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 (Scadanan) 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 roughly coinciding with modern Austria and Slovakia north of the Danube river, where they subdued the Heruls and later fought frequent wars with the Gepids. The Lombard king Audoin defeated the Gepid leader Thurisind in 551 or 552; his successor Alboin eventually destroyed the Gepids in 567.
Following this victory, Alboin decided to lead his people to Italy, which had become severely depopulated and devastated after the long Gothic War (535–554) 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, Austria and Slovenia, only leaving Germanic territory a few decades before reaching Italy. The Lombards would have consequently remained a predominantly Germanic tribe by the time they invaded Italy.  The Lombards were joined by numerous Saxons, Heruls, Gepids, Bulgars, Thuringians, and Ostrogoths, and their invasion of Italy was almost 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 central Italy and southern Italy. They established a Lombard Kingdom in north and central Italy, later named Regnum Italicum ("Kingdom of Italy"), which reached its zenith under the 8th-century ruler Liutprand. In 774, the Kingdom was conquered by the Frankish King Charlemagne and 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 (Land of the Lombards), in the Norse runestones. Their legacy is also apparent in the regional name Lombardy (in the north of Italy).
The fullest account of Lombard origins, history, and practices is the Historia 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 Lombard People).
The Origo Gentis Langobardorum tells the story of a small tribe called the Winnili dwelling in southern Scandinavia (Scadanan) (the Codex Gothanus writes that the Winnili first dwelt near a river called Vindilicus on the extreme boundary of Gaul). The Winnili were split into three groups and one part left their 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 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 (the god Odin), 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 (the goddess Frigg), who advised that all Winnili women should tie their hair in front of their faces like beards and march in line with their husbands. At sunrise, Frea turned her husband's bed so that he was facing east, and 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 also the victory." From that moment onwards, the Winnili were known as the Longbeards (Latinised as Langobardi, Italianised as Longobardi, and Anglicized as Longobards or Lombards).
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 that the name "Langobard" came from the length of their beards. A modern theory suggests that the name "Langobard" comes from Langbarðr, a name of Odin. Priester states that when the Winnili changed their name to "Lombards", they also 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", and that the Lombard given name Ansegranus ("he with the beard of the gods") shows that the Lombards had this idea of their chief deity. 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 possibly a branch of the Langobards.
Alternatively some etymological sources suggest an Old High German root, barta, meaning “axe” (and related to English halberd), while Edward Gibbon puts forth an alternative suggestion which argues that:
…Börde (or Börd) still signifies “a fertile plain by the side of a river,” and a district near Magdeburg is still called the lange Börde. According to this view Langobardi would signify “inhabitants of the long bord of the river;” and traces of their name are supposed still to occur in such names as Bardengau and Bardewick in the neighborhood of the Elbe.
According to the Gallaecian Christian priest, historian and theologian Paulus Orosius, the Lombards or Winnili lived originally in the Vinuiloth (Vinovilith) mentioned by Jordanes, in his masterpiece Getica, to the north of Uppsala, Sweden. Scoringa was near the province of Uppland, so just north of Östergötland.
The historian then explains the etymology of the name Scoringa:
The shores of Uppland and Östergötland are covered with small rocks and rocky islands, which are called in German Schæren and in Swedish Skiaeren. Heal signifies a port in the northern languages; consequently Skiæren-Heal is the port of the Skiæren, a name well adapted to the port of Stockholm, in the Upplandske Skiæren, and the country may be justly called Scorung or Skiærunga.
The legendary king Sceafa of Scandza was an ancient Lombardic king in Anglo-Saxon legend. The Old English poem Widsith, in a listing of famous kings and their countries, has Sceafa [weold] Longbeardum, so naming Sceafa as ruler of the Lombards.
Similarities between Langobardic and Gothic migration traditions have been noted among scholars. These early migration legends suggest that a major shifting of tribes occurred sometime between the 1st and 2nd century BC, which would coincide with the time that the Teutoni and Cimbri left their homelands in Scandinavia and migrated through Germany, eventually invading Roman Italy.
The first mention of the Lombards occurred between AD 9 and 16, by the Roman court historian Velleius Paterculus, who accompanied a Roman expedition as prefect of the cavalry. Paterculus says that under Tiberius the "power of the Langobardi was broken, a race surpassing even the Germans in savagery".
From the combined testimony of Strabo (AD 20) and Tacitus (AD 117), the Lombards dwelt near the mouth of the Elbe shortly after the beginning of the Christian era, next to the Chauci. Strabo states that the Lombards dwelt on both sides of the Elbe. He treats them as a branch of the Suebi, and states that:
Now as for the tribe of the Suebi, it is the largest, for it extends from the Rhenus to the Albis; and a part of them even dwell on the far side of the Albis, as, for instance, the Hermondori and the Langobardi; and at the present time these latter, at least, have, to the last man, been driven in flight out of their country into the land on the far side of the river.
Suetonius wrote that Roman general Nero Drusus defeated a large force of Germans and drove some “to the farther side of the Albis (Elbe)” river. It is conceivable that these refugees were the Langobardi and the Hermunduri mentioned by Strabo not long after.
The German archaeologist Willi Wegewitz defined several Iron Age burial sites at the Lower Elbe as Langobardic. The burial sites are crematorial and are usually dated from the 6th century BC through the 3rd century AD, so a settlement breakoff seems unlikely. The lands of the lower Elbe fall into the zone of the Jastorf Culture and became Elbe-Germanic, differing from the lands between Rhine, Weser, and the North Sea. Archaeological finds show that the Lombards were an agricultural people.
Tacitus also counted the Lombards as a remote and aggressive Suebian tribe, one of those united in worship of the deity Nerthus, who he referred to as "Mother Earth", and also as subjects of Marobod the King of the Marcomanni. Marobod had made peace with the Romans, and that is why the Lombards were not part of the Germanic confederacy under Arminius at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in AD 9. In AD 17, war broke out between Arminius and Marobod. Tacitus records:
Not only the Cheruscans and their confederates... took arms, but the Semnones and Langobards, both Suebian nations, revolted to him from the sovereignty of Marobod... The armies... were stimulated by reasons of their own, the Cheruscans and the Langobards fought for their ancient honor or their newly acquired independence. . . .
In 47, a struggle ensued amongst the Cherusci and they expelled their new leader, the nephew of Arminius, from their country. The Lombards appeared on the scene with sufficient power to control the destiny of the tribe that had been the leader in the struggle for independence thirty-eight years earlier, for they restored the deposed leader to sovereignty.
To the south, Cassius Dio reported that just before the Marcomannic Wars, 6,000 Lombards and Obii (sometimes thought to be Ubii), crossed the Danube and invaded Pannonia. The two tribes were defeated, whereupon they ceased their invasion and sent Ballomar, King of the Marcomanni, as ambassador to Aelius Bassus, who was then administering Pannonia. Peace was made and the two tribes returned to their homes, which in the case of the Lombards was the lands of the lower Elbe. At about this time, in his Germania Tacitus says that "their scanty numbers are a distinction" because "surrounded by a host of most powerful tribes, they are safe, not by submitting, but by daring the perils of war".
In the mid-2nd century, the Lombards apparently appeared in the Rhineland, because according to Claudius Ptolemy, the Suebic Lombards lived "below" the Bructeri and Sugambri, and between these and the Tencteri. To their east stretching northwards to the central Elbe are the Suebi Angili. But Ptolemy also mentions the "Laccobardi" to the north of the above-mentioned Suebic territories, east of the Angrivarii on the Weser, and south of the Chauci on the coast, probably indicating a Lombard expansion from the Elbe to the Rhine. This double mention has been interpreted as an editorial error by Gudmund Schütte, in his analysis of Ptolemy. However, the Codex Gothanus also mentions Patespruna (Paderborn) in connection with the Lombards.
From the 2nd century onwards, many of the Germanic tribes recorded as active during the Principate started to unite into bigger tribal unions, such as the Franks, Alamanni, Bavarii, and Saxons. The Lombards are not mentioned at first, perhaps because they were not initially on the border of Rome, or perhaps because they were subjected to a larger tribal union, like the Saxons. It is, however, highly probable that, when the bulk of the Lombards migrated, a considerable part remained behind and afterwards became absorbed by the Saxon tribes in the Elbe region, while the emigrants alone retained the name of Lombards. However, the Codex Gothanus states that the Lombards were subjected by the Saxons around 300 but rose up against them under their first king, Agelmund, who ruled for 30 years. In the second half of the 4th century, the Lombards left their homes, probably due to bad harvests, and embarked on their migration.
The migration route of the Lombards in 489, from their homeland to "Rugiland", encompassed several places: Scoringa (believed to be their land on the Elbe shores), Mauringa, Golanda, Anthaib, Banthaib, and Vurgundaib (Burgundaib). According to the Ravenna Cosmography, Mauringa was the land east of the Elbe.
The crossing into Mauringa was very difficult. The Assipitti (possibly the Usipetes) denied them passage through their lands and a fight was arranged for the strongest man of each tribe. The Lombard was victorious, passage was granted, and the Lombards reached Mauringa.
The Lombards departed from Mauringa and reached Golanda. Scholar Ludwig Schmidt thinks this was further east, perhaps on the right bank of the Oder. Schmidt considers the name the equivalent of Gotland, meaning simply "good land." This theory is highly plausible; Paul the Deacon mentions the Lombards crossing a river, and they could have reached Rugiland from the Upper Oder area via the Moravian Gate.
Moving out of Golanda, the Lombards passed through Anthaib and Banthaib until they reached Vurgundaib, believed to be the old lands of the Burgundes. In Vurgundaib, the Lombards were stormed in camp by "Bulgars" (probably Huns) and were defeated; King Agelmund was killed and Laimicho was made king. He was in his youth and desired to avenge the slaughter of Agelmund. The Lombards themselves were probably made subjects of the Huns after the defeat but rose up and defeated them with great slaughter, gaining great booty and confidence as they "became bolder in undertaking the toils of war."
In the 540s, Audoin (ruled 546–560) led the Lombards across the Danube once more into Pannonia, where they received Imperial subsidies as Justinian encouraged them to battle the Gepids. In 552, the Byzantines, aided by a large contingent of Foederati, notably Lombards, Heruls and Bulgars, defeated the last Ostrogoths led by Teia in the Battle of Taginae.
In approximately 560, Audoin was succeeded by his son Alboin, a young and energetic leader who defeated the neighboring Gepidae and made them his subjects; in 566, he married Rosamund, daughter of the Gepid king Cunimund. In the spring of 568, Alboin led the Lombard migration into Italy. According to the History of the Lombards, "Then the Langobards, having left Pannonia, hastened to take possession of Italy with their wives and children and all their goods."
Various other peoples who either voluntarily joined or were subjects of King Alboin were also part of the migration. "Whence, even until today, we call the villages in which they dwell Gepidan, Bulgarian, Sarmatian, Pannonian, Suabian, Norican, or by other names of this kind." At least 20,000 Saxon warriors, old allies of the Lombards, and their families joined them in their new migration.
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. Longinus, the Exarch sent to Italy by Emperor Justin II, could only defend 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. Wherever they went, they were joined by the Ostrogothic population, which was allowed to live peacefully in Italy with their Rugian allies under Roman sovereignty. The Byzantines managed to retain control of the area of Ravenna and Rome, linked by a thin corridor running through Perugia.
When they entered Italy, some Lombards retained their native form of paganism, while some were Arian Christians. Hence they did not enjoy good relations with the Early Christian Church. Gradually, they adopted Roman or Romanized titles, names, and traditions, and partially converted to orthodoxy (in the 7th century), though not without a long series of religious and ethnic conflicts. By the time Paul the Deacon was writing, the Lombard language, dress and even hairstyles had nearly all disappeared in toto.
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 since these had begun 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, the kings tried to centralize power over time, but they definitively lost control over Spoleto and Benevento in the attempt.
In 572, Alboin was murdered in Verona in a plot led by his wife, Rosamund, 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, a period regarded as a time of violence and disorder. In 586, threatened by a Frankish invasion, the dukes elected Cleph's son, Authari, as king. In 589, he married Theodelinda, daughter of Garibald I of Bavaria, the Duke of Bavaria. The Catholic Theodelinda was a friend of Pope Gregory I and pushed for Christianization. In the meantime, 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 591 and was succeeded by Agilulf, the duke of Turin, who also married Theodelinda in the same year. Agilulf successfully fought the rebel dukes of northern Italy, conquering Padua in 601, Cremona and Mantua in 603, and forcing the Exarch of Ravenna to pay tribute. Agilulf died in 616; Theodelinda reigned alone until 628 when she was succeeded by Adaloald. Arioald, the head of the Arian opposition who had married Theodelinda's daughter Gundeperga, later deposed Adaloald.
Arioald was succeeded by 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 inner Veneto, including the Roman city of Opitergium (Oderzo). Rothari also made the famous edict bearing his name, the Edictum Rothari, 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 his opponents.
At the death of King Aripert I in 661, the kingdom was split between his children Perctarit, who set his capital in Milan, and Godepert, who reigned from Pavia (Ticinum). 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 philo-Catholic Cunincpert.
The Lombards engaged in fierce battles with Slavic peoples during these years: from 623–26 the Lombards unsuccessfully attacked the Carantanians, and, in 663–64, the Slavs raided the Vipava Valley and the Friuli.
Religious strife and the Slavic raids remained a source of struggle in the following years. In 705, the Friuli Lombards were defeated and lost the land to the west of the Soča River, namely the Gorizia Hills and the Venetian Slovenia. A new ethnic border was established that has lasted for over 1200 years up until the present time.
The Lombard reign began to recover only with Liutprand the Lombard (king from 712), son of Ansprand and successor of the brutal Aripert II. He managed to regain a certain control over Spoleto and Benevento, and, taking advantage of the disagreements between the Pope and Byzantium concerning the reverence of icons, he annexed the Exarchate of Ravenna and the duchy of Rome. He also helped the Frankish marshal Charles Martel drive back the Arabs. The Slavs were defeated in the Battle of Lavariano, when they tried to conquer the Friulian Plain in 720. Liutprand's successor Aistulf conquered Ravenna for the Lombards for the first time but had to relinquish it when he was subsequently defeated by the king of the Franks, Pippin III, who was called by the Pope.
After the death of Aistulf, Ratchis attempted to become king of Lombardy, but he was deposed by Desiderius, duke of Tuscany, the last Lombard to rule as king. Desiderius managed to take Ravenna definitively, ending the Byzantine presence in northern Italy. He decided to reopen struggles against the Pope, who was supporting the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento against him, and entered Rome in 772, the first Lombard king to do so. But when Pope Hadrian I called for help from the powerful Frankish king Charlemagne, Desiderius was defeated at Susa and besieged in Pavia, while his son Adelchis was forced to open the gates of Verona to Frankish troops. Desiderius surrendered in 774, and Charlemagne, in an utterly novel decision, took the title "King of the Lombards". Before then the Germanic kingdoms had frequently conquered each other, but none had adopted the title of King of another people. Charlemagne took part of the Lombard territory to create the Papal States.
The Lombardy region in Italy, which includes the cities of Brescia, Bergamo, Milan, and the old capital Pavia, is a reminder of the presence of the Lombards.
Though the kingdom centred on Pavia in the north fell to Charlemagne and the Franks in 774, the Lombard-controlled territory to the south of the Papal States was never subjugated by Charlemagne or his descendants. In 774, Duke Arechis II of Benevento, whose duchy had only nominally been under royal authority, though certain kings had been effective at making their power known in the south, claimed that Benevento was the successor state of the kingdom. He tried to turn Benevento into a secundum Ticinum: a second Pavia. He tried to claim the kingship, but with no support and no chance of a coronation in Pavia.
Charlemagne came down with an army, and his son Louis the Pious sent men, to force the Beneventan duke to submit, but his submission and promises were never kept and Arechis and his successors were de facto independent. The Beneventan dukes took the title prínceps (prince) instead of that of king.
The Lombards of southern Italy were thereafter in the anomalous position of holding land claimed by two empires: the Carolingian Empire to the north and west and the Byzantine Empire to the east. They typically made pledges and promises of tribute to the Carolingians, but effectively remained outside Frankish control. Benevento meanwhile grew to its greatest extent yet when it imposed a tribute on the Duchy of Naples, which was tenuously loyal to Byzantium and even conquered the Neapolitan city of Amalfi in 838. At one point in the reign of Sicard, Lombard control covered most of southern Italy save the very south of Apulia and Calabria and Naples, with its nominally attached cities. It was during the 9th century that a strong Lombard presence became entrenched in formerly Greek Apulia. However, Sicard had opened up the south to the invasive actions of the Saracens in his war with Andrew II of Naples and when he was assassinated in 839, Amalfi declared independence and two factions fought for power in Benevento, crippling the principality and making it susceptible to external enemies.
The civil war lasted ten years and ended with a peace treaty imposed in 849 by Emperor Louis II, the only Frankish king to exercise actual sovereignty over the Lombard states. The treaty divided the kingdom into two states: the Principality of Benevento and the Principality of Salerno, with its capital at Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Andrew II of Naples hired Saracen mercenaries for his war with Sicard of Benevento in 836; Sicard responded with other Muslim mercenaries. The Saracens initially concentrated their attacks on Sicily and Byzantine Italy, but soon Radelchis I of Benevento called in more mercenaries, who destroyed Capua in 841. Landulf the Old founded the present-day Capua, "New Capua", on a nearby hill. In general, the Lombard princes were less inclined to ally with the Saracens than with their Greek neighbours of Amalfi, Gaeta, Naples, and Sorrento. Guaifer of Salerno, however, briefly put himself under Muslim suzerainty.
In 847 a large Muslim force seized Bari, until then a Lombard gastaldate under the control of Pandenulf. Saracen incursions proceeded northwards until Adelchis of Benevento sought the help of his suzerain, Louis II, who allied with the Byzantine emperor Basil I to expel the Arabs from Bari in 869. An Arab landing force was defeated by the emperor in 871. Adelchis and Louis remained at war until the death of Louis in 875. Adelchis regarded himself as the true successor of the Lombard kings, and in that capacity he amended the Edictum Rothari, the last Lombard ruler to do so.
After the death of Louis, Landulf II of Capua briefly flirted with a Saracen alliance, but Pope John VIII convinced him to break it off. Guaimar I of Salerno fought the Saracens with Byzantine troops. Throughout this period the Lombard princes swung in allegiance from one party to another. Finally, towards 915, Pope John X managed to unite the Christian princes of southern Italy against the Saracen establishments on the Garigliano river. The Saracens were ousted from Italy in the Battle of the Garigliano in 915.
The independent state of Salerno inspired the gastalds of Capua to move towards independence, and by the end of the century they were styling themselves "princes" and as a third Lombard state. The Capuan and Beneventan states were united by Atenulf I of Capua in 900. He subsequently declared them to be in perpetual union, and they were separated only in 982, on the death of Pandulf Ironhead. With all of the Lombard south under his control, except Salerno, Atenulf felt safe to use the title Princeps Gentis Langobardorum ("prince of the Lombard people"), which Arechis II had begun using in 774. Among Atenulf's successors the principality was ruled jointly by fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, and uncles for the greater part of the century. Meanwhile, the prince Gisulf I of Salerno began using the title Langobardorum Gentis Princeps around mid-century, but the ideal of a united Lombard principality was realised only in December 977, when Gisulf died and his domains were inherited by Pandulf Ironhead, who temporarily held almost all Italy south of Rome and brought the Lombards into alliance with the Holy Roman Empire. His territories were divided upon his death.
Landulf the Red of Benevento and Capua tried to conquer the principality of Salerno with the help of John III of Naples, but with the aid of Mastalus I of Amalfi, Gisulf repulsed him. The rulers of Benevento and Capua made several attempts on Byzantine Apulia at this time, but late in the century, the Byzantines, under the stiff rule of Basil II, gained ground on the Lombards.
The principal source for the history of the Lombard principalities in this period is the Chronicon Salernitanum, composed late in the 10th century at Salerno.
The diminished Beneventan principality soon lost its independence to the papacy and declined in importance until it fell in the Norman conquest of southern Italy. The Normans, first called in by the Lombards to fight the Byzantines for control of Apulia and Calabria (under the likes of Melus of Bari and Arduin, among others), had become rivals for hegemony in the south. The Salernitan principality experienced a golden age under Guaimar III and Guaimar IV, but under Gisulf II, the principality shrank to insignificance and fell in 1078 to Robert Guiscard, who had married Gisulf's sister Sichelgaita. The Capua principality was hotly contested during the reign of the hated Pandulf IV, the Wolf of the Abruzzi, and, under his son, it fell, almost without contest, to the Norman Richard Drengot (1058). The Capuans revolted against Norman rule in 1091, expelling Richard's grandson Richard II and setting up one Lando IV.
Capua was again put under Norman rule after the Siege of Capua of 1098 and the city quickly declined in importance under a series of ineffectual Norman rulers. The independent status of these Lombard states is in general attested by the ability of their rulers to switch suzerains at will. Often the legal vassal of pope or emperor (either Byzantine or Holy Roman), they were the real power-brokers in the south until their erstwhile allies, the Normans, rose to preeminence: The Lombards regarded the Normans as barbarians and the Byzantines as oppressors. Regarding their own civilisation as superior, the Lombards did indeed provide the environment for the illustrious Schola Medica Salernitana.
The genes of the Lombards became quickly diluted into the Italian population owing to their relatively small number and their geographic dispersal in order to rule and administer their kingdom. Some regions were never under Lombard domination, including Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria, southern Apulia, Naples and the Latium. In all these regions the Byzantines brought more Greek-Anatolian lineages, which were already the dominant lineages from the Magna Graecia period. 
The Lombardic language is extinct (unless Cimbrian and Mocheno represent surviving dialects). The Germanic language declined, beginning in the 7th century, but may have been in scattered use until as late as about the year 1000. Only fragments of the language have survived, the main evidence being individual words quoted in Latin texts. In the absence of Lombardic texts, it is not possible to draw any conclusions about the language's morphology and syntax. The genetic classification of the language depends entirely on phonology. Since there is evidence that Lombardic participated in, and indeed shows some of the earliest evidence for, the High German consonant shift, it is usually classified as an Elbe Germanic or Upper German dialect.
Lombardic fragments are preserved in runic inscriptions. Primary source texts include short inscriptions in the Elder Futhark, among them the "bronze capsule of Schretzheim" (c. 600) and the silver belt buckle found in Pforzen, Ostallgäu (Schwaben). A number of Latin texts include Lombardic names, and Lombardic legal texts contain terms taken from the legal vocabulary of the vernacular. In 2005, Emilia Denčeva argued that the inscription of the Pernik sword may be Lombardic.
The Italian language preserves a large number of Lombardic words, although it is not always easy to distinguish them from other Germanic borrowings such as those from Gothic or from Frankish. They often bear some resemblance to English words, as Lombardic was akin to Saxon. For instance, landa from land, guardia from wardan (warden), guerra from werra (war), ricco from rikki (rich), and guadare from wadjan (to wade).
From the Codice diplomatico longobardo, a collection of legal documents that makes reference to many Lombardic terms, we obtain several terms still in use in the Italian language:
barba (beard), marchio (mark), maniscalco (blacksmith), aia (courtyard), braida (suburban meadow), borgo (burg, village), fara (fundamental unity of Lombard social and military organization, presently used as toponym), pizzo (peak, mountain top, now used as toponym), sala (hall, room, also used as toponym), staffa (stirrup), stalla (stable), sculdascio, faida (feud), manigoldo (scoundrel), sgherro (henchman); fanone (baleen), stamberga (hovel); anca (hip), guancia (cheek), nocca (knuckle), schiena (back); gazza (magpie), martora (marten); gualdo (wood, presently used as toponym), pozza (pool); verbs like bussare (to knock), piluccare (to peck), russare (to snore).
During their stay at the mouth of the Elbe, the Lombards came into contact with other western Germanic populations, such as the Saxons and the Frisians. From these populations, which for long had been in contact with the Celts (especially the Saxons), they learned a rigid social organization into castes, rarely present in other Germanic peoples.
The Lombard kings can be traced back as early as c. 380 and thus to the beginning of the Great Migration. Kingship developed amongst the Germanic peoples when the unity of a single military command was found necessary. Schmidt believed that the Germanic tribes were divided according to cantons and that the earliest government was a general assembly that selected canton chiefs and war leaders in times of conflict. All such figures were probably selected from a caste of nobility. As a result of the wars of their wanderings, royal power developed such that the king became the representative of the people, but the influence of the people on the government did not fully disappear. Paul the Deacon gives an account of the Lombard tribal structure during the migration:
. . . in order that they might increase the number of their warriors, [the Lombards] confer liberty upon many whom they deliver from the yoke of bondage, and that the freedom of these may be regarded as established, they confirm it in their accustomed way by an arrow, uttering certain words of their country in confirmation of the fact.
Complete emancipation appears to have been granted only among the Franks and the Lombards.
Lombard society was divided into classes comparable to those found in the other Germanic successor states of Rome, Frankish Gaul and Visigothic Spain. There was a noble class, a class of free persons beneath them, a class of unfree non-slaves (serfs), and finally slaves. The aristocracy itself was poorer, more urbanised, and less landed than elsewhere. Aside from the richest and most powerful of the dukes and the king himself, Lombard noblemen tended to live in cities (unlike their Frankish counterparts) and hold little more than twice as much in land as the merchant class (a far cry from provincial Frankish aristocrats who held vast swathes of land, hundreds of times larger than those beneath his status). The aristocracy by the 8th century was highly dependent on the king for means of income related especially to judicial duties: many Lombard nobles are referred to in contemporary documents as iudices (judges) even when their offices had important military and legislative functions as well.
The freemen of the Lombard kingdom were far more numerous than in Frank lands, especially in the 8th century, when they are almost invisible in surviving documentary evidence. Smallholders, owner-cultivators, and rentiers are the most numerous types of person in surviving diplomata for the Lombard kingdom. They may have owned more than half of the land in Lombard Italy. The freemen were exercitales and viri devoti, that is, soldiers and "devoted men" (a military term like "retainers"); they formed the levy of the Lombard army, and they were sometimes, if infrequently, called to serve, though this seems not to have been their preference. The small landed class, however, lacked the political influence necessary with the king (and the dukes) to control the politics and legislation of the kingdom. The aristocracy was more thoroughly powerful politically if not economically in Italy than in contemporary Gaul and Spain.
The urbanisation of Lombard Italy was characterised by the città ad isole (or "city as islands"). It appears from archaeology that the great cities of Lombard Italy — Pavia, Lucca, Siena, Arezzo, Milan — were themselves formed of minute islands of urbanisation within the old Roman city walls. The cities of the Roman Empire had been partially destroyed in the series of wars of the 5th and 6th centuries. Many sectors were left in ruins and ancient monuments became fields of grass used as pastures for animals, thus the Roman Forum became the Campo Vaccino, the field of cows. The portions of the cities that remained intact were small, modest, contained a cathedral or major church (often sumptuously decorated), and a few public buildings and townhomes of the aristocracy. Few buildings of importance were stone, most were wood. In the end, the inhabited parts of the cities were separated from one another by stretches of pasture even within the city walls.
The legend from Origo may hint that initially, before the passage from Scandinavia to the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, the Lombards worshiped the Vanir. Later, in contact with other Germanic populations, they adopted the worship of the Æsir: an evolution that marked the passage from the adoration of deities related to fertility and the earth to the cult of warlike gods.
In chapter 40 of his Germania, Roman historian Tacitus, discussing the Suebian tribes of Germania, writes that the Lombards were one of the Suebian tribes united in worship of the deity Nerthus, who is often identified with the Norse goddess Freyja. The other tribes were the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones.
They expressed a religious veneration to a golden viper, and prostrated themselves before it: they paid also a superstitious honour to a tree, on which they hung the skin of a wild beast, and these ceremonies were closed by public games, in which the skin served for a mark at which bowmen shot arrows over their shoulder.
The Lombards were first touched by Christianity while still in Pannonia, but only touched: their conversion and Christianisation was largely nominal and far from complete. During the reign of Wacho, they were Orthodox Catholics allied with the Byzantine Empire, but Alboin converted to Arianism as an ally of the Ostrogoths and invaded Italy. All these Christian conversions primarily affected the aristocracy, while the common people remained pagan.
In Italy, the Lombards were intensively Christianised, and the pressure to convert to Catholicism was great. With the Bavarian queen Theodelinda, a Catholic, the monarchy was brought under heavy Catholic influence. After initial support for the anti-Rome party in the Schism of the Three Chapters, Theodelinda remained a close contact and supporter of Pope Gregory I. In 603, Adaloald, the heir to the throne, received Catholic baptism. During the next century, Arianism and paganism continued to hold out in Austria (the northeast of Italy) and in the Duchy of Benevento. A succession of Arian kings was militarily aggressive and presented a threat to the Papacy in Rome. In the 7th century, the nominally Christian aristocracy of Benevento was still practising pagan rituals such as sacrifices in "sacred" woods. By the end of the reign of Cunincpert, however, the Lombards were more or less completely Catholicised. Under Liutprand Catholicism became tangible as the king sought to justify his title rex totius Italiae by uniting the south of the peninsula with the north, thereby bringing together his Italo-Roman and Germanic subjects into one Catholic State.
The Duchy and eventually Principality of Benevento in southern Italy developed a unique Christian rite in the 7th and 8th centuries. The Beneventan rite is more closely related to the liturgy of the Ambrosian rite than to the Roman rite. The Beneventan rite has not survived in its complete form, although most of the principal feasts and several feasts of local significance are extant. The Beneventan rite appears to have been less complete, less systematic, and more liturgically flexible than the Roman rite.
Characteristic of this rite was the Beneventan chant, a Lombard-influenced chant that bore similarities to the Ambrosian chant of Milan. The Beneventan chant is largely defined by its role in the liturgy of the Beneventan rite; many Beneventan chants were assigned multiple roles when inserted into Gregorian chantbooks, appearing variously as antiphons, offertories, and communions, for example. It was eventually supplanted by the Gregorian chant in the 11th century.
The chief centre of the Beneventan chant was Montecassino, one of the first and greatest abbeys of Western monasticism. Gisulf II of Benevento had donated a large swathe of land to Montecassino in 744, and that became the basis for an important state, the Terra Sancti Benedicti, which was a subject only to Rome. The Cassinese influence on Christianity in southern Italy was immense. Montecassino was also the starting point for another characteristic of Beneventan monasticism, the use of the distinct Beneventan script, a clear, angular script derived from the Roman cursive as used by the Lombards.
During their nomadic phase, the Lombards primarily created art that was easily carried with them, like arms and jewellery. Though relatively little of this has survived, it bears resemblance to the similar endeavours of other Germanic tribes of northern and central Europe from the same era.
The first major modifications to the Germanic style of the Lombards came in Pannonia and especially in Italy, under the influence of local, Byzantine, and Christian styles. The conversions from nomadism and paganism to settlement and Christianity also opened up new arenas of artistic expression, such as architecture (especially churches) and its accompanying decorative arts (such as frescoes).
Few Lombard buildings have survived. Most have been lost, rebuilt, or renovated at some point, so they preserve little of their original Lombard structure. Lombard architecture was well-studied in the 20th century, and the four-volume Lombard Architecture (1919) by Arthur Kingsley Porter is a "monument of illustrated history".
The small Oratorio di Santa Maria in Valle in Cividale del Friuli is probably one of the oldest preserved examples of Lombard architecture, as Cividale was the first Lombard city in Italy. Parts of Lombard constructions have been preserved in Pavia (San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, crypts of Sant'Eusebio and San Giovanni Domnarum) and Monza (cathedral). The Basilic autariana in Fara Gera d'Adda near Bergamo and the church of San Salvatore in Brescia also have Lombard elements. All these buildings are in northern Italy (Langobardia major), but by far the best-preserved Lombard structure is in southern Italy (Langobardia minor). The Church of Santa Sofia in Benevento was erected in 760 by Duke Arechis II, and it preserves Lombard frescoes on the walls and even Lombard capitals on the columns.
Lombard architecture flourished under the impulse provided by the Catholic monarchs like Theodelinda, Liutprand, and Desiderius to the foundation of monasteries to further their political control. Bobbio Abbey was founded during this time.
Some of the late Lombard structures of the 9th and 10th centuries have been found to contain elements of style associated with Romanesque architecture and have been so dubbed "first Romanesque". These edifices are considered, along with some similar buildings in southern France and Catalonia, to mark a transitory phase between the Pre-Romanesque and full-fledged Romanesque.
Media related to Lombards at Wikimedia Commons
Alboin (530s – June 28, 572) 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 Italy and the Pannonian Basin; in the former his invasion marked the beginning of centuries of Lombard rule, and in the latter his defeat of the Gepids and his departure from Pannonia ended the dominance there of the Germanic peoples.
The period of Alboin's reign as king in Pannonia following the death of his father, Audoin, was one of confrontation and conflict between the Lombards and their main neighbors, the Gepids. The Gepids initially 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, and 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 almost undefended Italy. He rapidly took control of most of Venetia and Liguria. In 569, unopposed, he took northern Italy's main city, Milan. Pavia offered stiff resistance however, and 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 increasingly began to manifest themselves.
Alboin was assassinated on June 28, 572, in a coup d'état instigated by the Byzantines. It was organized by the king's foster brother, Helmichis, with the support of Alboin's wife, Rosamund, 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.Duchy of Friuli
The Duchy of Friuli was a Lombard duchy in present-day Friuli, the first to be established after the conquest of the Italian peninsula in 568. It was one of the largest domains in Langobardia Major and an important buffer between the Lombard kingdom and the Slavs, Avars, and the Byzantine Empire. The original chief city in the province was Roman Aquileia, but the Lombard capital of Friuli was Forum Julii, modern Cividale.
Along with the dukes of Spoleto, Benevento and Trent, the lords of Friuli often attempted to establish their independence from the royal authority seated at Pavia, though to no avail. After the Lombard campaign of Charlemagne and the defeat of King Desiderius in 774, the last Friulian duke Hrodgaud ruled until 776. Upon his death, Friuli was incorporated as a march of the Carolingian Empire.Duchy of Spoleto
The Duchy of Spoleto (Italian: Ducato di Spoleto, Latin: Dŭcā́tus Spōlḗtĭī) was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald. Its capital was the city of Spoleto.Duke of Spoleto
The Duke of Spoleto was the ruler of Spoleto and most of central Italy outside the Papal States during the Early and High Middle Ages (c. 500 – 1300). The first dukes were appointed by the Lombard king, but they were independent in practice. The Carolingian conquerors of the Lombards continued to appoint dukes as did their successor to the Holy Roman Empire. In the 12th century, the dukes of Spoleto were far and away the most important imperial vassals in Italy.
They usually bore the title dux et marchio, "duke and margrave" as rulers of both Spoleto and Camerino.Exarchate of Ravenna
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy (Latin: Exarchatus Ravennatis) was a lordship of the Byzantine Empire in Italy, from 584 to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards. It was one of two exarchates established following the western reconquests under Emperor Justinian to more effectively administrate the territories, along with the Exarchate of Africa.Frankish Papacy
From 756 to 857, the papacy shifted from the orbit of the Byzantine Empire to that of the kings of the Franks. Pepin the Short (ruled 751–768), Charlemagne (r. 768–814) (co-ruler with his brother Carloman I until 771), and Louis the Pious (r. 814-840) had considerable influence in the selection and administration of popes. The "Donation of Pepin" (756) ratified a new period of papal rule in central Italy, which became known as the Papal States.
This shift was initiated by the Lombards conquering the Exarchate of Ravenna from the Byzantines, strengthened by the Frankish triumph over the Lombards, and ended by the fragmentation of the Frankish Kingdom into West Francia, Middle Francia, and East Francia. Lothair I continued to rule Middle Francia which included much of the Italian peninsula, from 843 to 855.
This period was "a critical time in Rome's transformation from ancient capital to powerful bishopric to new state capital." The period was characterized by "battles between Franks, Lombards and Romans for control of the Italian peninsula and of supreme authority within Christendom."Grimoald, King of the Lombards
Grimoald I (or Grimuald) (c. 610 – 671 CE) was duke of Benevento (647–662) and king of the Lombards (662–671).Grimoald was probably born before 610 to Duke Gisulf II of Friuli and the Bavarian princess Ramhilde, daughter of Duke Garibald I of Bavaria, and as such descended from the Gausian Dynasty of the first Lombard kings in Italy. He succeeded his brother Radoald in 646/7 as duke of Benevento. In 641–42 CE, he and Radoald had served as regents for their mentally incapable adoptive brother, Duke Aiulf I. Grimoald married the princess Theodota, daughter of King Aripert I. Their son was Garibald.
In 662, after being called to assist King Godepert in a war with his brother King Perctarit, Grimoald gave Benevento to his eldest son Romuald (662–677) and, removing the fraternal impediments to his kingship with the aid of Duke Garibald of Turin, assassinated Godepert and forced Perctarit to flee. He sent Perctarit's wife and son (Cunipert) to Benevento and took over the kingship of the Lombards. It was then that he promptly married Godepert's sister in order to relate himself to the Bavarian Dynasty of Theodelinda.
His martial prowess and skill in the field of battle secured his victory in many border wars. He led his armies to victory personally against the Byzantines under Emperor Constans II at the siege of Benevento, where they had been besieging the young Romuald, who betrothed his sister Gisa to Constans. Romuald then took Taranto and Brindisi, much limiting the Byzantine influence in the region during the rebellion of Mezezius in Sicily, which had distracted the Byzantines after Constans' death. Grimoald himself took Forlì, in the north, from the Greeks and razed Oderzo (but did not take it), where his brothers had been murdered years before. His capture of Forlì was both shameful (to orthodox christians) and magnificent (to the pagan Longobard traditionalists), depending on one's perception, for he took it on Easter Day, slaughtering worshippers during the festivities.
While he was combatting the Byzantines in the Mezzogiorno, he left Duke Lupus of Friuli as regent in the north. Lupus usurped all authority and rebelled, though he was crushed and, with the help of the Avars, his duchy despoiled and devastated. Grimoald tracked down Lupus' aspiring son Arnefrit, and his Slav allies, and defeated him at Nimis. Arnefrit died in battle. Grimoald placed Wechthari, a stalwart enemy of the Slavs, in Friuli.
Grimoald defeated the Franks, who invaded during the infancy of Chlothar III. Grimoald had allied with Perctarit at Asti and the Avars, of whom he had been a hostage in his youth. He saved the northeast of Italy by defeating the Slav tribes and maintained internal order by suppressing the baronial revolts and autonomy of the duchies of Friuli and of Spoleto, where he installed Thrasimund.
In his religion he remained nominally Arian (though according to Vita Sancti Barbati both he and his son Romuald still practiced the ancient Pagan rights of both Benevento and the Longobard nation) despite his marriage to a Catholic and he was aloof of the Papacy. However, he perceived Saint Michael—whose cult was spreading strongly from Monte Gargano—as the warrior-protector of the Lombard nation, replacing Godan (Odin) due to their similar narratives at the time.
He died in 671 after concluding a treaty with the Franks and was succeeded by Perctarit, whom he had exiled. He was a popular ruler, known as much for the kingly virtues of generosity and mercy as for his ferocity and ruthlessness in war. His son Romuald was left in Benevento, which once again drifted away from central authority, and his son Garibald was not elected to succeed him on account of his youth and was deposed by the adherents of Perctarit's cause in three months time.Guðmundr
Guðmundr (Old Norse, sometimes anglicised as Godmund) was a semi-legendary Norse king in Jotunheim, ruling over a land called Glæsisvellir, which was known as the warrior's paradise.Guðmundr appears in the following legendary sagas:
Bósa saga ok Herrauðs
Helga þáttr Þórissonar
Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks
Þorsteins þáttr bæjarmagnsHe also appears in Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum (Book VIII) and in Samsons saga fagra, one of the chivalric sagas.Guðmundr shared the same name with his father; Úlfhéðinn was added to the son's name to differentiate father from son. According to some sources, Guðmundr Úlfhéðinn's son was Heiðrekr Úlfhamr. However, in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks Guðmundr's son was Höfund, who married Hervor, and their sons were Angantýr and Heiðrekr. Saxo Grammaticus, in Gesta Danorum (VIII), referred to Guðmundr Ulfheðinn as Guthmundus, calling him a giant and the brother of Geruthus (Geirröðr).
He is sometimes given the epithet faxi, 'the one with a mane', i.e., a horse. This suggests a connection with the army of the dead who roam Norway at Yule, the Oskorei. Otto Höfler, drawing on earlier theories of Nils Lid, argued that it was actually a word found in modern Norwegian dialect as both fax and faxe and referring to a kind of grass, and that it referred to the fertility symbol of the sheaf in Norwegian Yule celebrations. According to Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, the Norwegians came to see Guðmundr as a god; Höfler argued that in both the wolf-form suggested by Úlfhéðinn and the horse-form suggested by faxi, Guðmundr was a death-demon and his death-horse the prototype of the death-horse Sleipnir portrayed on the Gotland picture stones.Ingemar Nordgren regards the first Guðmundr as "a cult-god" and his son, the Guðmundr of the sagas, as portraying him in theriomorphic form, and suggests that he is either an earlier fertility god who came to be identified with Óðinn and that Glæsisvellir was influenced by Valhalla, or that he is a local variant of a precursor of Óðinn.Guðmundr and the Lombards are said to have battled Helgi and Sinfjötli; it is Guðmundr who engages in the flyting with Sinfjötli from shore in Helgakviða Hundingsbana I. The latter are called the Ylfings, the 'wolf clan'. As Höfler noted, both armies are spoken of as animals, and Paulus Diaconus identifies the Lombards with mares with white bands around their legs symbolising fetters (they did in fact bind their legs with white bands). Since Óðinn is patron of the Lombards, this is another Odinic connection.
Einar Ólafur Sveinsson thought Guðmundr was Irish in origin while Geirröðr was native Scandinavian.History of the Lombards
The History of the Lombards or the History of the Langobards (Latin: Historia Langobardorum) is the chief work by Paul the Deacon, written in the late 8th century. This incomplete history in six books was written after 787 and at any rate no later than 796, maybe at Montecassino.The history covers the story of the Lombards from their mythical origins to the death of King Liutprand in 743, and contains much information about the Eastern Roman empire, the Franks, and others. The story is told from the point of view of a Lombard patriot and is especially valuable for its treatment of the relations between the Franks and the Lombards. As his primary sources, Paul used the document called the Origo gentis Langobardorum, the Liber pontificalis, the lost history of Secundus of Trent, and the lost annals of Benevento; he also made free use of works by Bede, Gregory of Tours, and Isidore of Seville.Iron Crown of Lombardy
The Iron Crown of Lombardy (Italian: Corona Ferrea di Lombardia; Latin: Corona Ferrea Langobardiae) is both a reliquary and one of the oldest royal insignias of Christendom. It was made in the Early Middle Ages, consisting of a circlet of gold and jewels fitted around a central silver band, which tradition holds to be made of iron beaten out of a nail of the True Cross. The crown became one of the symbols of the Kingdom of the Lombards and later of the medieval Kingdom of Italy.
It is kept in the Cathedral of Monza, outside Milan.Kingdom of the Lombards
The Kingdom of the Lombards (Latin: Regnum Langobardorum) also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of (all) Italy (Latin: Regnum totius Italiae), was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. 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 considerably more autonomous than the smaller northern duchies.
Over time, the Lombards gradually adopted Roman titles, names, and traditions. By the time Paul the Deacon was writing in the late 8th century, the Lombardic language, dress and hairstyles had all disappeared. Initially 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. Nevertheless, 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 quickly diluted into the Italian population owing to their relatively small number and their geographic dispersal in order to rule and administer their kingdom. Some regions were never under Lombard domination, including Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria, southern Apulia, Naples and the Latium. In all these regions the Byzantines brought more Greco-Anatolian lineages, which were already 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, roughly 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.List of kings of the Lombards
The Kings of the Lombards or reges Langobardorum (singular rex Langobardorum) were the monarchs of the Lombard people from the early 6th century until the Lombardic identity became lost in the 9th and 10th centuries. After 568, the Lombard kings sometimes styled themselves Kings of Italy (rex totius Italiae). After 774, they were not Lombards, but Franks. The Iron Crown of Lombardy (Corona Ferrea) was used for the coronation of the Lombard kings and the kings of Italy thereafter for centuries.
The primary sources for the Lombard kings before the Frankish conquest are the anonymous 7th-century Origo Gentis Langobardorum and the 8th-century Historia Langobardorum of Paul the Deacon. The earliest kings (the pre-Lethings) listed in the Origo are almost certainly legendary. They purportedly reigned during the Migration Period. The first ruler attested independently of Lombard tradition is Tato.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, and his long reign, which brought him into a series of conflicts, mostly successful, with most of Italy. He is often regarded as the most successful Lombard monarch, notable for the Donation of Sutri, which was the first accolade of sovereign territory to the Papacy.Lombardic language
Lombardic or Langobardic is an extinct West Germanic language that was spoken by the Lombards (Langobardi), the Germanic people who settled in Italy in the 6th century. It was already rapidly declining by the seventh century because the invaders quickly adopted the Latin vernacular spoken by the local Gallo-Roman population. Lombardic may have been in use in scattered areas until as late as c. AD 1000. A number of Italian place names and items of Italian vocabulary derive from Lombardic. Some linguists have argued that the modern Cimbrian and Mocheno varieties in Northeast Italy, usually classified as Austro-Bavarian, are in fact surviving Lombard remnants. This could, in turn, indicate that Lombardic was itself an Austro-Bavarian dialect.Longobardia
Longobardia (Greek: Λογγοβαρδία, also variously Λογγιβαρδία, Longibardia and Λαγουβαρδία, Lagoubardia) was a Byzantine term for the territories controlled by the Lombards in Italy. In the 9th-10th centuries, it was also the name of a Byzantine military-civilian province (or thema) known as the Theme of Longobardia located in southeastern Italy.Pavia
Pavia (Italian: [paˈviːa] (listen); Lombard: Pavia; Latin: Ticinum; Medieval Latin: Papia) is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 kilometres (22 miles) 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, cereals, 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 (founded in 1361), which together with the IUSS (Institute for Advanced Studies of Pavia), 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.Pope Adrian I
Pope Adrian I (Latin: Hadrianus I d. 25 December 795) was Pope from 1 February 772 to his death in 795. He was the son of Theodore, a Roman nobleman.
Adrian and his predecessors had to contend with periodic attempts by the Lombards to expand their holdings in Italy at the expense of the papacy. Not receiving any support from Constantinople, the popes looked for help to the Franks. Adrian's tenure saw the culmination of on-going territorial disputes between Charlemagne and his brother Carloman. The Lombard king Desiderius supported the claims of Carloman's sons to their late father's land, and requested Pope Adrian crown Carloman's sons "Kings of the Frank". When the Pope failed to do so, Desiderius invaded Papal territory and seized the Duchy of the Pentapolis. Charlemagne besieged Pavia and took the Lombard crown for himself. He then restored the Pentapolis to the Papacy as well as some of the captured Lombard territory.Pope Gregory III
Pope Gregory III (Latin: Gregorius III; died 28 November 741) was Pope from 11 February 731 to his death in 741. His pontificate, like that of his predecessor, was disturbed by the iconoclastic controversy in the Byzantine Empire, and by the ongoing advance of the Lombards, in which he invoked the intervention of Charles Martel, although ultimately in vain. He was the 5th Syrian pope and the 10th and last pope born outside of Europe for 1,272 years, until the election of Pope Francis in 2013.Rue des Lombards
The rue des Lombards is a street in Paris, France which is famous for hosting three of the main French jazz clubs : Le Baiser Salé, Le Duc des Lombards and the Sunset/Sunside. It was originally a banking center in medieval Paris, a trade dominated by Lombard merchants. It was also shown on the Simpsons episode "To Courier with Love".
History of the Germanic peoples
Early Middle Ages)