Lombards, 568-774

The recovery of Italy by the Romans turned out to be a devastating event for the country. Between 536 and 553 the war surged through the country, doing more damage than all the previous fighting since the invasion of Italy by the Visigoths in 410. When the Lombards descended in 568, they weren’t strong enough to secure the whole region, but also the Romans weren’t strong enough to throw them out. The peninsula was fragmented into the Lombard kingdom in the north (which lead to the name Lombardy), a Roman salient from Rome to Ravenna and Venice, a couple of semi-independent Lombard duchies in the south (Spoleto and Benevento), and Roman footholds in the south at Naples, Sicily, and some other points.

The Rome-Ravenna corridor was later given by the first Karolingian Frankish King Pippin in 754 to Pope Zachary and became known as the Papal States or Partimonium Petri. Pope Zachary favoured Pippins coronation in 751 as new and first Karolingian King of the Franks.

The Lombards themselves slowly waxed in power as the Romans suffered one devastating blow after another from the rising power of the Islam. The Lombard kingdom was finally wholly defeated and annexed by Charlemagne in 774. The “Iron Crown of Lombardy” then was at the mercy of political events beyond the Alps.


Kings of the Lombards

Alboin                         568-573
Celph                          573-575
Autharis                    584-590
Theodelinda           590-591
Agilulf                        591-615
Adaloald                   615-625
Arioald                       625-636
Rotharis                    636-652
Aribert I                    652-661
Grimoald                  662-671
Garibald                    671-674
Bertharit                  674-688
Cunibert                   688-700
Aribert II                   701-712
Liutprand                 712-744
Rachis of Friuli      744-749
Aistulf of Friuli      749-756
Desiderius               756-774
overthrown by Franks