The Lombards (
Latin"Langobardi", whence the alternative names Langobards and Longobards) were a Germanic people originally from Northern Europewho settled in the valley of the Danubeand from there invaded ByzantineItaly in 568 under the leadership of Alboin. They established a Kingdom of Italy which lasted until 774, when it was conquered by the Franks. Their influence on Italian political geography is plainly visible in the regional appellation Lombardy.
Legendary origins and name
The fullest account of Lombard origins, history, and practices is the "
Historia gentis Langobardorum" ("History of the Lombards") of Paul the Deacon, written in the 8th century. Paul's chief source for Lombard origins, however, is the 7th-century " Origo Gentis Langobardorum" ("Origin of the People of the Lombards").
The "Origo" tells the story of a small tribe called the "Winnili" [Priester, 16. From the
Old Germanic"Winnan", meaning "fighting", "winning".] dwelling in southern ScandinaviaHarrison, D. & Svensson, K. (2007). "Vikingaliv" Fälth & Hässler, Värnamo. 978-91-27-35725-9 p. 74] ("Scadanan") (The " Codex Gothanus" writes that the Winnili first dwelt near a river called "Vindilicus" on the extreme boundary of Gaul.) [CG, II.] 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. [Menghin, 13.] The departing people were led by the brothers Ybor and Aio and their mother Gambara [Priester, 16. Grimm, "Deutsche Mythologie", I, 336. Old Germanic for " Strenuus", " Sybil".] and arrived in the lands of "Scoringa", perhaps the Baltic coast [Priester, 16] or the Bardengauon the banks of the Elbe. [Hammerstein, 56.] Scoringa was ruled by the Wandals, 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." [PD, VII.] The Wandals prepared for war and consulted their god Godan (
Odin), who answered that he would give the victory to those whom he would see first at sunrise. [PD, VIII.] The Winnili were fewer in number [PD, VII.] and Gambara sought help from Frea ( Frigg), 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." [OGL, appendix 11.] 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 monk and devoted Christian. Therefore, he thought the pagan stories of his people "silly" and "laughable". [PD, VIII.] [Priester, 17] Paul explained that the name "Langobard" came from the length of their beards, that the Latin word "longus" meant "Lang" and "barba" meant "Bart". [PD, I, 9.] A modern theory suggests that the name "Langobard" comes from "Langbarðr", a name of Odin. [Pohl and Erhart. Nedoma, 449–445.] Priester states that when the Winnili changed their name to "Lombards", they also changed their old agricultural
fertility cultto a cult of Odin, thus creating a conscious tribal tradition. [Priester, 17.] 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. [Fröhlich, 19.] Bruckner remarks that the name of the Lombards stands in close relation to the worship of Odin, who wore the epithet "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. [Bruckner, 30–33.]
Archaeology and migrations
From the combined testimony of
Strabo(AD 20) and Tacitus(AD 117), the Lombards dwelt near the mouth of the Elbeshortly after the beginning of the Christian era, next to the Chauci. [Menghin, 15.] Strabo states that the Lombards dwelt on both sides of the Elbe. [Strabo, VII, 1, 3. Menghin, 15.] The German archaeologist Willi Wegewitz defined several Iron Ageburial sites at the lower Elbe as "Langobardic". [Wegewitz, "Das langobardische Brandgräberfeld von Putensen, Kreis Harburg" (1972), 1–29. "Problemi della civilita e dell'economia Longobarda", Milan (1964), 19ff.] 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. [Menghin, 17.] The lands of the lower Elbe fall into the zone of the Jastorf Cultureand became Elbe-Germanic, differing from the lands between Rhine, Weser, and the North Sea. [Menghin, 18.] Archaeological finds show that the Lombards were an agricultural people. [Priester, 18.]
The first mention of the Lombards occurred between AD 9 and 16, by the Roman court historian
Velleius Paterculus, who accompanied a Roman expedition as prefect of the cavalry. [Menghin, 15.] Paterculus described the Lombards as "more fierce than ordinary German savagery." [Velleius, Hist. Rom. II, 106. Schmidt, 5.] Tacituscounted the Lombards as a Suebian tribe, [Tacitus, Ann. II, 45.] and subjects of Marobod the King of the Marcomanni. [Tacitus, Germania, 38-40; Tacitus, Annals, II, 45.] Marobod had made peace with the Romans, and that is why the Lombards were not part of the Germanic confederacy under Arminiusat the Battle of Teutoburg Forestin AD 9. In AD 17, war broke out between Arminius and Marobod. Tacitus records:
"Not only the Cheruscans and their confederates... took arms, but the Semnones and Langobards, both Suevian nations, revolted to him from the sovereignty of Marobod... The armies... were stimulated by reasons of their own, the Cheruscans and the Langobards fought for their ancient honor or their newly acquired independence. . . " [Tacitus, Ann. II, 45.]
In 47, a struggle ensued amongst the
Cherusciand 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 which, thirty-eight years before, had been the leader in the struggle for independence, for they restored the deposed leader to the sovereignty again. [Tacitus, Annals, XI, 16, 17.] In the mid 2nd century, the Lombards also appear in the Rhineland. According to Ptolemy, the Suebic Lombards settled south of the Sugambri, [Ptolemy, Geogr. II, 11, 9. Menghin, 15.] but also remained at the Elbe, between the Chauci and the Suebi, [Ibid, II, 11, 17. Ibid.] which indicates a Lombard expansion. The "Codex Gothanus" also mentions "Patespruna" ( Paderborn) in connections with the Lombards. [Codex Gothanus, II.] By Cassius Dio, we are informed that just before the Marcomannic Wars, 6,000 Lombards and Ubiicrossed the Danubeand invaded Pannonia. [Cassius Dio, 71, 3, 1. Menghin 16.] The two tribes were defeated, whereupon they desisted from their invasion and sent as ambassador to Aelius Basaus, 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. [Priester, 21. Zeuss, 471. Wiese, 38. Schmidt, 35–36.] At about this time, Tacitus, in his work "Germania" (AD 98), describes the Lombards as such:
"To the Langobardi, on the contrary, their scanty numbers are a distinction. Though surrounded by a host of most powerful tribes, they are safe, not by submitting, but by daring the perils of war."
From the 2nd century onwards, many of the Germanic tribes of the era of the Tiberian emperors started to unite into bigger tribal unions, resulting in the
Franks, Alamanni, Bavarii, and Saxons. [Priester, 14. Menghin, 16.] 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 only detectable when they appeared on the Danubian banks again, or that the Lombards were also subjected into a bigger tribal union, most probably the Saxons. [Ibid. Menghin, 16.] 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. [Hartmann, II, pt I, 5.] 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. [Menghin, 17. Codex Gothanus, II.] In the second half of the 4th century, the Lombards left their homes, probably due to bad harvests, and embarked on their migration. [Zeuss, 471. Wiese, 38. Schmidt, 35–36. Priester, 21–22. "HGL", X.] 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"). [Hammerstein, Bardengau, 56. Bluhme. "HGL", XIII.] According to the Cosmographer of Ravenna, Mauringa was the land east of the Elbe. [Cosmographer of Ravenna, I, 11.]
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. [Hodgkin, Ch. V, 92. "HGL", XII.] The first Lombard king, Agelmund, from the race of
Guginger, ruled for thirty years. [Menghin, 19.]
The Lombards departed from Mauringa and reached Golanda. Scholar Ludwig Schmidt thinks this was further east, perhaps on the right bank of the
Oder. [Schmidt, 49.] Schmidt considers that the name is the equivalent of Gotlandand means simply "good land." [Hodgkin, V, 143.] This theory is highly plausible, Paul the Deaconmentions an episode of the Lombards crossing a river, and the Lombards could have reached "Rugiland" from the Upper Oder area via the Moravian Gate. [Menghin, "Das Reich an der Donau", 21.]
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[KPriester, 22.] [Bluhme, Gens Langobardorum Bonn, 1868] . In Vurgundaib, the Lombards were stormed in camp by " Bulgars" (probably Huns) [Menghin, 14.] 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. [Hist. gentis Lang., Ch. XVII] 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. [Hist. gentis Lang., Ch. XVII.] The victory gave the Lombards great booty and confidence, as they ". . . became bolder in undertaking the toils of war." [PD, XVII.]
In the 540s,
Audoin(ruled 546–565), led the Lombards across the Danube once more into Pannonia, where they received Imperial subsidies, as Justinianencouraged them to battle Gepids.
Kingdom in Italy
Invasion and conquest of the Italian peninsula
560a new, energetic king emerged: Alboin, who defeated the neighbouring Gepidae, made them his subjects, and, in 566, married the daughter of their king Cunimund, Rosamund. In the spring of 568, Alboin led the Lombards, together with other Germanic tribes; (Bavarians, Gepidae, Saxons [The latter esteemed to be around 100,000 in total, basing on the number of 26,000 warriors given by Paul the Deacon. The Saxons abandoned Italy after Alboin's death in 573. See Paolo Cammarosano, "Storia dell'Italia medievale, pp. 96-97] ) and Bulgars, across the Julian Alpswith a population of around 400,000 to 500,000, to invade northern Italy. The first important city to fall was "Forum Iulii" ( Cividale del Friuli), in northeastern Italy, in 569. There, Alboin created the first Lombard duchy, which he entrusted to his nephew Gisulf. Soon Vicenza, Veronaand Bresciafell into Germanic hands. In the summer of 569, the Lombards conquered the main Roman centre of northern Italy, Milan. The area was then recovering from the terrible Gothic Wars, and the small Byzantine army left for its defence could do almost nothing. The Exarchsent to Italy by Emperor Justinian II, Longinus, could defend only coastal cities that could be supplied by the powerful Byzantine fleet. Paviafell 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 Tuscanyand establishing two duchies, Spoleto and Benevento under Zotto, which soon became semi-independent and even outlasted the northern kingdom, surviving well into the 12th century. The Byzantines managed to retain control of the area of Ravenna and Rome, linked by a thin corridor running through Perugia.
When they entered Italy, some Lombards retained their native form paganism, while some were Arian Christians. Hence they did not enjoy good relations with the Catholic Church. 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.
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
Spoletoand Beneventodefinitively in the attempt. Langobardia major
Duchy of Friuliand List of Dukes and Margraves of Friuli
*Duchy of Ceneda
*Duchy of Vicenza
*Duchy of Verona
*Duchy of Tridentum/Trent
*Duchy of Brescia
*Duchy of Bergamo
*Duchy of San Giulio
*Duchy of Pavia
*Duchy of Turin
*Duchy of Asti
*Duchy of Tuscia
Duchy of Spoletoand List of Dukes of Spoleto
Duchy of Beneventoand List of Dukes and Princes of Benevento
Alboin was murdered in 572 in Verona by a plot led by his wife, who later fled to
Ravenna. His successor, Cleph, was also assassinated, after a ruthless reign of 18 months. His death began an interregnum of years, the " Rule of the Dukes", during which the dukes 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 son, Authari, king. In 589, he married Theodelinda, daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, Garibald I of Bavaria. The Catholic Theodelinda was a friend of Pope Gregory Iand 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
590. His successor was Agilulf, duke of Turin, who in 591, also married Theodelinda. He successfully fought the rebel dukes of Northern Italy, conquering Padua( 601), Cremonaand Mantua( 603), and forcing the Exarch of Ravennato pay a conspicuous tribute. Theodelinda reigned alone until 628, and was succeeded by Adaloald. Arioald, who had married Theodelinda's daughter Gundeberga, and head of the Arian opposition, later deposed Adaloald.
His successor was
Rothari, regarded by many authorities as the most energetic of all Lombard kings. He extended his dominions, conquering Liguriain 643and the remaining part of the Byzantine territories of inner Veneto, including the Roman city of "Opitergium" ( Oderzo). Rothari also made the famous Edict bearing his name, which established the laws and the customs of his people in Latin: the edict did not apply to the tributaries of the Lombards, who could retain their own laws. Rothari's son Rodoaldsucceeded him in 652, still very young, and was killed by the Catholic party.
At the death of King
Aripert Iin 661, the kingdom was split between his children Perctarit, who set his capital in Milan, and Godepert, who reigned from Pavia. Perctarit was overthrown by Grimoald, son of Gisulf, duke of Friuliand Benevento since 647. Perctarit fled to the Avars and then to the Franks. Grimoald managed to regain control over the duchies and deflected the late attempt of the Byzantine emperor Constans IIto conquer southern Italy. He also defeated the Franks. At Grimoald's death in 671 Perctaritreturned and promoted tolerance between Arians and Catholics, but he could not defeat the Arian party, led by Arachi, duke of Trento, who submitted only to his son, the philo-Catholic Cunipert.
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 Ansprandand successor of the brutal Aripert II. He managed to regain a certain control over Spoletoand Benevento, and, taking advantage of the disagreements between the Pope and Byzantium concerning the reverence of icons, he annexed the Exarchate of Ravenna and the duchy of Rome. He also helped the Frankish marshal Charles Martelto drive back the Arabs. His successor Aistulfconquered 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, Ratchistried 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, duke of Tuscany, who managed to take Ravenna definitively, ending the Byzantine presence in Central 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 Icalled for help from the powerful king Charlemagne, he was defeated at Susa and besieged in Pavia, while his son Adelchis had also to open the gates of Verona to Frankish troops. Desiderius surrendered in 774and 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.
Lombardyregion in Italy, which includes the cities of Brescia, Bergamo, Milan and the old capital Pavia, is a reminder of the presence of the Lombards.
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, 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 stateof 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 Pioussent 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 Empireto the north and west and the Byzantine Empireto 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, which was tenuously loyal to Byzantium and even conquered the Neapolitan city of Amalfiin 838. At the point in the reign of Sicard, Lombard control covered most of southern Italy save the very south of Apuliaand Calabriaand Naples, with its nominally attached cities. It was during the ninth century that a strong Lombard presence became entrenched in formerly Greek Apulia. However, Sicard had opened up the south the invasive actions of the Saracensin his war with Andrew II of Naplesand 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, with its capital at Salernoon the Tyrrhenian.
outhern 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 Beneventocalled in more mercenaries and they sacked Capuain 841. The ruins of that city are all that is left of "Old Capua" ( Santa Maria Capua Vetere). Consequently, Landulf the Old 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, however, briefly put himself under Muslim suzerainty.
A large Muslim force seized
Bari, until then a Lombard gastaldate under the control of Pandenulf, in 847. Saracen incursions then proceeded northwards until finally the prince of Benevento, Adelchis called in the help of his suzerain, Louis II. Louis allied with the Byzantine emperor Basil Ito 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", the last Lombard ruler to do so.
After Louis's death,
Landulf II of Capuabriefly flirted with a Saracen alliance, but Pope John VIIIconvinced him to break it off. Guaimar I of Salernofought 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 Xmanaged to unite all the Christian princes of southern Itay against the Saracen establishments on the Gariglianoriver. 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 Capuain 900. He subsequently declared them to be in perpetual union and they were only separated in 982, on the death of Pandulf Ironhead. 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 Salernobegan using the title "Langobardorum gentis princeps" around mid-century, but the ideal of a united Lombard principality was only realised 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. His territories were divided upon his death.
Landulf the Red of Benevento and Capua tried to conquer the principality of Salerno with the help of
John III of Naples, but with the aid of Mastalus I of AmalfiGisulf repulsed him. The rulers of Benevento and Capua made several attempts on Byzantine Apulia at this time, but in late century the Byzantines, under the stiff rule of Basil II, gained ground on the Lombards.
The principal source for the history of the Lombard principalities in this period is the "
Chronicon Salernitanum", composed late in the century at Salerno.
Norman conquest, 1017–1078
The diminished Beneventan principality soon lost its independence to the
papacyand declined in importance until it was gobbled up by in the Norman conquest of southern Italy, who, first called in by the Lombards to fight the Byzantines for control of Apuliaand Calabria(under the likes of Melus of Bariand Arduin, among others), had become rivals for hegemony in the south. The Salernitan principality experienced a golden age under Guaimar III and Guaimar IV, but under Gisulf II, the principality shrunk to insignificance and fell in 1078to the Robert Guiscard, who had married Gisulf's sister Sichelgaita. The Capua principality was hotly contested during the reign of the hated Pandulf IV, 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 and setting up one Lando IV.
Capua was again put under Norman rule by the
Siege of Capuaof 1098and the city quickly declined in importance under a series of ineffectual Norman rulers. The independent status of these Lombard states is generally 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), they were the real power-brokers in the south until their erstwhile allies, the Normans, rose to preeminence. Certainly 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.
Migration Period society
The Lombard kings can be traced back as early as circa 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. [Schmidt, 76–77.] 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, 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. [Ibid, 47 n3.]
ociety of the Catholic kingdom
Lombard society was divided into classes comparable to those found in the other Germanic successor states of Rome: Frankish Gaul and Visigothic Spain. Most basically, 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 eighth 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 eighth 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
levyof 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, Lucca, Siena, Arezzo, Milan— 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 wars of the fifth and sixth centuries. Many sectors were left in ruins and ancient monuments became fields of grass used as pastures for animals, thus the Roman Forumbecame the "campo vaccinio": the field of cows. The portions of the cities which 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.
*Kingdom of Italy and List of Kings of the Lombards
Principality of Beneventoand List of Dukes and Princes of Benevento
Principality of Salernoand List of Princes of Salerno
Principality of Capuaand List of Princes of Capua
The earliest indications of Lombard religion show that they originally worshipped the Germanic gods of the
Vanirpantheon while in Scandinavia. After settling along the Baltic coast, through contact with other Germans they adopted the cult of the Aesirgods, a shift which represented a cultural change from an agricultural society into a warrior society.Fact|date=February 2008
After their migration into Pannonia, the Lombards had contact with the
Iranian Sarmatians. 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 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.Fact|date=February 2008
While still in Pannonia, the Lombards were first touched by Christianity, but only touched: their conversion and Christianisation was largely nominal and far from complete. During the reign of
Wacho, they were Roman Catholics allied with the Byzantine Empire, but Alboinconverted to Arianismas an ally of the Ostrogothsand invaded Italy. All these Christian conversions only affected, for the most part, 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, a Catholic, the monarchy was brought under heavy Catholic influence. After an initial support for the Three Chapters, Theodelinda remained a close contact and supporter of Pope Gregory I. In 603, Adaloald, the heir to the throne, received a Catholic baptism. During the next century, Arianism and paganism continued to hold out in Austria (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 seventh 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, 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.
Rule of Saint Benedictin Beneventan (ie Lombard) script.] The Duchy and eventually Principality of Benevento in southern Italy developed a unique Christian ritein the seventh and eighth centuries. The Beneventan rite is more closely related to the liturgy of the Ambrosian ritethan the Roman rite. 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, a Lombard-influenced chant which bore similarities to the Ambrosian chantof 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 chantin the eleventh century.
The chief centre of Beneventan chant was
Montecassino, one of the first and greatest abbeys of Western monasticism. Gisulf II of Beneventohad donated a large swathe of land to Montecassino in 744 and that became the basis for an important state, the " Terra Sancti Benedicti", 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, a clear, angular scrip derived from the Roman cursiveas used by the Lombards.
Art and architecture
During their nomadic phase, the Lombards created little in the way of art which 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 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).
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 twentieth century, and
Arthur Kingsley Porter's four-volume "Lombard Architecture" (1919) is a "monument of illustrated history."
Oratorio di Santa Maria in Vallein Cividale del Friuliis 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( San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, crypts of Sant'Eusebioand San Giovanni Domnarum) and Monza(cathedral). The "Basilic autariana" in Fara Gera d'Addanear Bergamoand the church of San Salvatore in Bresciaalso 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 in Beneventowas erected in 760 by Duke Arechis II. It preserves Lombard frescoes on the walls and even Lombard capitals on the columns.
Through the impulse given by the Catholic monarchs like
Theodelinda, Liutprand, and Desideriusto the foundation of monasteries to further their political control, Lombard architecture flourished. Bobbio Abbeywas founded during this time.
Some of the late Lombard structures of the ninth and tenth century have been found to contain elements of style associated with
Romanesque architectureand have been so dubbed " first Romanesque". These edifices are considered, along with some similar buildings in southern Franceand Catalonia, to mark a transitory phase between the Pre-Romanesque and full-fledged Romanesque.
History of Europe
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* Karin Priester - "Geschichte der Langobarden / Gesellschaft - Kultur - Altagsleben" - Theiss
* Wilfried Menghin - "Die Langobarden / Geschichte und Archäologie" - Theiss
* "Codex Gothanus"
* "Historia gentis Langobardorum"
* "Origo gentis Langobardorum"
* Dr. Ludwig Schmidt - "Älteste Geschichte der Langobarden"
* Thomas Hodgkin - "Italy and her Invaders" - Clarendon Press
* Wilhelm Bruckner - "Die Sprache der Langobarden"
* "Cosmographer of Ravenna"
* Friedrich Bluhme - "Gens Langobardorum"
* Freiherren von Hammerstein-Loxten - "Bardengau"
* Kaspar Zeuss - "Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstämme"
* Robert Wiese - "Die aelteste Geschichte der Langobarden"
* Ludo Moritz Hartmann - "Geschichte Italiens im Mittelalter II Vol."
* Tacitus - "Annals"
* Tacitus - "Germania"
* Willi Wegewitz - "Das Langobardische brandgräberfeld von Putensen, Kreise Harburg"
* Grimm - "Deutsche Mythologie"
* Hermann Fröhlich - "Studien zur langobardischen Thronfolge" - "Zur Herkunft der Langobarden - Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken (QFIAB)"
* Walter Pohl und Peter Erhart - "Die Langobarden / Herrschaft und Identität"
* Hallenbeck, Jan T - "Pavia and Rome: The Lombard Monarchy and the Papacy in the Eighth Century" "Transactions of the American Philosophical Society" New Series, 72.4 (1982), pp. 1-186.
* cite book|author=Rothair|coauthors=Grimwald; Liutprand;
Ratchis; Aistulf; Katherine Fischer Drew (Translator, Editor); Edward Peters (Foreward)|title=The Lombard Laws|location=Philadelphia|publisher=University of Pennsylvania Press
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