Week 5: Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Italy and the Lombards
The Lombards were a Germanic tribe who ruled Italy from 568 to 774. The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon wrote in the Historia Langobardorum that the Lombards descended from a small tribe called the Winnili who dwelt in southern Scandinavia before migrating to seek new lands. In the 1st century AD they formed part of the Suebi, in northwestern Germany. By the end of the 5th century they had moved into the area roughly coinciding with modern Austria north of the Danube river, where they subdued the Heruls and later fought frequent wars with the Gepids. The Lombard king Audoin defeated the Gepid leader Thurisind in 551 or 552; his successor Alboin eventually destroyed the Gepids at the Battle of Asfeld in 567. Following this victory, Alboin decided to lead his people to Italy, which had become severely depopulated after the long Gothic War (535–554) between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom there. The Lombards were joined by numerous Saxons, Heruls, Gepids, Bulgars, Thuringians, and Ostrogoths, and their invasion of Italy was almost unopposed. By late 569 they had conquered all the principal cities north of the Po River except Pavia, which fell in 572. At the same time, they occupied areas in central and southern Italy. They established a Lombard Kingdom in Italy, later named Regnum Italicum (“Kingdom of Italy”), which reached its zenith under the 8th-century ruler Liutprand. In 774, the Kingdom was conquered by the Frankish King Charlemagne and integrated into his Empire. However, Lombard nobles continued to rule parts of the Italian peninsula well into the 11th century when they were conquered by the Normans and added to their County of Sicily. Their legacy is apparent in the regional name, Lombardy. (From Wikipedia)
This two-volume history of Florence is the best detailed study of one part of Italy for the period we are studying this year. Schevill wrote a masterpiece of well researched narrative history for Florence in 1936 and then it was republished in a Harper Torchbook paperback in 1961. The Harper Torchbook is still out there in used book stores so we have purchase five for our library. But there are still copies left if you want to own one. It is two volumes with the first volume devoted to our period of Medieval History and the second volume on Renaissance Florence. For the Lombards see Medieval Florence (Volume 1) Chapter Three, "Darkness Over Florence."
Medieval and Renaissance Florence,
Harper Torchbook paperback, 1963, 2 volumes,