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Thread: The Lombards: Origin and History

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    Account Inactive Huzar's Avatar
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    The Lombards: Origin and History

    (from WIKIPEDIA)

    The Lombards (Latin Langobardi, whence the alternative names Langobards and Longobards) were a Germanic people originally from Northern Europe who settled in the valley of the Danube and from there invaded Byzantine Italy 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.

    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 Winniler dwelling on a Nordic island called Scadanan. (The Codex Gothanus writes that the Winniler first dwelt near a river called Vindilicus on the extreme boundary of Gaul.) The Winniler were split into three groups and one part left the native land to seek foreign fields. The reason for the exodus was probably overpopulation. The departing people were led by the brothers Ybor and Aio and their mother Gambara and arrived in the lands of Scoringa, perhaps the Baltic coast or the Bardengau on the banks of the Elbe. Scoringa was ruled by the Wandals, and their chieftains, the brothers Ambri and Assi, who granted the Winniler a choice between tribute or war. The Winniler 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."




    Kingdom of Italy


    Invasion and conquest of Italy

    In 560 a new, energetic king emerged: Alboin, who defeated the neighbouring Gepidae, made them his subjects, and, in 566, married the daughter of their king Cunimond, Rosamund. In the spring of 568, Alboin led the Lombards, together with other Germanic tribes; (Bavarians, Gepidae, Saxons[53]) and Bulgars, across the Julian Alps with 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, Verona and Brescia fell 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 Exarch sent to Italy by Emperor Justinian II, Longinus, could defend only coastal cities that could be supplied by the powerful Byzantine fleet. Pavia fell after a siege of three years, in 572, becoming the first capital city of the new Lombard kingdom of Italy. In the following years, the Lombards penetrated further south, conquering Tuscany and 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 were and remained pagan, 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 Spoleto and Benevento definitively in the attempt.


    Langobardia major

    Duchy of Friuli and List of Dukes and Margraves of Friuli
    Duchy of Ceneda
    Duchy of Vicenza
    Duchy of Verona
    Duchy of Trent
    Duchy of Brescia
    Duchy of Bergamo
    Duchy of San Giulio
    Duchy of Pavia
    Duchy of Turin
    Duchy of Asti
    Duchy of Tuscia


    Langobardia minor

    Duchy of Spoleto and List of Dukes of Spoleto
    Duchy of Benevento and List of Dukes and Princes of Benevento




    Arian monarchy

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

    Authari died in 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), Cremona and Mantua (603), and forcing the Exarch of Ravenna to 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 Liguria in 643 and the remaining part of the Byzantine territories of thevinner 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 Rodoald succeeded him in 652, still very young, and was killed by the Catholic party.

    At the death of king Aripert in 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 Friuli and 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 II to conquer southern Italy. He also defeated the Franks. At Grimoald's death in 671 Perctarit returned 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 filo-Catholic Cunipert.


    POST-Longobardic Era (1000 a.d.)



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    Account Inactive Huzar's Avatar
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    Two images more to clarify the migration process....









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    Tribe of Langobarden



    I'm wondering if anyone has any information on the Tribe (I think they would be called a tribe, correct me if I'm wrong) of Langobarden.

    I have discovered a few things about them; for example, their migrations along with periods and the kingdoms they've created.

    Since people study Germanic tribes I thought someone might have "come across" this tribe and have some information or references I could look at.

    Thank you,

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    Since the Germanic peoples always seemed to be in a state of flux, do you have a date for this map?

    Also, the designation "Warnen" is new to me. I have an ancestor whose last name was Warner. Does anybody know if there is a relationship?

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    No I don't have a precise period; although, I do believe it is where prominance of each tribe originated.



    This picture matches the location of the Tribe of Langobarden (or Langobardi) to the same area and states it is Proto-Germanic (before 100BC).

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    Interesting documentary on the history of the Lombards. It's part of the History channel's "Barbarians" series.

    “Remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no-one is too poor to buy.” - C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

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    Senior Member Elysium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chlodovech View Post
    Interesting documentary on the history of the Lombards. It's part of the History channel's "Barbarians" series.

    You've posted a few of these links. I tried to search for the "Barbarians" series but I came up with limited results.

    Do you know have any more links for the series than just Franks and Lombards?

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    Sound methods Chlodovech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysium View Post
    You've posted a few of these links. I tried to search for the "Barbarians" series but I came up with limited results.

    Do you know have any more links for the series than just Franks and Lombards?
    The only thing you can do is check this excellent website: http://popperslist.blogspot.com/ - it hosts mainly historical documentaries - its owner promised to upload the entire series about the Germanic tribes this weekend. So other documentaries about the subject will follow suit, and I'll share the links at our forum in any event.
    “Remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no-one is too poor to buy.” - C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

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    Basically Charlemagne found an excuse to conquer them.

    At the succession of Pope Hadrian I in 772, he demanded the return of certain cities in the former exarchate of Ravenna as in accordance with a promise of Desiderius' succession. Desiderius instead took over certain papal cities and invaded the Pentapolis, heading for Rome. Hadrian sent embassies to Charlemagne in autumn requesting he enforce the policies of his father, Pippin. Desiderius sent his own embassies denying the pope's charges. The embassies both met at Thionville and Charlemagne upheld the pope's side. Charlemagne promptly demanded what the pope had demanded and Desiderius promptly swore never to comply. Charlemagne and his uncle Bernard crossed the Alps in 773 and chased the Lombards back to Pavia, which they then besieged. Charlemagne temporarily left the siege to deal with Adelchis, son of Desiderius, who was raising an army at Verona. The young prince was chased to the Adriatic littoral and he fled to Constantinople to plead for assistance from Constantine V Copronymus, who was waging war with the Bulgars.

    The siege lasted until the spring of 774, when Charlemagne visited the pope in Rome. There he confirmed his father's grants of land, with some later chronicles claiming—falsely—that he also expanded them, granting Tuscany, Emilia, Venice, and Corsica. The pope granted him the title patrician. He then returned to Pavia, where the Lombard's were on the verge of surrendering.

    In return for their lives, the Lombards surrendered and opened the gates in early summer. Desiderius was sent to the abbey of Corbie and his son Adelchis died in Constantinople a patrician. Charles, unusually, had himself crowned with the Iron Crown and made the magnates of Lombardy do homage to him at Pavia. Only Duke Arechis II of Benevento refused to submit and proclaimed independence. Charlemagne was now master of Italy as king of the Lombards. He left Italy with a garrison in Pavia and few Frankish counts in place that very year.

    There are many that think Germanic's derived from Celts or better stated Proto Celts .One look at th similarities in mythology gives much credence to that.There was an excellent post on the old board showing Celtic and Germanic myths mirroring of each other.

    http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MA/GERMANS.HTM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff View Post
    Since the Germanic peoples always seemed to be in a state of flux, do you have a date for this map?
    Looks like it's heavily based on Tacitus's description.
    Also, the designation "Warnen" is new to me. I have an ancestor whose last name was Warner. Does anybody know if there is a relationship?
    Also known as the Varini. Close kin of the Angles. I would be seriously sceptical of the surname's link!

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