Note : this article relates to only Lombards during the late Antiquité and the Early middle ages; the duchies lombards of Bénévent and the principalities of Salerno and Capoue are the subject of separate articles. ----
The Lombards ( Latin Langobardi in then Lombardi by deformation after the 8th safe century in southernmost Italy which preserves the name of Langobardi until the 12th century) were a Germanic Peuple come from the Baltique, belonging more precisely to the group of the Germains of the Elba but originating in southernmost Scandinavia according to their own oral tradition brought back by their historian Paul Diacre at the end of the 8th century. These people, under the control of their king Alboïn, invade the Italy North starting from the beginning of the year 568.
Origins and migration
Lombards (or more exactly, Langobards ) are known a long time since good by the Romains: indeed, in 98, the historian Tacite already mentions them in his work on the German ones, Germania . However, Lombards remain several centuries in the shade and their history former to the 5th century is very badly known to see ignored. The people lombard do not take part in the invasions and migrations Barbares of S.
Their own late oral tradition (the Origo Gentis Langobardorum ) described how Lombards left their Scandinavia, directed by two chiefs brothers, Ibor and Agio, and how they were established in central Europe. She explains also the etymology of their name, the “Long-Barbs”: this last would have been given by the god Wotan to the small tribe of the Winilli (meaning the “Warriors quite simply”), after the women of this tribe had cut their hair and that they had used them as false barbs; the stratagem, blown by Freia, aimed at reinforcing the number of the warriors of the tribe confronted with an invasion of warriors Vandales, more. Lombards were regarded as preferred of the Odin god.
Work has as a model the account of the migration of the Goths (made as for him by the historian of these people, Jordanès) and perhaps also brought closer to the account of the migration of the Angles, of the Jutes and of the Saxons in the island of Brittany such as it is made in the Anglo-Saxon Chronique. Also, the mythological character of the tradition lombarde forces to consider the assumption of the Scandinavian origin and the etymology of Lombards with greatest circumspection.
At the 1st century, Lombards are established on the lower course of the Elba where they face the emperor Tibère. At the next century, they gain the middle price of the the Danube. Thus, in 167, they are present in Pannonia where they remained then several centuries. Towards the end of the 5th century, indeed, they obtain in this area a treaty of the emperor Justinien, becoming thus federate of Rome. Many warriors lombards served as from the year 551, like Mercenaire S in the Italian peninsula against the Ostrogoths.
From Pannonia, they destroy the small kingdom hérule towards 505 then they occupy the Roman province of Pannonia first (perhaps in 527) finally Pannonia second starting from 547. Being combined with the frightening riders Avars, a People of the steppe newcomer in the area, they severely beat the Gépides which try to extend their kingdom (v. 567). Part of Gépides are linked in Lombards and followed them to Italy where they preserved during a certain time their own laws. Starting from the middle of the 6th century, it seems that certain Lombards converted with the Christianisme while in parallel, they are touched by the Arianisme (resulting from Ostrogoths of Italy?). In any case, the vast majority of Lombards is still pagan.
According to the sources, their king Alboïn makes then an agreement with the khagan avar: during 200 years, Lombards could turn over to Pannonia and find their territory. The whole of Lombards, accompanied by Gépides, but also by bands saxonnes, hérules and even miserly, are put then on the way for Italy where the destruction of the kingdom of large the Théodoric had especially created a true political vacuum, military and even administrative: nearly 25 years of fight baited between Byzantine and Ostrogoths had put the Italy rich person in ruin and the reconquest justinienne proved to be fragile.
Lombards in Italy
With beginning of the year 568, having crossed the border of the the Friuli, more than 200.000 Lombards and their allies invade the plain of the Po but, once in the peninsula, they run up soon against the defense works which surround the cities like with the many fortresses romano-Byzantines. Also, like any barbarian people, Lombards prefer the countryside at the cities and constitute rural residences in the fertile plain of Po (the salae ), placed under the cut of a farae (of Germanic the will fara : band ). To live in community far from the cities was certainly to prevent a fast assimilation among the many Roman population and to preserve national cohesion lombarde as well as warlike qualities their men.
Many seats, long and difficult as much for besieged that for besieging, take place while part of the Italian population ebbs towards the North-East, in Venezia and towards the ligure coast (area of Genoa). Finally, Lombards seize the town of Pavia (572) but Ravenne, last capital of the Western Empire, always resists to them. Certain armed bands lombardes combatant more or less for their own account, also infiltrate in the the Apennines, Bénévent and until in Provence, from where they are driven out by the Francs.
After the assassinations of Alboïn (572) and of its successor Cleph in 574, Lombards remove the royalty - fact single for this time and remain without king during ten years, wandering in more or less rival bands through all the peninsula which they put at fire and blood, directed by thirty-five military chiefs, the “Dukes”. The organization of the royalty lombarde in Italy, which was going to last until the franque conquest of Charlemagne, was probably set up during this period of Anarchie: the crown reserved by the dukes for the one of them, was elected.
The kingdom lombard of Italy:
See also: Kingdom lombard
List kings lombards
See also: List of the sovereigns lombards
Sources of the history of Lombards
The majority of our knowledge about the mythical and semi-mythical history of Lombards come from the Histoire of Lombards (“Historia Langobardorum”), written around the year 780 by the historian Paul Diacre or of a national oral tradition, put in writing in the middle of the 7th century: the Origo gentis Langobardorum .
Lastly, the Light langobardorum , written starting from the edict of Rothari, were modified and enriched until the 11th century in the duchy by Bénévent and were used as models for the laws of the Italian Middle Ages.
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