Created by: Isabel Teeters
Origin of the Lombards:
The Lombards played little part in the downfall of the Roman empire. They migrated south to Pannonia (modern Hungary) in the sixth century. They enjoyed peaceful relations with the Eastern Empire under their king, Wacho. It was at this time that they converted to (Arian) Christianity. Sometime after the year 540, under Wacho's successor, they became federates of the Empire. Under the terms of the agreement, the assisted Justinian in his wars against the Franks and the Ostrogoths.
The Sweep Through Italy:
Alboin led a host of Lombards, Gepids, and Sarmatians, in 568. Others, such as the Bavarians, Saxons and Taifali joined the invasion en route. As they advanced, the vacuum left behind them was filled by Avars, Bulgars and Slavs. Quickly, Alboin seized Aquileia and much of the Venetian plain. He had taken Milan and was largely in control of the Po Valley, within a year. He swept southwards into Tuscany and had reached Rome itself by 575, with only a few fortified cities and mountain strongholds remaining.
The Murder Of Alboin:
The Lombard Kingdom:
Under the influence of the Bavarian princess, Theudelinde, the Lombards gradually began to covert to Catholicism, although their kings initially resisted this.
Under Agilulf the Lombard Kingdom expanded into central Italy and was consolidated in the north. He reached a settlement with the Franks and put down a rebellion before resuming the struggle with Byzantium. Several years of fighting followed before, with the Empire accepting it could never recover the whole of Italy, the situation stabilized. Catholicism was well-established amongst the Lombards by the 680s, which helped the Empire to swallow an enduring peace.
The Lombards' power reached its peak during the reign of King Liutprand, but after his death, the Popes began to see the possibility of enlisting the help of the Franks in overthrowing them. In 755, at the direct invitation of the Pope, Pepin the Short invaded Italy and defeated the Lombard King Aistulf. Lombard rule in Italy was all but over, being finally destroyed in 773 by Pippin's son, Charlemagne.