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. 94-150.





Chapter I.

Some of the dukes of the Langobards then, with a strong army invaded Gaul.1 Hospitius, a man of God, who had been cloistered at Nicea (Nice), foresaw their invasion a long while beforehand, by revelation of the Holy Spirit, and predicted to the citizens of that city that calamities were impending. For he was a man of the greatest abstinence and of praiseworthy life, who, bound by iron chains upon his flesh and clad with goat’s hair, used bread alone and a few dates for his food. But in the days of Lent he was nourished by the roots of Egyptian herbs which hermits use, the gift of some merchants. The Lord deemed it fitting that great and excellent things should be accomplished by him, which are written in the books of the reverend man Gregory, bishop of Tours. This holy man then, predicted the coming of the Langobards into Gaul in this manner: “The Langobards,” he says, “will come into Gaul and will lay waste seven cities because their wickedness has waxed great in the sight of the Lord, for all the people are addicted to perjuries, guilty of thefts, intent upon plunder, 95 ready for murders; the fruit of justice is not in them, tithes are not given, the poor man is not fed, the naked is not clothed, the stranger is not received in hospitality. Therefore is this blow about to come upon that people.” Also advising his monks, he said: “Depart also from this place, taking away with you what you have, for behold, the nation I foretold is approaching.” And when they said, “We will not abandon thee, most holy Father,” he replied, “Fear not for me, it will come to pass that they will inflict injuries upon me, but they will not harm me to my death.”


1  An invasion of Gaul, probably a mere foray, is mentioned by Marius of Avenches as having occurred in 569, immediately after Alboin’s invasion of Italy. It was evidently a failure, for it was stated that many Langobard captives were sold into slavery (Pabst, 410, note 2). The particular invasion mentioned in the text occurred not earlier than 570 (Hodgkin, V, 216).


Chapter II.

And when the monks had departed, the army of the Langobards drew near. And while it was destroying all it found, it came to the place where the holy man was cloistered. He showed himself to them through the window of a tower. But when they, going around the tower, sought an entrance through which they could pass in to him, and found none at all, two of them climbed upon the roof and uncovered it. And seeing him bound with chains and clad in goat’s skin, they said; “He is a malefactor and has committed murder, therefore he is held bound in these fetters,” and when they had called an interpreter they inquired from him what evil deed he had committed that he was bound in such punishment, and he declared that he was a murderer and guilty of all crimes. Then one of them drew his word to cut off his head, but straightway his right hand stiffened while suspended in the act of striking, nor could he draw it back. So he let go of the sword and 96 dropped it upon the ground. His companions seeing these things raised a cry to heaven entreating the saint that he would graciously make known what they should do. And he indeed, having made the sign of salvation, restored the withered arm to health. And the Langobard who had been healed was converted to the faith of Christ and was straightway made a priest and then a monk, and remained in that same place to the end of his life in the service of God. But when the blessed Hospitius had spoken the word of God to the Langobards, two dukes who heard him reverently, returned safe and sound to their own country, but certain ones who had despised his words perished miserably in that same Provincia.2


2  Provence, a district on the Mediterranean at the mouth of the Rhone, the first part of Gaul to become, and the last to remain a Roman province (Hodgkin, V, 200).


Chapter III.

Then while the Langobards were devastating Gaul, Amatus, the patrician of Provincia, a subject of Gunthram, king of the Franks, led an army against them, and when the battle began, he fled and was there killed. And the Langobards made so great a slaughter of the Burgundians that the number of the slain could not be reckoned, and enriched with incalculable booty they returned to Italy.


Chapter IV.

When they had departed, Eunius, who was also called Mummulus, being summoned by the king, acquired the 97 honor of the patriciate, and when the Langobards again invaded Gaul3 and came as far as Mustiascalmes (Moutiers),4 which place lies near the city of Ebredunum (Embrun), Mummulus moved his army and set out thither with the Burgundians. And when the Langobards were surrounded by his army and trees were felled in their way5 among the winding paths of the woods, he rushed upon them and killed many of them and captured some and sent them to Gunthram his king.6 And the Langobards, when these things were done, returned to Italy.


3  By way of the Col de Genèvre (Hodgkin, V, 217).

4  In the department of the Basses Alpes.

5  Factis concisis — See [Du Cange], concisa

6  In this battle, Salonius, bishop of Embrun, and Sagittarius, bishop of Gap, two brothers, fought and slew many (Hodg., V, 27).


Chapter V.

Afterwards the Saxons who had come with the Langobards into Italy, broke into Gaul and established their camp within the territory of Regia, that is, at the villa Stablo (Establon),7 dispersing themselves among the villas of the neighboring cities, seizing booty, taking off captives and laying all things waste. When Mummulus learned this, he attacked them with his army and killed many of them, and did not cease slaying them until night made an end, for he found men ignorant and understanding nothing of what had come upon them. But when morning came, the Saxons put their army in 98 order, preparing themselves bravely for war, but by means of messengers they made peace, presents were given to Mummulus, the captives and all the booty were abandoned, and they returned to Italy.


7  Near Moutiers (Abel).


Chapter VI.

After the Saxons had returned to Italy and had taken with them their wives and children and all their household goods, they planned to go back again to Gaul, in order that they might be received by king Sigispert and by his aid might return to their own country. For it is certain that these Saxons had come to Italy with their wives and children that they might dwell in it, yet as far as can be understood they were unwilling to be subject to the commands of the Langobards. But it was not permitted to them by the Langobards to live according to their own laws,8 and therefore they determined to go back to their own country. When they were about to enter Gaul they formed themselves into two troops, and one troop indeed entered through the city of Nicea (Nice), but the other, through Ebredunum (Embrun), returning the same way they had gone the year before. Because it was the time of the harvests they collected and threshed grain 99 and ate it and gave it to their animals to eat. They plundered flocks, nor did they abstain from burnings, and when they had come to the river Rodanus (Rhone), which they had to cross to reach the kingdom of Sigispert, Mummulus met them with a powerful multitude. Then seeing him they feared greatly, and giving him many coins of gold for their release, they were permitted to cross the Rodanus. While they were proceeding to king Sigispert they deceived many on the way in their dealing, selling bars of brass which were so colored, I know not how, that they imitated the appearance of proved and tested gold,9 whence many were deceived by this fraud and giving gold and receiving brass, were made paupers. When they came at length to king Sigispert, they were allowed to go back to the place from which they had first come.


8  This statement, which is accepted without question by most of the commentators, is discredited by Hartmann (II, 1, 80), who remarks that it is an addition made by Paul himself to the account of Gregory of Tours from whom he takes this part of his history, and that it comes from Paul’s knowledge of the Langobard state in the eighth century which is quite unreliable for events occurring two centuries earlier.

9  Gregory of Tours (IV, 42) places this event at Arverni (Clermont), which seems out of the way for an army proceeding to Sigispert in Austrasia, whose capital was Metz, and Gregory says it was then spring-time, which is hard to reconcile with the statements about the threshed grain, unless indeed the Saxons wandered through Gaul until the following spring (Hodgkin, V, 192, note 1).


Chapter VII.

And when they had come to their own country they found it was held by Suavi (Suabians) and other peoples, as we have before related.10 Bestirring themselves against these, they attempted to drive them out and destroy them. The Suavi however offered them a third 100 part of the region, saying: “We can live together and dwell in common without strife,” and when they in no way acquiesced, the Suavi offered them a half and afterwards two parts, reserving only a third for themselves. And when they were unwilling, the Suavi offered with the land also all the flocks if only they would cease from war, but the Saxons, not content with this, sought a contest, and they had a strife among themselves beforehand in what why they would divide the wives of the Suavi. But it did not turn out with them as they thought, for when battle was joined 20,000 of them were killed, but of the Suavi four hundred and eighty fell, and the rest obtained a victory. And six thousand of the Saxons who survived the war made a vow that they would cut neither beard nor hair until they had avenged themselves upon their Suabian enemies. And again going into battle, they were grievously wasted and so they ceased from war.


10  Book II, chapter 6.


Chapter VIII.

After these things three dukes of the Langobards, that is, Amo, Zaban, and Rodanus, invaded Gaul,11 and Amo indeed, taking the way of Ebredunum (Embrun), approached s far as Machoavilla (Manosque)12 which Mummulus had acquired by gift of the king, and there he fixed his tents. Zaban however, going down by way 101 of the city of Dea (Die),13 came to Valentia14 (Valence), while Rodanus approached the city of Gratianopolis (Grenoble). Amo indeed subdued the province of Arelate (Arles) with the cities which lie around, and coming up to Stony Field itself, which lies by the city of Massilia (Marseilles), he laid waste everything he could find, and laying siege to Aquae (Aix)15 he received twenty-two pounds of silver16 and departed from that place. Rodanus also and Zaban in like manner destroyed by fire and rapine the places to which they had come. When these things were reported to Mummulus the patrician, he came with a strong band and fought first with Rodanus who was besieging Gratianopolis and killed many of his army, and compelled Rodanus himself, wounded by a lance, to flee to the tops of the mountains, from whence, dashing through the winding ways of the woods with five hundred men who had remained to him, he came to Zaban, who was then besieging the city of Valentia (Valence), and reported to him all the things that had been done. And when they had come to the city of Ebredunum, in like manner plundering everything, Mummulus came to meet them with a countless army, and when battle was joined he overcame them. Then Zaban and Rodanus making their way again to Italy came to Secusium (Susa), which city Sisinnius, then master of soldiers, was holding on 102 behalf of the emperor. The servant of Mummulus, coming to him, handed him a letter sent by Mummulus and said that the latter was quickly approaching. When they learned this, Zaban and Rodanus at once departed thence to their own homes. When Amo heard these things, having collected all his booty, he set out to return to Italy, but being hindered by the snows, he abandoned the greater part of his booty and was able with difficulty to break through the Alpine path with his followers, and thus he came to his own country.17

Map of The Campaign of the Langobard Dukes in Gaul.

The Campaign of the Langobard Dukes in Gaul.


11  A. D. 575. Zaban had invaded the Swiss dominions of Gunthram the year before but had been defeated and escaped to Italy (Hodgkin, V, 219)

12  On the river Druentia (Durance), (Abel) near Avignon (Hodgkin, V, 221).

13  In the department of Drome (Abel), on the Drome.

14  On the Rhone at the confluence of the Isère (Hodgkin, V, 221).

15  Aquae Sextiae near Marseilles.

16  Only £66 sterling, a small ransom (Hodgkin, V, 221, note 2).

17  These incursions seem to have been followed by an extension of the territory of king Gunthram to the Italian side of the Alps, including both Susa and Aosta. The Langobard invasions of Gaul were not renewed (Hodg., V, 223, 4). Mummulus afterwards rebelled against Gunthram and was slain (id., 224).


Chapter IX.

In these days upon the approach of the Franks the fortress of Anagnis (Nano),18 which was situated above Tridentum (Trent) within the boundary of Italy, surrendered to them. For this reason the count19 of the Langobards from Lagaris (Lägerthal), Ragilo by name, came and plundered Anagnis. While he was returning with his booty he was slain with many of his followers in the field of Rotalian20 by Chramnichis, the leader of 103 the Franks, who went to meet him. And this Chramnichis shortly afterwards came and devastated Tridentum.21 And Euin, duke of Tridentum, followed and killed him with his companions in the place which is called Salurnis (Salurn), and shook out of him all the booty he had taken, and when the Franks had been driven out took again the whole territory of Tridentum.


18  In the Val. Di Non. A. D. 577, see Muratori Annals, Vol. III, p. 498. Hartmann (II, 1, 81) believes that this was a Byzantine (not Langobard) fortress when surrendered.

19  As to the rank, powers, etc., of a count of the Langobards, see note to Book II, ch. 32, supra.

20  The date of this invasion of the Franks is placed by Hodgkin at 575-584 (VI, 27; V, 227). The chronology is very doubtful, but it preceded the elevation of Authari to the throne (Hartmann, II, 1, 81). The Rotalian field is the meadow plain at the confluence of the Noce and the Adige.

21  That is the land around Trent. It is not likely the city was taken (Hodgkin, VI, 28)


Chapter X.

At this time Sigispert, king of the Franks, was killed by the treachery of Hilperic, his brother, with whom he had waged war, and Childepert his son, still a little boy, with Brunihilde his mother, took up the management of his kingdom.22 Euin, also, duke of the 104 people of Tridentum, of whom we have spoken, took 105 as his wife the daughter of Garibald, king of the Bavarians.


22  See supra, II, 10. The Frankish kingdom was, after the death of Theudepert in 548 (see note to II, 2, supra), of his child Theudebald in 555, and of Childepert in 558, again united under one monarch, Chlotochar I (Lothair), who ruled for three years over the whole kingdom and died in 561, whereupon it was divided among his four sons, one of whom, Charibert, died in 567, and the number of sovereigns was reduced to three.

There were four great divisions of the monarchy:

(1)  Austrasia, assigned to Sigispert, which extended from Rheims across the Rhine an unknown distance into Germany.

(2)  Neustria, the portion of Chilperic or Hilperic, comprising the Netherlands, Picardy, Normandy and Maine.

(3)  Burgundy, the domain of Gunthram, embracing the region watered by the Rhone (except Provence), also Switzerland and some land in the corner of Gaul.

(4)  Aquitaine, stretching from the Loire to the Pyrenees, which was split up and contended for by all (Hodgkin, V, 199, 203).

Sigispert, the youngest and best of the three brothers, determined to wed a princess of his own rank and married in 566, Brunihilde, daughter of Athanagild, the Visigothic king of Spain, whom he seems to have loved with genuine affection. Chilperic, cruel, lustful, avaricious, “the Nero and Herod of the time,” took to himself many mistresses, but at last determined to follow his brother’s example and sought the hand of Galswintha, another daughter of Athanagild, who reluctantly came from Spain to become his bride, and received as her “morning gift” Bordeaux and four other cities in southwestern Gaul. But Fredegundis, one of Chilperic’s former concubines, a fiend incarnate, but incomparable in her powers of fascination, recovered the king’s affections. Galswintha was strangled, and Chilperic married her rival. His brothers endeavored to cast out so wicked an offender, and it was determined that the “morning gift” of the murdered queen should be given to her sister Brunihilde in atonement for the crime (Hodgkin, V, 204-208). Chilperic refused, and Sigispert and Gunthram sought to dethrone him. He was shut up in Tournay, and a large portion of his subjects determined to acclaim as their sovereign, Sigispert, who was raised on a shield and hailed as king by the army, but almost in the moment of his triumph, two serving-men rushed upon him and dealt him a mortal wound. The weapon, it was said, had been poisoned by Fredegundis. Sigispert’s son, Childepert, a child of five years, was carried back to Metz, the capital of Austrasia, was accepted as his father’s successor, and reigned for twenty-one years under the tutelage of the Austrasian nobles and of his mother Brunihilde, who now lived to avenge her husband’s death. She sought to accomplish this by a marriage with Merovech, the son of Chilperic by a former wife. Merovech was afterwards suspected of conspiring against his father, and died, some say at his own desire, and others that it was by order of Fredegundis. Chilperic’s rule became detestable, and in 584 he too was murdered by an unknown assassin, leaving a child three years old, Chlotochar, destined at a later time to reunite the Frankish dominions (Hodgkin, 208-214).

The Langobard invasion of Italy (A. D. 568) occurred just after the murder of Galswintha (A. D. 567), and the subsequent forays into Gaul were made possible by the dissensions among the Frankish sovereigns. These invasions appear to be mere robber raids. Most of them occurred during the ten years’ interregnum while the dukes were ruling the cities of Italy without a king, and the feud between the Franks and the Langobards which thus began, ripened into an indelible national instinct and prepared the way, after the lapse of two centuries, for the destruction of the kingdom of the Langobards by Charlemagne (Hodgkin, V, 198, 199).

An interesting question arises whether there is any connection between the characters and scenes in this Frankish drama of intrigue and revenge, and the legend of Siegfried as developed in the Elder Edda, the Saga of the Volsungs and the Niebelungen Lied. The resemblance of some of the names of the heroes is very striking; that of Sigispert, for instance, to Siegfried or Sigurd, Gunthram to Gunther, Brunihilde to Brunhild. Gunther in the legend, as well as in the history, is king of Burgundy; Siegfried is treacherously slain; there is a bitter jealousy and feud between two rival queens, and in the Niebelungen Lied the character of Siegfried’s widow becomes transformed by his death, and she devotes her life to avenge his assassination, and marries a foreign prince for the purpose. It is well known that certain historical characters were actually introduced into the legend. Etzel or Atli was Attila the Hun, and the Dietrich of Berne of the Niebelungen, was Theoderic the Great. Moreover, the setting of the legend recalls the times not only of the migration of the nations, but of the Merovingians, and it is this latter period which exercised the best influence upon the story. The kings are like the Merovingians, and their management of the state resembles that of the times of Gunthram and Sigispert (Scherer, Hist. German Lit., ch. 5). On the other hand, the parts are differently assigned. In the poem, Siegfried marries Kriemhild, not Brunhild though according to the Icelandic version, it is the latter to whom his love was first pledged. The stories vary from the history in nearly all their details, and there may be reason for the belief that the Siegfried legend in some form was of earlier origin than the time of Sigispert. Still it can hardly be doubted that much of the coloring, if not the principal incidents of the story, came from this dark period in the history of the Frankish monarchy, and there seems quite as much reason to identify Siegfried and Brunhild with the sovereigns of Austrasia as to consider them, as many do, the mere personifications of natural phenomena, the development of the season myth!

Referring to the legend of buried treasure discovered by Gunthram (see chap. 34, infra), Hodgkin (V, 202) remarks; “Treasures buried in long departed days by kings of old, mysterious caves, reptile guides or reptile guardians — are we not transported by this strange legend into the very atmosphere of the Niebelungen Lied? And if the good king Gunthram passed for the fortunate finder of the Dragon-hoard, his brothers and their queens, by their wars, their reconciliations and their terrible avengings, must surely have suggested the main argument of that most tragical epic, the very name of one of whose heroines, Brunichildis, is identical with the name of the queen of Austrasia.”


Chapter XI.

During these times, as was stated above,23 Justin the younger ruled at Constantinople, a man given to every kind of avarice, a despiser of the poor, a despoiler of senators. So great was the madness of his cupidity that he ordered iron chests made in which to collect those talents of gold which he seized. They also say that he 107 fell into the Pelagian heresy.24 When he turned away the ear of his heart from the Divine commands he became mad, having lost the faculty of reason by the just judgment of God. He took Tiberius as his Caesar to govern his palace and his different provinces, a man just, useful, energetic, wise, benevolent, equitable in his judgments, brilliant in his victories, and what was more important than all these things, a most true Christian. From the treasures which Justin had collected he brought out many things for the use of the poor, and the empress Sophia often upbraided him that he would reduce the state to poverty, saying, “What I have been collecting through many years you are scattering prodigally in a short time.” But he said: “I trust to the Lord that money will not be lacking in our treasury so long as the poor receive charity and captives are ransomed. For this is the great treasure, since the Lord says, ‘Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal.’ Therefore of these things which God has furnished us let us gather treasures in heaven, and God will deign to give us increase in this world.” Then when Justin had reigned eleven years,25 he ended at last the madness he had fallen into together with his life. During his time indeed were waged the wars which, as we before said in advance, were carried 108 on by Narses the patrician against the Goths and the Franks.26 In fine also, when Rome at the time of pope Benedict was suffering the privation of hunger, while the Langobards were destroying everything on every side, he27 sent many thousand bushels of grain in ships straight from Egypt and relieved it by the effort of his benevolence.


23  See Book II, Ch. 5, supra.

24  That there was no original sin and that God’s grace was not indispensable. So called from the monk Pelagius, by whom it was taught, who died about A. D. 420.

25  Almost thirteen years (Waitz).

26  Incorrect; these wars were waged under Justinian ( II, 1 et seq., supra; Waitz), although, it was to Justin that the complaints were afterwards made of Narses’ administration.

27  That is, Justin (see Muratori Annals, A. D. 578, vol. 3, p. 501).


Chapter XII.

When Justin was dead28 Tiberius Constantine, the fiftieth of the Roman emperors, assumed the sovereignty. While he was still Caesar under Justin as we said above, and was managing the palace and performing many acts of charity every day, God furnished him a great abundance of gold. For while walking through the palace he saw on the pavement of the house a marble slab on which the cross of our Lord was carved, and he said: “We ought to adorn our forehead and our breast with our Lord’s cross and behold we trample it under our feet,” and this said, he quickly ordered the slab to be lifted up. And underneath the slab when it was dug out and set up, they found another having the same device. And he ordered this also to be raised, and when it was moved they found also a third, and when this too was taken away by his command, they found a great treasure, containing more than a thousand centenaria29 109 of gold, and the gold was carried away and distributed among the poor yet more abundantly than had been customary. Also Narses the patrician of Italy, since he had a great dwelling in a certain city of Italy, came to the above-mentioned city with many treasures, and there in his dwelling he secretly dug a great cistern in which he deposited many thousand centenaria of gold and silver. And when all who knew of the matter had been killed, he entrusted these to the care of one old man only, exacting from him an oath. And when Narses had died, the above-mentioned old man, coming to Caesar Tiberius, said, “If it profit me anything, I will tell you, Caesar, an important thing.” The latter said to him, “Say what you will. It will be of advantage to you if you shall tell anything which will profit us.” “I have,” he said, “the treasure of Narses hidden away, which I, being near the end of my life, cannot longer conceal.” Then Caesar Tiberius was delighted and sent his servants up to the place, and the old man went ahead30 and they followed in astonishment, and coming to the cistern, when it was opened they entered it. So much gold and silver was found in it that it could with difficulty be emptied in many days by those carrying its contents. Almost all of this he bestowed upon the needy in bountiful distribution according to his custom. When he was about to accept the imperial crown, and the people were 110 expecting him at the spectacle in the circus according to usage, and were preparing an ambuscade for him that they might raise Justinian, the nephew of Justin, to the imperial dignity, he first proceeded through the consecrated places, then he called to him the pontiff of the city and entered the palace with the consuls and prefects, and clad in the purple, crowned with the diadem and placed upon the imperial throne, he was confirmed with immense applause in the honor of the sovereignty. His adversaries hearing this, and not being able in any way to injure him who had placed his hope in God, were covered with great shame and confusion. And after a few days had elapsed, Justinian came and cast himself at the foot of the emperor bringing him fifteen centenaria of gold for the sake of pardon. Tiberius, raising him up in his patient way, commanded him to place himself in the palace at his side. But the empress Sophia, unmindful of the promise she had previously made to Tiberius, attempted to carry on a plot against him. And when he proceeded to his villa according to imperial custom, to enjoy for thirty days the pleasures of the vintage, she secretly called Justinian and wished to raise him to the sovereignty. When this was discovered, Tiberius returned in great haste to Constantinople, arrested the empress and despoiled her of her treasures, leaving her only the nourishment of her daily food. And when he had separated her servants from her he put others at her service of those devoted to himself, commanding absolutely that none of the former ones should have access to her. But Justinian, whom he punished only by words, he 111 afterwards cherished with so great a love that he promised his own daughter to his son, and on the other hand asked Justinian’s daughter for his own son. But this thing, from what cause I know not, did not at all come to pass. The army sent by him completely subdued the Persians, and returning victorious, brought, together with twenty elephants, so great a quantity of booty as would be thought enough to satisfy human cupidity.


28  He died October 5, 578 (Hodgkin, V, 197).

29  The centenarium is a hundred pounds weight (Du Cange). According to Hodgkin (V, 196) this thousand centenaria would equal one million pounds sterling, an incredible sum.

30  Literally “withdrawing.”


Chapter XIII.

When Hilperic, king of the Franks, sent messengers to this sovereign, he received from him many trinkets, and gold pieces too, of a pound each, having on the one side the image of the emperor and the words written in a circle, “Of Tiberius Constantine Universal Emperor,” and having on the other side a quadriga with a driver31 and containing the inscription “The glory of the Romans.” In his days while the blessed Gregory, the deacon who afterwards became Pope, was papal delegate at the same imperial city, he composed books of Morals32 and vanquished in debate in the presence of the emperor himself, Euthicius,33 a bishop of that city who fell into error regarding the resurrection.34 Also at this time 112 Faroald, first duke of the Spoletans, invaded Classis35 with an army of Langobards and left the rich city stripped, plundered of all its wealth.36


31  Ascensor, literally, one who went up in it.

32  The object of this treatise was to show that the book of Job comprehended all natural theology and morals.

33  Not the same as Eutyches, leader of the Eutychian heresy, who lived in the preceding century.

34  Euthicius maintained that the resurrection body of the saints will be more subtile than ether and too rare to be perceived by the senses, a view which Gregory contested (Hodgkin, V, 293).

35  The harbor of Ravenna.

36  While Paul has been narrating many events which took place in Gaul or at Constantinople, he has been neglecting the transactions in Italy, to which he now for a moment returns. Among the events of the interregnum, while the dukes held sway over the Langobards, and Longinus, the prefect, governed the Roman portion of Italy, was the first serious resistance offered to the Langobard invasion. Alboin had encountered little opposition, for the inhabitants of the open country fled to the cities which held out for a shorter or longer period, the Romans hoping, no doubt, that this invasion, like others which had preceded it, would soon be over and that the barbarians would retire. But in 575 or 576, Baduarius, the son-in-law of the emperor Justin II, assembled in Ravenna a considerable body of troops, and went forth and gave battle to the invaders. He was overthrown and died. It is not known what part of the forces of the various Langobard dukedoms were his antagonists. Probably it was those who were advancing towards the south and who, not far from this time, established the important dukedoms of Spoleto and Benevento under dukes Faroald and Zotto respectively (Hartmann, II, 1, 47). The taking of Classis by Faroald mentioned in the text probably occurred about 579, while Longinus was still prefect (Hodgkin, V, 197; VI, 90, 91, note). The city was afterwards retaken from the Langobards by Droctulft (III, 19, infra).


Chapter XIV.

The patriarch Probinus, having died at Aquileia after he had ruled the church one year, the priest Helias (Elias) was set over that church.


Chapter XV.

After Tiberius Constantine had ruled the empire seven years, he felt the day of his death impending and with the approval of the empress Sophia, he chose Maurice, a Cappadocian by race, an energetic man, for the sovereignty, gave him his daughter adorned with the royal decorations, saying, “Let my sovereignty be delivered to thee with this girl. Be happy in the use of it, mindful always to love equity and justice.” After he had said these things he departed from this life to his eternal home, leaving great grief to the nation on account of his death.37 For he was of the greatest goodness, ready in giving alms, just in his decisions, most careful in judging, despising no one, but including all in his good will; loving all, he was also beloved by all. When he was dead, Maurice, clad in the purple and encircled with the diadem, proceeded to the circus, and his praises having been acclaimed, gifts were bestowed upon the people, and he, as the first (emperor) of the race of the Greeks, was confirmed in the imperial power.


37  A. D. 582 (Hodgkin, V, 227).


Chapter XVI.

But the Langobards indeed, when they had been under the power of dukes for ten years, determined at length by common consent that Authari, the son of their sovereign Cleph, above mentioned, should be their king. And they called him also Flavius38 on account of 114 his high office. All those who were afterwards kings of the Langobards auspiciously used this name. In his days on account of the re-establishment of the kingdom, those who were then dukes gave up half of their possessions for royal uses that there might be the means from which the king himself and those who should attend him and those devoted to his service throughout the various offices might be supported.39 The oppressed people, however, were parcelled out among their Langobard guests.40 There was indeed this admirable thing in 115
the kingdom of the Langobards. There was no violence, no ambuscades were laid, no one constrained another unjustly, no one took spoils, there were no thefts, 117 no robberies, every one proceeded whither he pleased, safe and without fear.41


38  A title borrowed from the family name of Vespasian and Titus, afterwards used by a number of their successors and by the emperors of the East and thence transferred to other sovereigns, for example, to Odoacar (Hodgkin, V, 234) and to the Visigothic kings of Spain after Recared (Abel, p. 60). It was used to signify that the Langobard king had succeeded to the imperial dignity.

39  The powers of the king are nowhere clearly defined. It should be noted that he was king of the Langobard people (not king of Italy), and that the Romans, who were not free subjects, were not taken into consideration (Hartmann, II, 2, 30). It would seem (Hodgkin, VI, 568) that the laws were devised by him after consultation with the principal men and nobles, and then accepted by the army, which formed the assembly of the people. The king was the supreme judge, but was assisted by jurors in coming to his conclusions. The highest criminal jurisdiction was exercised by him, sometimes immediately in cases of great importance, but more frequently by means of his officers. He had the highest police jurisdiction. Without his permission no free man accompanied by his clan (fara) might change his residence. Churches and convents were under his protection. He represented a woman as against her guardian and a retainer as against his lord.

40  “Populi tamen adgravati per Langobardos hospites partiuntur.” This is one of the most important passages in Paul’s history, as it furnishes almost the only existing statement of the condition of the Roman population under the early Langobard kings. It has been considered very obscure, and various interpretations have been given. Glansvero renders it: “And the people, oppressed by their Langobard guests, are divided.” Abel translates nearly as in the text. Hodgkin (V, 232) renders it thus: “(In this division) the subject populations who had been assigned to their several guests were included.” This departs widely from the Latin text, though it may well be the actual meaning. Capponi (Sui Langobardi in Italia 18, see Scritti Editi e Inediti, 75, 77) believes that the sentence means that the tributary populations remained divided among the Langobard guests, and that the property only was ceded to the king. But Hodgkin asks (VI, 585) why the lands should be given to the king stripped of the Roman aldii to cultivate them, and what the dukes who surrendered part of their land would do with the increased population now thrown wholly upon the remainder. Villari insists (Le Invasioni Barbariche in Italia, pp. 265, 266) that the property which the Langobard dukes divided with the king was that which they had taken from the Roman nobles they had killed (II, 32, supra), or which they had confiscated in other ways, and that there still remained to these dukes the third of the products of the lands possessed by the Romans, and he adds (p. 273) that the “oppressed people” were the same as those who had been made tributaries before ((II, 32, supra), and who, therefore, had been and still remained divided among the Langobard proprietors who surrendered to the king half of the lands which were their free and full property. Savigny says (Geschichte des Römischen Rechts, I, chap. 5, p. 401): “The king was endowed by the nobles. The Romans were in the meantime divided among the individual Langobards as their hospites and the old relation between them remained unchanged.” Hagel says: “There was no change in the general condition of the conquered Romans. They remained divided among their hospites.” Troya (Storia d’ Italia, I, 5, ccccx) contends that the true reading is patiuntur for partiuntur. “The dukes gave one-half of their property to the king, nevertheless the populations oppressed by the Langobard guests suffered for it.” The dukes made up for their patriotic surrender by screwing a larger tribute out of the oppressed Romans. But Hodgkin remarks (VI, 586, note) that this does not agree with the sentence that follows about the golden age. Since Paul no longer speaks of the products of the land, some think (see Villari, pp. 265, 266, 273) that the third of the rents was changed into a third of the lands, and believe that since the Langobards had made new acquisitions of territory, a division was made of the new lands for the benefit of those who had to give the king part of their own possessions.

It does not seem to me that the above passage is as difficult as it has been considered. In the parcelling out of the people among their Langobard guests, the king, through his representative (his actor, or perhaps his gastaldus), may well have been one of these “guests,” a word which, as we have seen, was the euphemistic name assumed by the Langobards who settled upon the lands of the Romans and took a share of the products. In that case the literal translation given in the text would be entirely appropriate, and yet there would be no shifting of the population nor any change in the system of dividing the products of the land.

One great difficulty with the passage has been to explain the use of the word tamen (however), the usual meaning of which is adversative. Crivellucci (Studii Storici, 1899, 255) shows that out of forty-eight instances in which this conjunction is used by Paul in this history, there are six places where it might properly be given a copulative meaning equivalent to “and” or “also,” and one place where such a meaning is required, viz., at the beginning of chapter 23, book II. It is certain that this conjunction as well as nihilominus, its equivalent, was often used by Paul, either with a variable meaning or else most inexpressively, and that its use here ought not to interfere with a translation of this passage, which is in other respects both reasonable and literal.

As to the condition of this subject Roman population see note to II, 32, supra.

41  This description of the golden age is not borne out by the facts (Pabst, 425, note 2).


Chapter XVII.

At this time the emperor Maurice sent by his ambassadors to Childepert, king of the Franks, 50,000 solidi42 to make an attack with his army upon the Langobards and drive them from Italy, and Childepert suddenly entered Italy with a countless multitude of Franks.43 The Langobards indeed intrenched themselves in their towns and when messengers had passed between the parties and gifts had been offered they made peace with Childepert.44 When he had returned 118 to Gaul, the emperor Maurice, having learned that he had made a treaty with the Langobards, asked for the return of the solidi he had given in consideration of the overthrow of the Langobards. But Childepert, relying upon the strength of his resources, would not give an answer in this matter.


42  The value of the gold solidus (here referred to) differed at different times. Hodgkin places it at twelve shillings, so that this 50,000 solidi was equal to £30,000 (V, 228). He also (VI, 413, 414) gives a table of the purchasing power of the solidus about the time of Liutprand, which was more than a century later than the period in question. The average value of a slave varied from sixty solidi to sixteen; a new olive garden sold for eight solidi; half a house in Pisa for nine; a garden in Lucca for fifteen; a bed, tunic and mantle for ten solidi each; a horse with trappings for one hundred solidi, etc. Personalty seems to have had a high value in comparison with real estate.

43  Paul erroneously places the elevation of Authari to the throne before the arrangement made by the emperor Maurice with Childepert II, A. D. 582, for a common enterprise against the Langobards. In fact, it was the threatened danger of foreign invasion which induced the dukes to strengthen their military power by the creation of a king (Jacobi, 35).

44  Gregory of Tours, from whom Paul took this statement, says the Langobards submitted to Childepert’s dominion (H. F., 6, 42). Probably these gifts were considered as tribute.


Chapter XVIII.

When these things had been done in this way, king Authari approached the city of Brexillus (Brescello), situated on the bank of the Po,45 to capture it. Thither duke Droctulft had fled from the Langobards and surrendering to the emperor’s party, and being joined by his soldiers, resisted bravely the army of the Langobards. This man was descended from the race of Suavi (Suabians), that is, of the Alamanni, and had grown up among the Langobards, and because he was of an excellent figure, had acquired the honor of a dukedom, but when he found an occasion of avenging his captivity,46 he suddenly rose against the arms of the Langobards. The Langobards waged grievous wars against him and at length overcame him together with the soldiers he was aiding, and compelled him to withdraw to Ravenna. Brexillus was taken and its walls were 119 levelled to the ground. After these things king Authari made peace for three years with the patrician Smaragdus,47 who was then in authority at Ravenna.


45  Twelve miles from Parma and on the Aemilian way (Hodgkin, V, 243).

46  He had apparently been taken prisoner by the Imperial troops, and resented his lack of support by the other Langobard dukes, to whom he considered he owed his captivity (Hodgkin, V, 242).

47  Smaragdus had been appointed in 585 to succeed the incapable Longinus (Hodgkin, V, 242). This treaty was made very shortly afterwards (Waitz).


Chapter XIX.

With the support of this Droctulft, of whom we have spoken, the soldiers of the Ravenna people often fought against the Langobards, and after a fleet was built, they drove out with his aid the Langobards who were holding the city of Classis.48 And when he had filled the limit of life, they gave him an honorable sepulcher in front of the church of the holy martyr Vitalis,49 and set forth his praises in the following epitaph:

Drocton lies buried within this tomb, but only in body,

For in his merits he lives, over the orb of the world.

First with the Langobards he dwelt, for by race and by nature

Sprung from Suavian stock, suave to all people was he.


Terrible to be seen was his face, though in heart he was kindly,

Long was the beard that grew down on his vigorous breast.

Loving the standards of Rome and the emblems of the republic,

Aid unto them he brought, crushing the power of his race.

Love unto us he bore, despising the claims of his kindred,

Deeming Ravenna his own fatherland, dear to his heart.

First of his valiant deeds was the glory of captured Brexillus.

There for a time he remained, dreadful to all his foes.

Later when here his power brought aid to the Roman standards

First within his hands rested the banner of Christ.

Afterwards when Faroald withheld by treachery Classis,

“Fleet-town”50 in hope to avenge, arms for the fleet he prepares,

Struggles in tiny ships on the flowing stream of Badrinus.51

Conquers and overcomes numberless Langobard52 bands,

Vanquishes also in lands of the East the impetuous Avar,

Seeking to win for his lords victory’s sovereign palm.

Often to them as a conq’ror, sustained by the aid of Vitalis,

Martyr and holy saint, honored with triumphs he came.

And in the fane of Vitalis he sought the repose his body,

Pleased that this place should hold, after his death, his remains

When he died, he implored these things of the priest Joannes,53

By whose pious love he had returned to these lands.54


48  The port of Ravenna. The dates conjectured for this event vary from A. D. 584 to 588 (Hodgkin, VI, 91. 92)

49  This church, an octagonal building in the Byzantine style, was completed in the year 547, with the aid of contributions made by the emperor Justinian and the empress Theodora. Its walls were adorned with exquisite mosaics which are still in an excellent state of preservation. St. Vitalis was the patron saint of Ravenna. He came to that city from Milan during the persecution under Nero, A. D. 62, at a time when St. Ursicinus was about to suffer martyrdom. He sustained and encouraged Ursicinus, who was terrified at the torments he was compelled to undergo, and after his death Vitalis buried him, and was thereupon arrested, tortured, and buried alive (Larousse).

50  Classis, “a fleet” being the name of the town.

51  Padoreno, say some (Waitz), but this was one of the mouths of the Po more than thirty miles distant (Hodg. V, 247 note).

52  In the original the Langobards are called Bardi, a name which recalls the Bardengau and Bardowick of the Elbe region.

53  Joannes III, bishop of Ravenna, 578-595 (Hodgkin, V, 248 note 2).

54  A somewhat freer translation in rhyme is given in Hodgkin (V, 247).


Chapter XX.

Finally, after pope Benedict, Pelagius55 was ordained pontiff of the Roman church without the authority of the emperor, because the Langobards had besieged and surrounded Rome, and no one could leave the city. This Pelagius sent to Helias (Elias), bishop of Aquileia, who was unwilling to respect the Three Chapters56 of the 122
Synod of Chalcedon, a very salutary letter which the blessed Gregory composed while he was still a deacon.


55  The second of that name. This election of Pelagius actually occurred in 578-579 (Hodgkin, 195), and is placed by Paul at too late a period, after the elevation of Authari to the throne (Jacobi, 48, 49).

56  Paul is mistaken in calling them the “Three Chapters of the Synod of Chalcedon.” The Three Chapters were the doctrines of three bishops, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Ibas of Edessa, which were condemned by the Synod of Constantinople in 532 (Waitz, P. III, 26, note). It was, however, considered by many that this condemnation affected the validity of the decrees of the previous Council of Chalcedon. Paul is also in error in saying that Elias was unwilling to respect the Three Chapters. It was Elias who supported these doctrines and it was Pope Pelagius who condemned them.

The controversy regarding the Three Chapters, which agitated the church from the time of Justinian (543) to that of Cunincpert (698), had its origin in still older disputes concerning the incarnation of the Messiah. Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, taught that there was one incarnate nature of Christ; that the God-head was united to the body of a man, and the Logos, the Eternal Wisdom, supplied in him the place of a human soul. These teachings were condemned as heresy, and at the beginning of the fifth century the combination of two natures was the prevailing doctrine of the church, yet the mode of the co-existence of these natures could not be represented by our ideas nor expressed by our language, and contention began between those who most dreaded to confound, and those who most feared to separate the divinity and the humanity of Christ. Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, was at the head of one faction and Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, at the head of the other. Both were fanatical and intolerant. Nestorius abhorred the confusion of the two natures and repudiated the doctrine that the Virgin was the mother of God. Cyril espoused the side of a greater unity in Christ’s nature. Pope Celestine approved his creed and condemned the doctrine of Nestorius. The first Council of Ephesus was called, and amid much tumult and violence Cyril was upheld and Nestorius pronounced a heretic. Cyril, however, softened to some extent his previous anathemas, and confessed with some ambiguity the union of a two-fold nature in Christ. Eutyches, an abbot of Constantinople, was the head of a sect that was so extreme in its opposition to the doctrine of Nestorius that it incurred itself the reproach of heresy. Flavian, bishop of Constantinople, condemned the doctrine of Eutyches. A second council was summoned at Ephesus, but it was dominated like the first by the patriarch of Alexandria and it accepted his doctrine. A furious multitude of monks and soldiers broke into the church. Flavian was buffeted and kicked and trampled until he expired from his wounds, and the Council of Ephesus has passed into history as “The Robber Synod.” Pope Leo the Great was not in accord with the doctrine of Eutyches. His famous Tome or epistle on the mystery of the Incarnation had been disregarded at the last Council of Ephesus, but upon the death of the emperor Theodosius, the decrees of that council were overthrown, the Tome of Leo was subscribed by the Oriental bishops, and a new council was summoned at Chalcedon, near Constantinople. (Gibbon, ch. 47). In this council (Hodgson, Early History of Venice, pp. 44 and 45) Leo’s letter was accepted as the orthodox doctrine and as a refutation of Eutyches, and it was declared that the two natures of Christ existed without any “confusion, conversion, division or separation.” At the same time certain letters of Cyril were accepted as a refutation of Nestorius and the controversy was now regarded as settled. This council was held in the year 451. Nearly a century afterwards when Justinian came to the throne, he and his wife Theodora re-opened the question by issuing an edict against certain writings of three men long dead — Theodore of Mopsuestia, whose orthodoxy had always been doubtful, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who had been condemned by the Robber Synod and reinstated by the Council of Chalcedon, and a bishop of Edessa named Ibas. The emperor’s edict set forth certain passages from the writings of these men and anathematized them as infected with Nestorianism. The condemned doctrines were known as “The Three Chapters.” The papacy was then held by the weak and irresolute Vigilius, a creature of Theodora, whose election to office had been tainted with simony. When the imperial decree was promulgated against the Three Chapters, the Western church which had supported the Council of Chalcedon, naturally opposed it, and Vigilius came to Constantinople in 547 pledged against the emperor’s edict. But when he had been in that city a little more than a year, he was induced by flattery and promises to issue his Judicatum, which assented to the emperor’s doctrine, “saving, however, the Council of Chalcedon.” The remonstrances of the western bishops led him again to reconsider his position. In 550, the Judicatum was withdrawn; in 551, the pope pronounced a solemn condemnation of Justinian’s advisers in the matter. The emperor now resorted to violence, Vigilius was roughly handled, a general council was summoned at Constantinople which was attended almost exclusively by eastern bishops. The pope took no part except to send to that body a Constitutum in which he asserted his right to guide the opinions of all churchmen and annul all decrees inconsistent with his teachings. He did not defend the orthodoxy of Theodore, but in regard to Ibas and Theodoret, he adhered to the approval given them at Chalcedon. But after the Council of Constantinople had disregarded his authority anathematized the Three Chapters, and the emperor was proceeding to banish him for contumacy, he retracted, finding that the decrees of this council were not irreconcilable with those of Chalcedon (Hodgson, 46, 47), and after his death Pelagius I, his successor, ratified the condemnation of the Three Chapters. After the papacy had thus committed itself to the views of Justinian, it became very earnest in its advocacy of these views, although the churches of Spain and Gaul refused to condemn the Three Chapters, while Milan, Aquileia and the churches of Istria went further and refused communion with all who held with the Council of Constantinople (Hodgson, 48, 49).

Paulinus, who was bishop of Aquileia from about 558 to 570, assembled a synod in which Pelagius, Justinian and Narses were all excommunicated (Filiasi, V, 255). John III, the successor of Pelagius, tried to convert the schismatics, but failed, whereupon Narses proceeded by command of Justinian against the rebellious bishops. After two years of turmoil Justinian died, whereupon the tumult partly subsided, and Narses sought to quiet it rather by skill than by violence (Hodgson, 48, 49). After the invasion of the Langobards in 568 Paulinus moved the See of Aquileia from that city to Grado, and soon afterwards died (P. II, 10). Probinus, who followed him, was also a schismatic, as well as Elias, his successor, who held a synod in Grado, which sent legates to Constantinople, and prevailed upon the emperor to leave the schismatics in peace (Hodgson, 48, 49). John III was succeeded by Benedict, and he by Pelagius II (Hodgkin, V, 460), who wrote to Elias exhorting the Istrians to abandon the schism, and inviting them to send bishops and presbyters to Rome to receive satisfaction on all the points upon which they were in doubt (Hodgkin, V, 462, 3). The messengers were sent, but evidently not to receive the promised explanation, for they brought with them a sharp definition of the views of the schismatics, demanding in effect that the pope himself should give way. Pelagius in a second letter argued the question with them and demanded that they should send instructed persons able to give and receive a reason in debate. The Istrian bishops sent another letter announcing their own authoritative decision, and it was to this second letter that Pelagius sent as his answer the “useful epistle” composed by Gregory, and referred to in the text (Hodgkin, V, 465). The argument insists that Pope Leo had not confirmed all the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon, but had rather reserved private and personal matters; that the acts of the three Syrian bishops might be considered as included in this reservation; that the Council had impliedly condemned these bishops since it had approved of Cyril and the Council of Ephesus which they opposed; that there was good authority for anathematizing heretics even after their death, and that the long reluctance by Vigilius and the Western bishops to accept the decrees of the Council of Constantinople, arose from their ignorance of Greek and gave all the more value to their final conclusions. The letter, however, did not convert the schismatics, and more violent measures were soon taken (Hodgkin, V, 565-567) as we shall see hereafter (Book III, ch. 26 and note).


Chapter XXI.

Meanwhile Childepert, king of the Franks, waged war 125 against the Spaniards and overcame them in battle.57 And this was the cause of the struggle: King Childepert had given Ingundis his sister in marriage to Herminigild, son of Levigild, king of the Spaniards. And this Herminigild, by the preaching of Leander, bishop of Hispalis (Seville), and by the exhortation of his wife, had been converted from the Arian heresy, in which his father was languishing, to the Catholic faith, and his impious father had caused him to be put to death by the axe upon the very holiday of Easter.58 Ingundis indeed fled from the Spaniards after the death of her husband and martyr,59 and when she sought to return to Gaul, she 126 fell into the hands of the soldiers who were stationed on the boundary opposite the Spanish Goths, and was taken with her little son and brought to Sicily and there ended her days.60 But her son was sent to Constantinople to the emperor Maurice.


57  Paul is in error regarding this war. It was conducted not by Childepert, but by Gunthram, and was unsuccessful (Jacobi, 36).

58  This fact is doubtful (Hodgkin, V, 255). He was probably assassinated, although he seems to have raised the standard of rebellion against his father Hartmann, II, 1, 66).

59  He was not regarded as a martyr by Gregory of Tours (VI, 43), but as a rebel against his father

60  The soldiers into whose hands Ingundis fell were Greeks. She probably died at Carthage in Africa (Hodgkin, V, 256), not in Sicily.


Chapter XXII.

The emperor Maurice on the other hand dispatched ambassadors to Childepert and persuaded him to send his army into Italy against the Langobards.61 Childepert, thinking that his sister was still living at Constantinople, gave his assent to the ambassadors of Maurice and again sent the army of the Franks to Italy against the Langobards so that he could get his sister. And when the army of the Langobards hastened against them, the Franks and Alamanni, having a quarrel among themselves, returned to their own country without securing any advantage.


61  About 587 (Hodgkin, V, 258).


Chapter XXIII.

At this time62 there was a deluge of water in the territories of Venetia and Liguria, and in other regions of Italy such as is believed not to have existed since the time of Noah. Ruins were made of estates and country seats, and at the same time a great detruction of men and animals. The paths were obliterated, the highways demolished, and the river Athesis (Adige) 127 then rose so high that around the church of the blessed martyr Zeno, which is situated outside the walls of the city of Verona, the water reached the upper windows, although as St. Gregory, afterwards pope, also wrote, the water did not at all enter into that church. Likewise the walls of the city of Verona itself were partly demolished by the same inundation. And this inundation occurred on the 16th of the calends of November (Oct. 17th), yet there were so many flashes of lightning and peals of thunder as are hardly wont to occur even in the summer time. Also after two months this city of Verona was in great part consumed by fire.


62   589 (Hodgkin, V, 261).


Chapter XXIV.

In this outpouring of the flood the river Tiber at the city of Rome rose so much that its waters flowed in over the walls of the city and filled great regions in it. Then through the bed of the same stream a great multitude of serpents, and a dragon also of astonishing size passed by the city and descended to the sea. Straightway a very grievous pestilence called inguinal63 followed this inundation, and it wasted the people with such great destruction of life that out of a countless multitude barely a few remained. First it struck Pope Pelagius, a venerable man, and quickly killed him. Then when their pastor was taken away it spread among the people. In this great tribulation the most blessed Gregory, who was then a deacon,64 was elected Pope by 128 the common consent of all. He ordained that a seven-fold litany should be offered, but while they were imploring God, eighty of them within the space of one hour fell suddenly to the earth and gave up the ghost. The seven-fold litany was thus called because all the people of city were divided by the blessed Gregory into seven parts to intercede with the Lord. In the first troop indeed was all the clergy; in the second, all the abbots with their monks; in the third, all the abbesses with their companies; in the fourth, all the children, in the fifth, all the laymen; in the sixth, all the widows; in the seventh, all the married women. And we omit to say anything more concerning the blessed Gregory because some years ago with the help of God we composed his life in which, according to our slender ability, we sketched in writing what was to be told.65


63  Of the groin.

64  Levita. See Du Cange.

65  Gregory the Great, the descendant of a noble Roman family, was born about the year 540. In 573 he became prefect of the city, but two years afterwards he laid down this office, founded six Benedictine convents in Sicily and converted his ancestral palace on the Coelian hill at Rome into a monastery dedicated to St. Andrew, in which he himself became a monk. It was at this time that walking through the Forum he saw exposed for sale the fair-haired boys from Britain of whom he said that they were not Angles but angels, and he obtained from Pope Benedict I leave to undertake a mission to that island for the conversion of its people. He was recalled, however, while upon the way and was appointed deacon to the Pope. When Benedict died, his successor, Pelagius II, sent Gregory as his nuncio or apocrisarius to the Imperial Court at Constantinople, where, as Paul states (III, 13), he composed his book of Morals. With the emperor Maurice his relations were not always cordial, although the emperor asked him to stand sponsor for his son, the infant Theodosius. After remaining some six years at Constantinople he returned (A. D. 585 or 586) to Rome and became the head of the monastery of St. Andrew which he had established (Hodgkin, V, 287-296). He now placed his pen at the service of the Pope in the controversy between that pontiff and the bishops of Istria concerning the condemnation of the Three Chapters (See III, 20, supra, and note). In 589 the inundation mentioned at the beginning of this chapter occurred, and in 590 the plague ravaged Italy. On the 8th of February of the latter year Pope Pelagius II died Gregory was chosen to succeed him. The seven-fold litany described by Paul occurred after Gregory was elected, but before he was confirmed in the papal dignity. A fuller account of this litany is given in Hodgkin (V, 298-302).

Gregory’s Epistles, composed during his pontificate, form a rich mine for the investigator of the history of that period. They treat of the care of the vast patrimony of St. Peter which included the largest and richest domains in Sicily as well as considerable estates in Rome, in the Sabine country, in the neighborhood of Ravenna, in Campania, Apulia, Bruttium, Gaul, Illyricum, Sardinia and Corsica, embracing property some 1800 square miles in extent. Gregory’s letters show a conscientious regard for the just and careful management of these estates, as well as for the useful expenditure of the papal revenues and the efficient administration of the church, not only in these regions, but in Africa, Spain and elsewhere. It was in 596 that he sent St. Augustine, abbot of his own monastery of St. Andrew, to Britain on the mission mentioned in the following chapter, which resulted in the conversion of Ethelbert and a great part of his nobles and people to Christianity, and in 601 the second mission under Mellitus was dispatched to re-enforce Augustine and his co-laborers. Gregory reformed the music of the church and remodeled the Roman liturgy, giving the service of the mass nearly the form which it bears at the present day (Hodgkin, 307-329). He also took an important part in the political affairs of Italy and in the defense of Naples, Rome and other cities of the empire against “the unspeakable Lombards.” He made a separate treaty with duke Ariulf of Spoleto (id., p. 363), and was, as we shall see hereafter, the efficient agent in procuring the peace between Agilulf and the empire which relieved Italy from the devastations of a protracted war.

He made an earnest and even daring remonstrance to the emperor Maurice against the decree forbidding the servants of the state to enter monasteries (pp. 374-376); he reproached the emperor for preventing the peace for which he had long been striving (pp. 382-387), and he bitterly resented the claim of the patriarch John of Constantinople to be called the Ecumenical or Universal Bishop (pp. 390-400). While the contest over the title was at its height, John died. He was succeeded by Cyriacus, a man of gentler nature, who, while he did not renounce, would not obtrude a title which Gregory had declared to be “the precursor of Anti-christ,” but which the patriarchs of Constantinople continued to use until the Roman pontiffs nearly a century afterwards began to adopt it for themselves (pp. 401-403). In 602 Maurice was overthrown by Phocas, and with his four youngest children was put to death; later the same fate befell his eldest son Theodosius, and three years afterwards it overtook his widowed empress Constantina and her daughters. Phocas proved to be a tyrant, imbecile and brutal, a monster of lust and cruelty. In April 603 he was formally proclaimed emperor in Rome, and Gregory, unmindful of the horrors incident to his accession to the throne, addressed to the usurper a pæan of praise and thanksgiving that has cast a stain upon the memory of this great pope (pp. 434-447). But the judgment of his critics is perhaps too severe. He was slowly dying of the gout, from which he had suffered many years. Maurice had appeared to him as the oppressor of the church and the enemy of the true religion. The detestable character of Phocas was probably not yet manifest to Gregory, his responsibility for the assassination of the children of Maurice may well have been unknown or disbelieved. Within a year Gregory died, and although Hodgkin considers (V, 452) that it is safer to judge him as a great Roman than as a great saint, it seems just to his memory that the splendid qualities he exhibited throughout a life of intense activity should not be too greatly dimmed by a single mistake at its close. As Hodgkin rightly says, his generosity, his justice, his courage, entitle him to a high place among the noblest names of his imperial race. The secular power he wielded over the vast property owned by the church, as well as his political influence in Italy, his negotiations and treaties with the Langobards, his administration of the affairs of Rome and the surrounding territories at a time when the empire, weakened and beset by numerous enemies, could give no protection to its subjects — all these things tended to change the character of the Holy See, to make Gregory the true founder of the mediæval papacy and to pave the way for the subsequent establishment under Charlemagne of the temporal power of the popes.


Chapter XXV.

At this time the same blessed Gregory sent Augustine 130 and Mellitus and John with many other monks who 131 feared God into Britain he converted the Angles to Christ by their preaching.


Chapter XXVI.

In these days when Helias (Elias), patriarch of Aquileia, had died after holding his holy office fifteen years, Severus succeeded him and undertook the management of the church. Smaragdus the patrician, coming from Ravenna to Gradus (Grado), personally dragged him out of the church, and brought him with insults to Ravenna together with three other bishops from Istria, that is, John of Parentium (Parenzo), Severus66 and Vendemius67 and also Antony,68 now an old 132 man and trustee69 of the church. Threatening them with exile and inflicting violence, he compelled them to hold communion with John, bishop of Ravenna, a condemner of the Three Chapters, who had separated from the communion of the Roman church at the time of Pope Vigilius or Pelagius.70 After the expiration of a year71 they returned from Ravenna to Grado. And the people were not willing to hold communion with them nor did the other bishops receive them. The patrician Smaragdus became not unjustly possessed of a devil, and being succeeded by the patrician Romanus, returned to Constantinople.72 After these things a synod of ten 133 bishops was held in Marianum (Marano)73 where they took back Severus, the patriarch of Aquileia, upon his giving a written confession of his error in taking communion at Ravenna with those who had condemned the Three Chapters.74 The names of the bishops who had withheld themselves from this schism are these: Peter of Altinum (Altino); Clarissimus;75 Ingenuinus of Sabione (Seben);76 Agnellus of Tridentum (Trent); Junior of Verona; Horontius of Vicentia (Vicenza); Rusticus of Tarvisium (Treviso); Fonteius of Feltria (Feltre); Agnellus of Acilum (Asolo); Laurentius of Bellunum (Belluno); Maxentius of Julium (Zuglio);77 and Adrian of Pola.78 But the following bishops held communion with the patriarch: Severus, John of Parentium (Parenzo), Vendemius and John.79


66  Of Tergeste (Trieste) (Waitz).

67  Of Cissa (Pago) (Waitz).

68  Of Grado (Waitz).

69  Defensor ecclesiae, a functionary often mentioned in the church annals, nominated by the emperor on presentation of the bishop to protect the temporal interests of a particular church.

70  Vigilius, A. D. 538-555; Pelagius, 555-559 or 560 (Muratori Ann. III, 455). It was at the time of Vigilius, in 553, that the second Council of Constantinople was held. The words of Paul appear to be written from the standpoint of the schismatics. In point of fact the Roman church was now supporting the condemnation of the Three Chapters. Paul seems to have believed that orthodoxy lay upon the other side (see Cipolla, Atti del Congresso in Cividale, 1899, p. 144).

Cipolla believes (p. 145) that the reference to Vigilius was taken by Paul from a petition of the schismatic bishops of the synod of Marano to the emperor Maurice in which they declared that their predecessors held firmly to the instruction they had received from Pope Vigilius and the Council of Chalcedon, and kept themselves faithful to the Three Chapters. This would explain his distorted view of the controversy. If Paul took this statement from Secundus, the latter may well have derived it from the petition of the schismatic bishops.

71  A. D. 588 or 589 (Waitz).

72  A. D. 590 (Waitz).

73  About twelve miles west of Aquileia. The council was held about 589 (Hodgkin, V, 468, 470).

74  This part of Paul’s narrative is taken in all probability from the lost work of Secundus, bishop of Trent, who was himself a schismatic and defender of the Three Chapters, and it may be due to this that Paul’s narrative is colored in their favor (Hodgkin, V, 468, note).

75  Of Concordia (Waitz).

76  Near Brixen (Waitz).

77  On the Tagliamento above Tolmezzo (Abel).

78  These bishops came largely from places under Langobard protection and could well afford to defy the pope and the exarch (Hodgkin, V, 469).

79  This Severus was bishop of Tergeste (Trieste); Patricius, of Æmona (Laybach); Vendemius, of Cissa (Pago), and John, of Celeia (Cilli) (Waitz). It is not clear whether they held communion with the patriarch before or after his recantation (Hodgkin, V, 469, 470, noe 2), probably before.

Paul does not tell the rest of the story. In the following year Gregory the Great became pope and wrote a letter summoning the patriarch and his followers to Rome to be judged by a synod as to the matters in controversy (Hodgkin, V, 470). Upon receipt of this letter two councils were assembled, one composed of the bishops of the territory occupied by the Langobards, and the other of the bishops in the coast cities subject to the empire. Each of these councils sent a letter to the emperor, and Severus the patriarch sent a third. One of these letters, that of the Langobard bishops, has been preserved. They congratulated Maurice upon his victories in Italy, and predicted that day would soon come when the “Gentiles” would be overthrown and they would again become subjects of the empire. Then they would gladly present themselves before a synod in Constantinople, but they asked that they should not be compelled to appear before Gregory, who was a party to the cause, and whose communion they had renounced. If their enemies were allowed to persecute them the result would be that their churches would be alienated from the imperial authority (p. 471). This was an unpleasant prospect for the emperor, so Maurice ordered the Pope not to molest them (p. 472). Gregory, thus restrained, had now to confine himself to argument.

When Callinicus became exarch, about 579, the schismatic bishops found it harder to preserve their independence, and we hear of certain secessions from their ranks (pp. 474, 477).

The schism had extended beyond the confines of Venetia and Istria. Constantius, bishop of Milan and a friend of Gregory, was urged to declare that he had never condemned the Three Chapters and when he refused, three of his suffragans renounced his communion and induced Theudelinda, the Langobard queen, a Catholic and the friend of Pope Gregory to do the same. “Here, indeed, was a blow for the Catholic cause, if the royal influence which had been won with difficulty after the contest with Arianism was to be lost again over the souls of the three Syrians” (Hodgkin, V, 479). Upon the entreaties of the Pope, the breach seems to have been healed and the queen’s relations with Gregory remained friendly, although she probably sympathized with the schismatics. In December, 603, shortly before his death, he wrote congratulating her upon the birth and Catholic baptism of her son Adaloald, and said that sickness prevented him from answering “his dearest son, the abbot Secundus,” who appears to have also been on the side of heresy (p. 480).

At the time of Gregory’s death the schism had assumed a geographical character. In Istria, at Grado, and among the lagoons of Venice, “in fact, wherever the galleys of Constantinople could penetrate, churchmen were desirous to return into unity with the Emperor and the Pope, and were willing to admit that Theodoret, Theodore and Ibas were suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. On the mainland . . . wherever the swords of the Lombards flashed, men took a more hopeful view of the spiritual prospects of the three Syrians” (p. 481). On the death of Severus two sets of patriarchs were appointed, one for each section (IV, 33, infra). The schism continued until the end of the 7th century, when king Cunincpert summoned a council at Pavia in which the schismatics “with shouts of triumph” renounced their heresy and asked to be restored to the church (Hodgkin, V, 483; VI, 14, infra, see note).


Chapter XXVII.

At this time king Authari sent an army to Istria, 135 which army Euin, duke of Tridentum (Trent), commanded.80 And they, after plunderings and burnings, when peace had been made for one year, brought back a great sum of money to the king. Other Langobards too, besieged in the island of Comacina,81 Francio, 136 master of soldiers, who had been hitherto of the party of Narses and had already maintained himself for twenty years. This Francio, after he had been besieged six months, surrendered that island to the Langobards but he himself was released by the king, as he had desired, and hastened with his wife and his household goods to Ravenna. In this island many riches were found which had been deposited there by particular cities.


80  Probably 587 (Hodgkin, V, 244).

81  Read Comacina instead of Amacina (Waitz.) Comacina was a small island in lake Como, a little Roman stronghold amid Langobard surroundings.


Chapter XXVIII.

The king Flavius Authari sent an embassy to Childepert asking that the sister of the latter should be united to him in marriage. But while Childepert accepted gifts from the ambassadors of the Langobards, and promised to give his sister to their king, yet when the ambassadors of the Goths came from Spain he promised this same sister over again, because he had learned that that nation had been converted to the Catholic faith.82


82  This was probably due to the intrigues of the queen mother Brunihilde, who, after suppressing an insurrection of the nobles of Austrasia, pursued a policy of alliance with the empire and the church rather than with the Langobards (Hartmann, II, 1, 67, 68).


Chapter XXIX.

In the meantime he dispatched an embassy to the emperor Maurice sending him word that he would now undertake the war against the nation of the Langobards, which he had not done before, and in concert with the emperor, he would drive them out of Italy. And without delay he dispatched his army into Italy for the subjugation 137 of the Langobards.83 King Authari and the troops of the Langobards quickly went forth to meet him and fought bravely for their freedom. In that fight the Langobards won the victory; the Franks were vanquished by main force, many were captured, very many also escaped by flight and returned with difficulty to their own country. So great a slaughter was there made of the army of the Franks as is not related anywhere else. And it is truly astonishing why Secundus, who wrote a number of things concerning the doings of the Langobards, should pass over so great a victory of theirs as this, since these things of which we have spoken concerning the destruction of the Franks may be read in their own history, described in almost these very words.84


83  Probably in 588 (Hodgkin, V, 260, 261)

84  Hartmann (II, 1, 83) suggests that the silence of Secundus is due to the fact that the latter narrates principally the events that occurred in his own immediate neighborhood (in the valley of the Adige) and that the Franks probably crossed the Alps by some other route.


Chapter XXX.

But after these events king Flavius Authari sent ambassadors to Bavaria to ask for him in marriage the daughter of Garibald85 their king.86 The latter received them kindly and promised that he would give his 138 daughter Theudelinda87 to Authari. And when the ambassadors on their return announced these things to Authari, he desired to see his betrothed for himself and bringing with him a few but active men out of the Langobards, and also taking along with him, as their chief,88 one who was most faithful to him, he set forth without delay for Bavaria. And when they had been introduced into the presence of king Garibald according to the custom of ambassadors, and he who had come with Authari as their chief had made the usual speech after salutation, Authari, since he was known to none of that nation, came nearer to king Garibald and said: “My master, king Authari has sent me especially on this account, that I should look upon your daughter, his betrothed, who is to be our mistress, so that I may be able to tell my lord more surely what is her appearance.” And when the king, hearing these things, had commanded his daughter to come, and Authari had gazed upon her with silent approval, since she was of a very beautiful figure and pleased him much in every way, he said to the king: “Since we see that the person of your daughter is such that we may properly wish her to become our queen, we would like if it please your mightiness, to take a cup of wine from her hand, as she will offer it to us hereafter.” And when the king had assented to this that it should be done, she took the cup 139 of wine and gave it first to him who appeared to be the chief. Then when she offered it to Authari, whom she did not know was her affianced bridegroom, he, after drinking and returning the cup, touched her hand with his finger when no one noticed, and drew his right hand from his forehead along his nose and face.89 Covered with blushes, she told this to her nurse, and her nurse said to her: “Unless this man were the king himself and thy promised bridegroom, he would not dare by any means to touch thee. But meanwhile, lest this become known to thy father, let us be silent, for in truth the man is a worthy person who deserves to have a kingdom and be united with thee in wedlock.” For Authari indeed was then in the bloom of his youth, of becoming stature, covered with yellow hair and very comely in appearance. Having received an escort from the king, they presently took their way to return to their own country, and they speedily departed from the territories of the Noricans. The province of the Noricans indeed, which the Bavarian people inhabits, has on the east Pannonia, on the west Suavia (Suabia), on the south Italy and on the northern side the stream of the Danube. Then Authari, when he had now come near the boundaries of Italy and had with him the Bavarians who up to this time were conducting him, raised himself as much as he could upon the horse he was managing, and with all his strength he drove into a tree that 140 stood near by, a hatchet which he carried in his hand and left fixed there, adding moreover these words: “Authari is wont to strike such a blow.” And when he said these things, then the Bavarians who accompanied him understood that he was himself king Authari.90 Then after some time, when trouble had come to king Garibald on account of an invasion by the Franks, Theudelinda his daughter with her brother, Gundoald by name, fled to Italy and announced to Authari, her promised bridegroom, that she was coming. And he straightway went forth to meet her with a great train to celebrate the nuptials in the field of Sardis91 which is above Verona, and received her in marriage amid the rejoicing of all on the ides (15th) of May. 141 Among other dukes of the Langobards, Agilulf, Duke of the city of Taurini (Turin) was then present. A certain tree in this place which was situated in the royal inclosures was hit during a violent gale by a stroke of lightning with great crash of thunder, and Agilulf had then as a soothsayer certain servant of his who by diabolical art understood what future happenings strokes of lightning portended. When Agilulf was sitting down to the requirements of nature the man secretly said to him: “This woman who has just been wedded to our king is to be your wife before very long.” When he heard this he threatened to cut off the man’s head if he said anything further about the matter, but the man answered him: “I may be killed, indeed, but assuredly that woman has come into the country to this destiny, that she should be joined with you in marriage.” And it afterwards so happened. At this time, from what cause is doubtful, Ansul, a blood kinsman of king Authari was killed at Verona.


85  From this name comes Garibaldi.

86  That is, king of the Bavarians. He was more probably duke as he owed some sort of allegiance to Childepert, the Frankish king of Austrasia (Hodgkin, V, 236, note 3).

87  Theudelinda had been betrothed to Childepert (id.), and her sister was the wife of the Langobard duke Euin of Trent (III, 10, supra).

88  Senior, see Du Cange.

89  Hodgkin translates more freely (V, 238): “Secretly intertwined her fingers with his, and bending low, guided them over the profile of his face from the forehead to the chin.” According to Abel’s version he stroked her face.

90  In spite of this romantic legend it is probable that political considerations played no small part in the wooing of Authari. Theudelinda was, on her mother’s side, the granddaughter of the former Langobard king Waccho, of the race of the Lethingi, with which Authari, who sprang from the later stock of Beleos, desired an alliance to give an additional sanction of legitimacy to his royal title. The relations of the Langobards to their northern neighbors the Bavarians had long been friendly, and after Authari had been compelled to renounce his intended alliance with the Franks by a marriage with Chlotsuinda, the sister of Childepert, he may well have desired to retain the friendship of the Bavarians, who although nominally subject to Childepert, had control of the passes over the eastern Alps, and could offer no slight obstacle to an invasion of Italy by the Franks. The powerful Duke of Trent had married a sister of Theudelinda, and his hearty support in resisting the Franks was also necessary to the king (Hartmann, II, 1, 68).

91  This name cannot be identified. The place must have been near Lago di Garda (Hodgkin, V, 239, note 2).


Chapter XXXI.

At this time also when Grippo, the ambassador of Childepert king of the Franks, returned from Constantinople and announced to his king how he had been honorably received by the emperor Maurice and that the emperor at the desire of king Childepert promised that the insults he had endured at Carthage would be atoned for,92 Childepert without delay sent again into 142 Italy an army of Franks with twenty dukes to subjugate the nation of the Langobards. Of these dukes Auduald, Olo and Cedinus were quite distinguished. But when Olo had imprudently attacked the fortress of Bilitio (Bellinzona), he fell wounded under his nipple by a dart and died. When the rest of the Franks had gone to take booty they were destroyed by the Langobards who fell upon them while they were scattered in various places. But Auduald indeed and six dukes of the Franks came to the city of Mediolanum (Milan) and set 143 up their camp there some distance away on the plains. In this place the messengers of the emperor came to them announcing that his army was at hand to aid them and saying: “After three days we will come with them, and this shall be the signal to you; when you shall see the houses of this country-seat which stands upon the mountain burning with fire, and the smoke of the conflagration rising to heaven, you will know we are approaching with the army we promise.” But the dukes of the Franks watched for six days, according to the agreement, and saw that no one came of those whom the messengers of the emperor had promised. Cedinus indeed with thirteen dukes having invaded the left side93 of Italy took five fortresses from which he exacted oaths (of fidelity). Also the army of the Franks advanced as far as Verona and after giving oaths (of protection) demolished without resistance many fortified places which had trusted them suspecting no treachery from them. And the names of the fortified places they destroyed in the territory of Tridentum (Trent) are these: Tesana (Tiseno), Maletum (Malè), Sermiana (Sirmian), Appianum (Hoch Eppan), Fagitana (Faedo), Cimbra (Cembra), Vitianum (Vezzano), Bremtonicum (Brentonico), Volaenes (Volano), Ennemase (Neumarkt)94 and two in Alsuca (Val Sugana) and one in 144 Verona. When all these fortified places were destroyed by the Franks, all the citizens were led away from them as captives. But ransom was given for the fortified place of Ferrugis (Verruca),95 upon the intercession of the bishops Ingenuinus of Savio (Seben)96 and Agnellus of Tridentum (Trent), one solidus per head for each man up to six hundred solidi.97 Meanwhile, since it was summer time, the disease of dysentery began seriously to harass the army of the Franks on account of their being unused to the climate and by this disease very many of them died. Why say more? While the army of the Franks was wandering through Italy for three months and gaining no advantage — it could neither avenge itself upon its enemies, for the reason that they betook themselves 145 to very strong places, nor could it reach the king from whom it might obtain retribution, since he had fortified himself within the city of Ticinum (Pavia) — the army, as we have said, having become ill from the unhealthiness of the climate and grievously oppressed with hunger, determined to go back home. And while they were returning to their own country they endured such stress of famine that they oared first their own clothes and afterwards also their arms to buy food before they reached their native soil.98

Map of The Duchy of Tridentum.

The Duchy of Tridentum.


92  This occurred in 590. Grippo had been sent some time before on an embassy to Constantinople with two noblemen, Bodigisil and Evantius. On their way they stopped at Carthage, where a servant of Evantius seized in the market place some object which struck his fancy, whereupon the owner clamorously demanded its return, and one day, meeting the servant in the street, laid hold of him and said: “I will not let you go until you have returned what you stole from me,” whereat the servant drew his sword and slew the man and returned to the inn where the ambassadors were staying but said nothing of the matter. The chief magistrate of the city collected an armed troop, went to the inn, and summoned the ambassadors to come out and assist in investigating the murder. Meanwhile a mob began to rush into the house. Bodigisil and Evantius were slain at the inn door, whereupon Grippo at the head of his retainers went forth fully armed, denounced the murderers of his colleagues, and said there would now never be peace between the Franks and Romans. The prefect endeavored to placate him and when Grippo reached Constantinople he was promised satisfaction by the emperor and reported this promise to his king, as appears in the text. The satisfaction afterwards given was that twelve men were sent bound to Childepert who was told that he might put them to death, or redeem their lives at the rate of 300 aurei (180 pounds sterling) each. Childepert, greatly dissatisfied, said there was no proof that the men sent to him had anything to do with the murder and he let them go (Hodgkin, 254, 267).

93  The eastern side.

94  Hodgkin (VI, 30) identifies these places: Tesana and Sermiana on the Adige, ten or twelve miles south of Meran; Maletum, in the Val di Sole; Appianum, opposite Botzen; Fagitana, between the Adige and the Avisio, overlooking the Rotalian plain; Cimbra, in the Val di Cembra on the lower Avisio; Vitianum, west of Trent; Bremtonicum, between the Adige and the head of Lago di Garda; Volaenes, a little north of Roveredo; Ennemase, not far south of Botzen.

95  Close to Trent (Hodgkin, VI, 32).

96  Not far below Brixen on the Eisach (Hodgkin, VI, 32, note 2).

97  This chapter is a specimen of Paul’s way of dovetailing his authorities together. The campaign of the three dukes is given in the main in the words of Gregory of Tours. Then comes a passage from the history of Secundus not agreeing with what had gone before, as it enumerates thirteen fortified places instead of five, and then, after telling of the ransom, Paul here resumes the text from Gregory (Hodgkin, VI, 31, note 1).

Hodgkin gives the price of ransom at twelve shillings a head, or for all, three hundred and sixty pounds sterling. The language seems to indicate that the garrison were six hundred in number or it might mean that the ransom varied from one solidus for a common soldier to six hundred for a chieftain (Hodgkin, VI, 32, note 4).

98  The Byzantine account of this campaign of the year 590 is given in two letters written by the exarch Romanus to Childepert, stating that before the arrival of the Franks, the Romans had taken Modena, Altino and Mantua, that when Cedinus was encamped near Verona they were upon the point of joining him and supporting him by their light vessels on the river, intending with him to besiege Pavia and capture king Authari, and that they were amazed to learn that Cedinus had made a ten months’ truce with the Langobards and had marched out of the country (Hodgkin, V, 271-274).


Chapter XXXII.

It is believed that what is related of king Authari occurred about this time. For the report is that that king then came through Spoletium (Spoleto) to Beneventum (Benevento) and took possession of that region and passed on as far even as Regium (Reggio), the last city of Italy next to Sicily, and since it is said that a certain column is placed there among the waves of the sea, that he went up to it sitting upon his horse and touched it with the point of his spear saying: “The territories of the Langobards will be up to this place.” The column 146 is said to be there down to the present time and to be called the Column of Authari.99


99  Chapter XXXII is not believed to be historical but to belong to the domain of saga and perhaps epic song (Bruckner, p. 18, note 3; and Pabst, 453, note 1; see Hodgkin, V, 235 and 236, note 1). Beneventum was established before Authari’s time (Pabst, 453 and note 1).


Chapter XXXIII.

But the first duke of the Langobards in Beneventum100 was named Zotto, and he ruled in it for the space of twenty years.101


100  Benevento stands in an amphitheater of hills overlooking the two rivers Calore and Sabato, which afterwards unite and form the Voltorno. It was a city of the Samnites, possibly once inhabited by Etruscans. At the time of the third Samnite war, B. C. 298 to 290, it passed under the dominion of Rome. It was situated on the great Appian Way from Rome to Brundisium and upon the great road afterwards built by Trajan, also on a branch of the Latin Way, a road connecting it with the north-east of Latium, and it was a place of the utmost importance as a military position, commanding the southern portion of Italy (Hodgkin, VI, 63-68).

101  No passage in Paul has given a harder task to investigators than this chapter. Five different opinions (Waitz) have arisen from it as to the origin of the important duchy of Benevento. The twenty years attributed to Zotto’s reign are reckoned, as Hartmann thinks (II, 1, 54), from the year 569, which was regarded as the commencement of Langobard domination in Italy, and was thus transferred to Benevento, and he does not believe that this duchy was established at so early a period. Hodgkin (VI, 71, note 1, and 73) argues that Zotto’s reign began probably about 571, and ended about 591 (see Hirsch, History of the Duchy of Beneventum, Chap. 1).

The duchy of Benevento is often spoken of as the duchy of the Samnites (IV, 44, 46; VI, 2, 29, infra). It lasted until the later part of the eleventh century (Hodgkin, VI, 69).


Chapter XXXIV.

Meanwhile king Authari dispatched an embassy with words of peace to Gunthram, king of the Franks,102 the uncle of king Childepert. The ambassadors were received pleasantly by him but were directed to Childepert who was a nephew on his brother’s side, so that by his assent103 peace should be confirmed with the nation of the Langobards. This Gunthram indeed of whom we have spoken was a peaceful king and eminent in every good quality. Of him we may briefly insert in this history of ours one very remarkable occurrence, especially since we know it is not at all contained in the history of the Franks. When he went once upon a time into the woods to hunt and, as often happens, his companions scattered hither and thither, and he remained with only one, a very faithful friend of his, he was oppressed with heavy slumber and laying his head upon the knees of this same faithful companion, he fell asleep. From his mouth a little animal the shape of a reptile came forth and began to bustle about seeking to cross a slender brook which flowed near by. Then he in whose lap (the king) was resting laid his sword, which he had drawn from its scabbard, over this brook and upon it that reptile of which we have spoken passed over to the other side. And when it had entered into a certain hole in the mountain not far off, and having returned 148 after a little time, had crossed the aforesaid brook upon the same sword, it again went into the mouth of Gunthram from which it had come forth. When Gunthram was afterwards awakened from sleep he said he had seen a wonderful vision. For he related that it had seemed to him in his slumbers that he had passed over a certain river by an iron bridge and had gone in under a certain mountain where he had gazed upon a great mass of gold. The man however, on whose lap he had held his head while he was sleeping, related to him in order what he had seen of it. Why say more? That place was dug up and countless treasures were discovered which had been put there of old.104 Of this gold the king himself afterwards made a solid canopy105 of wonderful size and great weight and wished to send it, adorned with many precious gems, to Jerusalem to the sepulcher of our Lord. But when he could not at all do this he caused it to be placed over the body of St. Marcellus the martyr who was buried in the city of Cabillonum106 (Châlon-Sur-Saone) where the capital of his kingdom was, and it is there down to the present day. Nor is there anywhere any work made of gold which may be compared to it. But having touched briefly upon these things, which were worthy of the telling, let us come back to our history.


102  More properly, king of Burgundy (Hodgkin, V, 275).

103  Read nutum instead of notum.

104  See Chap. X, supra, note at the end.

105  Ciborium. Italian, baldacchino (Hodgkin, V, 202).

106  Founded by Gunthram (Giansevero).


Chapter XXXV.

In the meantime, while king Authari’s messengers 149 were stopping in France, king Authari, after he had reigned six years,107 died at Ticinum (Pavia) on the Nones (5th) of September108 from poison he had taken, as they relate. And straightway an embassy was sent by the Langobards to Childepert, king of the Franks to announce to him the death of king Authari and to ask for peace from him. And when he heard this, he received the messengers indeed but promised that he would give peace at a future time. After some days, however, he dismissed the aforesaid messengers with the promise of peace. But because queen Theudelinda pleased the Langobards greatly, they allowed her to remain in her royal dignity, advising her to choose for herself whomsoever she might wish from all the Langobards; such a one, namely, as could profitably manage the kingdom. And she, taking counsel with the prudent, chose Agilulf, duke of the people of Turin as her husband and king of the nation of the Langobards, for he was a man energetic and warlike and fitted as well in body as in mind for the government of the kingdom. The queen straightway sent word to him to come to her and she hastened to meet him at the town of Laumellum (Lumello).109 And when he had come to her, she, after some speech with him, caused wine to be brought, and when she had first quaffed it, she handed the rest 150 to Agilulf to drink. And when he had taken the cup and had reverently kissed her hand, the queen said smiling with a blush, that he should not kiss her hand who ought to imprint a kiss upon her lips. And straightway raising him up to kiss her, she unfolded to him the subject of their marriage and of the sovereign dignity. Why say more? The nuptials were celebrated with great rejoicing and Agilulf, who was a kinsman of king Authari on the mother’s side,110 assumed the royal dignity at the beginning of the month of November.111 Later however, in the month of May when the Langobards had met together in one place, he was raised to the sovereignty by all at Mediolanum.


107  Seven years, says the Origo — six years and six months, says the Continuer of Prosper (Waitz).

108  A. D. 590, a date which is well established (Hodgkin, V, 275, note 3).

109  A little north of the Po, about twenty miles west of Pavia (Hodgkin, V, 283, note 2).

110  Hartmann (II, 1, 121) doubts this relationship.

111  Waitz doubts this legend and believes that Agilulf obtained the crown by violence, citing the Origo and the Continuer of Prosper, but in these there is no actual contradiction of the text, as they simply say that Agilulf married Theudelinda and became king (Hodgkin, V, 283, note 4, 284). The fact, however, that the occurrences related must have taken place, if at all, within two months of the death of her first husband, detracts much from the charm of this otherwise delightful saga and adds something its improbability (Hartmann, II, 1, 98, 99). Most likely Agilulf seized the crown and married Theudelinda, the granddaughter of king Waccho, to acquire for his royal title some claim to legitimacy.

Agilulf, one of the great kings of the Langobards, was said to be of Thuringian extraction, though it is possible this statement is due to a misunderstanding of his title as duke of Turin (Hartmann, II, 1, 121). Theudelinda was descended on her father’s side from the Bavarians, the former Marcomanni, who after a long sojourn to Bohemia, were settled in the region now known as Bavaria. Theudelinda virtually established a new dynasty in Italy and her descendants reigned down to the fifth generation (Hodgkin, V, 283, 286).

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