Aistulf was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of Lombards from 749, 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 as king when Ratchis abdicated to a monastery. Aistulf continued the policy of expansion and raids against the papacy and the Eastern Roman exarchate of Ravenna. In 751, he captured Ravenna itself and threatened Rome, claiming a capitation tax, he conquered the Istria region from Eastern Roman occupation in the same year. The popes irritated and alarmed, despairing of aid from the Roman Emperor, turned to the Carolingian mayors of the palace of Austrasia, the effective rulers of the Frankish kingdom. In 741, Pope Gregory III asked Charles Martel to intervene, but he was too busy elsewhere and declined. In 753, Pope Stephen II visited Charles Martel's son Pepin the Short, proclaimed king of the Franks in 751 with the consent of Pope Zachary. In gratitude for the papal consent to his coronation, Pepin crossed the Alps, defeated Aistulf, gave to the pope the lands which Aistulf had torn from the ducatus Romanus and the exarchate.
Aistulf died hunting in 756. He was succeeded by Desiderius by Alboin as duke of Spoleto, he had given Friuli to his brother-in-law Anselm, abbot of Nonantula, whose sister Gisaltruda he had married, when he succeeded to the kingship in 749. Macpherson, Ewan. "Aistulph". Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. "Astolphus". The American Cyclopædia. 1879
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
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
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, his long reign, which brought him into a series of conflicts successful, with most of Italy. He is regarded as the most successful Lombard monarch, notable for the Donation of Sutri, the first accolade of sovereign territory to the Papacy. Liutprand's life began inauspiciously, his father was driven to exile among the Bavarians, his older brother Sigipert was blinded by Aripert II, king of the Lombards and his mother Theodarada and sister Aurona were mutilated. Liutprand was spared, he was allowed to join his father. The reign of Liutprand, son of Ansprand, duke of Asti and king of the Lombards, began the day before his father's death when magnates called to Ansprand's deathbed consented to make Liutprand his colleague. Liutprand's reign endured for thirty-one years. Within the Lombard kingdom he was considered a lawgiver of irreproachable Catholicity. At the opening of his reign, Liutprand's chief ally among neighboring rulers was the Agilolfing Theodo I, the Frankish duke of Bavaria.
Theodo I's intervention on Ansprand's behalf helped him gain the throne. Theodo had taken him in, when he and his father were temporarily expelled by Aripert II in 702, the hospitality was cemented with a marriage connection: Liutprand took to wife the Agilolfing Guntrud; the core of Theodo's policy was resistance to the Merovingian mayors of the palaces in their encroachments north of the Alps, concerns that did not much occupy Liutprand, maintaining strategic control of the eastern Alpine passes in what is now the Italian Alps, which did. In the spring of 712, Theodo’s son Theodebert, with Ansprand and Liutprand, attacked Lombard strongholds, with the drowning of their fleeing rival Aripert, Ansprand's faction were back in power at Pavia. Theodo died in 717 or 718; until distracted by Byzantine politics in 726, Liutprand's chief warmaking energies were concentrated on taking Bavarian castles on the River Adige. In his early reign, Liutprand did not attack the Exarchate of the Papacy, but in 726, the Emperor Leo III made his first of many edicts outlawing icons.
The pope, Gregory II, ordered the people to resist and the Byzantine duke of Naples, was killed by a mob while trying to carry out the imperial command to destroy all the icons. Liutprand chose this time of division to strike the Byzantine possessions in Emilia. In 727, he crossed the Po and took Bologna, Osimo and Ancona, along with the other cities of Emilia and the Pentapolis, he could not take Ravenna itself from the exarch Paul. Paul was soon killed in a riot, however. Ravenna would capitulate to Liutprand with a fight; the first Moorish raids on Corsica began around 713–719 from the Balearic Islands to the west. Acting as the protector of the Catholic Church and its faithful, Liutprand subjected the island to Lombard government, though it was nominally under Byzantine authority. Corsica remained with the Lombard kingdom after the Frankish conquest, by which time Lombard landholders and churches had established a significant presence on the island; when the Saracens invaded Sardinia, Liutprand redeemed the body of Augustine about the year 720.
He brought it with great ceremony to Pavia, enshrined it in the Church of Saint Peter, the cathedral of Pavia. He rescued the relics stationed on the island with great haste as well as with great expense, according to Paul the Deacon. Having just overwhelmed the Byzantine forces, though it was left to his heirs to make the final vestige of the Exarchate of Ravenna Lombard at last, Liutprand advanced towards Rome along the Via Cassia. There the two reached an agreement, by which Sutri and some hill towns in Latium were given to the Papacy, "as a gift to the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul" according to the Liber Pontificalis, they were the first extension of Papal territory beyond the confines of the Duchy of Rome. This was the beginning of the Papal States. In the meantime, Leo sent Eutychius, as Exarch of Ravenna; when Eutychius arrived at Naples, he made an agreement whereby Liutprand would attack the Pope if the Greeks aided him in subjugating the contumacious and independent southern Lombard duchies, the Duchy of Spoleto and the Duchy of Benevento.
The dukes, Thrasimund II and Godescalc, surrendered — though control of the duchies from Pavia was not to endure for long — and the new exarch marched on Rome. At Rome, Liutprand camped on the far bank of the Tiber in the "Field of Nero" and arbitrated, returning to the exarch the city of Ravenna alone among the Byzantine territories and prevailing on the pope to restore his allegiance to the emperor. Following the death of Theodo, Liutprand turned from his former Agilolfing allies to bind himself to Charles Martel, duke of the Franks, whose son, Pepin the Short, he adopted and girded with arms at his coming of manhood. In 733 Liutprand promulgated the Notitia de actoribus regis, a series of six laws, presaging the Frankish capitulary in structure, they sought to curb the usurpation by local administrators of public lands. In 735–736, a serious illness encouraged Liutprand to raise his nephew Hildeprand to co-kingship. In 736–737, Liutprand crossed the Alps with an army to help Charles expel the Moors from Aix-en-Provence and Arles.
In 738, a long peace was broken
Aripert II was the king of the Lombards from 701 to 712. Duke of Turin and son of King Raginpert, 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 Raginpert seized the throne. After his father's death, he tried to take the throne, too, he defeated Liutpert and the regent Ansprand's men at Pavia and captured the king, whom he had strangled in his bath. He forced Ansprand over the Alps, he was in power by 703. He thence reigned uninterrupted until his death, his reign was a troubled one. In 703, duke of Spoleto, attacked the Exarchate of Ravenna, but Aripert refused to assist him, for he wanted good relations with papacy and empire, he tried to assert his authority over Spoleto and Benevento in the Mezzogiorno. He nursed friendship with Pope John VI by donating vast tracts of land in the Cottian Alps to the Holy See; this friendship helped him little, for he had many rebellions to deal with and many Slovene raids into Venetia.
In 711, whom he had exiled, returned with a large army from the duke of Bavaria, Theudebert. Many Austrians joined battle was joined by Pavia. Aripert fled to his capital when the tide went against him, but he hoarded the treasures and tried to cross over into Gaul by night, he drowned in the River Ticino and Ansprand was acclaimed sovereign. He was the last Bavarian to wear the Iron Crown
Kingdom of the Lombards
The Kingdom of the Lombards known as the Lombard Kingdom. The king was traditionally elected by the highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed; the kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy; the Lombard invasion of Italy was opposed by the Byzantine Empire, which retained control of much of the peninsula until the mid-8th century. For most of the kingdom's history, the Byzantine-ruled Exarchate of Ravenna and Duchy of Rome separated the northern Lombard duchies, collectively known as Langobardia Maior, from the two large southern duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, which constituted Langobardia Minor; because of this division, the southern duchies were more autonomous than the smaller northern duchies.
Over time, the Lombards adopted Roman titles and traditions. By the time Paul the Deacon was writing in the late 8th century, the Lombardic language and hairstyles had all disappeared; the Lombards were Arian Christians or pagans, which put them at odds with the Roman population as well as the Byzantine Empire and the Pope. However, by the end of the 7th century, their conversion to Catholicism was all but complete, their conflict with the Pope continued and was responsible for their gradual loss of power to the Franks, who conquered the kingdom in 774. Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, adopted the title "King of the Lombards", although he never managed to gain control of Benevento, the southernmost Lombard duchy; the Kingdom of the Lombards at the time of its demise was the last minor Germanic kingdom in Europe, aside from the Frankish Empire. Any genetic legacy of the Lombards was diluted into the Italian population owing to their small number and their geographic dispersal in order to rule and administer their kingdom.
Some regions were never under Lombard domination, including Sardinia, Calabria, southern Apulia and the Latium. In all these regions the Byzantines brought more Greco-Anatolian lineages, which were the dominant lineages from the Magna Graecia period. A reduced Regnum Italiae, a heritage of the Lombards, continued to exist for centuries as one of the constituent kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire corresponding to the territory of the former Langobardia Maior; the so-called Iron Crown of Lombardy, one of the oldest surviving royal insignias of Christendom, may have originated in Lombard Italy as early as the 7th century and continued to be used to crown Kings of Italy until Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century. The earliest Lombard law code, the Edictum Rothari, may allude to the use of seal rings, but it is not until the reign of Ratchis that they became an integral part of royal administration, when the king required their use on passports; the only evidence for their use at the ducal level comes from the Duchy of Benevento, where two private charters contain requests for the duke to confirm them with his seal.
The existence of seal rings "testifies to the tenacity of Roman traditions of government". In the 6th century Byzantine Emperor Justinian attempted to reassert imperial authority in the territories of the Western Roman Empire. In the resulting Gothic War waged against the Ostrogothic Kingdom, Byzantine hopes of an early and easy triumph evolved into a long war of attrition that resulted in mass dislocation of population and destruction of property. Problems were further exacerbated by a devastating plague pandemic. Although the Byzantine Empire prevailed, the triumph proved to be a pyrrhic victory, as all these factors caused the population of the Italian Peninsula to crash, leaving the conquered territories underpopulated and impoverished. Although an invasion attempt by the Franks allies of the Ostrogoths, late in the war was repelled, a large migration by the Lombards, a Germanic people, allied with the Byzantine Empire, ensued. In the spring of 568 the Lombards, led by King Alboin, moved from Pannonia and overwhelmed the small Byzantine army left by Narses to guard Italy.
The Lombard arrival broke the political unity of the Italian Peninsula for the first time since the Roman conquest. The peninsula was now torn between territories ruled by the Lombards and the Byzantines, with boundaries that changed over time; the newly arrived Lombards were divided into two main areas in Italy: the Langobardia Maior, which comprised northern Italy gravitating around the capital of the Lombard kingdom, Ticinum. The territories which remained under Byzantine control were called "Romania" in northeastern Italy and had its stronghold in the Exarchate of Ravenna. Arriving in Italy, King Alboin gave control of the Eastern Alps to one of his most trusted lieutenants, who became the first Duke of Friuli in 568; the duchy, established in the Roman town of Forum Iulii fought with the Slavic population across the Gorizia border. Justified by its exceptional military needs, the Duchy of Friuli thus had greater autonomy compared to