writes that the Winnili first dwelt near a river called Vindilicus on the extreme boundary of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

.) The Winnili were split into three groups and one part left the native land to seek foreign fields. The reason for the exodus was probably overpopulation
Overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

. The departing people were led by the brothers Ybor and Aio and their mother Gambara and arrived in the lands of Scoringa, perhaps the Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 coast or the Bardengau
Bardengau
The Bardengau was a medieval county in the Duchy of Saxony. Its main town was Bardowick; other important towns were Lüneburg and Oldenstadt ....

 on the banks of the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

. Scoringa was ruled by the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, and their chieftains, the brothers Ambri and Assi, who granted the Winnili a choice between tribute or war.

The Winnili were young and brave and refused to pay tribute, saying "It is better to maintain liberty by arms than to stain it by the payment of tribute." The Vandals prepared for war and consulted Godan (the god Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

), who answered that he would give the victory to those whom he would see first at sunrise. The Winnili were fewer in number and Gambara sought help from Frea (the goddess Frigg
Frigg
Frigg is a major goddess in Norse paganism, a subset of Germanic paganism. She is said to be the wife of Odin, and is the "foremost among the goddesses" and the queen of Asgard. Frigg appears primarily in Norse mythological stories as a wife and a mother. She is also described as having the power...

), who advised that all Winnili women should tie their hair in front of their faces like beards and march in line with their husbands. So it came that Godan spotted the Winnili first, and asked, "Who are these long-beards?" and Frea replied, "My lord, thou hast given them the name, now give them also the victory." From that moment onwards, the Winnili were known as the Langobards (Latinised and Italianised as Lombards).

When Paul the Deacon wrote the Historia between 787 and 796 he was a Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 monk and devoted Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. He thought the pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 stories of his people "silly" and "laughable". Paul explained that the name "Langobard" came from the length of their beards. A modern theory suggests that the name "Langobard" comes from Langbarðr, a name of Odin. Priester states that when the Winnili changed their name to "Lombards", they also changed their old agricultural fertility cult to a cult of Odin, thus creating a conscious tribal tradition. Fröhlich inverts the order of events in Priester and states that with the Odin cult, the Lombards grew their beards in resemblance of the Odin of tradition and their new name reflected this. Bruckner remarks that the name of the Lombards stands in close relation to the worship of Odin, whose many names include "the Long-bearded" or "the Grey-bearded", and that the Lombard given name Ansegranus ("he with the beard of the gods") shows that the Lombards had this idea of their chief deity.

Archaeology and migrations


From the combined testimony of Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 (AD 20) and Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 (AD 117), the Lombards dwelt near the mouth of the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 shortly after the beginning of the Christian era, next to the Chauci
Chauci
The Chauci were an ancient Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ranging as far inland as the upper Weser. Along the coast they lived on artificial hills called terpen, built high enough to remain dry during the highest tide...

. Strabo states that the Lombards dwelt on both sides of the Elbe. The German archaeologist Willi Wegewitz defined several Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 burial sites at the lower Elbe as Langobardic. The burial sites, are crematorial and are usually dated from the 6th century BC through the 3rd AD, so that a settlement breakoff seems unlikely. The lands of the lower Elbe fall into the zone of the Jastorf Culture
Jastorf culture
The Jastorf culture is an Iron Age material culture in what is now north Germany, spanning the 6th to 1st centuries BC, forming the southern part of the Pre-Roman Iron Age. The culture evolved out of the Nordic Bronze Age, through influence from the Halstatt culture farther south...

 and became Elbe-Germanic, differing from the lands between Rhine, Weser, and the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. Archaeological finds show that the Lombards were an agricultural people.

The first mention of the Lombards occurred between AD 9 and 16, by the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 court historian Velleius Paterculus, who accompanied a Roman expedition as prefect of the cavalry. Paterculus described the Lombards as "more fierce than ordinary German savagery." Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 counted the Lombards as a Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

an tribe, and subjects of Marobod
Marbod
Maroboduus , was king of the Marcomanni. The name "Maroboduus" can be broken down into two Celtic elements, māro- meaning "great" , and bodwos meaning "raven"...

 the King of the Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

. Marobod had made peace with the Romans, and that is why the Lombards were not part of the Germanic confederacy under Arminius
Arminius
Arminius , also known as Armin or Hermann was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest...

 at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in AD 9. In AD 17, war broke out between Arminius and Marobod. Tacitus records:
In 47, a struggle ensued amongst the Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

 and they expelled their new leader, the nephew of Arminius, from their country. The Lombards appear on the scene with sufficient power, it seems, to control the destiny of the tribe that, thirty-eight years before, had been the leader in the struggle for independence, for they restored the deposed leader to the sovereignty again. In the mid 2nd century, the Lombards also appear in the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

. According to Ptolemy, the Suebic Lombards settled south of the Sugambri, but also remained at the Elbe, between the Chauci and the Suebi, which indicates a Lombard expansion. The Codex Gothanus also mentions Patespruna (Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

) in connections with the Lombards. By Cassius Dio, we are informed that just before the Marcomannic Wars
Marcomannic Wars
The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about AD 166 until 180. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against the Marcomanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples, along both sides of the upper and middle Danube...

, 6,000 Lombards and Ubii
Ubii
thumb|right|350px|The Ubii around AD 30The Ubii were a Germanic tribe first encountered dwelling on the right bank of the Rhine in the time of Julius Caesar, who formed an alliance with them in 55 BC in order to launch attacks across the river...

 crossed the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 and invaded Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

. The two tribes were defeated, whereupon they desisted from their invasion and sent as ambassador to Aelius Bassus, who was then administering Pannonia, Ballomar, King of the Marcomanni. Peace was made and the two tribes returned to their homes, which in the case of the Lombards were the lands of the lower Elbe. At about this time, Tacitus, in his work Germania (AD 98), describes the Lombards as such:
From the 2nd century onwards, many of the Germanic tribes recorded as active during the Principate started to unite into bigger tribal unions, resulting in the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

, Bavarii
Bavarii
The Bavarii were a Germanic tribe whose name emerged late in Teutonic tribal times. The full name originally was the Germanic *baio-warioz. This name has been handed down as Baiwaren, Baioaren, Bioras, latinised Bavarii, Baioarii. or Bavarii, Bavarians, Bajuwaren, Bajuvarii, Bajuwaren and Baiern....

, and Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

. The reasons why the Lombards disappear, as such, from Roman history from 166–489 could be that they dwelt so deep into Inner Germania that they were detectable only when they appeared on the Danubian banks again, or that the Lombards were also subjected into a bigger tribal union, most probably the Saxons. It is, however, highly probable that when the bulk of the Lombards migrated, a considerable part remained behind and afterwards became absorbed by the Saxon tribes in the region, while the emigrants alone retained the name of Lombards. However, the Codex Gothanus writes that the Lombards were subjected by the Saxons around 300, but rose up against the Saxons with their king Agelmund. In the second half of the 4th century, the Lombards left their homes, probably due to bad harvests, and embarked on their migration.
The migration route of the Lombards, from their homeland to "Rugiland" in 489 encompassed several places: Scoringa (believed to be the their land on the Elbe shores), Mauringa, Golanda, Anthaib, Banthaib, and Vurgundaib (Burgundaib). According to the Ravenna Cosmography
Ravenna Cosmography
The Ravenna Cosmography was compiled by an anonymous cleric in Ravenna around AD 700. It consists of a list of place-names covering the world from India to Ireland. Textual evidence indicates that the author frequently used maps as his source....

, Mauringa was the land east of the Elbe.

The crossing into Mauringa was very difficult, the Assipitti (Usipetes) denied them passage through their lands; a fight was arranged for the strongest man of each tribe, the Lombard was victorious, passage was granted, and the Lombards reached Mauringa. The first Lombard king, Agelmund, from the race of Guginger, ruled for thirty years.

The Lombards departed from Mauringa and reached Golanda. Scholar Ludwig Schmidt thinks this was further east, perhaps on the right bank of the Oder
Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

. Schmidt considers that the name is the equivalent of Gotland
Gotland
Gotland is a county, province, municipality and diocese of Sweden; it is Sweden's largest island and the largest island in the Baltic Sea. At 3,140 square kilometers in area, the region makes up less than one percent of Sweden's total land area...

 and means simply "good land." This theory is highly plausible, Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

 mentions an episode of the Lombards crossing a river, and the Lombards could have reached Rugiland from the Upper Oder area via the Moravian Gate
Moravian-Silesian Region
Moravian-Silesian Region , or Moravo-Silesian Region, is one of 14 administrative Regions of the Czech Republic, until May 2001 it was formerly called the Ostrava Region . The region is located in the north-eastern part of its historical region of Moravia and in most of the Czech part of the...

.

Moving out of Golanda, the Lombards passed through Anthaib and Banthaib until they reached Vurgundaib. Vurgundaib is believed to be the old lands of the Burgundes. In Vurgundaib, the Lombards were stormed in camp by "Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

" (probably Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

) and were defeated; King Agelmund was killed. Laimicho was raised to the kingship afterwards; he was in his youth and desired to avenge the slaughter of Agelmund. The Lombards themselves were probably made subjects of the Huns after the defeat, but the Lombards rose up against them and defeated them with great slaughter. The victory gave the Lombards great booty and confidence, as they "... became bolder in undertaking the toils of war."

In the 540s, Audoin
Audoin
Alduin, Auduin, or Audoin was king of the Lombards from 546 to 560. The Lombards became, under him, fœderati of the Byzantines , signing a treaty with Justinian I which gave them power in Pannonia and the north. Beginning in 551, he was obliged to send troops to serve Narses in Italy against the...

 (ruled 546–565), led the Lombards across the Danube once more into Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

, where they received Imperial subsidies, as Justinian encouraged them to battle Gepids.

Kingdom in Italy




Invasion and conquest of the Italian peninsula


In 560 a new, energetic king emerged: Alboin
Alboin
Alboin was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572...

, who defeated the neighbouring Gepidae, made them his subjects, and, in 566, married the daughter of their king Cunimund
Cunimund
Cunimund was a king of the Gepids in the 6th century. Cunimund was the last of the Gepid kings and led them in their defeat by the Lombards in 567.-Background:...

, Rosamund
Rosamund
The name Rosamund is a girls' name and can also be a family name . Originally it combined the Germanic elements hros, meaning horse, and mund, meaning "protection". Later it was influenced by the Latin phrases rosa munda, meaning "pure rose", and rosa mundi, meaning "rose of the world"...

. In the spring of 568, Alboin led the Lombards, together with other Germanic tribes; (Bavarians
Bavarii
The Bavarii were a Germanic tribe whose name emerged late in Teutonic tribal times. The full name originally was the Germanic *baio-warioz. This name has been handed down as Baiwaren, Baioaren, Bioras, latinised Bavarii, Baioarii. or Bavarii, Bavarians, Bajuwaren, Bajuvarii, Bajuwaren and Baiern....

, Gepidae, Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

) and Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

, across the Julian Alps
Julian Alps
The Julian Alps are a mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps that stretches from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where they rise to 2,864 m at Mount Triglav. They are named after Julius Caesar, who founded the municipium of Cividale del Friuli at the foot of the mountains...

 to invade northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 due to their expulsion from Pannonia by Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

. The first important city to fall was Forum Iulii (Cividale del Friuli
Cividale del Friuli
-External links:*...

), in northeastern Italy
Northeast Italy
Northeast Italy is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy used by the National Institute of Statistics , a first level NUTS region and a European Parliament constituency...

, in 569. There, Alboin created the first Lombard duchy, which he entrusted to his nephew Gisulf
Gisulf II of Friuli
Gisulf II was the Duke of Friuli from around 591 to his death. He was the son and successor of Gisulf I.Gisulf and Gaidoald of Trent were at odds with King Agilulf until they made peace in 602 or 603. Gisulf also allied with the Avars to make war on Istria....

. Soon Vicenza
Vicenza
Vicenza , a city in north-eastern Italy, is the capital of the eponymous province in the Veneto region, at the northern base of the Monte Berico, straddling the Bacchiglione...

, Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

 and Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 fell into Germanic hands. In the summer of 569, the Lombards conquered the main Roman centre of northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. The area was then recovering from the terrible Gothic Wars
Gothic War (535–552)
The Gothic War between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy was fought from 535 until 554 in Italy, Dalmatia, Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica. It is commonly divided into two phases. The first phase lasted from 535 to 540 and ended with the fall of Ravenna and the apparent...

, and the small Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 army left for its defence could do almost nothing. The Exarch
Exarch
In the Byzantine Empire, an exarch was governor with extended authority of a province at some remove from the capital Constantinople. The prevailing situation frequently involved him in military operations....

 sent to Italy by Emperor Justin II
Justin II
Justin II was Byzantine Emperor from 565 to 578. He was the husband of Sophia, nephew of Justinian I and the late Empress Theodora, and was therefore a member of the Justinian Dynasty. His reign is marked by war with Persia and the loss of the greater part of Italy...

, Longinus, could defend only coastal cities that could be supplied by the powerful Byzantine fleet. Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 fell after a siege of three years, in 572, becoming the first capital city of the new Lombard kingdom of Italy. In the following years, the Lombards penetrated further south, conquering Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

 and establishing two duchies, Spoleto
Duchy of Spoleto
The independent Duchy of Spoleto was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald.- Lombards :The Lombards, a Germanic people, had invaded Italy in 568 and conquered much of it, establishing a Kingdom divided between several dukes dependent on the King, who had...

 and Benevento
Duchy of Benevento
The Duchy and later Principality of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in medieval Italy, centred on Benevento, a city central in the Mezzogiorno. Owing to the Ducatus Romanus of the popes, which cut it off from the rest of Lombard Italy, Benevento was from the first practically...

 under Zotto
Zotto
Zotto was the military leader of the Lombards in the Mezzogiorno. He is generally considered the founder of the Duchy of Benevento in 571 and its first duke : “…Fuit autem primus Langobardorum dux in Benevento nomine Zotto, qui in ea principatus est per curricula viginti annorum…” Zotto (also...

, which soon became semi-independent and even outlasted the northern kingdom, surviving well into the 12th century. The Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 managed to retain control of the area of Ravenna and Rome, linked by a thin corridor running through Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

.

When they entered Italy, some Lombards retained their native form paganism
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

, while some were Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 Christians. Hence they did not enjoy good relations with the Catholic Church
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

. Gradually, they adopted Roman titles, names, and traditions, and partially converted to orthodoxy (7th century), not without a long series of religious and ethnic conflicts.
By the time Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

 was writing, the Lombard language, dress and even hairstyles had all disappeared.

The whole Lombard territory was divided into 36 duchies, whose leaders settled in the main cities. The king ruled over them and administered the land through emissaries called gastaldi. This subdivision, however, together with the independent indocility of the duchies, deprived the kingdom of unity, making it weak even when compared to the Byzantines, especially after they began to recover from the initial invasion. This weakness became even more evident when the Lombards had to face the increasing power of the Franks. In response to this problem, the kings tried to centralize power over time; but they lost control over Spoleto
Spoleto
Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is S. of Trevi, N. of Terni, SE of Perugia; SE of Florence; and N of Rome.-History:...

 and Benevento
Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

 definitively in the attempt.

Langobardia major


  • Duchy of Friuli
    Duchy of Friuli
    The Duchy of Friuli was one of the great territorial Lombard duchies, the first to be established. It was an important buffer between the Lombard kingdom of Italy and the Slavs...

     and List of Dukes and Margraves of Friuli
  • Duchy of Ceneda
  • Duchy of Vicenza
    Vicenza
    Vicenza , a city in north-eastern Italy, is the capital of the eponymous province in the Veneto region, at the northern base of the Monte Berico, straddling the Bacchiglione...

  • Duchy of Verona
    Verona
    Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

  • Duchy of Tridentum/Trent
    Duchy of Tridentum
    The Duchy of Tridentum was an autonomous Lombard duchy, established by Euin during the Lombard interregnum of 574–584 that followed the assassination of the Lombard leader Alboin...

  • Duchy of Brescia
    Brescia
    Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...


  • Duchy of Bergamo
    Bergamo
    Bergamo is a town and comune in Lombardy, Italy, about 40 km northeast of Milan. The comune is home to over 120,000 inhabitants. It is served by the Orio al Serio Airport, which also serves the Province of Bergamo, and to a lesser extent the metropolitan area of Milan...

  • Duchy of San Giulio
  • Duchy of Pavia
    Pavia
    Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

  • Duchy of Turin
    Turin
    Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

  • Duchy of Asti
    Asti
    Asti is a city and comune of about 75,000 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River...

  • Duchy of Tuscia
    Tuscany
    Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....



Langobardia minor

  • Duchy of Spoleto
    Duchy of Spoleto
    The independent Duchy of Spoleto was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald.- Lombards :The Lombards, a Germanic people, had invaded Italy in 568 and conquered much of it, establishing a Kingdom divided between several dukes dependent on the King, who had...

     and List of Dukes of Spoleto
  • Duchy of Benevento
    Duchy of Benevento
    The Duchy and later Principality of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in medieval Italy, centred on Benevento, a city central in the Mezzogiorno. Owing to the Ducatus Romanus of the popes, which cut it off from the rest of Lombard Italy, Benevento was from the first practically...

     and List of Dukes and Princes of Benevento



Arian monarchy


Alboin was murdered in 572 in Verona by a plot led by his wife, Rosamund, who later fled to Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

. His successor, Cleph
Cleph
Cleph was king of the Lombards from 572 or 573 to 574 or 575.He succeeded Alboin, to whom he was not related by blood. He was a violent and terrifying figure to the Romans and Byzantines struggling to maintain control of the peninsula...

, was also assassinated, after a ruthless reign of 18 months. His death began an interregnum of years, the "Rule of the Dukes
Rule of the Dukes
The Rule of the Dukes was an interregnum in the Lombard Kingdom of Italy during which Italy was ruled by the Lombard dukes of the old Roman provinces and urban centres...

", during which the duke
Duke (Lombard)
Among the Lombards, the duke or dux was the man who act as political and military commander of a set of "military families" , irrespective of any territorial appropriation.-Etymology:...

s did not elect any king, and which is regarded as a period of violence and disorder. In 584, threatened by a Frankish invasion, the dukes elected Cleph's
Cleph
Cleph was king of the Lombards from 572 or 573 to 574 or 575.He succeeded Alboin, to whom he was not related by blood. He was a violent and terrifying figure to the Romans and Byzantines struggling to maintain control of the peninsula...

 son, Authari
Authari
Authari also known as Agilolf, was king of the Lombards from 584 to his death. After his father, Cleph, died in 574, the Lombardic nobility refused to appoint a successor, resulting in ten years interregnum known as the Rule of the Dukes.In 574 and 575 the Lombards made the blunder of invading...

, king. In 589, he married Theodelinda
Theodelinda
Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards, was the daughter of duke Garibald I of Bavaria.She was married first in 588 to Authari, king of the Lombards, son of king Cleph. Authari died in 590. Theodelinda was allowed to pick Agilulf as her next husband and Authari's successor in 591...

, daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, Garibald I of Bavaria
Garibald I of Bavaria
Garibald I was Duke of Bavaria from 555 until 591. He stands at the head of the Agilolfings and the Bavarian Dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of the Lombards....

. The Catholic Theodelinda was a friend of Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 and pushed for Christianization. In the mean time, Authari embarked on a policy of internal reconciliation and tried to reorganize royal administration. The dukes yielded half their estates for the maintenance of the king and his court in Pavia. On the foreign affairs side, Authari managed to thwart the dangerous alliance between the Byzantines and the Franks.

Authari died in 591. His successor was Agilulf
Agilulf
Agilulf called the Thuringian, was a duke of Turin and king of the Lombards from 591 until his death.-Biography:A relative of his predecessor Authari, he was selected king on the advice of the Christian queen and widow of Authari, Theodelinda, whom he then married...

, duke of Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, who in 591, also married Theodelinda. He successfully fought the rebel dukes of Northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, conquering Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

 (601), Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 and Mantua
Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

 (603), and forcing the Exarch of Ravenna to pay a conspicuous tribute. Agilulf died in 616; Theodelinda reigned alone until 628, and was succeeded by Adaloald
Adaloald
Adaloald was the Lombard king of Italy from 616 to 626. Son and heir of King Agilulf and his Catholic queen Theodelinda, he was baptised shortly after his birth in 602. He was an associate king, raised on the shield by the warriors at his father's request, when still young...

. Arioald
Arioald
Arioald was the Lombard king of Italy from 626 to 636. Duke of Turin, he married the princess Gundeberga, daughter of King Agilulf and his queen Theodelinda. He was, unlike his father-in-law, an Arian who did not accept Catholicism....

, who had married Theodelinda's daughter Gundeperga, and head of the Arian opposition, later deposed Adaloald.

His successor was Rothari
Rothari
Rothari , of the house of Arodus, was king of the Lombards from 636 to 652; previously he had been duke of Brescia. He succeeded Arioald, who was an Arian like himself, and was one of the most energetic of Lombard kings...

, regarded by many authorities as the most energetic of all Lombard kings. He extended his dominions, conquering Liguria
Liguria
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy, the third smallest of the Italian regions. Its capital is Genoa. It is a popular region with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and good food.-Geography:...

 in 643 and the remaining part of the Byzantine territories of inner Veneto
Veneto
Veneto is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about 5 million, ranking 5th in Italy.Veneto had been for more than a millennium an independent state, the Republic of Venice, until it was eventually annexed by Italy in 1866 after brief Austrian and French rule...

, including the Roman city of Opitergium (Oderzo
Oderzo
Oderzo is a town and comune in the province of Treviso, Veneto, northern Italy.It lies in the heart of the Venetian plain, about 66 km to the northeast of Venice...

). Rothari also made the famous edict bearing his name, the Edictum Rothari
Edictum Rothari
The Edictum Rothari was the first written compilation of Lombard law, codified and promulgated 22 November 643 by King Rothari. The custom of the Lombards, according to Paul the Deacon, the Lombard historian, had been held in memory before this...

, which established the laws and the customs of his people in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

: the edict did not apply to the tributaries of the Lombards, who could retain their own laws. Rothari's son Rodoald
Rodoald
Rodoald was a Lombard king of Italy, who succeeded his father Rothari on the throne in 652. He was said to be lecherous and he was assassinated after a reign of just six months in 653 by the husband of one of his lovers. Aripert, a rival claimant was elected with the support of the Catholic...

 succeeded him in 652, still very young, and was killed by the Catholic party.

At the death of King Haripert I in 661, the kingdom was split between his children Perctarit
Perctarit
Perctarit was king of the Lombards from 661 to 662 the first time and later from 671 to 688. He was the son and successor of Aripert I. He shared power with his brother Godepert. He was a Catholic, Godepert an Arian. He ruled from Milan, Godepert from Pavia...

, who set his capital in Milan, and Godepert
Godepert
Godepert was king of the Lombards , eldest son and successor of Aripert I. He was an Arian who governed from the ancient capital, Pavia, while his brother, Perctarit, a Roman Catholic, governed from Milan...

, who reigned from Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

. Perctarit was overthrown by Grimoald
Grimoald I of Benevento
Grimoald I was duke of Benevento and king of the Lombards .Born probably before 610 to Duke Gisulf II of Friuli and the Bavarian princess Ramhilde, daughter of Duke Garibald I of Bavaria, he succeeded his brother Radoald as duke of Benevento...

, son of Gisulf, duke of Friuli
Friuli
Friuli is an area of northeastern Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the province of Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia, excluding Trieste...

 and Benevento since 647. Perctarit fled to the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 and then to the Franks. Grimoald managed to regain control over the duchies and deflected the late attempt of the Byzantine emperor Constans II to conquer southern Italy. He also defeated the Franks. At Grimoald's death in 671 Perctarit
Perctarit
Perctarit was king of the Lombards from 661 to 662 the first time and later from 671 to 688. He was the son and successor of Aripert I. He shared power with his brother Godepert. He was a Catholic, Godepert an Arian. He ruled from Milan, Godepert from Pavia...

 returned and promoted tolerance between Arians and Catholics, but he could not defeat the Arian party, led by Arachi, duke of Trento
Trento
Trento is an Italian city located in the Adige River valley in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. It is the capital of Trentino...

, who submitted only to his son, the philo-Catholic Cunincpert.

Catholic monarchy



Religious strife remained a source of struggle in the following years. The Lombard reign began to recover only with Liutprand the Lombard (king from 712), son of Ansprand
Ansprand
Ansprand was king of the Lombards briefly in 712. Before that he was the duke of Asti and regent during the minority of Liutpert . He was defeated at Novara by Raginpert and exiled during the subsequent war over the succession, fleeing to the court of Theudebert, duke of Bavaria, in 702.In 711,...

 and successor of the brutal Aripert II
Aripert II
Aripert II was the king of the Lombards from 701 to 712. Duke of Turin and son of King Raginpert, and thus a scion of the Bavarian Dynasty, he was associated with the throne as early as 700. He was removed by Liutpert, who reigned from 700 to 702, with the exception of the year 701, when...

. He managed to regain a certain control over Spoleto
Spoleto
Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is S. of Trevi, N. of Terni, SE of Perugia; SE of Florence; and N of Rome.-History:...

 and Benevento, and, taking advantage of the disagreements between the Pope and Byzantium concerning the reverence of icons
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

, he annexed the Exarchate of Ravenna and the duchy of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. He also helped the Frankish marshal Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 to drive back the Arabs. His successor Aistulf
Aistulf
Aistulf was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of Lombards from 749, and Duke of Spoleto from 751. His father was the Duke Pemmo.After his brother Ratchis became king, Aistulf succeeded him in Friuli. He succeeded him later as king when Ratchis abdicated to a monastery...

 conquered Ravenna for the Lombards for the first time, but was subsequently defeated by the king of the Franks Pippin III, called by the Pope, and had to leave it. After the death of Aistulf, Ratchis
Ratchis
Ratchis was the Duke of Friuli and King of the Lombards . His father was Duke Pemmo. His Roman wife was Tassia. He ruled in peace until he besieged, for reasons unknown, Perugia. Pope Zachary convinced him to lift the siege and he abdicated and entered, with his family, the abbey of Montecassino...

 tried once again to be king of the Lombardy but he was deposed in the same year.

After his defeat of Ratchis, the last Lombard to rule as king was Desiderius
Desiderius
Desiderius was the last king of the Lombard Kingdom of northern Italy...

, duke of Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, who managed to take Ravenna definitively, ending the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 presence in northern Italy. He decided to reopen struggles against the Pope, who was supporting the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento against him, and entered Rome in 772, the first Lombard king to do so. But when Pope Hadrian I called for help from the powerful king Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, Desiderius was defeated at Susa
Susa, Italy
Susa is a city and comune in Piedmont, Italy. It is situated on at the confluence of the Cenischia with the Dora Riparia, a tributary of the Po River, at the foot of the Cottian Alps, 51 km west of Turin.-History:...

 and besieged in Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

, while his son Adelchis
Adalgis
Adalgis was the son of Desiderius and the prince of the Langobards or Lombardia in Italy. After his father was defeated by Charlemagne in Pavia in 774, Adalgis took refuge in Byzantium...

 had also to open the gates of Verona to Frankish troops. Desiderius surrendered in 774 and Charlemagne, in an utterly novel decision, took the title "King of the Lombards" as well. Before then the Germanic kingdoms had frequently conquered each other, but none had adopted the title of King of another people. Charlemagne took part of the Lombard territory to create the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

.

The Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 region in Italy, which includes the cities of Brescia, Bergamo, Milan and the old capital Pavia, is a reminder of the presence of the Lombards.

Later history



United Principality of Benevento, 774–849


Though the kingdom centred on Pavia in the north fell to Charlemagne, the Lombard-controlled territory to the south of the Papal States was never subjugated by Charlemagne or his descendants. In 774, Duke Arechis II of Benevento
Arechis II of Benevento
Arechis II was Duke of Benevento, in southern Italy, from 758 until his death....

, whose duchy had only nominally been under royal authority, though certain kings had been effective at making their power known in the south, claimed that Benevento was the successor state of the kingdom. He tried to turn Benevento into a secundum Ticinum: a second Pavia. He tried to claim the kingship, but with no support and no chance of a coronation in Pavia.

Charlemagne came down with an army, and his son Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 sent men, to force the Beneventan duke to submit, but his submission and promises were never kept and Arechis and his successors were de facto independent. The Beneventan dukes took the title princeps (prince) instead of that of king.

The Lombards of southern Italy were thereafter in the anomalous position of holding land claimed by two empires: the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

 to the north and west and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 to the east. They typically made pledges and promises of tribute to the Carolingians, but effectively remained outside Frankish control. Benevento meanwhile grew to its greatest extent yet when it imposed a tribute on the Duchy of Naples
Duchy of Naples
The Duchy of Naples began as a Byzantine province that was constituted in the seventh century, in the reduced coastal lands that the Lombards had not conquered during their invasion of Italy in the sixth century...

, which was tenuously loyal to Byzantium and even conquered the Neapolitan city of Amalfi
Amalfi
Amalfi is a town and comune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno, c. 35 km southeast of Naples. It lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto , surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery...

 in 838. At one point in the reign of Sicard
Sicard of Benevento
Sicard was the Prince of Benevento from 832. He was the last prince of a united Benevento which covered most of the Mezzogiorno. On his death, the principality descended into civil war which split it permanently...

, Lombard control covered most of southern Italy save the very south of Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

 and Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

 and Naples, with its nominally attached cities. It was during the 9th century that a strong Lombard presence became entrenched in formerly Greek Apulia. However, Sicard had opened up the south to the invasive actions of the Saracens in his war with Andrew II of Naples
Andrew II of Naples
Andrew II was the duke of Naples from 834 to 840. During his reign, he was constantly at war with the Lombards and he allowed Gaeta, his vassal, to move towards independence under its own consuls....

 and when he was assassinated in 839, Amalfi declared independence and two factions fought for power in Benevento, crippling the principality and making it susceptible to external enemies.

The civil war lasted ten years and was ended only by a peace treaty imposed by the Emperor Louis II, the only Frankish king to exercise actual sovereignty over the Lombard states, in 849, which divided the kingdom into two states: the Principality of Benevento and the Principality of Salerno
Principality of Salerno
The Lombard Principality of Salerno was a South Italian state, centered on the port city of Salerno, formed in 851 out of the Principality of Benevento after a decade-long civil war....

, with its capital at Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

 on the Tyrrhenian
Tyrrhenian
Tyrrhenian may refer to the:* Tyrrhenian Stage, a faunal stage from 0.26 to 0.01143 million years ago* Tyrrhenians, an ancient ethnonym associated variously with Pelasgians, Etruscans or Lemnians* Tyrrhenian Sea* Tyrrhenian languages...

.

Southern Italy and the Arabs, 836–915


Andrew II of Naples hired Saracen mercenaries for his war with Sicard of Benevento in 836. Sicard responded with like. The Saracens initially concentrated their attacks on Sicily and Byzantine Italy, but soon Radelchis I of Benevento
Radelchis I of Benevento
Radelchis I was the treasurer, then prince of Benevento from 839, when he assumed the throne upon the assassination of Sicard and imprisonment of Sicard's brother, Siconulf, to his death, though in his time the principality was divided.According to the Chronica S...

 called in more mercenaries and they sacked Capua
Capua
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere is now...

 in 841. The ruins of that city are all that is left of "Old Capua" (Santa Maria Capua Vetere
Santa Maria Capua Vetere
-External links:*...

). Consequently, Landulf the Old
Landulf I of Capua
Landulf I , called the Old, was the first gastald of Capua of his illustrious family, which would rule Capua until 1058. According to the Cronaca della dinastia di Capua, he ruled in Old Capua for twenty five years and four months and in New Capua for another year and eight months...

 founded the present-day Capua, "New Capua", on a nearby hill. The Lombard princes in general, however, were less inclined to ally with the Saracens than their Greek neighbours of Amalfi, Gaeta, Naples, and Sorrento. Guaifer of Salerno
Guaifer of Salerno
Guaifer was the Prince of Salerno from 861. The son of Daufer the Mute and grandson of Daufer the Prophet, he was the first of the Dauferidi to sit on the Salernitan throne which his family dominated unobstructed until 977.Guaifer's sister, Adelchisa, married Sicard of Benevento and when Sicard...

, however, briefly put himself under Muslim suzerainty.

A large Muslim force seized Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

, until then a Lombard gastaldate under the control of Pandenulf, in 847. Saracen incursions then proceeded northwards until finally the prince of Benevento, Adelchis
Adelchis of Benevento
Adelchis was the son of Radelchis I, Prince of Benevento, and successor of his brother Radelgar in 854.It was given to Adelchis to preserve the ancient principality and its independence in the face of repeated assaults by the Saracens from the south, the Emperor Louis II from the north, and...

 called in the help of his suzerain, Louis II. Louis allied with the Byzantine emperor Basil I
Basil I
Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine emperor of probable Armenian descent who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia, he rose in the imperial court, and usurped the imperial throne from Emperor Michael III...

 to expel the Arabs from Bari in 869. An Arab landing force was defeated by the emperor, after a brief imprisonment by Adelchis, in 871. Adelchis and Louis were at war for the rest of the latter's career. Adelchis regarded himself as the true successor of the Lombard kings and in that capacity he amended the Edictum Rothari
Edictum Rothari
The Edictum Rothari was the first written compilation of Lombard law, codified and promulgated 22 November 643 by King Rothari. The custom of the Lombards, according to Paul the Deacon, the Lombard historian, had been held in memory before this...

, the last Lombard ruler to do so.

After Louis's death, Landulf II of Capua
Landulf II of Capua
Landulf II was Bishop and Count of Capua. He was the youngest of four sons of Landulf I, gastald of Capua. As a young man, he entered the church. When his father died, his eldest brother, Lando, succeeded him....

 briefly flirted with a Saracen alliance, but Pope John VIII
Pope John VIII
Pope John VIII was pope from December 13, 872 to December 16, 882. He is often considered one of the ablest pontiffs of the ninth century and the last bright spot on the papacy until Leo IX two centuries later....

 convinced him to break it off. Guaimar I of Salerno
Guaimar I of Salerno
Guaimar I was the prince of Salerno from 880, when his father entered the monastery of Monte Cassino in August. His parents were Prince Guaifer and Landelaica, daughter of Lando I of Capua...

 fought against the Saracens with Byzantine troops. Throughout this period the Lombard princes swung in allegiance from one party to another. Finally, towards 915, Pope John X
Pope John X
Pope John X, Pope from March 914 to May 928, was deacon at Bologna when he attracted the attention of Theodora, the wife of Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, the most powerful noble in Rome, through whose influence he was elevated first to the see of Bologna and then to the archbishopric of...

 managed to unite all the Christian princes of southern Italy against the Saracen establishments on the Garigliano river. That year, in the great Battle of the Garigliano, the Saracens were ousted from Italy.


The Lombard principalities in the tenth century


The independent state at Salerno inspired the gastalds of Capua to move towards independence and, by the end of the century, they were styling themselves "princes" and there was a third Lombard state. The Capuan and Beneventan states were united by Atenulf I of Capua
Atenulf I of Capua
Atenulf I , called the Great , was the prince of Capua from 7 January 887 and of Benevento from 899, when he conquered that principality...

 in 900. He subsequently declared them to be in perpetual union and they were separated only in 982, on the death of Pandulf Ironhead
Pandulf Ironhead
Pandulf I Ironhead was the Prince of Benevento and Capua from 943 until his death. He was made Duke of Spoleto and Camerino in 967 and succeeded as Prince of Salerno in 977 or 978...

. With all of the Lombard south under his control save Salerno, Atenulf felt safe in using the title princeps gentis Langobardorum ("prince of the Lombard people"), which Arechis II had begun using in 774. Among Atenulf's successors the principality was ruled jointly by fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, and uncles for the greater part of the century. Meanwhile, the prince Gisulf I of Salerno
Gisulf I of Salerno
Gisulf I was the eldest son of his father, Guaimar II, and his second wife Gaitelgrima. He was associated with his father as prince of Salerno in 943 and he succeeded him on his death in 952...

 began using the title Langobardorum gentis princeps around mid-century, but the ideal of a united Lombard principality was realised only in December 977, when Gisulf died and his domains were inherited by Pandulf Ironhead, who temporarily held almost all Italy south of Rome and brought the Lombards into alliance with the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. His territories were divided upon his death.

Landulf the Red
Landulf II of Benevento
Landulf II , called the Red, was the Lombard prince of Benevento and prince of Capua from 939 or 940, when his father, Landulf I, first associated him with the government, his mother was Gemma, daughter of Athanasius of Naples. He may have been associated as early as 933, when his elder brother,...

 of Benevento and Capua tried to conquer the principality of Salerno with the help of John III of Naples
John III of Naples
John III was the longest-reigning Duke of Naples . He was the son and successor of Marinus I.At the beginning of his reign, he warred against the Saracens and then made a treaty with them after they appeared beneath his walls in 929...

, but with the aid of Mastalus I of Amalfi
Mastalus I of Amalfi
Mastalus I was the penultimate patricius of Amalfi. He was succeeded by his son, Mastalus II, who was raised to the status of dux. His own father was the last prefect, Manso I....

 Gisulf repulsed him. The rulers of Benevento and Capua made several attempts on Byzantine Apulia
Catapanate of Italy
The Catepanate of Italy was a province of the Byzantine Empire, comprising mainland Italy south of a line drawn from Monte Gargano to the Gulf of Salerno. Amalfi and Naples, although north of that line, maintained allegiance to Constantinople through the catepan...

 at this time, but in late century the Byzantines, under the stiff rule of Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

, gained ground on the Lombards.

The principal source for the history of the Lombard principalities in this period is the Chronicon Salernitanum
Chronicon Salernitanum
The Chronicon Salernitanum, or "Salerno Chronicle", is an anonymous 10th century chronicle of the history of the Principality of Salerno. It was probably written around 990 and has been attributed to Radoald of Salerno, Abbot of San Benedetto, by Huguette Taviani-Carozzi...

, composed late in the century at Salerno.

Norman conquest, 1017–1078



The diminished Beneventan principality soon lost its independence to the papacy and declined in importance until it was conquered by the Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 conquest of southern Italy
Norman conquest of southern Italy
The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned the late eleventh and much of the twelfth centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering territories of their own...

, who, first called in by the Lombards to fight the Byzantines for control of Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

 and Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

 (under the likes of Melus of Bari
Melus of Bari
Melus was a Lombard nobleman from the Apulian town of Bari, whose ambition to carve for himself an autonomous territory from the Byzantine catapanate of Italy in the early 11th century inadvertently sparked the Norman presence in southern Italy.Melus and his brother-in-law Dattus rebelled in 1009...

 and Arduin
Arduin the Lombard
Arduin was a Greek-speaking Lombard nobleman who fought originally for the Byzantines on Sicily and later against them as the leader of a band of Norman mercenaries....

, among others), had become rivals for hegemony in the south. The Salernitan principality experienced a golden age under Guaimar III
Guaimar III of Salerno
Guaimar III was duke of Salerno from around 994 to his death. His date of death is sometimes given as 1030 or 1031, but the most reliable sources consistently indicate 1027. Under his reign, Salerno entered an era of great splendour...

 and Guaimar IV
Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV was Prince of Salerno , Duke of Amalfi , Duke of Gaeta , and Prince of Capua in Southern Italy over the period from 1027 to 1052. He was an important figure in the final phase of Byzantine authority in the Mezzogiorno and the commencement of Norman power...

, but under Gisulf II
Gisulf II of Salerno
Gisulf II was the last Lombard prince of Salerno ....

, the principality shrank to insignificance and fell in 1078 to Robert Guiscard
Robert Guiscard
Robert d'Hauteville, known as Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, from Latin Viscardus and Old French Viscart, often rendered the Resourceful, the Cunning, the Wily, the Fox, or the Weasel was a Norman adventurer conspicuous in the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily...

, who had married Gisulf's sister Sichelgaita. The Capua principality was hotly contested during the reign of the hated Pandulf IV
Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV was the Prince of Capua on three separate occasions.From February 1016 to 1022 he ruled in association with his cousin Pandulf II. In 1018, the Byzantine catapan Boiannes destroyed the Lombard army of Melus of Bari and his Norman allies at Cannae...

, the Wolf of the Abruzzi, and, under his son, it fell, almost without contest, to the Norman Richard Drengot (1058). The Capuans revolted against Norman rule in 1091, expelling Richard's grandson Richard II
Richard II of Capua
Richard II , called the Bald, was the count of Aversa and the prince of Capua from 1090 or 1091.The eldest son and successor of Jordan I of Capua and Gaitelgrima, daughter of Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno, he was named after his grandfather, Richard I of Capua...

 and setting up one Lando IV
Lando IV of Capua
Lando IV was the last independent Lombard ruler in Italy. He was the prince of Capua after leading a local rebellion of the citizens of the city against the Norman prince Richard II, then a minor, in 1091...

.

Capua was again put under Norman rule by the Siege of Capua
Siege of Capua
The Siege of Capua was a military operation involving the states of medieval southern Italy, beginning in May 1098 and lasting forty days. It was an interesting siege historically for the assemblage of great persons it saw and militarily for the cooperation of Norman and Saracen forces which it...

 of 1098 and the city quickly declined in importance under a series of ineffectual Norman rulers. The independent status of these Lombard states is in general attested by the ability of their rulers to switch suzerains at will. Often the legal vassal of pope or emperor (either Byzantine or Holy Roman
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

), they were the real power-brokers in the south until their erstwhile allies, the Normans, rose to preeminence: The Lombards regarded the Normans as barbarians and the Byzantines as oppressors. Regarding their own civilisation as superior, the Lombards did indeed provide the environment for the illustrious Schola Medica Salernitana
Schola Medica Salernitana
The Schola Medica Salernitana was the first medieval medical school in the cosmopolitan coastal south Italian city of Salerno, which provided the most important source of medical knowledge in Western Europe at the time...

.

Language



The Lombardic language
Lombardic language
Lombardic or Langobardic is the extinct language of the Lombards , the Germanic speaking people who settled in Italy in the 6th century. The language declined rapidly already in the 7th century as the invaders quickly adopted the Latin vernacular spoken by the local Roman population. E.g...

 is extinct. The Germanic language
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 declined beginning in the 7th century, but may have been in scattered use until as late as about the year 1000. The language is preserved only fragmentarily, the main evidence being individual words quoted in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 texts. In the absence of Lombardic texts, it is not possible to draw any conclusions about the language's morphology and syntax. The genetic classification the language is based entirely on phonology. Since there is evidence that Lombardic participated in, and indeed shows some of the earliest evidence for, the High German consonant shift
High German consonant shift
In historical linguistics, the High German consonant shift or second Germanic consonant shift is a phonological development that took place in the southern parts of the West Germanic dialect continuum in several phases, probably beginning between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD, and was almost...

, it is classified as an Elbe Germanic or Upper German
Upper German
Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.-Family tree:Upper German can be generally classified as Alemannic or Austro-Bavarian...

 dialect.

Longbardic fragments are preserved in runic inscriptions. Among the primary source texts are short inscriptions in the Elder Futhark
Elder Futhark
The Elder Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabet, used by Germanic tribes for Northwest Germanic and Migration period Germanic dialects of the 2nd to 8th centuries for inscriptions on artifacts such as jewellery, amulets, tools, weapons and runestones...

, among them the "bronze capsule of Schretzheim" (c. 600). There are a number of Latin texts that include Lombardic names, and Lombardic legal texts contain terms taken from the legal vocabulary of the vernacular. In 2005, there were claims that the inscription of the Pernik sword
Pernik sword
The Pernik sword is an early medieval double-edged iron sword unearthed in the ruins of the medieval fortress of Krakra near Pernik, western Bulgaria, on 1 January 1921. It bears an inscription in silver inlay on the blade. The sword is preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Bulgaria in...

 may be Lombardic.

Migration Period society


The Lombard kings can be traced back as early as c.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 380 and thus to the beginning of the Great Migration. Kingship developed amongst the Germanic peoples when the unity of a single military command was found necessary. Schmidt believed that the Germanic tribes were divided according to cantons and that the earliest government was a general assembly that selected the chiefs of the cantons and the war leaders from the cantons (in times of war). All such figures were probably selected from a caste of nobility. As a result of wars of their wanderings, royal power developed such that the king became the representative of the people; but the influence of the people upon the government did not fully disappear. Paul the Deacon gives an account of the Lombard tribal structure during the migration:

. . . in order that they might increase the number of their warriors, [the Lombards] confer liberty upon many whom they deliver from the yoke of bondage, and that the freedom of these may be regarded as established, they confirm it in their accustomed way by an arrow, uttering certain words of their country in confirmation of the fact.

Complete emancipation appears to have been granted only among the Franks and the Lombards.

Society of the Catholic kingdom



Lombard society was divided into classes comparable to those found in the other Germanic successor states of Rome: Frankish Gaul
Frankish Empire
Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...

 and Visigothic Spain
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

. There was a noble class, a class of free persons beneath them, a class of unfree non-slaves (serfs), and finally slaves. The aristocracy itself was poorer, more urbanised, and less landed than elsewhere. Aside from the richest and most powerful of the dukes and the king himself, Lombard noblemen tended to live in cities (unlike their Frankish counterparts) and hold little more than twice as much in land as the merchant class (a far cry from the provincial Frankish aristocrat who held a vast swathe of land hundreds of times larger than the nearest man beneath him). The aristocracy by the 8th century was highly dependent on the king for means of income related especially to judicial duties: many Lombard nobles are referred in contemporary documents as iudices (judges) even when their offices had important military and legislative functions as well.

The freemen of the Lombard kingdom were far more numerous than in Frankland, especially in the 8th century, when they are almost invisible in the surviving documentary evidence for the latter. Smallholders, owner-cultivators, and rentiers are the most numerous types of person in surviving diplomata for the Lombard kingdom. They may have owned more than half of the land in Lombard Italy. The freemen were exercitales and viri devoti, that is, soldiers and "devoted men" (a military term like "retainers"); they formed the levy of the Lombard army and they were, if infrequently, sometimes called to serve, though this seems not to have been their preference. The small landed class, however, lacked the political influence necessary with the king (and the dukes) to control the politics and legislation of the kingdom. The aristocracy was more thoroughly powerful politically if not economically in Italy than in contemporary Gaul and Spain.

The urbanisation of Lombard Italy was characterised by the città ad isole (or "city as islands"). It appears from archaeology that the great cities of Lombard Italy — Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

, Lucca
Lucca
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plainnear the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca...

, Siena
Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

, Arezzo
Arezzo
Arezzo is a city and comune in Central Italy, capital of the province of the same name, located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about 80 km southeast of Florence, at an elevation of 296 m above sea level. In 2011 the population was about 100,000....

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 — were themselves formed of very minute islands of urbanisation within the old Roman city walls. The cities of the Roman Empire had been partially destroyed in the series of wars of the 5th and 6th centuries. Many sectors were left in ruins and ancient monuments became fields of grass used as pastures for animals, thus the Roman Forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

 became the campo vaccinio: the field of cows. The portions of the cities that remained intact were small and modest and contained a cathedral or major church (often sumptuously decorated) and a few public buildings and townhomes of the aristocracy. Few buildings of importance were stone, most were wood. In the end, the inhabited parts of the cities were separated from one another by stretches of pasture even within the city walls.

Lombard states

  • Lombard state on the Carpathians (6th century)
  • Lombard state in Pannonia (6th century)
  • Kingdom of Italy and List of Kings of the Lombards
  • Principality of Benevento and List of Dukes and Princes of Benevento
  • Principality of Salerno
    Principality of Salerno
    The Lombard Principality of Salerno was a South Italian state, centered on the port city of Salerno, formed in 851 out of the Principality of Benevento after a decade-long civil war....

     and List of Princes of Salerno
  • Principality of Capua
    Principality of Capua
    The Principality of Capua was a Lombard state in Southern Italy, usually de facto independent, but under the varying suzerainty of Western and Eastern Roman Empires. It was originally a gastaldate, then a county, within the principality of Salerno....

     and List of Princes of Capua

Paganism


The earliest indications of Lombard religion show that they originally worshipped the Germanic gods
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

 of the Vanir
Vanir
In Norse mythology, the Vanir are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom and the ability to see the future. The Vanir are one of two groups of gods and are the namesake of the location Vanaheimr . After the Æsir–Vanir War, the Vanir became a subgroup of the Æsir...

 pantheon while in Scandinavia. After settling along the Baltic coast, through contact with other Germans they adopted the cult of the Aesir gods, a shift that represented a cultural change from an agricultural society into a warrior society.

After their migration into Pannonia, the Lombards had contact with the Iranian
Ancient Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples first appear in Assyrian records in the 9th century BCE. In Classical Antiquity they were found primarily in Scythia and Persia...

 Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

. From these people they borrowed a long-lived custom once of religious symbolism. A long pole surmounted by the figure of a bird, usually a dove, derived from the standards used in battle, was placed by the family in the ground at the home of a man who had died far afield in war and who could not be brought home for funeral and burial. Usually the bird was oriented so as to point in the direction of the suspected site of the warrior's death.

Christianisation


While still in Pannonia, the Lombards were touched first by Christianity, but only touched: Their conversion and Christianisation was largely nominal and far from complete. During the reign of Wacho
Wacho
Wacho was king of the Lombards before they entered Italy from an unknown date until his death in 539. His father was Unichis. Wacho usurped the throne by assassinating his uncle, King Tato . Tato's son Ildchis fought with him and fled to the Gepids where he died...

, they were Roman Catholics allied with the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, but Alboin
Alboin
Alboin was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572...

 converted to Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 as an ally of the Ostrogoths and invaded Italy. All these Christian conversions affected, for the most part, only the aristocracy, for the common people remained pagan.

In Italy, the Lombards were intensively Christianised and the pressure to convert to Catholicism was great. With the Bavarian queen Theodelinda
Theodelinda
Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards, was the daughter of duke Garibald I of Bavaria.She was married first in 588 to Authari, king of the Lombards, son of king Cleph. Authari died in 590. Theodelinda was allowed to pick Agilulf as her next husband and Authari's successor in 591...

, a Catholic, the monarchy was brought under heavy Catholic influence. After an initial support for the anti-Rome party in the Schism of the Three Chapters
Schism of the Three Chapters
The Schism of the Three Chapters was a schism that affected the Roman Catholic Church in North Italy lasting from 553 to 698 AD, although the area out of communion with Rome contracted throughout that time...

, Theodelinda remained a close contact and supporter of Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

. In 603, Adaloald
Adaloald
Adaloald was the Lombard king of Italy from 616 to 626. Son and heir of King Agilulf and his Catholic queen Theodelinda, he was baptised shortly after his birth in 602. He was an associate king, raised on the shield by the warriors at his father's request, when still young...

, the heir to the throne, received a Catholic baptism. During the next century, Arianism and paganism continued to hold out in Austria
Austria (Lombard)
Austria was, according to the early medieval geographical classification, the eastern portion of Langobardia Major, the north-central part of the Lombard Kingdom, extended from the Adda to Friuli and opposite to Neustria...

 (the northeast of Italy) and the Duchy of Benevento. A succession of Arian kings were militarily aggressive and presented a threat to the Papacy in Rome. In the 7th century, the nominally Christian aristocracy of Benevento was still practising pagan rituals, such as sacrifices in "sacred" woods. By the end of the reign of Cunincpert, however, the Lombards were more or less completely Catholicised. Under Liutprand
Liutprand, King of the Lombards
Liutprand was the King of the Lombards from 712 to 744 and is chiefly remembered for his Donation of Sutri, in 728, and his long reign, which brought him into a series of conflicts, mostly successful, with most of Italy. He profited by Byzantine weakness to enlarge his domains in Emilia and the...

, the Catholicism became real as the king sought to justify his title rex totius Italiae by uniting the south of the peninsula with the north and bringing together his Italo-Roman subjects and his Germanic into one Catholic state.


Beneventan Christianity


The Duchy and eventually Principality of Benevento in southern Italy developed a unique Christian rite
Rite
A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:* rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, baptism, or graduation....

 in the 7th and 8th centuries. The Beneventan rite is more closely related to the liturgy of the Ambrosian rite
Ambrosian Rite
Ambrosian Rite, also called the Milanese Rite, is a Catholic liturgical Western Rite. The rite is named after Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan in the fourth century...

 than the Roman rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

. The Beneventan rite has not survived in its complete form, although most of the principal feasts and several feasts of local significance are extant. The Beneventan rite appears to have been less complete, less systematic, and more liturgically flexible than the Roman rite.

Characteristic of this rite was the Beneventan chant
Beneventan chant
Beneventan chant is a liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman Catholic Church, used primarily in the orbit of the southern Italian ecclesiastical centers of Benevento and Montecassino, distinct from Gregorian chant and related to Ambrosian chant...

, a Lombard-influenced chant that bore similarities to the Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Ambrosian rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to but distinct from Gregorian chant. It is primarily associated with the Archdiocese of Milan, and named after St. Ambrose much as Gregorian chant is named after Gregory the Great...

 of Lombard Milan. Beneventan chant is largely defined by its role in the liturgy of the Beneventan rite; many Beneventan chants were assigned multiple roles when inserted into Gregorian chantbooks, appearing variously as antiphons, offertories, and communions, for example. It was eventually supplanted by the Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

 in the 11th century.

The chief centre of Beneventan chant was Montecassino, one of the first and greatest abbeys of Western monasticism. Gisulf II of Benevento
Gisulf II of Benevento
Gisulf II was the third last duke of Benevento before the fall of the Lombard kingdom. He ruled from 743, when King Liutprand came down and removed Godescalc, to his death up to ten years later....

 had donated a large swathe of land to Montecassino in 744 and that became the basis for an important state, the Terra Sancti Benedicti
Terra Sancti Benedicti
The Terra Sancti Benedicti was the secular territory, or seignory, of the powerful Abbey of Montecassino, the chief monastery of the Mezzogiorno and one of the first Western monasteries: founded by Benedict of Nursia himself, hence the name of its possessions.The secular holdings had their origin...

, which was a subject only to Rome. The Cassinese influence on Christianity in southern Italy was immense. Montecassino was also the starting point for another characteristic of Beneventan monasticism: the use of the distinct Beneventan script
Beneventan script
Beneventan script was a medieval script, so called because it originated in the Duchy of Benevento in southern Italy. It was also called Langobarda, Longobarda, Longobardisca , or sometimes Gothica; it was first called Beneventan by palaeographer E. A...

, a clear, angular scrip derived from the Roman cursive
Roman cursive
Roman cursive is a form of handwriting used in ancient Rome and to some extent into the Middle Ages. It is customarily divided into old cursive, and new cursive.- Old Roman cursive :...

 as used by the Lombards.

Art and architecture


During their nomadic phase, the Lombards created little in the way of art that was not easily carried with them, like arms and jewellery. Though relatively little of this has survived, it bears resemblance to the similar endeavours of other Germanic tribes of northern and central Europe from the same era.

The first major modifications to the Germanic style of the Lombards came in Pannonia and especially in Italy, under the influence of local, Byzantine, and Christian
Early Christian art and architecture
Early Christian art and architecture is the art produced by Christians or under Christian patronage from about the year 100 to about the year 500. Prior to 100 there is no surviving art that can be called Christian with absolute certainty...

 styles. The conversions from nomadism and paganism to settlement and Christianity also opened up new arenas of artistic expression, such as architecture (especially churches) and its accompanying decorative arts (such as frescoes).

Architecture




Few Lombard buildings have survived. Most have been lost, rebuilt, or renovated at some point and so preserve little of their original Lombard structure. Lombard architecture has been well-studied in the 20th century, and Arthur Kingsley Porter
Arthur Kingsley Porter
Arthur Kingsley Porter was an American art historian and medievalist. Porter's most significant contribution has been his revolutionary studies and insights into the spread of Romanesque sculpture...

's four-volume Lombard Architecture (1919) is a "monument of illustrated history."

The small Oratorio di Santa Maria in Valle in Cividale del Friuli
Cividale del Friuli
-External links:*...

 is probably one of the oldest preserved pieces of Lombard architecture, as Cividale was the first Lombard city in Italy. Parts of Lombard constructions have been preserved in Pavia
Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

 (San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro
San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro
San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro is a Roman Catholic basilica of the Augustinians in Pavia, Italy, in the Lombardy region. Its name refers to the mosaics of gold leaf behind glass tesserae that formerly decorated the ceiling of the apse. The plain exterior is of brick, with sandstone quoins and window...

, crypts of Sant'Eusebio
Sant'Eusebio
Sant'Eusebio is a basilica church in Rome, devoted to Saint Eusebius of Rome, a 4th century martyr, and built in the Monti rione.The church is first mentioned in 474, by an inscription in the catacombs of Saints Marcellino e Pietro ad duas Lauros, and recorded as the Titulus Eusebii in the acts of...

 and San Giovanni Domnarum) and Monza
Monza
Monza is a city and comune on the river Lambro, a tributary of the Po, in the Lombardy region of Italy some 15 km north-northeast of Milan. It is the capital of the Province of Monza and Brianza. It is best known for its Grand Prix motor racing circuit, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.On June...

 (cathedral). The Basilic autariana in Fara Gera d'Adda
Fara Gera d'Adda
Fara Gera d'Adda is a comune in the Province of Bergamo in the Italian region of Lombardy, located about 30 km northeast of Milan and about 20 km southwest of Bergamo...

 near Bergamo
Bergamo
Bergamo is a town and comune in Lombardy, Italy, about 40 km northeast of Milan. The comune is home to over 120,000 inhabitants. It is served by the Orio al Serio Airport, which also serves the Province of Bergamo, and to a lesser extent the metropolitan area of Milan...

 and the church of San Salvatore in Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 also have Lombard elements. All these building are in northern Italy (Langobardia major), but by far the best-preserved Lombard structure is in southern Italy (Langobardia minor). The Church of Santa Sofia
Santa Sofia, Benevento
Santa Sofia is a church in Benevento, southern Italy, one of the main surviving examples of Lombard architecture.In 2011, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy...

 in Benevento
Benevento
Benevento is a town and comune of Campania, Italy, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 m above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato...

 was erected in 760 by Duke Arechis II
Arechis II of Benevento
Arechis II was Duke of Benevento, in southern Italy, from 758 until his death....

. It preserves Lombard frescoes on the walls and even Lombard capitals on the columns.

Through the impulse given by the Catholic monarchs like Theodelinda
Theodelinda
Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards, was the daughter of duke Garibald I of Bavaria.She was married first in 588 to Authari, king of the Lombards, son of king Cleph. Authari died in 590. Theodelinda was allowed to pick Agilulf as her next husband and Authari's successor in 591...

, Liutprand, and Desiderius
Desiderius
Desiderius was the last king of the Lombard Kingdom of northern Italy...

 to the foundation of monasteries to further their political control, Lombard architecture flourished. Bobbio Abbey
Bobbio Abbey
Bobbio Abbey is a monastery founded by Irish Saint Columbanus in 614, around which later grew up the town of Bobbio, in the province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It is dedicated to Saint Columbanus...

 was founded during this time.

Some of the late Lombard structures of the 9th and 10th century have been found to contain elements of style associated with Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 and have been so dubbed "first Romanesque
First Romanesque
First Romanesque is the name due to Josep Puig i Cadafalch to refer to the Romanesque art developed in Catalonia since the late 10th century....

". These edifices are considered, along with some similar buildings in southern France
Southern France
Southern France , colloquially known as le Midi is defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Gironde, Spain, the Mediterranean, and Italy...

 and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, to mark a transitory phase between the Pre-Romanesque and full-fledged Romanesque.

See also


  • East Germanic tribes
    East Germanic tribes
    The Germanic tribes referred to as East Germanic constitute a wave of migrants who may have moved from Scandinavia into the area between the Oder and Vistula rivers between the years 600 and 300 BC. Later they went to the south...

  • Barbarian invasions
  • List of Germanic tribes