Lombard–Gepid War (567)
In 566, Lombard king Alboin concluded a treaty with the Pannonian Avars, to whom he promised the Gepids' land if they defeated them. The Gepids were destroyed by the Avars and Lombards in 567. Gepid King Cunimund was killed by Alboin himself; the Avars subsequently occupied "Gepidia". The Byzantine Emperor intervened and took control of Sirmium giving refuge to Gepid leader Usdibad, although the rest of Gepidia was taken by the Avars. Gepid military strength was reduced. According to R. Collins the remnants were absorbed either by the Lombards. Although Lombard sources claim they had a central role in this war, it is clear from contemporary Byzantine sources that the Avars had the principal role; the Gepids disappeared and the Avars took their place as a Byzantine threat. The Lombards disliked their new neighbours and decided to leave for Italy, forming the Kingdom of the Lombards. According to Lombard Benedictine scribe Paul the Deacon, Cunimund's daughter Rosamund, taken hostage by the Lombards and taken by Alboin as his wife, suffered from his cruelty.
He forced her to drink from the skull of her dead father, inviting her "to drink merrily with her father". Battle of Asfeld Collins, Roger. Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000. Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. 201–. ISBN 978-1-137-01428-3. Foulke, William Dudley. History of the Lombards. Philadelphia. Schutz, Herbert. Tools and Ornaments: Germanic Material Culture in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe, 400-750. BRILL. Pp. 81–. ISBN 90-04-12298-2
Thurisind was king of the Gepids, an East Germanic Gothic people, from c. 548 to 560. He was the penultimate Gepid king, succeeded King Elemund by staging a coup d'état and forcing the king's son into exile. Thurisind's kingdom, known as Gepidia, was located in Central Europe and had its centre in Sirmium, a former Roman city on the Sava River, his reign was marked by multiple wars with the Lombards, a Germanic people who had arrived in the former Roman province of Pannonia under the leadership of their king, Audoin. Thurisind had to face the hostility of the Byzantine Empire, resentful of the Gepid takeover of Sirmium and anxious to diminish Gepid power in the Pannonian Basin, a plain covering most of modern Hungary and including the bordering states; the Byzantines' plans to reduce the Gepids' power took effect when Audoin decisively defeated Thurisind in 551 or 552. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian forced a peace accord on both leaders so that equilibrium in the Pannonian Basin could be sustained.
Thurisind lost his eldest son, Turismod, in the Battle of Asfeld, during which the prince was killed by Alboin, son of Audoin. In about 560, Thurisind died and was succeeded by his remaining son Cunimund, killed by Alboin in 567. Cunimund's death marked the end of the Gepid Kingdom and the beginning of the conquest of their territories by the Lombards' allies, the Avars, a nomadic people migrating from the Eurasian Steppe. Of the four early medieval sources relevant to Thurisind that survive, the only one providing independent evidence of the king, accounts of Justinian's wars, a detailed account of the relations between Gepids and Lombards and their kings is De Bellis, the most important work of Procopius. Considered the greatest historian of the 6th century, Procopius was a Greek writer born in Caesarea in Palestine in 527; the Lombard–Gepid wars are well described in Procopius' work, as the conflict played an important part in the Byzantine plans to invade Italy by a land route. Less relevant is the other 6th-century source, Jordanes' Romana.
Of Gothic ancestry, Jordanes served as a notarius for a Byzantine Master of the Soldiers before entering into the ranks of the Catholic clergy and writing his two surviving books, the Romana and the Getica. The latter is a summary of Gothic history, while the lesser known Romana is an abridged account of Roman history written in 551 or 552. According to James O'Donnell, the two works share a pessimistic view of human life in which all secular accomplishments are insignificant compared to religious goals. Jordanes does not explicitly mention Thurisind in the Romana, but speaks of the third Lombard–Gepid War, in which Thurisind participated, in the last passages of the work. Paul the Deacon was the most important Italian writer of the 8th century. Born in the 720s or 730s, he came from a noble Lombard family from Friuli, he entered the clergy early, became a monk of the monastery of Monte Cassino. His most famous work is a history of the Lombard nation. Written after 787, it is a continuation of his previous major historical work, the Historia Romana, based on the Breviarium of Eutropius, with six books added describing historical events up to Justinian's empire.
Both of these works mention Thurisind and the third Lombard–Gepid War, which represent the only overlap between the Historia Langobardorum and the Historia Romana. Both books mention the duel between the kings' sons, an event, absent in Procopius' writing and is thought to have originated through oral tradition; the meeting between Thurisind and Audoin's son at the former's court derives from an oral source. The Gepids were a major Germanic people in what is now eastern Hungary, western Romania, northern Serbia. Although the details of his early life are not known, Thurisind is believed to have risen to power in about 548. After the death of Elemund, the previous king, he seized the throne in a coup d'état and forced Elemund's son Ostrogotha into exile. Ostrogotha and his followers found refuge among the Gepids' neighbours and enemies, the Lombards, another Germanic people who had just settled in the western part of the Pannonian Basin; the Gepids had inhabited parts of the basin since the 3rd century.
They reached prominence in the 5th century when, under King Ardaric, they played a key role in destroying the Hunnic Empire. Ardaric and his people benefited more than anybody else from this victory, gaining the former Roman province of Dacia. In 504 the Gepids' power was reduced by the Ostrogoths, who cut short their expansion into the Danubian plains; the Gepids restricted themselves to the eastern part of the Pannonian Basin. By the early 6th century, the Gepid nobility converted to Arian Christianity, while most of the Gepids remained pagans. According to the scholar István Boná, Thurisind's rise to power is a typical example of the conflicts among the leading families for the kingship that plagued Gepidia in the 6th century and made it difficult to maintain the succession within the king's family. To contain these obstacles Thurisind made Turismod, his oldest son, commander of the Gepid forces in Sirmium, an important position that made Turismod the king's heir apparent. After Turismod died, his younger brother Cunimund became commander in Sirmium and thus heir apparent.
On becoming king in 548, Thurisind found himself in a difficult situation. Sometime during 546–548, the Byzantine Empire had conspired to convince the Lombards under Audoin to move into Pannonia, a
The Gepids were an East Germanic tribe. They were related to, or a subdivision of, the Goths, they are first recorded in 6th-century historiography as having been allied with the Goths in the invasion of Dacia in c. 260. In the 4th century, they were incorporated into the Hunnic Empire. Under their leader Ardaric, the Gepids united with other Germanic tribes and defeated the Huns at the Battle of Nedao in 454; the Gepids founded a kingdom centered on Sirmium, known as Gepidia, defeated by the Lombards a century later. Remnants of the Gepids were conquered by the Avars in the 6th century. Jordanes reports that their name comes from gepanta, an insult meaning "sluggish, stolid". An Old English form of their name is recorded in Widsith, as Gefþ-, alongside the name of the Wends; the Gepids were the "most shadowy of all the major Germanic peoples of the migration period", according to historian Malcolm Todd. Neither Tacitus nor Ptolemy mentioned them in their detailed lists of the "barbarians", suggesting that the Gepids emerged only in the 3rd century AD.
The first sporadic references to them, which were recorded in the late 3rd century, show that they lived north of the frontier of the Roman Empire. The 6th-century Byzantine writer, listed the Gepids among the "Gothic nations", along with the Vandals and Goths proper, in his Wars of Justinian. According to historian Walter Goffart, Jordanes' remark shows that Byzantine scholars had invented a concept of the "Gothic nations, sharing the same language, white bodies, blond hair, Arian form of Christianity". All information of the Gepids' origins came from "malicious and convoluted Gothic legends", recorded in Jordanes' Getica after 550. According to Jordanes' narration the northern island of "Scandza", associated with Sweden by modern scholars, was the original homeland of the ancestors of the Goths and Gepids, they left Scandza in three boats under the leadership of the legendary Gothic King. Jordanes writes that the Gepids' ancestors traveled in the last of the three ships, for which their fellows mocked them as gepanta, or "slow and stolid".
They settled along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea on an island at the mouth of the Vistula river, called "Gepedoius", or the Gepids' fruitful meadows, by Jordanes. Modern historians debate whether the part of Jordanes' work which described the migration from Scandza was written at least on the basis of Gothic oral history or whether it was an "ahistorical fabrication". Jordanes' passage in his Getica reads: Should you ask how the and Gepidae are kinsmen, I can tell you in a few words. You remember that in the beginning I said the Goths went forth from the bosom of the island of Scandza with Berig, their king, sailing in only three ships toward the hither shore of Ocean, namely to Gothiscandza. One of these three ships proved to be slower than the others, as is the case, thus is said to have given the tribe their name, for in their language gepanta means slow. Hence it came to pass that and by corruption the name Gepidae was coined for them by way of reproach. For undoubtedly they too trace their origin from the stock of the Goths, but because, as I have said, gepanta means something slow and stolid, the word Gepidae arose as a gratuitous name of reproach.
Modern historians who write of the Gepids' early history tend to apply a "mixed argumentation", combining Jordanes' narration with results of archaeological research. According to Jordanes, the Gepids decided to leave "Gepedoius" during the reign of their legendary king, Fastida, they defeated the Burgundians. After the victory, Fastida demanded land from Ostrogotha, King of the Visigoths, because the Gepids' territory was "hemmed in by rugged mountains and dense forests". Ostrogotha refused Fastida's demand and the Gepids joined battle with the Goths "at the town of Galtis, near which the river Auha" flowed, according to Jordanes, they fought until darkness when Fastida and his Gepids withdrew from the battlefield and returned to their land. Archaeologist Kurdt Horedt writes that the battle took place east of the Carpathian Mountains after 248 and before the withdrawal of the Romans from the province of Dacia in the early 270s. On the other hand, historian István Bóna says that the two armies clashed in the former province of Dacia around 290.
The Gepids invaded the Roman provinces in the Balkan Peninsula, in alliance with the Goths and other "tribes of the Scythians", in 269, but Emperor Claudius Gothicus routed them, according to the Augustan History. The same source says that Emperor Probus, who ruled between 276 and 282, settled Gepid prisoners of war in the Roman Empire in the Balkans. According to a formal speech, delivered in praise of Emperor Maximian on 1 April 291, the Thervingi—a Gothic group—joined "battle with the Vandals and Gepids" around that time; the Gepids' history in the 4th century is unknown, because no written source mentioned them during this period. The silence of the Roman sources suggests. On the basis of Jordanes' reference to the "rugged mountains" of the Gepids' land, historians locate it near the Carpathians, along the upper courses of either the Tisza or the Dniester rivers, in the late 3rd century; the exact date of the Gepids' settlement in the Carpathian Basin cannot be determined. Archaeologist István Bóna says they were present in the northeastern region in the 260s.
According to Coriolan H. Opreanu, they seem to have arrived around 300. Archaeologists Eszter Istvánovits and Valéria Kulcsár write that no archaeological evidence substantiates the Gepids' presence before around 350. Graves from the 4th century which yielded swords and shields with iron bos
Pannonia was a province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. Pannonia was located over the territory of the present-day western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, western Slovakia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Julius Pokorny believed the name Pannonia is derived from Illyrian, from the Proto-Indo-European root *pen-, "swamp, wet". Others believe that the name is related to the god of the nature and shepherds Pan and/or pan, the Proto-Slavic/Proto-Indo-European word for lord/master, which could mean Pan's Land or Land of the Master, more probable due the fact the Ionian fleet supplied Pannonia via the Black Sea and Danube, Panionium festivities were well known in the region to its Celtic, Adriatic Veneti and Scythian inhabitants. Pliny the Elder, in Natural History, places the eastern regions of the Hercynium jugum, the "Hercynian mountain chain", in Pannonia and Dacia.
He gives us some dramaticised description of its composition, in which the close proximity of the forest trees causes competitive struggle among them. He mentions its gigantic oaks, but he—if the passage in question is not an interpolated marginal gloss—is subject to the legends of the gloomy forest. He mentions unusual birds, which have feathers that "shine like fires at night". Medieval bestiaries named these birds the Ercinee; the impenetrable nature of the Hercynian Silva hindered the last concerted Roman foray into the forest, by Drusus, during 12–9 BC: Florus asserts that Drusus invisum atque inaccessum in id tempus Hercynium saltum patefecit. The first inhabitants of this area known to history were the Pannonii, a group of Indo-European tribes akin to Illyrians. From the 4th century BC, it was invaded by various Celtic tribes. Little is heard of Pannonia until 35 BC, when its inhabitants, allies of the Dalmatians, were attacked by Augustus, who conquered and occupied Siscia; the country was not, definitively subdued by the Romans until 9 BC, when it was incorporated into Illyricum, the frontier of, thus extended as far as the Danube.
In AD 6, the Pannonians, with the Dalmatians and other Illyrian tribes, engaged in the so-called Great Illyrian Revolt, were overcome by Tiberius and Germanicus, after a hard-fought campaign, which lasted for three years. After the rebellion was crushed in AD 9, the province of Illyricum was dissolved, its lands were divided between the new provinces of Pannonia in the north and Dalmatia in the south; the date of the division is unknown, most after AD 20 but before AD 50. The proximity of dangerous barbarian tribes necessitated the presence of a large number of troops, numerous fortresses were built on the bank of the Danube; some time between the years 102 and 107, between the first and second Dacian wars, Trajan divided the province into Pannonia Superior, Pannonia Inferior. According to Ptolemy, these divisions were separated by a line drawn from Arrabona in the north to Servitium in the south; the whole country was sometimes called the Pannonias. Pannonia Superior was under the consular legate, who had administered the single province, had three legions under his control.
Pannonia Inferior was at first under a praetorian legate with a single legion as the garrison. The frontier on the Danube was protected by the establishment of the two colonies Aelia Mursia and Aelia Aquincum by Hadrian. Under Diocletian, a fourfold division of the country was made: Pannonia Prima in the northwest, with its capital in Savaria / Sabaria, it included Upper Pannonia and the major part of Central Pannonia between the Raba and Drava, Pannonia Valeria in the northeast, with its capital in Sopianae, it comprised the remainder of Central Pannonia between the Raba and Danube, Pannonia Savia in the southwest, with its capital in Siscia, Pannonia Secunda in the southeast, with its capital in SirmiumDiocletian moved parts of today's Slovenia out of Pannonia and incorporated them in Noricum. In 324 AD, Constantine I enlarged the borders of Roman Pannonia to the east, annexing the plains of what is now eastern Hungary, northern Serbia and western Romania up to the limes that he created: the Devil's Dykes.
In the 4th-5th century, one of the dioceses of the Roman Empire was known as the Diocese of Pannonia. It had its capital in Sirmium and included all four provinces that were formed from historical Pannonia, as well as the provinces of Dalmatia, Noricum Mediterraneum and Noricum Ripense. During the Migrations Period in the 5th century, some parts of Pannonia was ceded to the Huns in 433 by Flavius Aetius, the magister militum of the Western Roman Empire. After the collapse of the Hunnic empire in 454, large numbers of Ostrogoths were settled by Marcian in the province as foederati; the Eastern Roman Empire controlled it for a time in the 6th century, a Byzantine province of Pannonia with its capital at Sirmium was temporarily restored, but it included only a small southeastern part of historical Pannonia. Afterwards, it was again invaded by the Avars in the 560s, the Slavs, who first settled c. 480s but became independent only from the 7th century, the Franks, who named a frontier march the March of Pannonia in the late 8th century.
The term Pannonia wa
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, he had a lasting effect on the Pannonian Basin. The period of Alboin's reign as king in Pannonia following the death of his father, was one of confrontation and conflict between the Lombards and their main neighbors, the Gepids; the Gepids gained the upper hand, but in 567, thanks to his alliance with the Avars, Alboin inflicted a decisive defeat on his enemies, whose lands the Avars subsequently occupied. The increasing power of his new neighbours caused Alboin some unease however, he therefore decided to leave Pannonia for Italy, hoping to take advantage of the Byzantine Empire's reduced ability to defend its territory in the wake of the Gothic War. After gathering a large coalition of peoples, Alboin crossed the Julian Alps in 568, entering an undefended Italy, he took control of most of Venetia and Liguria.
In 569, unopposed, he took Milan. Pavia offered stiff resistance however, was taken only after a siege lasting three years. During that time Alboin turned his attention to Tuscany, but signs of factionalism among his supporters and Alboin's diminishing control over his army began to manifest themselves. Alboin was assassinated on June 572, in a coup d'état instigated by the Byzantines, it was organized by the king's foster brother, with the support of Alboin's wife, daughter of the Gepid king whom Alboin had killed some years earlier. The coup failed in the face of opposition from a majority of the Lombards, who elected Cleph as Alboin's successor, forcing Helmichis and Rosamund to flee to Ravenna under imperial protection. Alboin's death deprived the Lombards of the only leader who could have kept the newborn Germanic entity together, the last in the line of hero-kings who had led the Lombards through their migrations from the vale of the Elbe to Italy. For many centuries following his death Alboin's heroism and his success in battle were celebrated in Saxon and Bavarian epic poetry.
The Lombards under King Wacho had migrated towards the east into Pannonia, taking advantage of the difficulties facing the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy following the death of its founder, Theodoric, in 526. Wacho's death in about 540 brought his son Walthari to the throne, but, as the latter was still a minor, the kingdom was governed in his stead by Alboin's father, Audoin, of the Gausian clan. Seven years Walthari died, giving Audoin the opportunity to crown himself and overthrow the reigning Lethings. Alboin was born in the 530s in Pannonia, the son of Audoin and his wife, Rodelinda, she may have been the niece of King Theodoric and betrothed to Audoin through the mediation of Emperor Justinian. Like his father, Alboin was raised a pagan, although Audoin had at one point attempted to gain Byzantine support against his neighbours by professing himself a Christian. Alboin took as his first wife the Christian Chlothsind, daughter of the Frankish King Chlothar; this marriage, which took place soon after the death of the Frankish ruler Theudebald in 555, is thought to reflect Audoin's decision to distance himself from the Byzantines, traditional allies of the Lombards, lukewarm when it came to supporting Audoin against the Gepids.
The new Frankish alliance was important because of the Franks' known hostility to the Byzantine empire, providing the Lombards with more than one option. However, the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire interprets events and sources differently, believing that Alboin married Chlothsind when a king in or shortly before 561, the year of Chlothar's death. Alboin first distinguished himself on the battlefield in a clash with the Gepids. At the Battle of Asfeld, he killed Turismod, son of the Gepid king Thurisind, in a victory that resulted in the Emperor Justinian's intervention to maintain equilibrium between the rival regional powers. After the battle, according to a tradition reported by Paul the Deacon, to be granted the right to sit at his father's table, Alboin had to ask for the hospitality of a foreign king and have him donate his weapons, as was customary. For this initiation, he went to the court of Thurisind, where the Gepid king gave him Turismod's arms. Walter Goffart believes it is probable that in this narrative Paul was making use of an oral tradition, is sceptical that it can be dismissed as a typical topos of an epic poem.
Alboin came to the throne after the death of his father, sometime between 560 and 565. As was customary among the Lombards, Alboin took the crown after an election by the tribe's freemen, who traditionally selected the king from the dead sovereign's clan. Shortly afterwards, in 565, a new war erupted with the Gepids, now led by Thurisind's son; the cause of the conflict is uncertain. An account of the war by the Byzantine Theophylact Simocatta sentimentalises the reasons behind the conflict, claiming it originated with Alboin's vain courting and subsequent kidnapping of Cunimund's daughter Rosamund, that Alboin proceeded to marry; the tale is treated with scepticism by Walter Goffart, who observes that it conflicts with the Origo Gentis Langobardorum, where she was captured only after the death of her father. The Gepids obtained the support of
Alduin, Auduin, or Audoin was king of the Lombards from 546 to 560. Under him the Lombards became fœderati of the Byzantines, signing a treaty with Justinian I which gave them power in Pannonia and the north. Beginning in 551, Audoin was obliged to send troops to serve Narses in Italy in the Gothic War against the Ostrogoths; the next year, he sent over 5,000 men to defeat the Goths on the slopes of Vesuvius. That same year Audoin had been able to inflict a heavy defeat on the Gepids with the help of his brother-in-law Amalafrid: the Gepid king Thurisind lost his eldest son, Turismod, in the Battle of Asfeld during which the prince was killed by Alboin, son of Audoin, he died in 563 or 565 and was succeeded by his son, who brought the Lombards into Italia. He married Rodelinda, the daughter of Amalaberga and Hermanfrid, king of the Thuringii
The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774. The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon wrote in the Historia Langobardorum that the Lombards descended from a small tribe called the Winnili, who dwelt in southern Scandinavia before migrating to seek new lands. In the 1st century AD, they formed part of the Suebi, in north-western Germany. By the end of the 5th century, they had moved into the area coinciding with modern Austria and Slovakia north of the Danube river, where they subdued the Heruls and fought frequent wars with the Gepids; the Lombard king Audoin defeated the Gepid leader Thurisind in 551 or 552. Following this victory, Alboin decided to lead his people to Italy, which had become depopulated and devastated after the long Gothic War between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom there. In contrast with the Goths and the Vandals, the Lombards left Scandinavia and descended due south through Germany and Slovenia, only leaving Germanic territory a few decades before reaching Italy.
The Lombards would have remained a predominantly Germanic tribe by the time they invaded Italy. The Lombards were joined by numerous Saxons, Gepids, Bulgars and Ostrogoths, their invasion of Italy was unopposed. By late 569 they had conquered all of northern Italy and the principal cities north of the Po River except Pavia, which fell in 572. At the same time, they occupied areas in southern Italy, they established a Lombard Kingdom in north and central Italy named Regnum Italicum, which reached its zenith under the 8th-century ruler Liutprand. In 774, the Kingdom was integrated into his Empire. However, Lombard nobles continued to rule southern parts of the Italian peninsula, well into the 11th century when they were conquered by the Normans and added to their County of Sicily. In this period, the southern part of Italy still under Longobardic domination was known to the foreigners, by the name Langbarðaland, in the Norse runestones, their legacy is apparent in the regional name Lombardy. The fullest account of Lombard origins and practices is the Historia Langobardorum of Paul the Deacon, written in the 8th century.
Paul's chief source for Lombard origins, however, is the 7th-century Origo Gentis Langobardorum. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum tells the story of a small tribe called the Winnili dwelling in southern Scandinavia; the Winnili were split into three groups and one part left their native land to seek foreign fields. The reason for the exodus was overpopulation; the departing people were led by the brothers Ybor and Aio and their mother Gambara and arrived in the lands of Scoringa the Baltic coast or the Bardengau on the banks of the Elbe. Scoringa was ruled by the Vandals 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, 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, who advised that all Winnili women should tie their hair in front of their faces like beards and march in line with their husbands.
At sunrise, Frea turned her husband's bed so that he was facing east, woke him. So 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 the victory." From that moment onwards, the Winnili were known as the Longbeards. When Paul the Deacon wrote the Historia between 787 and 796 he was a Catholic monk and devoted Christian, he thought the pagan stories of his people "silly" and "laughable". Paul explained. A modern theory suggests that the name "Langobard" comes from a name of Odin. Priester states that when the Winnili changed their name to "Lombards", they 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", that the Lombard given name Ansegranus shows that the Lombards had this idea of their chief deity.
The same Old Norse root Barth or Barði, meaning "beard", is shared with the Heaðobards mentioned in both Beowulf and in Widsith, where they are in conflict with the Danes. They were a branch of the Langobards. Alternatively some etymological sources suggest an Old High German root, meaning “axe”, while Edward Gibbon puts forth an alternative suggestion which argues that: …Börde still signifies “a fertile plain by the side of a river,” and a district near Magdeburg is still called the lange Börd