King of Italy
King of Italy was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The first to take the title was Odoacer, a "barbarian" military leader, in the late 5th century, followed by the Ostrogothic kings up to the mid-6th century. With the Frankish conquest of Italy in the 8th century, the Carolingians assumed the title, maintained by subsequent Holy Roman Emperors throughout the Middle Ages; the last Emperor to claim the title was Charles V in the 16th century. During this period, the holders of the title were crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. A Kingdom of Italy was restored from 1805 to 1814 with Napoleon as its only king, centered in Northern Italy, it was not until the Italian unification in the 1860s that a Kingdom of Italy covering the entire peninsula was restored. From 1861 the House of Savoy held the title of King of Italy until the last king, Umberto II, was exiled in 1946 when Italy became a republic. After the deposition of the last Western Emperor in 476, Heruli leader Odoacer was appointed Dux Italiae by the reigning Byzantine Emperor Zeno.
The Germanic foederati, the Scirians and the Heruli, as well as a large segment of the Italic Roman army, proclaimed Odoacer Rex Italiae. In 493, the Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great killed Odoacer, set up a new dynasty of kings of Italy. Ostrogothic rule ended when Italy was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 552. In 568, the Lombards entered the peninsula and ventured to recreate a barbarian kingdom in opposition to the Empire, establishing their authority over much of Italy, except the Exarchate of Ravenna and the duchies of Rome, Venetia and the southernmost portions. In the 8th century, estrangement between the Italians and the Byzantines allowed the Lombards to capture the remaining Roman enclaves in northern Italy. However, in 774, they were defeated by the Franks under Charlemagne, who deposed their king and took up the title "king of the Lombards". After the death of Charles the Fat in 887, Italy fell into instability and a number of kings attempted to establish themselves as independent Italian monarchs.
During this period, known as the Feudal Anarchy, the title Rex Italicorum was introduced. After the breakup of the Frankish empire, Otto I added Italy to the Holy Roman Empire and continued the use of the title Rex Italicorum; the last to use this title was Henry II. Subsequent emperors used the title "King of Italy" until Charles V. At first they were crowned in Pavia Milan, Charles was crowned in Bologna. In 1805, Napoleon I was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy at the Milan Cathedral; the next year, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated his imperial title. From the deposition of Napoleon I until the Italian Unification, there was no Italian monarch claiming the overarching title; the Risorgimento established a dynasty, the House of Savoy, over the whole peninsula, uniting the kingdoms of Sardinia and the Two Sicilies to form the modern Kingdom of Italy. The monarchy was superseded by the Italian Republic, after a constitutional referendum was held on 2 June 1946, after World War II; the Italian monarchy formally ended on 12 June of that year, Umberto II left the country.
Odoacer vassal of the Eastern Roman Empire. Theoderic the Great Athalaric Theodahad Witiges Ildibad Eraric Totila Teia Alboin Cleph Rule of the dukes Authari Agilulf Adaloald Arioald Rothari Rodoald Aripert I Perctarit and Godepert Grimoald Perctarit, restored from exile Alahis, rebel Cunincpert Liutpert Raginpert Aripert II Ansprand Liutprand Hildeprand Ratchis Aistulf Desiderius Charlemagne Pippin Bernard Louis I Lothair I Louis II Charles II the Bald Carloman Charles the Fat After 887, Italy fell into instability, with many rulers claiming the kingship simultaneously: Berengar I vassal of the German King Arnulf of Carinthia, reduced to Friuli 889-894, deposed by Arnulf in 896. Guy of Spoleto opponent of Berengar, was deposed by Arnulf. Lambert of Spoleto subking of his father Guy before 894, reduced to Spoleto 894–895. Arnulf of Carinthia Ratold In 896, Arnulf and Ratold lost control of Italy, divided between Berengar and Lambert: Berengar I seized Lambert's portion upon the latter's death in 898.
Lambert of Italy Louis III of Provence opposed Berengar 900-902 and 905. Rudolph II of Burgundy defeated Berengar but fled Italy in 926. Hugh of Arles elected by Berengar's partisans in 925, resigned to Provence after 945. Lothair II Berengar II of Ivrea jointly with his son:Adalbert of Italy In 951 Otto I of Germany invaded Italy and was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. In 952, Berengar and Adalbert remained Kings until being deposed by Otto. Roger II used the title King of Sicily and Italy until at least 1135. Although his realm included the southern Italian mainland, he never exerted any control over the official Kingdom of Italy, none of his successors claimed the title King of Italy. Charles V was the last emperor to use the title; the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, formally end
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
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
Pavia is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 kilometres south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It has a population of c. 73,000. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of the Lombards from 572 to 774. Pavia is the capital of the fertile province of Pavia, known for agricultural products including wine, rice and dairy products. Although there are a number of industries located in the suburbs, these tend not to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the town, it is home to the ancient University of Pavia, which together with the IUSS, Ghislieri College, Borromeo College, Nuovo College, Santa Caterina College and the EDiSU, belongs to the Pavia Study System. Pavia is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Pavia; the city possesses many artistic and cultural treasures, including several important churches and museums, such as the well-known Certosa di Pavia. The Central Hospital of Pavia is one of the most important hospitals in Italy.
Dating back to pre-Roman times, the town of Pavia known as Ticinum, was a municipality and an important military site under the Roman Empire. It was said by Pliny the Elder to have been founded by the Laevi and Marici, two Ligurian tribes, while Ptolemy attributes it to the Insubres; the Roman city most began as a small military camp, built by the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio in 218 BC to guard a wooden bridge he had built over the river Ticinum, on his way to search for Hannibal, rumoured to have managed to lead an army over the Alps and into Italy. The forces of Rome and Carthage ran into each other soon thereafter, the Romans suffered the first of many crushing defeats at the hands of Hannibal, with the consul himself losing his life; the bridge was destroyed, but the fortified camp, which at the time was the most forward Roman military outpost in the Po Valley, somehow survived the long Second Punic War, evolved into a garrison town. Its importance grew with the extension of the Via Aemilia from Ariminum to the Po River, which it crossed at Placentia and there forked, one branch going to Mediolanum and the other to Ticinum, thence to Laumellum where it divided once more, one branch going to Vercellae - and thence to Eporedia and Augusta Praetoria - and the other to Valentia - and thence to Augusta Taurinorum.
It was at Pavia in 476 AD that the reign of Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire ended and Roman rule ceased in Italy. Romulus Augustulus, while considered the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was a usurper of the imperial throne. Though being the emperor, Romulus Augustulus was the mouthpiece for his father Orestes, the person who exercised power and governed Italy during Romulus Augustulus's short reign. Ten months after Romulus Augustulus's reign began, Orestes's soldiers under the command of one of his officers named Odoacer and killed Orestes in the city of Pavia in 476; the rioting that took place as part of Odoacer's uprising against Orestes sparked fires that burnt much of Pavia to the point that Odoacer, as the new king of Italy, had to suspend the taxes for the city for five years so that it could finance its recovery. Without his father, Romulus Augustulus was powerless. Instead of killing Romulus Augustulus, Odoacer pensioned him off at 6,000 solidi a year before declaring the end of the Western Roman Empire and himself king of the new Kingdom of Italy.
Odoacer's reign as king of Italy did not last long, because in 488 the Ostrogothic peoples led by their king Theoderic invaded Italy and waged war against Odoacer. After fighting for 5 years, Theoderic defeated Odoacer and on March 15, 493, assassinated Odoacer at a banquet meant to negotiate a peace between the two rulers. With the establishment of the Ostrogoth kingdom based in northern Italy, Theoderic began his vast program of public building. Pavia was among several cities that Theodoric chose to expand, he began the construction of the vast palace complex that would become the residence of Lombard monarchs several decades later. Theoderic commissioned the building of the Roman-styled amphitheatre and bath complex in Pavia. Near the end of Theoderic's reign the Christian philosopher Boethius was imprisoned in one of Pavia's churches from 522 to 525 before his execution for treason, it was during Boethius's captivity in Pavia that he wrote his seminal work the Consolation of Philosophy. Pavia played an important role in the war between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ostrogoths that began in 535.
After the Eastern Roman general Belisarius's victory over the Ostrogothic leader Wittigis in 540 and the loss of most of the Ostrogoth lands in Italy, Pavia was among the last centres of Ostrogothic resistance that continued the war and opposed Eastern Roman rule. After the capitulation of the Ostrogothic leadership in 540 more than a thousand men remained garrisoned in Pavia and Verona dedicated to opposing Eastern Roman rule; the resilience of Ostrogoth strongholds like Pavia against invading forces allowed pockets of Ostrogothic rule to limp along until being defeated in 561. Pavia and the peninsula of Italy didn't remain long under the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire, for in 568, a new people invaded Italy; this new invading people in 568
Authari was king of the Lombards from 584 to his death. He was considered as the first Lombard king to have adopted some level of "Roman-ness" and introduced policies that led to drastic changes in the treatment of the Romans and Christianity. Authari was the son of King of the Lombards; when the latter died in 574, the Lombard nobility refused to appoint a successor, resulting in a ten-years-long interregnum known as the Rule of the Dukes. In 574 and 575 the Lombards invaded Provence part of the kingdom of Burgundy of the Merovingian Guntram; the latter, in alliance with his nephew, the king of Austrasia Childebert II, replied by invading Northern Italy. The Austrasian army took Trent; the Byzantine emperor, Tiberius II, began to negotiate an alliance with the Franks, so the Lombards, fearful of a pincer movement, elected another king. In 584, they elected Duke Authari and ceded him the capital of Pavia as well as half of their ducal domains as a demesne, he spent his entire reign in wars with the Franks, the Byzantines, Lombard rebels.
His first major test was the quashing of the rebel duke Droctulf of Brescello, who had allied with the Romans and was ruling the Po valley. Having expelled him, he spent most of the rest of his six years on the throne fighting the exarch of Ravenna, Smaragdus, or the Merovingian kings. Guntram and Childebert were still not satisfied with their successes in Italy and they many times threatened invasion, following through on their threats twice; the memory of Theudebert I of Austrasia's campaigns in Italy, the urging of Childebert's warlike mother Brunhilda and the Byzantine emperor and exarch, as well as the wrongs done Guntram in the past undoubtedly fueled their quarrelsomeness. In 588, Authari defeated them handily, but in 590, the uncle and nephew led two armies across the Alps over Mont Cenis and the Brenner to Milan and Verona. Though Authari shut himself up in Pavia, the Franks accomplished little as the exarch's army did not meet them and they could not join up with each other. Pestilence turned them around and they left the Lombards much chastened, but hardly defeated.
Authari, when not controlled by foreign armies, expanded the Lombard dominion at the expense of Byzantium. He cut off communication between Padua and Ravenna. Faroald, duke of Spoleto, utterly devastated it. Authari swept through the peninsula all the way to Reggio, vowing to take Calabria — a vow never to be kept by any Lombard. Authari married Theodelinda, daughter of the Bavarian duke Garibald I, on 15 May 589 at Verona. A Catholic, she had great influence among the Lombards for her virtue. A detailed account of the courtship by the eighth-century historian Paul the Deacon revealed that the marriage was a political alliance designed to provide additional sanction to Authari's royal position. In addition, Theodelinda was chosen due to the long-standing ties between the Lombards and the Bavarians as well as their mutual hostility toward the Franks, she claimed descent from the ancient Lombard royal line. When Authari died in Pavia in 590 by poison, he was succeeded as king by Agilulf, duke of Turin, on the advice, sought by the dukes, of Theodelinda, who married the new king.
Jarnut, Jörg. Geschichte der Langobarden. Stuttgart
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
Cunincpert was king of the Lombards from 688 to 700. He succeeded his father Perctarit, though he was associated with the throne from 680. Soon after his assumption of the sole kingship, Cunincpert was ousted by duke of Brescia. Alahis had rebelled during the reign of Perctarit, but it was Cunincpert who, according to Paul the Deacon in the Historia Langobardorum, had persuaded his father to show mercy. Perctarit is reported to have warned his son of the consequences, it was thus soon after Perctarit's death that Alahis forced Cunincpert to flee to Isola Comacina, an island in the middle of Lake Como. The only extant record of the rule of Alahis is contained in Book V of Paul the Deacon's Historia Langobardorum, his rule is portrayed as burdensome and tyrannical, antagonistic to the Catholic Church. Having lost the support of the Church and, crucially, of the'people', Cunincpert was able to return to Pavia and resume control. Alahis, however was able to acquire sufficient support to bring the matter to battle.
Cunincpert, with the men of Piedmont, defeated Alahis and the men of Venetia at the Battle of Coronate, on the Horn of the Adda, near Lodi, in 689. Alahis was slain in battle. Cunincpert suppressed other insurrections during his reign, including that of the usurper Duke Ansfrid of Friuli, he successfully settled the schism in the Italian church between Aquileia and Grado. He died in 700 and was succeeded by his young son Liutpert, the regent Ansprand, many rebels. Many wars took place during his reign, he is notably the first Lombard monarch to strike coins in his image