From The History of the Langobards by Paul the Deacon, translated by William Dudley Foulke, LL. D.; The Department of History, University of Pennsylvania; New York: Longman, Green & Co., 1906; pp. 53-93.





Chapter I.

Now when the frequent victories of the Langobards were noised about in every direction, Narses, keeper of the imperial archives, who was then ruling over Italy and preparing for war against Totila, king of the Goths, inasmuch as he long before had the Langobards for allies, directed messengers to Alboin, asking that he should furnish him assistance to fight with the Goths. Then Alboin sent a chosen band of his1 to give support to the Romans against the Goths. They were transported into Italy by a bay2 of the Adriatic sea, and having joined the Romans, began the struggle with the Goths, and when these were reduced to utter destruction, together with Totila, their king, the Langobards returned as victors, honored with many gifts, to their own country.3 During all the time the Langobards 54 held Pannonia, they were the allies of the Roman state against its rivals.


1  This actually occurred under Audoin, not Alboin (Procopius, B. G., IV, 26). Twenty-five hundred Langobards were chosen and Audoin sent with them a retinue of three thousand other armed men (id.).

2  The dwellers in the lagoons at the northern extremity of the Adriatic transported the army along the shores, crossing the mouths of the rivers in small boats (id.).

3  They were sent to Italy A. D. 554, returned A. D. 552 (Waitz). Their disorderly conduct and the outrages they committed made them dangerous allies, and Narses took an early occasion to send them home (Procopius, B. G., IV, 33).


Chapter II.

In these times Narses also waged war against Duke Buccellinus, whom Theudepert,4 king of the Franks, when he entered Italy and returned to Gaul, had left behind with Amingus, another duke, to conquer the country. This Buccellinus, after devastating nearly all Italy with rapine, and after bestowing upon Theudepert, 55 his king, abundant gifts from the booty of the country, was arranging to winter in Campania, but was overcome at length in disastrous war with Narses at a place whose name is Tannetum,5 and was slain. And when Amingus attempted to bring aid to Widin, a count of the Goths rebelling against Narses, both were overcome by Narses. Widin being captured, was banished to Constantinople, but Amingus, who had offered him assistance, perished by the sword of Narses. Also a third duke of the Franks, by name Leutharius, the brother of Buccellinus, when he desired to return to his country laden with great booty, died a natural death between Verona and Tridentum (Trent), near Lake Benacus (Lago di Garda).6


4  Grandson of Clovis, the founder of the Frankish monarchy. Theudepert had invaded Italy in the year 539 (Muratori Ann., III, p. 388; Hodgkin, V, p. 11), but the dysentery swept away a third of his army, and the clamor of his own subjects, as well as the representations of Belisarius, the general of Justinian, induced him to return home (Gibbon, ch. 41). When he departed from Italy he did not relinquish all he had won. The larger part of Venetia, a good deal of Liguria and the provinces of the Cottian Alps were retained (Hodgkin, V, 11).

Theudepert died in 548, leaving as his successor his feeble child Theudebald (p. 13). Five years later (A. D. 533), when the Goths in Italy were overthrown by Narses, those who still held out in the north besought the Frankish king for aid, and Buccellinus (Butilin) and his brother Leutharius, leaders of the barbarous Alamanni, ravaged northern Italy (pp. 16-17), and then swept down toward the south. The armies of the two brothers kept together as far as Samnium, then they divided. Buccellinus ravaged the west coast and Leutharius the east, down to the end of the Peninsula (A. D. 554). Finally Leutharius determined to return with his booty, but when he was about to cross the Alps a pestilence broke out in his army and he perished (pp. 33-36). Buccellinus was attacked by Narses near Capua, his army was destroyed and he was slain. This expedition of Buccellinus, therefore, occurred not under Theudepert but after his death.

5  This battle occurred near Capua, on the banks of the river Casilinum, another name for the Vulturnus (Volturno) (Waitz; Hodgkin, V, 36-44). The name Tannetum cannot be positively identified.

6  He died of the pestilence which had broken out in his army. See previous note.


Chapter III.

Narses had also a struggle with Sinduald, king of the Brenti,7 a surviving descendant of the stock of the Heroli whom Odoacar, when he formerly came into Italy, had brought with him. Upon this man, who at first adhered to him faithfully, Narses conferred many benefits, but defeated him in war, captured him and 56 hung him from a lofty beam, when at last he insolently rebelled and sought to obtain the sovereignty.8 At this time also Narses, the patrician, by means of Dagisteus, the Master of Soldiers, a powerful and warlike man, got possession of all the territories of Italy.9 This Narses indeed was formerly keeper of the archives,10 and afterwards on account of the value of his high qualities, he earned the honor of the patriciate. For he was a very pious man, a catholic in religion, generous to the poor, very zealous in restoring churches,11 and so much devoted to vigils and prayers that he obtained victory more by the supplications which he poured forth to God, than by the arms of war.


7  Perhaps the same as those called Breones or Briones, dwelling in the Alps of Noricum or in the neighborhood of the Brenner in Tyrol (Wait; Abel; see Zeuss, 484).

8  A. D. 565 (Hodgkin, V, 56).

9  Narses took the city of Rome largely through the agency of Dagisteus (Procopius, IV, 33), who thus became the means of the recovery of Italy (Waitz). The title “Master of Soldiers,” (magister militum,) was given at the time of Constantine to important ministers of state, and there were then only eight of these in the whole empire (Hodgkin, VI, 539); in the time of Theoderic, the king alone (Hartmann, I, 99), and later, Belisarius, the general-in-chief of Justinian, held this important military office (id., p. 258). Afterwards however, the title became cheapened, the number of magistri militum increased, and at last the rank became much the same as that of dux or duke (Hodgkin, VI, 540).

10  Chartularius, see DuCange.

11  After their desecration by the Arian Goths.


Chapter IV.

In the times of this man a very great pestilence broke out, particularly in the province of Liguria.12 For suddenly 57 there appeared certain marks among the dwellings, doors, utensils, and clothes, which, if any one wished to wash away, became more and more apparent. After the lapse of a year indeed there began to appear in the groins of men and in other rather delicate13 places, a swelling of the glands, after the manner of a nut or a date, presently followed by an unbearable fever, so that upon the third day the man died. But if any one should pass over the third day he had a hope of living. Everywhere there was grief and everywhere tears. For as common report had it that those who fled would avoid the plague, the dwellings were left deserted by their inhabitants, and the dogs only kept house. The flocks remained alone in the pastures with no shepherd at hand. You might see villas or fortified places lately filled with crowds of men, and on the next day, all had departed and everything was in utter silence. Sons fled, leaving the corpses of their parents unburied; parents forgetful of their duty abandoned their children in raging fever. If by chance long-standing affection constrained any one to bury his near relative, he remained himself unburied, and while he was performing the funeral rites he perished; while he offered obsequies to the dead, his own corpse remained without obsequies. You might see the world brought back to its ancient silence: no voice in the field; no whistling of shepherds; no lying in wait of wild beasts among the cattle; no harm to domestic fowls. The crops, out-living the time of the harvest, awaited the reaper untouched; 58 the vineyard with its fallen leaves and its shining grapes remained undisturbed while winter came on; a trumpet as of warriors resounded through the hours of the night and day; something like the murmur of an army was heard by many; there were no footsteps of passers by, no murderer was seen, yet the corpses of the dead were more than the eyes could discern; pastoral places had been turned into a sepulchre for men, and human habitations had become places of refuge for wild beasts. And these evils happened to the Romans only and within Italy alone, up to the boundaries of the nations of the Alamanni and the Bavarians. Meanwhile, the emperor Justinian departed from life and Justin the younger undertook the rule of the state at Constantinople. In these times also Narses the patrician, whose care was watching everything, at length seized Vitalis, bishop of the city of Altinum (Altino), who had fled many years before to the kingdom of the Franks — that is, to the city of Aguntum (Innichen)14 — and condemned him to exile in Sicily.


12  Probably A. D. 566 (Hodg., V, 166, note 2).

13  Read delicatioribus in place of deligatioribus.

14  At the headwaters of the Drave in Tyrol (Waitz).


Chapter V.

Now the whole nation of the Goths having been destroyed or overthrown, as has been said, and those also of whom we have spoken15 having been in like manner conquered, Narses, after he had acquired much gold and silver and riches of other kinds, incurred the great envy of the Romans although he had labored much 59 for them against their enemies, and they made insinuations against him to the emperor Justin16 and his wife Sophia, in these words, saying, “It would be advantageous for the Romans to serve the Goths rather than the Greeks wherever the eunuch Narses rules and oppresses us with bondage, and of these things our most devout emperor is ignorant: Either free us from his hand or surely we will betray the city of Rome and ourselves to the heathens.”17 When Narses heard this he answered briefly these words: “If I have acted badly with the Romans it will go hard with me.” Then the emperor was so greatly moved with anger against Narses that he straightway sent the prefect Longinus into Italy to take Narses’ place. But Narses, when he knew these things, feared greatly, and so much was he alarmed, especially by the same empress Sophia, that he did not dare to return again to Constantinople. Among other things, because he was a eunuch, she is said to have sent him this message, that she would make him portion out to the girls in the women’s chamber the daily tasks of wool.18 To these words Narses is said to have given this answer, that he would begin to weave her such a web as she could not lay down as long as she lived.19 60 Therefore, greatly racked by hate and fear, he withdrew to Neapolis (Naples), a city of Campania, and soon sent messengers to the nation of the Langobards, urging them to abandon the barren fields of Pannonia and come and take possession of Italy, teeming with every sort of riches. At the same time he sends many kinds of fruits and samples of other things with which Italy is well supplied, whereby to attract their minds to come.20 The 61 Langobards receive joyfully the glad tidings which they themselves had also been desiring, and they form high expectations of future advantages. In Italy terrible signs were continually seen at night, that is, fiery swords appeared in heaven gleaming with that blood which was afterwards shed.


15  In chs. 2 and 3, supra.

16  Read Justino for Justiniano. It was Justin II who was the husband of Sophia and to whom this complaint was made.

17  The Arian Goths were so considered.

18  In Fredegarius (Epitome, iii, 65) it is said that the empress sent him a golden instrument used by women with which he might spin and told him that henceforth he might rule over wool-workers, not over nations.

19  Or, as Fredegarius has it (id.): “I will spin a thread of which neither the emperor Justin nor the empress shall be able to find the end.” (Hodgkin, V 62).

20  The charge that Narses in revenge for his recall (A. D. 566 or 567) invited the Langobards into Italy is subject to grave doubt. Paul’s statement that he sent them the fruits and products of that country contains an obvious improbability, since their troops had served in Italy fifteen years before and they needed no information on that subject (Hodgkin, V, 62). Paul followed the popular tradition, and tracing this back, we find that the account occurred in the so-called Fredegarius (A. D. 642 to 658), but without the statement concerning the fruits and other products of Italy. Bishop Isidore of Seville, whose chronicle came down to 615, tells us that Narses, terrified by the threats of Sophia, invited the Langobards from Pannonia and introduced them into Italy. The Copenhagen continuer of Prosper (about 625) copies from Isidore. The Liber Pontificalis (Life of John III, A. D. 579-590) says that Narses went to Campania and wrote to the Langobards to come and take possession of Italy (Hodgkin, V, 60, 61). This book was nearly contemporary and shows a popular belief that Narses was disloyal to the empire. Neither of the two best contemporary authors, Marius of Avenches or Gregory of Tours, who died about 594, speak of Narses’ invitation to the Langobards, though the former mentions his recall and both speak of the invasion of Alboin. The Annals of Ravenna are equally silent. While Narses’ recall was probably due to the empress and furnished the Langobards with their opportunity, the statement that he invited them is hardly sustained by sufficient evidence to establish the treason of that eminent commander, though it shows that after the invasion his agency was suspected (Hodgkin, V, 64, 63). Certain it is that when his body was brought to Constantinople, the emperor whom he is said to have betrayed, carried his bier and paid the last honors to his memory (Hartmann, II, 1, 24).


Chapter VI.

But Alboin, being about to set out for Italy with the Langobards, asked aid from his old friends, the Saxons, that he might enter and take possession of so spacious a land with a larger number of followers. The Saxons came to him, more than 20,000 men, together with their wives and children, to proceed with him to Italy according to his desire. Hearing these things, Chlothar and Sigisbert, kings of the Franks, put the Suavi and other nations into the places from which these Saxons had come.21


21  Hodgkin believes (V, 156 note) that the fact that the Suavi, whom he considers the same as the Alamanni, occupied the homes of these Saxons, indicates that they were located in southern Germany.


Chapter VII.

Then Alboin bestowed his own abode, that is, Pannonia, upon his friends the Huns22 on this condition: that if at any time it should be necessary for the Langobards to return23 they could take back their own fields. Then the Langobards, having left Pannonia, hastened to take possession of Italy with their wives and children and all their goods. They dwelt in Pannonia forty-two years.24 They came out of it in the month of April in the first indiction25 on the day after holy Easter, 63 whose festival that year, according to the method of 64 calculation, fell upon the calends (the first) of April, when five hundred and sixty-eight years had already elapsed from the incarnation of our Lord.


22  That is the Avars (Waitz). See supra I, 27.

23  “At any time within two hundred years,” adds the Chronicon Gothanum (M. G. Leges IV, 644), and it was also provided in the agreement that the Avars should aid the Langobards in Italy.

24  This period is impossible since the Langobards entered Pannonia not far from 546, and left it in 568. Probably 22 should be substituted for 42 (Hartmann, II, 1, 30).

25  The word “indiction” originally meant the declaration of the imposition of a tax. When Constantine the Great reorganized the Roman Empire he established a fiscal period of fifteen years for this imposition, beginning A. D. 313. Hence the word in chronology means the number attached to the year showing its place in a cycle of fifteen years, beginning A. D. 313. There were three kinds of indiction. The original Greek or Constantinopolitan indiction (here referred to) is reckoned from September 1st of what we consider the previous year. To find the indiction, add three to the number of the year in the vulgar era and divide it by 15, the remainder is the indiction. If nothing is left over, it is the 15th indiction. The year when Alboin left Pannonia was A. D. 568. Adding 3 and dividing by 15 we have 1 remaining, and as the indiction began in September, 567, April of the year 568 was in the 1st indiction, and the 2d indiction began in September of that year.

It will be observed that this date is given by Paul for Alboin’s departure from Pannonia, not for his actual entrance into Italy. Paul apparently takes this from the Origo (see Appendix II): “And Alboin, king of the Langobards, moved out of Pannonia in the month of April after Easter, in the first indiction. In the second indiction indeed (September, 568, to September, 569), they began to plunder in Italy, but in the third indiction he became master of Italy.” A question has arisen whether the actual invasion of Italy occurred in 568 or 569. The edict of Rothari, of Nov., 643, states that it was published (M. G., LL., IV, p. 1) in the 76th year after the arrival of the Langobards in the province of Italy. This indicates that the invasion must have occurred before Nov., 568. But a fragment of Secundus of June, 580, speaks of the Langobards as “remaining in Italy 12 years since they entered it in the month of May in the second indiction.” In these 12 years, according to a common method of computation at that time, the 12th year may not have been completed and Secundus’ date for the invasion is clearly May, 569 (see M. G., Script. Rerum. Lang. et Ital., p. 25, n. 3 a). Marius of Avenches says that in 569 Alboin “occupied” Italy, which Muratori thinks (Annals, A. D. 568) must have been a mistake in the copyist. The Annals of Ravenna (Agnello, a. c. 94) says that in the 2d indiction (Sept. 1, 568, to Sept 1, 569) Venetia was invaded and occupied by the Langobards. Pope Gregory I wrote June, 595 (Indic. 13, lib. V, 21) that the Romans had been threatened by the Langobards for 27 years, and in July, 603 (Indic. 6, lib. XIII, 38), for 35 years, but in computing this time the final year is not complete, so that the probable date of the invasion would be 569 (see Roviglio, infra, p. 12). Cipolla (Atti del R. Instituto Veneto, x, 1889-90, series 7, t. 1, pp. 686-688) and Roviglio (Sopra Alcuni Dati Cronologici, Reggio-Emilia, 1899) contend for 569; Crivellucci (Studii Storici, I, 478-497) and Hodgkin (V, 158) for 568. The authorities are very equally divided. Secundus, a contemporary and considered reliable, would perhaps be entitled to the greatest weight, were it not that the official statement in the Edict supports the year given by Paul.


Chapter VIII.

Therefore, when king Alboin with his whole army and a multitude of people of all kinds26 had come to the limits of Italy, he ascended a mountain which stands forth in those places, and from there as far as he could see, he gazed upon a portion of Italy. Therefore this mountain it is said, was called from that time on “King’s Mountain.”27 They say wild oxen graze upon it, and no wonder, since at this point it touches Pannonia, which is productive of these animals. In fine, a certain very truthful old man related to me that he had seen the hide of a wild ox killed on this mountain of such size that in it fifteen men, as he said, could lie one against the other.


26  Including no doubt inhabitants of Noricum and Pannonia, Slavs from the East, a strong contingent of Saxons, and many others belonging to different German races (Hartmann, II, 1, p. 19).

27  Rudolf Virchow said at the meeting of the German Anthropological Society, Sept 5, 1899 (see Correspondenz-blatt of that Society for 1898-99, p. 180) that he had taken a special journey to follow the course of the Langobards into Italy and was convinced that their irruption was by the road over the Predil pass, thence into the valley of the Isonzo, and that Monte Maggiore (north of Cividale) is the “King’s Mountain” of Paul.


Chapter IX.

When Alboin without any hindrance had thence 65 entered the territories of Venetia, which is the first province of Italy — that is, the limits of the city or rather of the fortress of Forum Julii (Cividale) 28 — he began to consider to whom he should especially commit the first of the provinces that he had taken. For indeed all Italy (which extends toward the south, or rather toward the southeast), is encompassed by the waves of the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas, yet from the west and north it is so shut in by the range of Alps that there is no entrance to it except through narrow passes and over the lofty summits of the mountains. Yet from the eastern side by which it is joined to Pannonia it has an approach which lies open more broadly and is quite level. When Alboin therefore, as we have said, reflected whom he ought to make duke29 in these places, he determined, as is related, to put over the city of Forum Julii and over its whole district,30 his nephew 66 Gisulf,31 who was his master of horse — whom they call in their own language “marpahis”32 — a man suitable in every way. This Gisulf announced that he would not first undertaken the government of this city and people unless Alboin would give him the “faras,” that is, the families or stocks of the Langobards that he himself wished to choose. And this was done, and with the approval of the king he took to dwell with him the chief families of the Langobards he had desired.33 And thus finally, he acquired the honor of a leader.34 He asked also from the king for herds of high-bred mares, and in this also he was heeded by the liberality of his chief.


28  See, however, Waitz, who thinks Colonia Julia Carnia, north of Osopus, is referred to.

29  As to the meaning of the word “duke” at this time see note to II, 32, infra.

30  The district or duchy of Friuli which Gisulf was to rule cannot be definitely bounded. It reached northward probably to the Carnic Alps, eastward to the Julian Alps, and southward to a line not far from the coast which was subject to the sea power of the Eastern Empire. Concordia was not won from the empire until about 615, and Opitergium in 642. To the west, Friuli was bounded by other Langobard territory, especially by the duchy of Ceneda from which it was separated by the Tagliamento or Livenza (Hodg., VI, 43, 44). The Bavarians dwelt northwest of the duchy, the Slavonians northeast, and behind them the Asiatic Avars (Hodgkin, VI, 44). Cividale was made the capital instead of Aquileia which had been the chief city (Hodgkin, VI, 39). Friuli is the first mentioned of the four great dukedoms conspicuous by their size and power over all others during the period of the Langobards: Friuli, Trent, Spoleto, and Benevento. The two last were largely independent of the Langobard kingdom. Trent and Friuli never succeeded in achieving their independence although this was several times attempted (Hodg., VI, 23).

31  Bethmann believes that it was Grasulf, Gisulf’s father (Waitz).

32  From mar, märe a horse and paizan to put on the bit, according to Grimm (Abel, Hodgkin, VI, 42; V, 161).

33  Indeed it was by faras or clans that Italy in general was first occupied by the Langobards (Hartmann, II, 1, 21).

34  Read ductor instead of doctor.


Chapter X.

In these days in which the Langobards invaded Italy, the kingdom of the Franks, divided into four parts upon the death of their king Chlotar, was ruled by his four sons. The first among these, Aripert (Charibert) had 67 the seat of his kingdom at Paris;35 the second indeed, Gunthram held sway at the city of Aureliani (Orleans); the third, Hilperic (Chilperic) had his throne at Sessionae (Soissons), in the place of Chlotar, his father; the fourth, Sigisbert, ruled at the city of Mettis (Metz).36 At this time, too, the most holy Benedict as pope governed the Roman Church.37 Also the blessed patriarch Paul presided over the city of Aquileia and its people and, fearing the barbarity of the Langobards, fled from Aquileia to the island of Grado;38 and he carried away with him all the treasure of his church.39 In this year in the early winter as much snow fell in the plain as is wont to fall upon the summits of the Alps, and in the following summer there was such great fertility as no other age claims to remember. At this time too when they had learned of the death of king Chlotar, the Huns, who are also called Avars, attacked his son Sigisbert and the latter, coming up to meet them in Turingia, overcame them with great force near the river 68 Albis (Elbe) and gave peace to them when they sought it. Brunicheldis,40 coming from Spain, is joined in marriage to this Sigisbert, and from her he had a son by name Childepert. The Avars, fighting again with Sigisbert in the same places as before, crushed the army of the Franks and obtained the victory.


35  Charibert in fact had died in 567, just before the Langobards invaded Italy (Hodgkin, V, 199).

36  See infra, III, 10, note. The name is there spelled Sigispert.

37  This is erroneous. It was John III who was pope from 560 to 573 (Jacobi, 48). Benedict was pope 573-578. Paul was led into this error by a statement in the Liber Pontificalis from which he took the account, that at the time of Benedict, the Langobards invaded all Italy (Ed. L. Duchesne, I, 308; Atti del Congresso in Cividale, 1899, p. 118, note).

38  An island near Aquileia and close to the mainland but inaccessible to the Langobards who had no boats.

39  It was Paulinus, not Paul who thus fled to Grado (Waitz).

40  Or Brunichildis, Brunihilde, as Paul variously spells it.


Chapter XI.

Narses indeed returned from Campania to Rome and there not long afterwards, departed from this life,41 and his body, placed in a leaden casket, was carried with all his riches to Constantinople.


41  About 573 or perhaps a year or two earlier (Hodg., V, 65).


Chapter XII.

When Alboin then came to the river Plavis (Piave), Felix the bishop of the church of Tarvisium (Treviso) came forth there to meet him, and the king, since he was very generous,42 granted to him at his request all the property of his church and confirmed the things asked for by a solemn document.43


42  His generosity is also extolled in the song of Widsith (Hodgkin, V, 176).

43  This has been questioned since the Langobards were then ignorant of writing, but it is not impossible (Waitz).


Chapter XIII.

Because indeed, we have made mention of this Felix, we may also relate a few things concerning the venerable 69 and very wise man Fortunatus, who had declared that this Felix was his colleague. In short, this Fortunatus of whom we speak was born in a place which is called Duplabilis, which place lies not far from the fortress of Ceneta (Ceneda) and the city of Tarvisium (Treviso). He was, however, brought up and instructed at Ravenna and became very distinguished in the grammatical, the rhetorical and also the metrical art. And since he suffered a very grievous disease of the eyes, and this Felix also, his colleague, in like manner suffered in his eyes, they both proceeded to church of the blessed Paul and John, which is situated within that city, and in which an altar, built in honor of St. Martin the Confessor, has a window near by in which a lamp was set to give light. With the oil of this, these men, that is, Fortunatus and Felix, presently touched their suffering eyes. Instantly the disease was driven away, and they obtained the health they longed for. For this reason Fortunatus adored the blessed Martin so much that he abandoned his country a little before the Langobards invaded Italy, and set out for the sepulchre of that blessed man at Turones (Tours), and he relates that his way of proceeding thither, as he tells it himself in his songs, was by the streams of Tiliamentum (Tagliamento) and Reuna (Ragogna), and by Osupus (Osopo) and the Julian Alps,44 and by the fortress of Aguntum (Innichen) and the rivers Drave and Byrrus (Rienz), and by Briones (the Brenner), and the city of 70 Augusta (Augsburg), which the Virdo (Wertach) and Lecha (Lech) water. And after he had come to Turones (Tours), according to his own vow, passing on through Pictavi (Poitiers), he dwelt there and wrote at that place of the doings of many saints, part in prose and part in metrical fashion, and lastly in the same city he was ordained, first as a presbyter and then as a bishop, and in the same place he reposes buried with befitting honor. Here he wrote the life of St. Martin in four books in heroic meter, and he composed many other things, most of all hymns for particular festivals and especially little verses to particular friends, being second to none of the poets in soft and fluent speech. At his grave, when I came thither for the purpose of prayer,45 upon the request of Aper the abbot of that place I composed this epitaph to be inscribed there:

Here in this soil Fortunatus lies buried, the first among prophets,

Born in Ausonian land, worthy of honor in deed,

Famous in talent, quick to perceive and in speech ever gentle.

Many an eloquent page sings his melodious lay.

Fresh from his holy lips, to show us the way to salvation,

Deeds of the saints we learn — fathers of primitive times.

Happy art thou, O land of Gaul, with such jewels emblazoned,

Whose resplendent fire scatters the shadows of night!

Verses of commonplace song, in thy honor, O saint, have I written,

Lest thy fame lie hid, lost in the depths the crowd.

Reader I pray a return, and ask through thy infinite merits

That the Eternal Judge mercy show also to me.

In a few words we have touched upon these things 71 concerning so great a man, that his fellow citizens might not be wholly ignorant of his life; now let us return to the thread of our history.


44  This part of the range is to-day called the Carnic Alps (Studii Storici, 1899, p. 405).

45  Between the years 782-786 (Waitz).


Chapter XIV.

Then Alboin took Vincentia (Vicenza) and Verona and the remaining cities of Venetia, except Patavium (Padua), Mons Silicis (Monselice) and Mantua.46 For Venetia is composed not only of the few islands which we now call Venice, but its boundary stretches from the borders of Pannonia to the river Addua (Adda). This is proved in the books of annals in which Pergamus (Bergamo) is said to be a city of Venetia and in histories we thus read of lake Benacus (Lago di Garda): “Benacus, a lake of Venetia from which the river Mincius (Mincio) flows.” The Eneti, indeed (though a letter is added among the Latins), are called in Greek the “praiseworthy.” Histria is also joined to Venetia and both are considered one province. Histria is named from the river Hister which, according to Roman history, is said to have been broader than it is now. The city of Aquileia was the capital of this Venetia, in place of which is now Forum Julii (Cividale), so called because Julius Caesar had established there a market for business.


46  Paul is probably in error in saying that Mantua was not taken by Alboin. It was indeed later taken by Agilulf, but this was after it had been recaptured by the Greeks during the reign of Authari (Pabst, p. 409, note).


Chapter XV.

I do not think we are wandering from the subject if 72 we also touch briefly upon other provinces of Italy.47 The second province is called Liguria from gathering, that is, collecting leguminous plants with which it is well supplied. In this are Mediolanum (Milan) and Ticinum, which is called by another name, Papia (Pavia). It extends to the boundaries of the Gauls. Between it and Suavia (Suabia), that is, the country of the Alamanni, which is situated toward the north, two provinces, namely, the first Retia (Rhaetia) and the second Retia are placed among the Alps in which, strictly speaking, the Reti (Rhaetians) are known to dwell.


47  A full account of these provinces is found near the end of Appendix II.


Chapter XVI.

The Cottian Alps are called the fifth province, which were thus named from king Cottius, who lived at the time of Nero. This (province) extends from Liguria toward the southeast48 to the Tyrrhenian sea; on the west indeed it is joined to the territories of the Gauls. In it are contained the cities of Aquis49 (Acqui) where there are hot springs, Dertona (Tortona), the monastery of Bobium (Bobbio), Genua (Genoa), and Saona (Savona). The sixth province is Tuscia (Tuscany) which is thus called from “tus” (frankincense) which its people were wont to burn superstitiously in the sacrifices to their gods. This includes Aurelia toward the northwest and Umbria on the eastern side. In this province Rome was situated, which was formerly the 73 capital of the whole world. In Umbria indeed, which is counted a portion of it, are Perusium (Perugia) and lake Clitorius (Lago di Bolsena) and Spoletium (Spoleto), and it is called Umbria because it remained above the furious rains (imbres) when long ago a watery scourge devastated the nations.


48  Read eurum in place of eorum.

49  Or Aquae Statiellae.


Chapter XVII.

Campania, the seventh province, stretches from the city of Rome to the Siler (Sele), a river of Lucania. In it the very rich cities of Capua, Neapolis (Naples) and Salernus (Salerno) are situated. It is called Campania on account of the very fertile plain (campus) of Capua, but it is for the most part mountainous. Next the eighth province, Lucania, which received its name from a certain grove (lucus), begins at the river Siler and extends with Brittia (Bruttium50), which was thus called from the name of its former queen, along the coast of the Tyrrhenian sea like the two last named provinces, as far as the Sicilian strait, and embraces the right horn of Italy. In it are placed the cities of Pestus (Paestum), Lainus (Lao), Cassianum (Cassano), Consentia (Cosenza), and Regium (Reggio).


50  Now Calabria.


Chapter XVIII.

Then the ninth province is reckoned in the Apennine Alps51 which take their origin from the place where 74 the Cottian Alps terminate. These Apennine Alps, stretching through the middle of Italy, separate Tuscia (Tuscany) from Emilia and Umbria from Flamminia. Here are the cities of Ferronianus (Frignano) and Montembellium (Monteveglio), Bobium (Bobbio) and Urbinum (Urbino), and also the town which is called Verona.52 The Apennine Alps were named from the Carthaginians (Poeni) — that is, from Hannibal and his army who had a passage through them when marching upon Rome.53 There are some who say that the Cottian and Apennine Alps are one province, but the history of Victor54 which called the Cottian Alps a province by self refutes them. The tenth province Emilia, beginning from Liguria extends towards Ravenna between the Apennine Alps and the waters of the Padus (Po). It is adorned with wealthy cities, to wit, Placentia (Piacenza), Parma, Regium (Reggio),55 Bononia (Bologna), and the Forum of Cornelius, the fortress of which is called Imolas (Imola). There were also some who called Emilia and Valeria and Nursia one province, but the opinion of these cannot stand because Tuscia and Umbria are situated between Emilia and Valeria and Nursia.


51  This province described by Paul is wholly imaginary. The others are substantially accurate. See Appendix II near the end.

52  Paul elsewhere shows that Frignano and Monteveglio were actually in Æmilia, Bobbio in the Cottian Alps and Verona in Venetia (Mommsen, 87).

53  It will be observed that most of Paul’s derivations, though taken from earlier authorities, are highly fanciful.

54  Life of Nero by Sextus Aurelius Victor.

55  This was the ancient Regium Lepidi now Reggio d’Emilia, to distinguish it from Reggio in Calabria.


Chapter XIX.

The eleventh of the provinces is Flamminia, which lies between the Apennine Alps and the Adriatic sea. In it are situated Ravenna, the most noble of cities, and five other towns which are called by a Greek name, the Pentapolis.56 Now it is agreed that Aurelia, Emilia and Flaminia are called by these names from the paved roads which come from the city of Rome and from the names of those by whom they were paved. After Flamminia comes the twelfth province, Picenus, having upon the south side the Apennine mountains and on the other side the Adriatic sea. It extends to the river Piscaria.57 In it are the cities of Firmus (Fermo), Asculus (Ascoli), Pinnis (Penne), and Hadria, already fallen to ruin with old age, which has given its name to the Adriatic sea. When the inhabitants of this district hastened thither from the Sabines, a griffin (picus) sat upon their banner and from this cause it took the name Picenus.


56  The five cities are Rimini, Ancona, Fano, Pesaro and Sinigaglia.

57  Mommsen (92) considers that this boundary is incorrect.


Chapter XX.

Valeria, the thirteenth province, to which Nursia is attached, is situated between Umbria and Campania and Picenus, and it touches on the east the region of the Samnites. Its western part, which takes its beginning from the city of Rome, was formerly called Etruria from the Etruscan people. It contains the cities of 76 Tibur (Tivoli), Carsioli and Reate (Rieti), Furcona (Aquila), Amiternum (San Vettorino) and the region of the Marsians and their lake which is called Fucinus (Celano). I think that the territory of the Marsians should be reckoned within the province of Valeria, because it is not at all described by the ancients in the catalogue of the provinces of Italy, but if any one may prove by correct reasoning that this is a province by itself, his sensible opinion by all means should be accepted. The fourteenth province, Samnium, beginning from the Piscaria, lies between Campania, the Adriatic sea and Apulia. In it are the cities of Theate (Chieti), Aufidena, Hisernia and Samnium, fallen to ruin by old age, from which the whole province is named, and that most wealthy Beneventum (Benevento) the capital of these provinces. Furthermore, the Samnites received their name formerly from the spears which they were wont to carry and which the Greeks called “saynia.”58


58  Σάννια, more properly a javelin.


Chapter XXI.

The fifteenth of the provinces is Apulia, and united with it is Calabria.59 In it is the Salentine territory. This has Samnium and Lucania on the west and southwest, but on the east it is bounded by the Adriatic sea. It contains the tolerably rich cities of Luceria (Lucera), Sepontum (Siponto), Canusium (Canosa), Agerentia 77 (Acerenza?), Brundisium (Brindisi), Tarentum (Taranto) and the left horn of Italy which extends fifty miles, Ydrontum (Otranto), well adapted to commerce.60 Apulia is named from “destruction,”61 for more quickly there (than elsewhere) does the herbage of the land perish in the heat of the sun.


59  Not the present Calabria but the southeastern extremity of the Adriatic shore of Italy.

60  Mercimoniis. See DuCange.

61  Ἀπώλεια, from ἀπόλλυμι, to destroy.


Chapter XXII.

The island of Sicily is reckoned the sixteenth province. This is washed by the Tyrrhenian sea and by the Ionian, and is so called from the proper name of the leader Siculus. Corsica is put down as the seventeenth, Sardinia as the eighteenth province. Both of these are girt the waves of the Tyrrhenian sea. Corsica is named from the leader Corsus; Sardinia from Sardis (Serdis?) the son of Hercules.


Chapter XXIII.

It is certain, moreover,62 that the old writers of history called Liguria and part of Venetia, as well as Emilia and Flamminia, Cisalpine Gaul. Hence it is that Donatus, the grammarian, in his explanation of Virgil, says that Mantua is in Gaul. Hence it is that we read in Roman history that Ariminum (Rimini) is situated in Gaul. Indeed, in the most ancient period, Brennus, king of the Gauls, who reigned at the city of Senonae 78 (Sens), came with 300,000 Senonian Gauls to Italy and occupied it as far as Senogallia (Sinigaglia), which is named from the Senonian Gauls. And the reason why the Gauls came to Italy is represented to have been this: When they tasted the wine brought from that country, they were enticed by greed for this wine and passed over into Italy. While a hundred thousand of these were hastening along not far from the island of Delphi, they were killed by the swords of the Greeks. Another hundred thousand, having entered Galatia,63 were first called Gallogreci, but afterwards Galatians, and these are those to whom Paul, the teacher of the heathen, wrote his epistle. Also a hundred thousand of the Gauls who remained in Italy built Ticinum (Pavia), Mediolanum (Milan), Pergamus (Bergamo) and Brixia (Brescia), and gave to the region the name of Cisalpine Gaul, and they are the Senonian Gauls who formerly invaded the city of Romulus. For as we call what is beyond the Alps, Transalpine Gaul, so we name what is within the Alps on this side, Cisalpine Gaul.


62  Tamen — but here used in a copulative and not an adversative sense. See Crivellucci, Studii Storici, 1899, p. 259.

63  In Asia Minor.


Chapter XXIV.

Italy then, which contains these provinces received its name from Italus, the leader of the Siculi, who took possession of it in ancient times. Or it is denominated Italy on this account, because large oxen, that is, “itali,” are found in it; and the name comes from this, that by abbreviation “vitulus” (a calf) is “italus,” one letter being added and another changed. Italy is also called 79 Ausonia from Ausonus, son of Ulysses. Originally indeed, the region of Beneventum was called by this name but afterwards all Italy began to be called so. Italy is also called Latium on this account, because Saturn fleeing from Jupiter his son found a hiding place (latebra) within it. Since enough then has been said concerning the provinces and names of Italy, the events within which we are narrating, let us now return to the regular order of our history.


Chapter XXV.

Alboin then, came into Liguria at the beginning of the third indiction64 on the third day before the nones65 of September, and entered Mediolanum during the times of the archbishop Honoratus. Then he took all the cities of Liguria except those which were situated upon the shores of the sea. The archbishop Honoratus indeed, deserting Mediolanum, fled to the city of Genoa. The patriarch Paul66 too, after administering his priestly office for twelve years, departed from this life and left the church to be managed by Probinus.


64  A. D. 569, see Bk. II, ch. VII, note.

65  The nones was the 9th day before the ides, both days being included, and the ides fell upon the 15th of March, May, July and October and upon the 13th of the remaining months. The nones therefore fell upon the 7th of March, May, July and October and upon the 5th of other months. The 3rd day before the nones of September, reckoned backward from the 5th and including both days, would therefore be the 3rd of September, and this is the day given by Muratori in his Annals, Vol. 3, p. 479.

66  Of Aquileia.


Chapter XXVI.

The city of Ticinum (Pavia) at this time held out bravely, withstanding a siege more than three years, while the army of the Langobards remained close at hand on the western side. Meanwhile Alboin, after driving out the soldiers, took possession of everything as far as Tuscany except Rome and Ravenna and some other fortified places which were situated on the shore of the sea. The Romans had then no courage to resist because the pestilence which occurred at the time of Narses had destroyed very many in Liguria and Venetia, and after the year of plenty of which we spoke, a great famine attacked and devastated all Italy. It is certain that Alboin then brought with him to Italy many men from various peoples which either other kings or he himself had taken. Whence, even until to-day, we call the villages in which they dwell Gepidan, Bulgarian, Sarmatian, Pannonian, Suabian, Norican, or by other names of this kind.


Chapter XXVII.

The city of Ticinum indeed, after enduring the siege for three years and some months, at length surrendered to Alboin and to the Langobards besieging it. When Alboin entered it through the so-called gate of St. John from the eastern side of the city, his horse fell in the middle of the gateway, and could not be gotten up, although urged by kicks and afterwards struck by the blows of spears. Then one of those Langobards thus spoke to the king, saying: “Remember sir king, what vow you have plighted. Break so grievous a vow 81 and you will enter the city, for truly there is a Christian people in this city.” Alboin had vowed indeed that he would put all the people to the sword because they had been unwilling to surrender. After he broke this vow and promised mercy to the citizens, his horse straightway rose and he entered the city and remained steadfast in his promise, inflicting injury upon no one. Then all the people, gathering around him in the palace which king Theoderic had formerly built, began to feel relieved in mind, and after so many miseries were already confident in hope for the future.


Chapter XXVIII.

After this king had ruled in Italy three years and six months, he was slain by treachery of his wife,67 and the cause of his murder was this: While he sat in merriment at a banquet at Verona longer than was proper, with the cup which he had made of the head of his father-in-law, king Cunimund, he ordered it to be given to the queen to drink wine, and he invited her to drink merrily with her father. Lest this should seem impossible to any one, I speak the truth in Christ. I saw king Ratchis holding this cup in his hand on a certain festal day to show it to his guests. Then Rosemund, when she heard the thing, conceived in her heart deep anguish she could not restrain, and straightway she burned to revenge the death of her father by the 82 murder of her husband, and presently she formed a plan with Helmechis who was the king’s squire (scilpor) — that is his armor-bearer — and his foster brother, to kill the king, and he persuaded the queen that she ought to admit to this plot Peredeo, who was a very strong man. As Peredeo would not give his consent to the queen when she advised so great a crime, she put herself at night in the bed of her dressing-maid with whom Peredeo was accustomed to have intercourse, and then Peredeo, coming in ignorance, lay with the queen. And when the wicked act was already accomplished and she asked him whom he thought her to be, and he named the name of his mistress that he thought she was, the queen added: “It is in no way as you think, but I am Rosemund,” she says, “and surely now you have perpetrated such a deed, Peredeo, that either you must kill Alboin or he will slay you with his sword.” Then he learned the evil thing he had done, and he who had been unwilling of his own accord, assented, when forced in such a way, to the murder of the king. Then Rosemund, while Alboin had given himself up to a noon-day sleep, ordered that there should be a great silence in the palace, and taking away all other arms, she bound his sword tightly to the head of the bed so it could not be taken away or unsheathed, and according to the advice of Peredeo, she, more cruel than any beast, let in Helmechis the murderer.68 Alboin suddenly aroused from 83 sleep perceived the evil which threatened and reached his hand quickly for his sword, which, being tightly tied, he could not draw, yet he seized a foot-stool and defended himself with it for some time. But unfortunately alas! this most warlike and very brave man being helpless against his enemy, was slain as if he were one of no account and he who was most famous in war through the overthrow of so many enemies, perished by the scheme of one little woman. His body was buried with the great grief and lamentations of the Langobards under the steps of a certain flight of stairs which was next to the palace. He was tall in stature and well fitted in his whole body for waging wars. In our own days Giselpert, who had been duke of Verona, opened his grave and took away his sword and any other of his ornaments found there. And for this reason he boasted with his accustomed vanity among ignorant men that he had seen Alboin.69


67  Probably May 25th or June 28th, A. D. 572, or possibly 573 (Hodg., V, 168, 181; Roviglio, Sopra Alcuni Dati Cronologici di Storia Langobardica, Reggio-Emilia, 1899, p. 21 to 27).

68  This reading of Paul seems to reverse the parts, making Peredeo the adviser and Helmechis the actual murderer, and seems to indicate that Paul has misunderstood his authorities or confused them. The names are transposed in some of the manuscripts to bring the sentence into harmony with what precedes. Agnellus ignores Peredeo altogether and assigns the whole responsibility for the murder to Helmechis, instigated by Rosemund (Hodgkin, V, 170). But after deducting what is undoubtedly legendary we have statements from contemporary sources essentially harmonious. The Annals of Ravenna (Exc. Sang. Agnell., ch. 96) says: “Alboin was killed by his followers in his palace by command of his wife Rosemund.” John Biclaro: “Alboin is killed at night at Verona by his followers by the doing of his wife.” Marius: “Alboin was killed by his followers, that is by Hilmaegis with the rest, his wife agreeing to it.” The Copenhagen Continuer of Prosper: “Alboin was killed at Verona by the treachery of his wife Rosemund, the daughter of king Conumund, Elmigisilus aiding her” (Schmidt, p. 72).

69  Hodgkin (V, 175) notices a reference to Alboin in the so-called Traveler’s song or Widsith which was composed probably about the middle of the sixth century. Lines 139 to 147 say, “So was I in Eatule with Ealfwin, son of Eadwin, who of all mankind had to my thinking the lightest hand to win love, the most generous heart in the distribution of rings and bright bracelets.” [Foulke’s translation-Elf.Ed.] It seems probable that Eatule means Italy; Ealfwin, Alboin; Eadwin, Audoin.


Chapter XXIX.

Helmechis then, upon the death of Alboin, attempted to usurp his kingdom, but he could not at all do this, because the Langobards, grieving greatly for the king’s death, strove to make away with him. And straightway Rosemund sent word to Longinus, prefect of Ravenna, that he should quickly send a ship70 to fetch them. Longinus, delighted by such a message, speedily sent a ship in which Helmechis with Rosemund his wife embarked, fleeing at night. They took with them Albsuinda, the daughter of the king, and all the treasure of the Langobards, and came swiftly to Ravenna.71 Then 85 the prefect Longinus began to urge Rosemund to kill Helmechis and to join him in wedlock. As she was ready for every kind of wickedness and as she desired to become mistress of the people of Ravenna, she gave her consent to the accomplishment of this great crime, and while Helmechis was bathing himself, she offered him, as he came out of the bath, a cup of poison which she said was for his health. But when he felt that he had drunk the cup of death, he compelled Rosemund, having drawn his sword upon her, to drink what was left, and thus these most wicked murderers perished at one moment by the judgment of God Almighty.


70  Probably to some point on the Po not far from Verona (Hodg., V, 172, note 1).

71  As to Rosemund’s flight to Longinus, the Ravenna Annals (Agnello, ch 96) show that Rosemund with a multitude of Gepidae and Langobards came to Ravenna in the month of August with all the royal treasure and was honorably received by Longinus the prefect. Marius says that Helmegis, with his wife and all the treasure and a part of the army, surrendered to the republic at Ravenna. John Biclaro says: that Alboin’s treasure with the queen came into the power of the republic and the Langobards remained without king and treasure. The Copenhagen Continuer of Prosper (p. 34) says she attempted to unite Helmigis to herself in marriage and in the kingdom, but when she perceived that her treacherous usurpation displeased the Langobards, she fled with the royal treasure and her husband to Ravenna (Schmidt, 73).


Chapter XXX.

When they had thus been killed, the prefect Longinus sent Albsuinda with the treasures of the Langobards to Constantinople to the emperor. Some affirm that Peredeo also came to Ravenna in like manner with Helmechis and Rosemund, and was thence sent with Albsuinda to Constantinople, and there in a public show before the emperor killed a lion of astonishing size and, as they say, by command of the emperor, his eyes were torn out lest he should attempt anything in the imperial city because he was a strong man. After some time he prepared for himself two small knives, hid one in each of his sleeves, went to the palace and promised to say something serviceable to the emperor if he were admitted to him. the emperor sent him two patricians, familiars of the palace, to receive his words. When they came to Peredeo, he approached them quite closely as if about to tell them something unusually 86 secret, and he wounded both of them severely with the weapons he held concealed in each hand so that immediately they fell to the ground and expired. And thus in no way unlike the mighty Sampson, he avenged his injuries, and for the loss of his two eyes he killed two men most useful to the emperor.


Chapter XXXI.

All the Langobards in Italy by common consent installed as their king in the city of Ticinum, Cleph, a very noble man among them.72 Of many powerful men of the Romans some he destroyed by the sword and others he drove from Italy. When he had held the sovereignty with Masane, his wife, one year and six months, he was slain with the sword by a servant of his train.73


72   “Of the race of Beleo” says the Origo. Marius of Avenches (Chron., 573, Roncalli, p. 413, see Pabst, 415, note 5) says he had been one of the dukes.

73  The precise dates are uncertain. Marius of Avenches says he was elected in the sixth indiction and slain in the seventh, hence both events took place between Sept. 1st, 572, and Sept. 1st, 574 (Roviglio, Sopra Alcuni Dati Cronologici, p. 28).


Chapter XXXII.

After his death the Langobards had no king for ten years74 but were under dukes,75 and each one of the 87 dukes held possession of his own city, Zaban of Ticinum (Pavia), Wallari of Pergamus (Bergamo), Alichis of Brexia (Brescia), Euin of Tridentum (Trent),76 Gisulf of Forum Julii (Cividale).77 But there were thirty other dukes besides these in their own cities.78 In these 88 days many of the noble Romans were killed from 89 love of gain, the remainder were divided among 90 their “guests” and made tributaries, that they should pay 91 the third part of their products to the Langobards.79 By 92 these dukes of the Langobards in the seventh year from 93 the coming of Alboin80 and of his whole people, the churches were despoiled, the priests killed, the cities overthrown, the people who had grown up like crops annihilated, and besides those regions which Albion had taken, the greater part of Italy was seized and subjugated by the Langobards.


74  The Origo Gentis Langobardorum, the Chronicon Gothanum, Fredegarius and the Copenhagen Continuer of Prosper all give twelve years as the period of this interregnum. A computation of the preceding and subsequent reigns appears to sustain Paul’s statement (Roviglio, id., p. 29-31) which, however, is not free from doubt.

75  Duces. It is not certain what was the Langobard name for these rulers. Some suggest (Hodgkin, V, 183, 184) Heretoga (The present German Herzog). The prefix and suffix ari which occurs frequently in Langobard names (e. g. Aripert, Arioald, Rothari) may have some connection with this dignity. The Latin word dux was appropriately applied, as it meant both a leader in the field and a commander of frontier troops and of a frontier district (Hartmann, II, 1, 40). Schmidt (p. 78) insists that division of Italy into dukedoms was nothing else than the ancient Langobard division of their territory into cantons, only these were now connected with the former city territories of the Romans.

76  Duke Euin (569-595) followed by Gaidoald in the latter year, and Alahis about 680 and 690, are the only three dukes of Trent mentioned in Paul’s history (Hodg., VI, 23). The duchy of Trent probably ascended by the Central Valley of the Adige as far northward as the Mansio of Euna, the modern town of Neumarkt and southward to a point near the present Austro-Italian frontier where the mountains begin to slope down to the Lombard plain (Hodg., VI, 26).

77  The dukes of Friuli were Gisulf (Living in 575), Grasulf II, Taso, Cacco, Ago, Lupus (about 662), Wechtari (between 662 and 671), Landari, Rodoald, Ansfrit (between 688 and 700), Ferdulf, Corvulus, Pemmo, Anselm, Peter and Ratgaud or Hrodgaud (775 to 776) (Hodg., VI, 36).

78  Pabst (437) gives the list of probable cities referred to:


Friuli        Parma      Cremona                  

Ceneda     Piacenza  Como                        

Treviso     Modena   Lodi                          

Vicenza    Brescello Vercelli                     

Verona     Asti          Tortona                    

Trent        Ivrea       Alba Pompeia          

Brescia     Turin      Acqui                        

Bergamo  Mantua   Lucca                       

Novara     Altino      Chiusi                       

Milan        Mariana  Perugia                    

Pavia        Feltre      Benevento                

Reggio      Belluno   Spoleto (see p. 439).

This makes thirty-six cities instead of the thirty-five, and probably Pabst included one or more not yet occupied by the Langobards (Hodgkin, V, 188). Pabst also gives a very complete account of this office of duke. At first it was not hereditary (pp. 414-415) but was held for life (p. 432). Dukes were not selected on account of their noble birth (though nobles were frequently found among them), but on account of their military and administrative ability. The duke was not chosen by the people but appointed by the king (p. 414). During the interregnum of ten years when the dukes governed different portions of the country, there was a great increase of the ducal power. It became evident, however, that the government could not continue thus sub-divided. The kingly power was restored but in the meantime some of the dukedoms, particularly Benevento and Spoleto, and in a measure Friuli had become so powerful that they were never again wholly subjected to the king. The succession in Benevento and Spoleto became hereditary, and even in Friuli the rights of the ruling family were respected (Paul, IV, 39; Pabst, 432). The duke’s jurisdiction extended, not simply over a particular city, but over the adjoining district or province (pp. 434-435). In determining the limits of this district the ancient boundaries were generally observed (435). The first definite statement of the powers of the duke is found in the laws of Rothari about the middle of the 7th century. He had supreme military, judicial and police jurisdiction in his district (439, 440). His control of the financial administration was not so complete (440). At his side, at least in the northern dukedoms, stood the counts and gastaldi who were the immediate representatives of the king. The counts are named next after the dukes (441), though their jurisdiction nowhere (442) appears, and Pabst considers that the name is a mere honorary title for a particular gastaldus (or gastaldius). This latter word is derived, in his opinion, from the Gothic gastaldan, to possess, acquire. A better derivation would seem to be from gast and aldius, the “guest of the half-free” who settled as a lord on the property of the conquered Italians, and compelled them to serve him and give him a portion of the proceeds of their lands. The gastaldi would then be the lords or administrators of these Italian domains (Bruckner, 205). When the dukes re-established the kingly power (P., III, 16) they gave up one-half of their fortunes for royal uses. Paul tells us that at this time the oppressed people were parcelled out among their Langobard guests, and it is probable that the gastaldi (whose name would appear to refer to such apportionment) were first appointed at that time. In each civitas or city with its adjacent territory there appears to have been a gastaldus whose duty it was to look after the royal interests, and especially, the royal domains (p. 443). He received the king’s share of inheritances when heirs were lacking and gradually came into possession of most of the financial administration (444). Dukes, counts, and gastaldi, are all designated by the common name of “judges” (447-448), and certain police authority is also given them — for example, to remove lepers (449), to arrest fugitives, etc. A peculiar provision of Rothari’s Edict (23) is, that if a duke shall unjustly injure his soldier the gastaldus shall aid the latter and (24), if the gastaldus shall unjustly injure his soldier, the duke shall protect the injured man (443, note 3). Quite different is the position of the gastaldi of Benevento and Spoleto where the dukes were practically sovereign (470). We see at the courts of these dukes the same officials as at the royal court, the cubicularius or chamberlain, the stolesas, or treasurer, etc. (472).

We find many royal expedients to limit the ducal power. Territory reconquered from the Greek empire or from rebellious dukes became the property of the sovereign (463), and gastaldi rather than dukes were appointed to administer it. When Liutprand endeavored to strengthen the royal power, he took advantage in Friuli of a contest between Bishop Calixtus and Duke Pemmo and deprived Pemmo of the dukedom, but appointed Pemmo’s eldest son Ratchis in his place (see P., VI, 51). Liutprand also deposed and appointed dukes for Spoleto and Benevento, and set aside for a time the hereditary succession, but he did not permanently reduce these duchies to subjection.

In the other parts of the kingdom, immediately subject to him, however (which were called Austria, Neustria and Tuscia), he appointed gastaldi in the cities where there had been dukes, and greatly strengthened his own power by increasing the powers and responsibilities of the gastaldi. In his edicts he does not use the word “duke” at all, but continually uses the word “judge” in place of it, which latter term includes both dukes and gastaldi, and the two are now no longer found side by side in a single jurisdiction. Pabst (482-483) has given a list of the cities which, under Liutprand, were ruled by dukes and of those which were ruled by gastaldi. The list is incomplete, and perhaps in part incorrect, yet it shows in a general way the extent of the separation of the two offices.

There were also subordinate officials. Among these were the actores, who were the king’s agents in administering particular royal domains, and under the judges the sculdahis, or local magistrates, and the centenarii and locopositi, probably of similar grade (500, see Hartman, II, 2, 39). In an ordinary judicial proceeding the complainant betook him in the first place to the sculdahis, the local civil magistrate. If the case were so important that the sculdahis could not decide it, he had to send the parties to the judge (i. e., the duke or gastaldus) (Pabst, 485), but if it were beyond the jurisdiction of the latter, the parties had to appear in the king’s court. If the judge could not act personally he could appoint a deputy (missus) to act for him in individual cases. The party defeated in a legal proceeding had the right to complain to a higher jurisdiction of the decision or the conduct of the magistrate who had decided against him (Hartmann, II, 2, 41), and if it were found that the judge had failed in his duties he was punished (at least until the time of king Ratchis), not by dismissal, but by a fine (Pabst, 487). In their powers, duties and responsibilities dukes and gastaldi at last appear to be quite alike, and while a larger domain generally appears annexed to the office of duke, the gastaldi usually have the administration of the royal estates (489). Possibly the king could change the gastaldi more quickly than the dukes whose term of office lasted for life, but this appears to be the only point in which the duke had the advantage. These arrangements suffered little change during the latter days of the kingdom.

79  There is much controversy as to the meaning of this sentence. Does the “remainder” who were divided, refer to all the Romans, or merely to the nobles who were not killed? Hodgkin (VI, 581) believes it refers to the rest of the Roman inhabitants. Villari (Le Invasioni Barbariche, II, 32) insists that it refers grammatically to the nobles only, and asks how it would have been possible to render tributary all the Romans, thus obliging those who possessed nothing to pay one-third of the fruits of the earth? It would seem that it must be limited at least to the Roman landed proprietors who might well at this time have been roughly designated as nobles in this connection.

The word “guest” (hospes) expressed a relation that could exist only between the Langobard and the Roman proprietor. That of “patron” existed toward the peasants and cultivators of the lands (Villari, pp. 272, 273). The relation of “guests” also existed elsewhere between Burgundians and conquered Romans. The Roman whose land was assigned to a Burgundian was called hospes and vice versa. The land thus assigned was called sors, and the right to it hospitalitas (Savigny, Geschichte des Römischen Rechts im Mittelalter, I, p. 298).

The whole free Roman population was treated by the Langobards quite differently from the manner in which they had been treated by Theodoric and the Ostrogoths, who simply took one-third of their land and left them as independent as before. The Langobards took one-third, not of the land, but of its products, and there is much dispute as to the status in which they held the Roman population. Although Villari (Le Invasioni Barbariche, pp. 265, 266, 271-272) and others deny that this population was reduced to slavery, the better opinion seems to be that during the wars of conquest and the earlier period of Langobard domination, the Romans were regarded as conquered enemies destitute of all rights (Hartmann, II, 2, 2; see, also, Hegel, Städteverfassung von Italien, ch. III, p. 355, and authorities there cited,) and that they very generally became aldii or serfs of the Langobards just as her subject-peoples had been during the previous wanderings of that nation. Aldius first meant “man,” then “common man,” then the “half free” man, bound to the soil (Hartmann, II, 1, 8). Rothari’s Edict, though it scarcely mentions the Romans as such, contains many enactments concerning the aldius, who apparently did not differ greatly from the Roman colonus who cultivated the ground for his master and could not change his condition or his home, but could not have his rent raised arbitrarily, nor be sold as a slave apart from the land. We are not expressly told in the Edict that the Romans were aldii but this seems implied. The fine for killing or crippling an aldius was payable to his master, probably to indemnify him for the loss of a valuable farm laborer. The condition of the workmen in the cities however is more doubtful and also the condition of the Romans of the higher class, if any, who survived (Hodgkin, VI, 586-592).

The third exacted by the Langobards may have been one-third of the gross product of the land, which would be more than half the net product and would leave a slender margin for the cultivator and his family (Hodgkin, VI, 582). This was the view originally taken by Savigny (Geschichte des Römischen Rechts, I, ch. V, p. 400), but he afterwards changed his opinion and considered that the tribute was one-third of the net produce of the land (see Hegel, Städteverfassung von Italien, I, ch. 3, p. 356, note). The Langobards were thus exempted from agricultural labor and as absentee landlords, could live in the cities or at the court on the tribute thus paid by their “hosts.” This idleness on the one side and servitude upon the other exercised a demoralizing influence, and the Langobard system was much more injurious than the actual division of land under Theodoric and Odoacar where the substantial liberty of the Romans might still be preserved.

Hartmann (II, 1, 41, 42) believes that the payment of one-third the produce of the land was a mere temporary arrangement while Alboin and the Langobards were acquiring possession of the country, and that afterwards, when they were permanently settled in the country, the Langobards took the places of the former proprietors and received all the profits of their estates. There seems no good reason to think, however, that such complete expropriation was universal

80  Paul scarcely means that all this occurred in the seventh year alone but during the seven years of Langobard occupation. This was the statement of Gregory of Tours whom Paul followed (IV, 41), see Jacobi, 34.

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