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Book VI
Chapter 2

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

by
Thomas Hodgkin


2nd edition
Oxford University Press
London
1896

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Book VI
Note A

Book VI (continued)

Vol. V
p68
Chapter III

The Langobardic Foreworld

Authorities

Sources: —

Our chief authority for this chapter, as for almost the whole history of the Lombards, will be Paulus Diaconus, but as he, in this portion of his history, rests upon two other earlier authorities, one of which is still preserved, while the other has perished, it will be well, first of all, to give an account of these.

I. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum is nearly the earliest document that we have relating to the history of the Langobardi, and is found prefixed to some MSS. of the laws of king Rothari. This king reigned from 636 to 652, and was, as we shall hereafter see, the first to reduce the customary laws of the Lombards into a code. To this code a short prologue was prefixed, ending with a list of seventeen kings from Agilmund to Rothari. This somewhat meagre list is our absolutely earliest document. But for some reason or other a much fuller preface, apparently composed about the year 6681 or 669, in the seventh year of king Grimwald, was prefixed to several copies of the Edict of Rothari. This document, which is much fuller than the Prologue, and which gives some of the national sagas in considerable detail, is the celebrated Origo Gentis Langobardicae, and was evidently made much use of by Paulus.2 It will be observed  p69 that the date of its composition is very nearly a century after the descent of the Lombards into Italy.3

A similar document is the Codex Gothanus. To one MS. of the Lombard laws, that now preserved in the Ducal library at Gotha, there is prefixed an introduction on the history of the Lombards which evidently shows a certain affinity to the Origo,4 but is of later date, and contains some curious additions as to the early migrations of the race. It continues the history down to the time of Charles the Great, and was probably written under his son Pippin (807‑810). The author is a strongly pronounced Christian, and loves to support his statements by quotations from Scripture. He is, however, very imperfectly informed as to early Lombard history; he wrote, as will be seen, 250 years after the invasion, and it does not seem wise to place much dependence on his statements where they differ from those of the Origo.5 In order to give an idea of the author's style, I give a translation of his opening and closing sections in the note at the end of this chapter.

It will be seen that it was impossible that Paulus could have borrowed from the Codex Gothanus, nor does the author of that document appear to have borrowed from him.

II. The other authority to which I alluded, and which has unfortunately perished, is the 'De Langobardorum Gestis' of Secundus, Bishop of Trient. To this last work Paulus alludes in the two following passages.

'So great a slaughter was made' (by king Authari in 588) 'of the army of the Franks as is not  p70 recorded in any other place. It is certainly marvellous why Secundus, who wrote something concerning the deeds of the Lombards, should have omitted this great victory of theirs, when we have quoted what has been already said concerning the destruction of the Franks, almost in the very words of their own historian [Gregory of Tours].'6

'In the month of March (612) there died at Trient, Secundus, servant of Christ, of whom we have often spoken, and who composed a succinct little history concerning the acts of the Lombards down to his own times' (qui usque ad sua tempora succinctam de Langobardorum gestis composuit historiolam).7

Paulus also informs us that (in the year 603) Adalwald, son of king Agilulf, was baptized at Monza 'and was lifted from the font by Secundus, the servant of Christ, of whom we have often made mention.'8

Evidently the work of such a man, bishop of one of the frontier towns of the Lombard kingdom, who had himself, as a young ecclesiastic,9 witnessed the furious in‑rush of the barbarians and who had, in the next generation, stood sponsor to the son of their king, would have been of extreme value to an inquirer into the early history of the race. It has now perished, all but one doubtful fragment, but much survives in the history of Paulus, whose exceptionally full account of the affairs of Trient and its neighbours is probably due to this source.

Paulus Diaconus (sometimes called Paul Warnefrid, from the name of his father, or Paulus Levita, which is equivalent to Diaconus)10 was the descendant of a certain Leupichis who settled in the duchy of Friuli at the time of the Lombard invasion of Italy. The captivity which his sons suffered in the land of the Avars, and the return of one of them also named Leupichis to his own land, will be related in the course of this history. This  p71 second Leupichis was the great-grandfather of our historian, whose other relations are exhibited in the following table: —

We have no certain information as to the year of the birth of Paulus, but he was probably born about 725, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Friuli or Aquileia. He received an education which, for that age and country, was unusually good, and which included some knowledge of Greek. He mentions11 the name of a certain Flavian as his teacher: and as he informs us that Felix, the uncle of this Flavian, was in high favour with king Cunincpert (688‑700) as a teacher of grammar,12 it is conjectured, with some little probability, that Flavian may also have been attached to the royal household at Pavia, and that Paulus may have resorted thither in order to complete his education. We know from his own statement, that he was present in the palace at Pavia on a day of festival, and saw the cup which Albion caused to be made out of the skull of Cunimund, and which king Ratchis held in his hand and exhibited to his guests.13 As king Ratchis reigned from 744 to 749, it is clear that Paulus must have sat in his banqueting-hall while he was still in early manhood, but whether as a courtier's son, as a student in some sort of primordial college attached to the royal palace, or in any other capacity, it is quite impossible to say. There are some slight indications that he was of sufficiently good birth to entitle him to be received as a guest at the king's table.

 p72  In the year 749 King Ratchis abdicated the Lombard throne, and retired to the far‑famed monastery of St. Benedict at Monte Casino. Thither also Paulus followed him, but at what date it is impossible to say. It is not an impossible conjecture14 that the young courtier may have entered the monastery at the same time as his abdicating king: but there is also something to be said for the theory15 that he retired thither twenty‑six years later (in 775), when he had lost his country, his patron and his friends, through the capture of Pavia by the armies of Charles the Great. The objections to this theory are that it leaves a large space of his life unaccounted for; that the spirit which breathes through all his works is monastic rather than secular, and that for the literary labours which will shortly be described a monastery was at that time the most fitting environment. But whatever might be the precise date of his retirement into the cloister, there can be no doubt that he entered upon his new duties with enthusiasm. Saint Benedict became henceforward his ideal of human greatness. He sang his miracles, he preached a sermon on his life: though he might be sojourning in the palaces of kings, he sighed for a return to his beloved Monte Casino, and implored the abbot and the brethren to put up their prayers to 'our most blessed common father and preceptor Benedict,' that by his merits he might obtain from Christ the favour of a speedy restoration to the convent.

About this period of the life of Paulus he was brought, we know not how, into intimate relations with Arichis II, duke of Benevento, and his wife Adelperga, daughter of the Lombard king Desiderius. Arichis was connected by marriage and perhaps by birth with the dukes of Friuli, and was therefore in some sort a fellow-countryman of Paulus, but he was also the ruler of the land in which Monte Casino was situated, and it is easy to imagine a train of events which may have brought him into connexion with a distinguished inmate of the greatest and most famous monastery in his dominions. At any rate so it was; and Paulus, whether monk or citizen, became the chief literary adviser of the princely couple, and especially of the wife, the gentle and accomplished Adelperga. She had already, so he says,  p73 like her husband, 'with subtle intellect and most sagacious study explored the secrets of the wise, so that the golden sayings of philosophers and the jewels of the poets were all familiar to her:' but now she desired to be guided by him in her researches into history. He composed for her a little poem in thirty‑six trochaic lines, which might help her to remember the dates of the leading events in the history of the world. He thus fixed the date of the Deluge at 2,242 after the Creation, and the birth of Christ at 5,199 after the same event. The years which had elapsed from the birth of Christ to the composition of the poem were 763: and we thus, at last, get a fixed point in the historian's life, from this the earliest of his undoubted works which has come down to us. The stanzas of this little poem,16 each consisting of three lines, were so arranged as to form an acrostic 'Adelperga Pia.'

In order to satisfy the thirst of the princess for historical knowledge, Paulus had, with a certain air of triumph,17 presented her with the history of Eutropius. The lady complained, however (as generations of younger and involuntary students have since complained), that she found Eutropius dry and meagre. Moreover, he brought down his narrative only as far as the death of Jovian: and, above all, 'being a heathen, he made no mention of divine history or of the Christian faith.' In order to remedy these defects, Paulus edited the ten books of Eutropius, expanding the narrative in places, introducing some events 'from the divine law' at suitable intervals of time, and everywhere rendering the story harmonious with sacred history.18 Having done this, he added six books of his own, bringing down the history to the times of Justinian. This history, thus modified and continued, is that which has been so often quoted in previous volumes under the name of the Historia Miscella.

 p74  There can be little doubt that it was this labour of Paulus at the Historia Romana which suggested to him the work which rendered his name famous, the Historia Langobardorum.

Not yet, however, was Paulus to be left in the quiet seclusion of his cell to accomplish this great work. In the year 773 the long dreaded war between Charles the Great and the Lombard king Desiderius broke out. Pavia, after a long siege, succumbed, more to pestilence than to the sword. Desiderius and his family were carried into captivity, and Charles the king of the Franks became also king of the Lombards. In the fall of the Lombard kingdom — though his patrons the Duke and Duchess of Benevento were still unsubdued — Paulus, or at any rate his family, seems to have been in some way involved. His brother Arichis (probably the sole heir of the family estates, after Paulus had 'entered into religion') was carried captive, doubtless into the country of the Franks, and languished there in prison and in exile for fully six years. His wife, according to the (perhaps exaggerated) statement of Paulus, was compelled to beg through the streets, in order to obtain food and clothing for her four little ones. The sister in her convent well-nigh lost her eyesight through weeping. The family goods were plundered: the family lands passed into the hands of strangers, and Paulus — notwithstanding his own monastic seclusion — felt that he was sinking down with his family into the condition of slaves.19 It was apparently in order to obtain the release of his  p75 brother, and to retrieve the fallen fortunes of his family, that Paulus about the year 782 crossed the Alps, and presented himself at the court of the great Frankish king. We are not expressly informed that his petition was granted, but from the relations which afterwards existed between Paulus and his royal patron, there can be no reasonable doubt that this was the case. For Charles, who, though himself not highly educated, was earnestly desirous to promote the revival of learning throughout his dominions, soon perceived that this Lombard monk was one of the most fitting instruments that he could employ in such a work. Unfortunately, here as elsewhere throughout the life of Paulus, precise details are wanting, and we are not authorised to assert that he filled any distinctly educational office at the Austrasian court; but from the few fragments of correspondence between the king and the deacon which are preserved, it is evident that Charles set a very high value on the attainments of Paulus, retained him near his person as long as possible, and listened to his advice on all questions of a literary nature, with deference and respect. In fact, the relation between the two men greatly resembles that which existed towards the close of the fifteenth century between the Italian despots and their literary subjects, the Politians and the Poggios of their day: nor is the comparison an unnatural one, for the age of Charles the Great was a veritable Renaissance of the learning and culture of a buried civilisation. In one of the amusing jeux d'esprit which flew backwards and forwards between the king and his favourite, a grammarian named Peter, who acted as Charles's literary fag, compliments Paulus in high-flown terms on his literary eminence, comparing him to Horace, Virgil, and Tibullus, and rejoicing in his thorough knowledge of Greek. He is represented as teaching the grammar of this  p76 language to the ambassadors who are about to proceed to Constantinople to negotiate a marriage between the Frankish king's daughter and the son of the Emperor, and thanks to Paulus, Charles is persuaded that his messengers will not appear unlearned persons in the Byzantine court. Paulus in his reply, modestly disclaims rivalry with the great poets mentioned, and professes ignorance of the Greek language, of which, if the ambassadors to Constantinople know no more than they have learned from him, he fears they will be derided for being as dumb as statues. At the same time, in order to prevent these disclaimers from being taken too literally, he sends a Latin translation of a Greek epigram (learned by him in his youth) on a boy who perished in the frozen Hebrus.

A favourite amusement of the king and his literary friends appears to have been setting one another riddles, and most of these epistolary poems are concerned with these enigmas. If they were not easy to guess eleven centuries ago, it may be imagined how hopelessly dark they have now become, and to see industrious German scholars striving to pick out some solid historical facts from these chaotic and unintelligible vers de société is one of the most pitiable sights in literature. But we can recover a few details as to the life of the historian from allusions scattered through the poems. He evidently lived in a 'hospitium' not far from the palace. His food and that of other grammarians at the court was provided by the king. At early morning, a soldier in shining armour would present himself at the door, having in his hand the enigmatical letter of Charles. The men of letters sometimes wrote to one another the praises of their common patron, 'a young man of beauteous form, whose beard is flourishing on his snow-white chin': sometimes they addressed him with names of allegorical compliment, Charles himself being 'the Cedar' and his wife Hildegard 'the Cypress.'20 Then the great king would condescend to bandy jokes with his literary retainers. Paulus had piously wished his patron fifteen years of added life, even as they  p77 were granted to king Hezekiah: and Charles solemnly, by the pen of his secretary Alcuin, wished Paulus an extension of life for fifteen hours. Or the king in pretended wrath (and perhaps with some allusion to the choice of triple evils given to king David)21 asked the Lombard deacon whether he would choose to be crushed under an immense weight of iron, or to lie shackled in some dark prison-cave, or to go and convert Siegfried king of Denmark, 'impious lord of a pestiferous realm,' and 'touch his forehead with the sanctifying water.' Paulus answers that as Siegfried and his crew know no Latin, he will seem like a brute beast to them, and they will be no better than shaggy goats to him. But he has no fear of venturing among them. When they know that he comes with great Charles's name protecting him, they will not venture to lift one little finger against him. And if Siegfried dares to refuse the holy water of baptism, Paulus will drag him to the foot of Charles's throne, with his hands bound behind his back, nor will his gods 'Thonar' and 'Waten' (Thor and Odin) avail him anything.

All this is, of course, only fooling, but the majestic figure of the restorer of the Empire and the ascetic form of the historian of the Lombards grow more real to our imagination as we listen even to the banter which passed between them in that long-vanished century.

For about four years, apparently, Paulus remained north of the Alps, generally following the movements of the King's court. This cause would account for his presence at two of the places which he alludes to having been visited by him, namely, Metz and Thionville.22 His sojourn at the latter place, which probably lasted for several months, and which certainly included one Christmas (probably in 784), is marked for us by a curious astronomical observation. In the opening chapter of his History of the Lombards,23 he remarks that further north a man travels, the longer will he find his shadow to be at midday in the winter solstice. 'In Italy, as the ancients also noted, about the day of the birth of Christ, the shadow of a man of  p78 ordinary stature measures nine feet at noon. But I when I was stationed in Belgic Gaul, at the place which is called the villa of Theodo [or Toto], measuring the shadow of my stature, found it to be nineteen feet and a half.24 From these data an Italian mathematician has proved that Paulus was five feet eleven inches and eleven lines high.a

Another place to which Paulus journeyed, probably not in the train of King Charles, was Poitiers.25 Here he visited the tomb of Venantius Fortunatus, a man whose history somewhat resembled his own, like him a poet, like him sprung from the mountains of Friuli, like him finding grace and favour at the court of Frankish kings by reason of his literary gifts. At the request of Aper, Abbot of St. Hilarius, Paulus composed an epitaph in twelve elegiac lines, which was engraved above the tomb of Fortunatus.

At length, about the year 786, Paulus returned to Italy, possibly in the train of his patron, who, in December of that year crossed the Alps, to visit his Lombard kingdom. After a sojourn in Rome of uncertain length, Paulus finally re‑entered his beloved monastery of Monte Casino, which, as far as we know, he never again quitted. There, apparently, he died about the year 795, at any rate between 790 and 800; but neither as to the place nor the time of his death have we any absolutely certain information.

During the period of his visit to Gaul, or after his return, he wrote several books which are still preserved: the 'Lives of the Bishops of Metz' (a delicate compliment to King Charles, who was descended from Arnulf, the most famous occupant of the see), 'The Life of Pope Gregory the Great,' and a collection of Homilies from the works of 'Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Leo, Gregory, and other venerable fathers.'

Among his smaller poetical works, one has accidentally connected itself by an indissoluble bond with the history of art. This is the hymn to St. John the Baptist, the first verse of which is as follows: —

 p79  'Ut queant laxis re‑sonare fibris

Mira gestorum famuli tuorum

Solve polluti labii reatum

Sancte Johannes.'

From this verse are taken, for no very obvious reason except the great and early popularity of the hymn, the names of six notes in the octave.26

But of all his works incomparably the best and most precious is that with which we are now concerned, the Historia Langobardorum. The reader will have abundant opportunities for forming his own judgement as to the style and temper of this book in his perusal of this portion of the history which is chiefly based upon it. It will be enough here to say that its composition evidently occupied the closing years of the life of Paulus. In six books it gives us the history of the Lombard nation from their origin down to the death of king Liutprand (744). It thus breaks off just at the time when the historian would have been assuming the character of a contemporary narrator: a most tantalising interruption, and one which is undoubtedly due to the author's death before his work was completed. Though he writes after the fall of the Lombard monarchy, there is no bitterness in his tone when he is speaking of their hereditary enemies the Franks, nor — what is perhaps more extraordinary — is there any attempt to trace the causes of his countrymen's failure. In short, to use a convenient German phrase, it is not in the least a Tendenz-Schrift, (a 'history with a purpose'), though the circumstances of the author would have seemed likely to offer an almost irresistible temptation to give his work that character. Herein it differs from both of our other great sources of information as to the Teutonic invaders of the Empire, the 'Germania' of Tacitus, and the 'De rebus Geticis' of Jordanes.

I shall point out, as we proceed, the chief authors to whom Paulus is indebted for his materials, following the guidance of Dr. Jacobi, whose book 'Die Quellen der Langobarden­geschichte  p80 des Paulus Diaconus' (Halle, 1877), speaks the final word on this subject. In the following chapter, which corresponds to the first book of the 'Historia Langobardorum,' the chief source is the Origo, but with many precious additions from the national sagas. (I quote, of course, from the edition of Paulus, by Waitz, in 'Monumenta Germaniae Historica,' which supersedes all others.)

Guides: —

For the life of Paulus, Bethmann: an article in the 'Archiv,' vol. X, and Dahn, 'Langobardische Studien,' Leipzig, 1876. The latter book, though very painstaking, is perhaps somewhat too negative in its criticism. Waitz's Life, prefixed to the above edition in the M. G. H., is very helpful.

§ 1. Early notices of the Langobardi by Greek and Roman writers.

Strange hiatus in the history of the Langobardi. Most writers who have touched upon the early history of the Lombards have been struck with the curious hiatus which exists in the historical notices of that people. At the time of the Christian era, our information concerning them, if not very full, is clear and definite. At intervals throughout the first century their name reappears in the pages of the historians of the Empire, and we have one notice of them, brief but important, towards the end of the second century. From that date (cir. A.D. 167) to the reign of the Emperor Anastasius — an interval of more than three centuries — the Roman and Greek historians do not mention the name of the Lombards, and, as will be seen hereafter, we have to go to another source, and one of a very different kind, for any information as to their history during this period of obscuration.

Geographical data: Strabo, Tacitus, Ptolemy. Our chief authorities as to the geographical position of the Lombards, in their first settlement known to history are Strabo (who wrote about A.D. 20), Tacitus  p81 (cir. 61‑117), and Ptolemy (cir. 100‑161).27 On the combined testimony of these three authors we are safe in asserting that the Langobardi (such is the earliest form of their name) dwelt near the mouth of the Elbe, and were in frequent and close relations with the Hermunduri and Semnones, two great Suevic tribes which were settled higher up the stream, on its western and eastern banks respectively. There is a little conflict of testimony between Strabo and  p82 Ptolemy as to the side of the Elbe on which the Langobardi dwelt. Strabo puts them on the further, Ptolemy on the hither shore. If the authority of the former prevail, we must look upon parts of Mecklenburg and Holstein as their home, if that of the latter, the eastern part of the Electorate of Hanover, from Lüneburg to Salzwedel. Possibly enough both may be right for different periods of their history, for Strabo expressly points out that the common characteristic of all the dwellers in this part of Germany was the readiness with which they changed their homes, the result of the simplicity of their diet, and the pastoral rather than agricultural character of their occupations. He compares them herein to the Nomads of Scythia, in imitation of whom, as he says, they were wont to place all their household goods on waggons, and set their faces in any direction that pleased them, driving their cattle and sheep before them.

The Langobardi neighbours of the Angli. The Hermunduri and Semnones, the southern neighbours of the Langobardi, were important nations in their day, but their memory has perished, and they have left no lasting trace on the map of Europe. More interesting, at least to us, is the fact that among the neighbours of the Langobardi on the north are enumerated the tribe of the Angli,28 'fenced in,' as Tacitus says, 'by their forests or by their streams.' He goes on to tell us that the only thing noteworthy about the tribes (seven in number) north of the Langobardi — and the remark may possibly apply to the Langobardi themselves — Worship of Hertha. is the worship which they all  p83 paid in common to the goddess Hertha,29 Mother Earth. Her chariot and her image were hidden in the recesses of a sacred grove, apart in an island of the ocean.30 Here dwelt the solitary priest who was allowed access to her shrine. At stated times he crossed the sea with the image of the goddess. Placed upon the consecrated chariot and covered by a sacred robe, it was drawn by cows from village to village, along the plains of Holstein. Wherever the sacred image went there was joy and feasting; peace reigned instead of the continual clashing of the swords of the sons of Odin; till at length the goddess, sated with the converse of mortals, returned to her island home. The chariot, the vest, and (some said) the image of Mother Earth herself, were washed in a sacred lake. The slaves who had been employed in this lustration were themselves whelmed beneath its waters, and the lonely priest resumed his guard of the lonely deity whom it was death to behold. Such were the rites with which the Angle and the Langobard of the first century after Christ, the ancestors of Bede and of Anselm, of Shakespeare and of Dante, jointly adored the Mother of Mankind.

Origin of the name Langobardi. The origin of the name borne by the Langobardi has been a subject of some discussion. The national historian, as we shall see a little further on, derives it from their long beards, and tells a curious story to account for its first bestowal on the nation.31 As Bart  p84 or bard, in some form or other, is the equivalent of the Latin barba in the chief Low‑German languages,32 there can be no objection raised on the score of philology to this derivation. It has been urged,33 however, that the very fact of its resemblance to the Latin form may have suggested it too easily to an uncritical historian, and that since some other German tribes wore their hair and beards long,34 it is difficult to understand why the long beards of this one tribe should have been distinctive enough to entitle them to a separate name. It is, therefore, proposed to derive the name from the Old High-German word Barta, an axe, the root which appears in halbert and partizan. Again, another author35 argues for its derivation from the root bord (which we have preserved in the word sea‑board, though custom forbids us to speak of a river-board), and contends that the Langobardi received their name from the long flat  p85 meadows by the Elbe where they had their dwelling. According as we adopt one or other of these suggestions, the tribe whose history we are considering will have been the Long-bearded men, the Long-halbert-bearing men, the Long-shore‑men. I confess that to me the first, the old‑fashioned derivation, that which was accepted by Isidore and Paulus, still seems the most probable. In any case there is no doubt about the meaning of the first element of the name, and remembering the neighbourhood of the Langobardi and the Angli, we note with interest the true Teutonic form of the word, as it reappears in Langdale, and Langley, and the Scottish phrase, 'Auld Lang Syne,' rather than in our modern Gallicised word long.

Their character. The tribe of the Langobards were early distinguished by their fierce and warlike disposition. Velleius Paterculus, the contemporary and flatterer of Tiberius, in speaking of the victories of his hero in Germany (cir. A.D. 6), says that 'nations whose very names were before almost unknown, were beaten down before him; the Langobardi, a race fierce with more than the ordinary fierceness of Germany, were broken by his arms, and the Roman legions with their standards were led from the Rhine to the Elbe.'36 So too, Tacitus, after describing the numerous and powerful nation of the Semnones, the head of the Suevic race, dwelling in a hundred pagi, passes on to their neighbours the Langobardi, and says that 'these may rather pride  p86 themselves on the smallness of their numbers, since, girt round by so many great and strong nationalities, they have preserved their existence, not by a humble obedience, but by perpetual fighting, and in peril have found safety.'37

Share of the Langobardi in the war between Arminius and Maroboduus. The two greatest names in the history of the German peoples during the first century of our era were undoubtedly Arminius and Maroboduus; Arminius, the patriot chief of the Cherusci, who stirred up his tribe to a successful resistance against the encroachments of Rome, A.D. 9 and who annihilated the three legions of Varus in the Teutoburgian forests; Maroboduus, the self-centred and crafty despot of the Marcomanni, A.D. 3‑19 who built up for himself a dominion of almost Oriental arrogance in the mountain-girdled realm of Bohemia; who gave succour and asylum to the enemies of Rome, and the shadow of whose ever-menacing might darkened with anxiety the last years of Augustus himself.38 A.D. 17 In a fortunate hour for Rome, these two leaders of the German resistance to the Empire turned their arms against each other. The cause of the Cherusci, championed as it was by so popular a leader as Arminius, was looked upon by the Germans generally with greater favour than that of the Marcomanni under the autocratic Maroboduus,39 and hence it came to pass that on the eve of the conflict, two Suevic  p87 tribes,40 the Semnones and the Langobardi, separated themselves from the Marco­mannic kingdom and joined the Cheruscan confederacy. In the battle which followed, and which, though nominally drawn, was virtually a defeat for Maroboduus (soon followed by the utter downfall of his power), the Langobardi are especially mentioned as doing great deeds of prowess by the side of their Cheruscan allies on behalf of their new‑found liberty.41

The Langobardi evidently adhered for one generation at least to their new alliance, and did not return within the orbit of the great Suevic monarchy. A.D. 47 Thirty years after their revolt from Maroboduus, when the Cheruscan Italicus, the Romanised nephew of Arminius, was struggling, with diverse fortunes, to maintain himself in the royal position to which he had been raised by his countrymen, weary of anarchy, it was among the Langobardi that he took refuge after he had been defeated by the rebels; it was from them that he received help and comfort, and it was by their arms that he seems to have been once, at least, reseated on the forest-throne of the Cherusci.42

Southward migration of the Langobardi. From this point onwards our information as to the fortunes of the Langobardi becomes extremely meagre. The indications of their geographical position given by Tacitus and by Ptolemy, show that they were still  p88 known to the Romans as occupying their previous dwellings on the Elbe, in the reigns of Nerva and the elder Antoninus. But soon after Ptolemy wrote, they must have quitted their old home in order to take part in that movement of the German tribes southwards which brought on A.D. 167‑174
178‑179
the Marco­mannic war, and involved the reluctant philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, in ten bloody and hard-fought campaigns.

The Langobardi on the Danube. In a somewhat obscure paragraph43 of the history written by Peter the Patrician (Justinian's ambassador to Theodahad), we are informed that A.D. 16544 'six thousand Langibardi (sic) and Obii, having crossed the Danube, were turned to utter rout by the cavalry under Vindex, aided by an attack from the infantry under Candidus. As the result of this defeat, the barbarians, desisting in terror from their first attempt, sent ambassadors to Aelius Bassus who was then administering Pannonia. The ambassadors were Vallomar, king of the Marcomanni, and ten others, one being chosen to represent each tribe. Peace was made, oaths were sworn to ratify it, and the barbarians returned to their home.'45

 p89  Not much can be made out of a jejune fragment like this, but it is clear that the Langobardi have left the lower waters of the Elbe for the middle waters of the Danube. They are accompanied by the Obii, in whom some commentators see the same people as the Avieni, whom Tacitus makes next-door neighbours to the Langobardi, but of whose history we are otherwise entirely ignorant. They are evidently once more allies, perhaps subject-allies of their old masters the Marcomanni, since Vallomar the Marco­mannic king heads the embassy to Aelius Bassus. Considering that the account of the campaign comes from a Roman source, we may probably infer with safety that the repulse sustained by the Langobardi and their confederates was not a serious one, and that though they did not maintain the position which they had taken up on the Roman shore of the Middle Danube, yet that in returning 'to their home,' they withdrew to no great distance from the tempting plains of Pannonia.

Silence of Greek and Roman writers as to the Langobardi for 300 years. After this notice, information from Greek or Roman writers as to the fortunes of the Langobardi entirely fails us, and for a space of 300 years (as was before said) their name disappears from history. It brings before us in a forcible manner the long space of time over which the downfall of the Empire extended, to remind ourselves that this mere gap in the story of one of its destined destroyers lasted for ten generations, for an interval as long as that which separates the Englishmen of to‑day from their forefathers of the reign of Elizabeth.

To some small extent, however, we may fill up the interval by repeating what the national historian, Paulus Diaconus, has preserved of the old traditions of  p90 the Lombard race. Some of these traditions may possibly reach back to an earlier date than the notices of Strabo and Tacitus, but it is vain to attempt to fit the Saga (at least in its earlier portions) and the literary history into one continuous narrative. Far better does it seem to be to let the two streams of recital flow on unmingled, only eliminating from the pages of Paulus those paragraphs which evidently do not come from the treasure-house of old national traditions, but are merely borrowed, and for the most part unnecessarily borrowed, from the pages of classical historians and geographers. The 'Origo Gentis Langobardorum' gives us the framework of the story, but the details come, for the most part, from the pages of Paulus Diaconus.

§ 2. The Saga of the Langobards.

Saga. 'In the Northern land, that fruitful mother of nations, whose hardy sons have so often poured down on Illyricum and Gaul, and especially upon unhappy Italy, lies a mighty island, washed, and owing to its flat shores, well-nigh washed away, by the sea, and named Scandinavia.46 The Winnili in Scandinavia. Here dwelt long ago the little nation47 of the Winnili, afterwards known as the Langobards.

Migration under Ibor and Aio. 'Now the time came when this people found the island of Scandinavia too strait for them, and dividing themselves into three portions they cast lots which of the three it should be that must depart from their  p91 fatherland. Then that portion of the people upon which the lot had fallen, ordained two brothers to be their leaders, whose names were Ibor and Aio,48 men in the youthful vigour of their years, and sons of a woman named Gambara, in whose wise counsels they trusted greatly. Under these leaders they set forth to seek their new homes,49 and came to the region which is called Scaringa.

War with the Vandals. 'Now, at that time, Ambri and Assi, the two chiefs of the Vandals, having won many victories, held all the countries round under the terror of their name. These men marched with an army against the Winnili, and said unto them, "Either pay us tribute, or prepare yourselves for battle and fight against us." Now the Winnili were all in the first flush and vigour of their youth, yet were they very few in number, being only the third part of the inhabitants of an island of no great size. Howbeit, Ibor and Aio having consulted with their mother Gambara, decided that it was better to defend their liberty by their arms than to soil it by the payment of tribute, and made answer accordingly, "We will prepare for battle." Then did both nations pray to the gods for victory. Ambri and Assi prayed to Odin,50 and he answered them,  p92 "Whomsoever I shall first look upon at sunrise, to that nation will I give the victory." But Gambara and her two sons prayed to Freya, the wife of Odin, that she would show favour upon them. Then Freya counselled them that at sunrise the Winnili should all assemble before Odin's eastern window, having their wives with them, and that the women should let down their hair and encircle their faces with it as if it were a beard. Then, when the sun was rising, Freya turned upon her couch, and awoke her husband, and bade him look forth from the eastern window. Origin of the name Langobardi. And he looked and saw the Winnili and their wives with their hair about their faces, and said, "Who are these long-bearded ones?" Then said Freya to Odin, "As thou hast given them the name Langobardi, so give them the victory." And he gave them the victory, and from that day the Winnili were called the Langobardi.'51

War with the Assipitti. 52 'After this victory the Langobardi were sore pressed with famine, and moved forth from the province of Scoringa, intending to go into Mauringa. But when they reached the frontier, the Assipitti53  p93 were drawn up determined to dispute the passage. Strange artifices of the Langobardi. When the Langobardi saw the multitude of the enemy, and knew that by reason of their own small numbers they could not engage with them, they hit upon the following device. They pretended that they had in their camp Cynocephali, that is dog‑headed men. They made the enemy believe that these creatures followed the business of war with eagerness, being intent on drinking human blood, and that, if they could not drink the blood of an enemy they would even drink their own. At the same time, to make their numbers appear larger than they were, they spread their tents wide and kindled very many fires in their camp. By these arts the enemy were so far dismayed that they did not dare to carry out their threat of battle; but, having in their ranks a champion who was very strong and whom they deemed invincible, they sent a messenger to propose that the dispute between the two peoples should be settled by single combat. If the champion of the Assipitti conquered, the Langobardi should return to the place from whence they came. But if the champion of the Langobardi prevailed, they should have liberty to march through the country of the Assipitti. Now when the Langobardi were in doubt whom they should choose for this encounter, a certain man, of servile origin, offered himself for the combat on condition that, if he were victorious, he and his offspring should be freed from the stain of slavery. His masters gladly promised to grant this request: he drew near to the enemy: he fought and conquered. The Langobardi had licence to pass through the country whither they would: and the champion obtained  p94 for himself and his children the rights of freedom. The Langobardi in Mauringa. Thus, then, did the Langobardi succeed in reaching Mauringa, and there, that they might increase the number of their warriors, they gave liberty to many of their slaves. In order that the free condition of these might thenceforth be subject to no doubt, they ratified the enfranchisement in the accustomed manner by an arrow, murmuring at the same time certain words handed down from their forefathers for a solemn confirmation of the act.

Further migrations. 'From Mauringa the Langobardi moved forward and came into Golanda, and there they possessed the regions of Anthaib and Bainaib and Burgundaib,54 and now, as Ibor and Aio were dead, who had brought them out of the land of Scandinavia, and as they wished no longer to be under chiefs [or dukes], they chose themselves a king, after the manner of the nations. Agelmund first king. This was Agelmund, son of Aio, of the noble seed of the Gungingi; and he reigned over the Langobardi thirty-three years.

Strange story of Lamissio. 'In his time a certain woman of evil life brought  p95 forth seven children at a birth, and this mother, more cruel than the beasts, cast them all into a pond to be drowned. Now it happened that King Agelmund, on a journey, came to that very pond. Halting his horse, he marvelled at the unhappy babes, and, with the spear which he held in his hand, turned them over hither and thither. Then one of the children put forth his hand and grasped the royal spear. The king was stirred with pity, and at once ordered it to be lifted out of the pond, and handed over to a nurse, to be brought up with all possible care. And, as the child had been drawn out of a pond, which in their language is called lama, it received the name Lamissio.

Collision with the Amazons, Lamissio, when he came to man's estate, proved to be so strong a youth and so apt in war that, upon the death of King Agelmund, he was chosen to guide the helm of the state. It is reported that before his accession, when Agelmund and his people were on their march, they found the passage of a certain river barred by Amazons. It was decided by the two armies that the dispute between them should be settled by single combat between Lamissio and one of the Amazons, a strong swimmer and a stalwart fighter. He surpassed her in swimming, and slew her in the fight, and thus obtained for his people passage across the stream.

and with the Bulgarians. 'After this, the Langobardi, having crossed the stream and come into the lands beyond, dwelt there for some time in quietness and free from fear. The evil result of this security was seen when, by night, the Bulgarians suddenly fell upon them in their sleep,  p96 took and pillaged their camp, wounded many and slew many — among them Agelmund, their king, whose only daughter they carried off into captivity.

Lamissio king. 'On the death of Agelmund, as has been already said, Lamissio became king of the Langobardi.55 A young man, of eager soul, prompt for war, and longing to avenge the death of his benefactor Agelmund, he turned his arms against the Bulgarians. At the beginning of the first battle the Langobardi showed their backs to the enemy and sought refuge in their camp. Then Lamissio, seeing this, in a loud voice cried out to the whole army, bidding them remember the shame which they had before endured at the hands of these very enemies — their king slain, and his daughter, whom they had hoped to have for their queen, miserably carried off into captivity. He exhorted them to defend themselves and their families with their arms, saying it was better to die than to live as vile slaves, subject to the insults of such despicable foes. With threats and with promises he hardened the minds of his people for the fight, offering liberty and great rewards to any man of servile condition whom he saw forward in the fray, and thus, by his words and by his example (for he fought in the forefront of the battle), he so wrought upon the minds of his men that they at length made a deadly charge upon the enemy, whom they utterly routed, and wrought great slaughter upon them, thus avenging the death of their king. The great spoil which they gathered from this battle-field made them thenceforward  p97 keener and more bold in seeking the labours of war.

Lethu king. 'On the death of Lamissio, Lethu56 was crowned the third king of the Langobardi. After he had reigned about forty years, he died, Hildeoc. Gudeoc. and was succeeded by his son Hildeoc;57 and on his death Gudeoc58 took the kingdom.

The Langobardi enter Rugiland. 'In the reign of this, the fifth king of the Langobardi, happened that great overthrow of the Rugians and their king, Feletheus, by Odovacar, which had been foretold by the blessed Severinus, on account of the wickedness of Gisa, the Rugian queen.59 Then the Langobardi, going forth from their own regions, entered Rugiland (as the country of the Rugians was called in their language), and there, as the soil was fertile, they remained for several years.

'During this interval Gudeoc died, Claffo. Tato. and was succeeded by Claffo, his son, and, on his death, Tato, his son, seventh king of the Langobardi, ascended the throne. Then the Langobardi, going forth from Rugiland, dwelt in the wide plains which are called, in barbarian speech, Feld. And as they were tarrying in that place, for a space of three years, war arose between Tato and Rodulf, king of the Heruli.'

We have now reached the point at which the two  p98 streams, of Roman-written history and of Lombard Saga, fall into one. The war between King Tato and King Rodulf is narrated by Procopius as well as by Paulus, and can be assigned without much risk of error to a definite date, A.D. 511 or 512.

Comparison between Paulus and Jordanes. In reading these early pages of Lombard history as narrated by their churchman-chronicler, one is forcibly impressed by the general similarity which they bear to the history of the Goths, as told by their churchman-chronicler, Jordanes. We have in both the same curious blending of Teutonic tradition and classical mythology, the same tendency to digress into geographical description, the same hesitating treatment of the legends of heathenism from the standpoint of Christianity. But there is one great and obvious difference between Paulus and Jordanes. The Gothic historian exhibits a pedigree showing fourteen generations before Theodoric, and thus reaching back very nearly to the Christian era. The Lombard historian gives us only five links of the chain before the time of Odovacar, the contemporary of Theodoric, and thus reaches back, at furthest, only to the era of Constantine. Doubtless this modesty of his claim somewhat increases our confidence in the genuineness of his traditions, since, had he been merely inventing, it would have been as easy to imagine twenty names as five. On the other hand, it seems to show that the Langobardi, 'fierce beyond even German ferocity,' a brutal and savage people, had preserved fewer records of the deeds of their fathers, probably had been more complete strangers to the art of writing, than their more civilized Gothic contemporaries. Indeed, even with these latter, signs are not wanting  p99 that national consciousness, and therefore national memory, were quickened and strengthened, if not altogether called into being, by their contact with the great civilized Empire of Rome.

The narrative of Paulus is hopelessly un­chronological. However this may be, it is quite clear that it is hopeless to get any possible scheme of Lombard chronology out of these early chapters of Paulus. His narrative would place the migration from Scandinavia about A.D. 320, whereas it is certain that the Langobardi were dwelling on the southern shore of the Baltic at the time of the birth of Christ. And conversely he represents Agelmund the first king of the Langobardi, whose place in his narrative makes it impossible to fix his date later than 350, as slain in battle by the Bulgarians, who, as we know from another source,60 first appeared in Europe about 479. Thus, whatever genuine facts as to the early history of the people may be preserved in these curious traditions, they are like mountains seen through a mist, whose true size and distance we are unable to measure.

Residual facts. The chief of these dimly-discerned facts appear to be: —

1. The name Winnili. (1) The primordial name of Winnili, applied to the nation which was afterwards known as Langobardi. There does not appear to be any motive of national vanity for inventing this change of name, and we may therefore accept it as true, though not co‑ordinated with any other facts with which we are acquainted.

2. Migration from Scandinavia. (2) The migration from the island of Scandinavia, by which Paulus appears to mean the southern part  p100 of the Swedish peninsula, intersected as it is with many lakes, and standing, so to speak, 'out of the water and in the water.' Few questions are more debated by ethnologists at the present day than this, whether the Teutonic nations are to be deduced from 'the common Aryan home' in Central Asia, or from the lands north of the Baltic: and, as far as the authority of Paulus and Jordanes is of any avail, it must be admitted to make in favour of the latter hypothesis.

3. Scoringa = Bardengau. 3. Scoringa, the first home of the Langobards after their departure from Scandinavia, is probably named from a word related to our own word shore, and means the territory on the left bank of the Elbe near its mouth. Here is a considerable tract of country which late on the in Middle Ages still bore the name Bardengau, derived from that of the Langobards, and whose chief city, Bardowyk, played an eventful part in the history of the early German Emperors, till it was destroyed in a fit of rage by Henry the Lion in 1189.

4. Mauringa in Holstein (?). 4. Mauringa is also, on the authority of the Geographer of Ravenna, connected with the country near the mouth of the Elbe, probably on its right bank.61

After this, however, we get into the region of mere conjecture. The hostile tribe of the Assipitti, the successive homes of the Langobard people in Anthaib, Bainaib and Burgundaib, are all matters of debate among the German inquirers who have written on the early history of the Lombards. The settlement of these questions, if settlement be possible, will depend on  p101 a minute acquaintance with German place-names and dialectic forms to which I can make no pretension, and therefore, while referring the curious reader to the note at the end of this chapter for a statement of some of the warring theories, I simply recall attention to the fact (hardly sufficiently noticed by some of them) that in the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and about the year 166, we have a clear and trustworthy historical statement connecting the Langobards with an invasion of Pannonia. This movement from the Lower Elbe to the Middle Danube is quite accounted for by the facts that the Langobardi were more or less loosely attached to the great Suevic monarchy, which long had its centre and stronghold in that which is now Bohemia, that there was a general convergence of the tribes in Central Germany towards the Danube-frontier of the Empire about the time of the Marco­mannic War, and that the great migration of the Gothic nation to Euxine, which was described at the outset of this history,62 and which probably occurred about the middle of the second century, may well have sucked some of the tribes of the Elbe into its vortex, causing them, if once bent on change, to turn their faces towards the Danube rather than the Rhine.

I see no reason to believe that the Langobardi, having once left the shores of the North Sea and reached the heart of Germany, ever retraced their steps to their old home, though undoubtedly the barbarian wave rolled back foiled from the Pannonian frontier. For the following three centuries, therefore, I prefer to think of them as hovering about the skirts of the Carpathians (perhaps sometimes pressed northwards  p102 into the upper valleys of the Oder and the Vistula) rather than as marching back across Germany to the once forsaken Bardengau.63 The fact that when they are next heard of they are occupying Rugiland, the district on the northern shore of the Danube which faces Noricum, entirely confirms the view here advocated.

The three centuries of oblivion. As I have said, the fortunes of this obscure and unnoticed tribe for more than three hundred years (from 166 to 508) are a blank, as far as authentic history is concerned. They were subject probably in the fourth century to the rule of Hermanric the Ostrogoth, subject certainly in the fifth century to the rule of Attila the Hun, but are not mentioned by the historians who have written of either monarch. On the fall of the Rugian monarchy (if the statement of Paulus on this subject be correct) they made a successful attempt to obtain a footing on the northern bank of the Danube, opposite the Roman province of Noricum. But, possibly, owing to the consolidation of the power of Theodoric in these regions, they found that they had gained nothing by this movement, and that Noricum itself was still barred against them. They therefore went forth from Rugiland and took up their abode in some part of the wide plains of Hungary, called by them in their own Teutonic dialect, Feld.

Through all the eventful years from 376 to 476 they remained in the second rank of barbarian nations.  p103 Other and stronger peoples, the Alamanni, the Thuringians, the Rugians, the Gepidae, the Heruli, ranged themselves close round the frontiers of the Empire, and, often overpassing its limits, watched with hungry eyes the death-throes of the Mistress of the World. The stalwart forms of these nations prevented the little Langobardic tribe from sharing the plunder or the excitement of the strife: and, for this reason doubtless, their name is not written in the Life of St. Severinus or in the letters of Cassiodorus.

But two events, separated by an interval of sixty years, displaying many points of similarity to one another, finally broke down this barrier and opened to the Langobardi the full career of rapine and of conquest. These were the war with the Heruli about 508 and the war with the Gepidae which ended in 567. The history of these two wars will now be related, on the joint authority of Procopius and of Paulus.

§ 3. War with the Heruli

Geographical position of the Heruli. The tribe of the Heruli with whom we have already made some acquaintance in the wars of Odovacar and of Belisarius, are a perpetual puzzle to ethnologists. Zeuss, the most careful of all our guides, says of them,64 'The Heruli are the most unstable of German tribes and seem to have wandered over well-nigh the whole of Europe.65 They appear on the Dniester and  p104 the Rhine, they plunder in Greece and in Spain, they threaten Italy and Scandinavia.' It is clear that part at least of this 'instability' may be explained by the fact66 that the tribe was early split up into two great divisions, one of which moved towards the Black Sea, while the other, remaining nearer to the common home of both, eventually made its appearance on the banks of the Rhine. With the western branch of the nation we have no present concern, and only to a very limited extent with the eastern branch, which towards the close of the fifth century appears to have been situated in Hungary on the eastern shore of the Danube, south of the wide 'Feld' which was occupied by the Langobardi.67

 p105  Their manners and customs. Here, from of old, had dwelt the Herulian people, practising a number of strange and savage rites which Procopius (who loathed the race, having often had to endure their unpleasant companionship in camp and garrison) delights to describe to the discredit of their slightly less barbarous descendants. They propitiated their gods with human sacrifices, and the public opinion of the nation was hostile to the prolonged existence of the sick and the aged. As soon as a man found himself sinking into either of these two classes it was incumbent on him to ask his relations with the least possible delay to blot him out from the book of the living. Thereupon a great pile (apparently of pyramidal form) was built with logs of wood: the infirm man was seated on top of it, and a fellow countryman, but not a kinsman of the victim, was sent up to despatch him with a short sword. When the executioner returned, having effected his purpose, the pious kinsmen set fire to the pile, beginning with the outer circle of logs, and when the whole pile was consumed and the flames had died down they collected their relative's charred bones and hid them in the earth. Not only was this form of euthanasia practised by the Heruli: the Hindu custom of suttee was also prevalent among them. On the death of a Herulian warrior, his wife, if she wished to preserve her good name, was virtually compelled to feign, if she did not feel, the emotions of a desolate widow, and to die, before many days had elapsed, at her husband's tomb. If instead of this self-sacrifice she  p106 chose to continue in life, her character was gone, and she was an object of jeering and derision to the relatives of her husband.

Procopius' account of the war between the Heruli and the Langobardi. Defeat of the former. In the course of time the Heruli probably laid aside some of the more repulsive of these savage customs, but they appear to have remained heathens till their disappearance from history. Their power grew greater, and the terror inspired by them was such that many of the nations round them, including the Langobardi, consented to pay them tribute, a mark of subjection, as Procopius observes, unusual among Teutonic nations. At some time during the reign of the Emperor Anastasius,68 a singular interlude occurred in the savage annals of the Heruli, for it is recorded that having no one to fight with, they laid down their arms and for three years lived in peace. The warriors of the tribe, chaffing at this inaction and having no instinct of discipline or subordination, constantly assailed their chieftain69 Rodulf with taunts and sneers, calling him womanish and soft-hearted. At least, unable any longer to bear these insults, Circa 508 Rodulf determined to make war upon the Langobardi, not alleging any pretext for the attack, but simply asserting that such was his sovereign will. Once, twice, thrice did the Langobardi send their embassies to dissuade him from the meditated injustice. Submissively they pleaded that they had made no default in the payment of their tribute: yet even the tribute should be increased  p107 if the Heruli desired it. Most unwillingly would the Langobardi array their forces against their powerful neighbours, yet they could not believe that God, a single breath of whose power avails to overthrow all the haughtiness of man, would leave them unbefriended if battle was forced upon them. To the humble entreaty and the pious warnings Rodulf returned the same answer, simply driving the ambassadors from his presence with threats, and marching further into the Herulianº territory.

At last came the inevitable collision, and Herul and Langobard met in battle-array. At that moment the sky above the Langobardic host was overcast with black clouds, while that above the Herulian army was magnificently clear, an omen (says Procopius) portending certain ruin to the latter nation.70 But of all this the Heruli took no heed, but, utterly despising their enemies, pressed on, thinking to decide the combat by mere weight of numbers. When, however, the hand-to‑hand fight began, many of the Heruli were slain; Rodulf himself fell down dead, and his followers, forgetful of the duty of warriors, fled in headlong haste. Most of them were slain by the closely pursuing Langobardi, and only a few escaped.

Such is Procopius' account of the battle which practically blotted out the Heruli from the list of  p108 independent nations. We have another version of the same transactions from the pen of the Lombard historian, and curiously enough it is in many respects a version much less favourable to his people than that which Procopius heard, apparently from the Herulian mercenaries with whom he served in Italy. In the following words Paulus relates the story of the great encounter.71

The same war as described by Paulus. 'After the Langobardi had abode in the open Feld for three years, war arose, upon the following occasion, between Tato, their seventh king, and Rodulf king of the Heruli.72 The brother of King Rodulf had gone to Tato for the purpose of cementing an alliance: and when, having accomplished his embassy, he was returning to his own land, it chanced that he passed before the house of the king's daughter who was named Rumetruda. She, beholding the multitude of men and his noble train of followers,73 asked who that man could be who had such illustrious attendance: and it was told her that the brother of King Rodulf was returning to his land after accomplishing his mission. Thereupon the maiden sent to beg him to condescend to receive a cup of wine at her hand. He came, as he was asked, in all guilelessness; but because he was little of stature, the maiden looked down upon him in the haughtiness of her heart and uttered words of mockery against him. He, glowing at once with shame and indignation, replied in such wise, as brought yet greater confusion on the maiden. Then she, hereto with a woman's rage and unable to repress the passion of her soul, at once set her mind on a wicked revenge. She feigned meekness, she put  p109 on a cheerful countenance, and soothing him with more pleasant words, she invited him to sit down and arranged that he should so sit as to have a window at his back. This window, apparently as a mark of honour, but really that his suspicions might not be excited, she had covered with a costly curtain: and then that cruellest she‑monster commanded her servants that when she said 'Mix' (as if speaking to the butler), they should pierce him in the back with their lances. It was done: the cruel woman gave the sign, her unjust commands were accomplished: her guest, pierced with many wounds, fell forward on the earth and expired.

'When these things were related to King Rodulf, he groaned at the cruel death of his brother, and impatient of his grief, burned to revenge so foul a murder. Breaking off, therefore, the league which he had made with Tato, he declared war against him. To be brief: the two armies met in the broad Feld. Rodulf drew up his men in battle array: then seating himself in his camp, having no doubt of the coming victory, he began to play at draughts.74 And in truth the Heruli of that day were well trained in the arts of war and already famous for the manifold slaughter of their foes: although (whether it were for nimbleness in the fight or that they might show their contempt of the wounds inflicted by the enemy) they fought entirely naked, save for a girdle round their loins. The king therefore, trusting without hesitation to the valour of his soldiers, while he comfortably continued his game, told one of his followers to climb a tree which happened to be near at hand, in order that he might have the earliest possible tidings of the victory. At the same  p110 time he threatened the man that he would cut off his head if he told him that the Herulian army was in flight. The man saw the ranks of the Heruli give way, he saw them being pressed by the Langobardi, but when asked again and again by the king, "How are my Heruli getting on?" always answered, "They are fighting splendidly." Nor did he dare to give utterance to the evil which he beheld until the whole army turned its back to the enemy. Then, at last, he broke forth into speech, "Woe to thee, wretched Herulia, who art chastened by the wrath of the Lord of Heaven!" At these words the king cried in consternation, "Is it possible that my Heruli are fleeing?" The soldier answer, "It is thou, O king, who hast said the word, not I." Then (as is wont to happen in such cases) the king and all his followers, perturbed and doubtful what to do, were sorely smitten by the in‑rushing Langobardi, the king himself being slain notwithstanding a brave but fruitless resistance. The fleeing army of the Heruli — so great was the wrath of heaven upon them — when they beheld some green fields of flax, mistook them for lakes [covered with weed], and extending their arms and falling forward upon them as in act to swim were cruelly stricken by the swords of their enemies. When the victory was won, the Langobardi divided among themselves the vast spoil which they found in the enemy's camp: and Tato carried off the standard of Rodulf (which is called in their language Bandum) and the helmet which he had been accustomed to wear in battle.

'From that time forward the valour of the Heruli so utterly collapsed that they never had a king over  p111 them again. The Langobardi, on the other hand, enriched with plunder and increasing their army out of the various nations which they overcame, began of their own accord to seek for occasions of war, and to push forward the renown of their valour in all directions.'

So far the Langobardic Saga as related by Paulus. As before said, it is less favourable to his own people than the story of the Byzantine historian. As a drama of providential retribution it entirely fails, since the cruel and treacherous deed of Rumetruda is left unavenged. It explains, however, some things which are left obscure in the narrative of Procopius. Well might the Herulian king — perhaps himself like his brother of small stature and unmartial appearance — fear the taunts of his subjects if he left that brother's murder unavenged; and well might he, with such provocation to harden his heart, refuse the threefold petition for peace offered by the Langobardi. They, on their part, may very probably have offered a money payment, not so much on account of augmented tribute as by way of weregild for the murdered prince, and the triple embassy may have been due to some barbaric bargaining as to what the amount of this weregild should be.

Subsequent condition of the Heruli. Though true in substance, the narrative of Paulus is not literally accurate in saying that the Heruli were kingless ever after this defeat. To lose the institution of kingship, to be without a 'leader in their glorious wars,' was in that age a mark of the last stage of national decay and demoralization, and though this calamity did for a time befall the Herulian nation, the obscuration of the kingly office was only temporary,  p112 Procopius75 describes their miserable wanderings to and fro after their defeat by the Langobardi. They settled at first in Rugiland, evacuated as that country was by the Rugians when they went with the Ostrogoths into Italy.76 Driven thence, as the Langobardi before them had probably been, by hunger, they entered Pannonia and dwelt there as subjects of the Gepidae, paying tribute to those hard lords, and grievously oppressed by them. They then crossed the Danube, probably into Upper Moesia77 (which forms part of the modern kingdom of Servia), and there solicited and obtained permission from the Emperor Anastasius to dwell as his loyal foederati. We know, on the excellent authority of the chronicler, Marcellinus Comes,78 that this reception of the Heruli within the limits of the Roman Empire took place in the year 512, and we may therefore conjecturally assign the great battle between them and the Langobardi to a date a few years earlier, between 506 and 510.

Notwithstanding the hospitality which the Heruli had received from Anastasius, that savage people soon began their usual career of crime and outrage against their civilized neighbours. Anastasius sent an army against them which utterly routed and could easily  p113 have destroyed them, but in an evil hour the Emperor and his generals listened to their renewed supplications for mercy and suffered them to live. Procopius, whose bitter words we are here transcribing, regrets this clemency, for he says, 'the Heruli never were true allies to the Romans, and never did them a single good turn.' It is true that Justinian, who renewed the foedus with this people, brought them to make an outward profession of Christianity, and spread a little varnish of civilization over their inherent savagery. But they still remained bestial in their morality, fickle in their alliances, and in fact, says the loathing Procopius, 'they are the wickedest of all men, and utter and unredeemed scoundrels.'79 Before long they again fell out with the Empire, and the occasion of the quarrel was a curious one. They had suddenly conceived the idea that they would be henceforward kingless, and had therefore killed their king Ochon for no imaginable reason, for in truth he hardly deserved the name of king, since any of his subjects might sit down beside him, dine with him, or insult him with impunity.80 Then finding an absolutely anarchic existence insupportable, they changed their minds again, and sent to Thule for a prince of the blood royal to come and reign over them.

Herulian migration to Thule. For, after the great catastrophe of the defeat of the Heruli by the Langobardi, certain of the former nation, not brooking the thought of dwelling with diminished  p114 might in the Illyrian lands, and cherishing the old national remembrance of their Scandinavian home, had set off under the leadership of men of the royal blood to seek a new habitation by the shores of the Northern Ocean. They had passed through the lands of the Sclavonians, and then, through a great wilderness, had reached the borders of the Warni, and had travelled through their land and through all the tribes of the Danes unmolested by any of these barbarians.81 Coming thus to the shores of the ocean, they crossed it in their barks and reached the island of Thule, where they took up their abode. Thule (by which Procopius probably wishes to designate not Iceland, but some part of the Scandinavian peninsula) is a marvellously great island, more than ten times the size of Britain, lying far off from it towards the north wind. The land is barren, but thirteen large nations, governed by as many kings, are settled therein. Procopius, though earnestly desiring to visit this remote land, had never in his busy life found opportunity to do so, but he had heard from accurate and trustworthy overseers strange histories of the course of nature therein. For forty days, about the time of the summer solstice, the sun never sets over Thule, but appears, now in the eastern heaven, now in the western, and the inhabitants have to measure the day only by the reappearance of the sun in the same quarter where he shone before. Then, at the winter solstice, the sun is absolutely invisible for  p115 forty days. Endless night reigns and the inhabitants, cut off from all communication with one another, are plunged in dejection and sorrow.b Though the event is of yearly occurrence, they fear each year that the sun will never return to them again; but at the expiration of thirty-five days (measured by the rising and setting of the moon) they send certain of their number to the tops of high mountains to catch a glimpse of his light. When these messengers return with the glad tidings that they have seen the sun, and that in five days he will shine upon them, the inhabitants of Thule give themselves to unbounded rejoicing, and hold, all in the darkness of their land, the greatest of their national festivals.82

A king sent for from Thule. To this distant region, then, did the Heruli of the Danube send for a king after they had murdered the over-affable Ochon. The first who was chosen died in the country of the Danes, whereupon the ambassadors returned and persuaded Todasius to accept the distant crown. Todasius and his brother Aordus, with two hundred young men of the Heruli, set forth upon the immense journey: but long before they reached the Danubian lands, the fickle and unstable people, deeming it a disgrace to them to accept a king from Thule, had sought and obtained a king, a Herulian named Suartuas, from the Emperor Justinian. Civil war seemed imminent, but when the Arctic claimant had come within a day's journey of his rival, the minds of the people changed again. They all deserted by night to the camp of Todasius, and Suartuas with  p116 difficulty and alone, escaped to Constantinople. As Justinian seemed disposed to support his candidate by force of arms, the Heruli joined themselves to the confederacy of the Gepidae, who were at that time, notwithstanding their foedus, virtually the incessant enemies of the Empire.

It has seemed worth while to follow the fortunes of this remnant of a most savage and unattractive people, as the story illustrates what has been said in an earlier part of this history as to the relation between vigorous royalty and national success, among the Teutonic tribes.83 The soft and pliable character of Rodulf caused him to be hurried into an unjust war, which he had not sufficient generalship to bring to a successful issue, and the disastrous end of which was fatal to the greatness of his nation. Ruin demoralized the race, and the instinct of national dignity became so deadened that they delighted in flouting the king, the representative of the greatness of the nation, and at length crowned their insults by murdering him. The spasmodic attempts to replace him by pretenders fetched from distant Norway, or begged from haughty Byzantium, all failed, and the nation, kingless, soulless and decayed, sank into a mere appendage to the monarchy of the equally barbarous but more loyal Gepidae.

 p117  § 4. War with the Gepidae

Returning to the history of Paulus, we find these two sentences as to the succession to the rude throne of the Langobardi: —

Kings after Tato. 'Tato was, shortly after the war with the Heruli, attacked and slain by his nephew Waccho, who succeeded him. Waccho left a son, the issue of his third marriage, named Waltari, who reigned for nine years. Then Audoin obtained the kingdom, who was succeeded by his son Alboin, the tenth84 king of the Langobardi.'

We see then that among the triumphant Langobardi also civil war and revolution soon broke out. Waccho slays Tato and succeeds to the throne. It was not long after the great victory over the Heruli before king Tato was attacked, defeated, and slain by his nephew Waccho.85 The son of Tato, Risiulf, and his grandson Ildichis,86 who became at length refugees at  p118 the court of the king of the Gepidae, made apparently frequent attempts to recover the throne of their progenitor, but all these attempts were vain. For thirty years Waccho ruled the Langobardic nation in  p119 their settlement on the plains of Hungary, and he seems at last to have died in peace.

Reign of Waccho, 510‑540 (?). The long reign of Waccho is again nearly a blank in the Langobardic annals. We are told that he brought the Suavi under subjection to his yoke,87 but it is not easy to see what people are designated by this name. The Suavi, or Suevi, who dwelt in the south-western corner of Germany, called from them Suabia, are much too far off and too much involved in Frankish wars and alliances for any contest between them and the Langobardi to have been likely. More probably we have here another instance of the confusion pointed out in a previous volume88 between Suavia and Savia: and we are thus being told of the subjugation of the inhabitants of the region between the rivers Drave and Save. Such an event must have occurred after the Ostrogothic monarchy had begun to fall asunder in ruin, since, even in the days of Athalaric, Savia was still administered in his name in accordance with rescripts issued from Ravenna.89

In the year 539, when Witigis the Ostrogoth found himself hard pressed by Belisarius, and began, too late, to cast about him for alliances to ward off his impending doom, he sent ambassadors to Waccho,  p120 offering him large sums of money if he would become his confederate. This, however, Waccho refused to do, having been, apparently throughout his reign, on cordial terms with the Court of Constantinople.90 In fact, we can see in the scanty notices concerning this king a determination to strengthen himself by alliances with all his more powerful neighbours, doubtless in order to resist the pretensions, either to dethrone, or to succeed him, which were put forward by the family of his predecessor. He was thrice married; the first time to a daughter of the king of the Thuringians, the second to a daughter of the king of the Gepidae, and the third to a daughter of the king of the Heruli. The last marriage only was fruitful in surviving male issue, but the two daughters of his second marriage were married to two successive kings of Austrasia, Theudebert and Theudebald: and thus these kings, who stood to one another in the relation of father and son, became brothers-in‑law in right of their Langobardic wives. When at length Waccho died, probably somewhat advanced in years, he was succeeded by the child of his old age, his son by the Herulian princess Salinga, the boy‑king Waltari.

Short reign of Waltari, 540‑546. For about seven years the nominal reign of Waltari lasted, under the administration of the warrior Audoin, and then the young king died. It is distinctly stated91 that he died of disease, and we have none of those hints of foul play which are so usual when a young king dies and is succeeded by his guardian. Thus did the dynasty of the Lithingi, to which for sixty years or more the rulers of the Langobardi had belonged,  p121   p122 cease to reign, and Audoin, father of the mighty Alboin, mounted the throne.92

Audoin, 546‑565 (?). Feud between Langobardi and Gepidae. It seems probable that the reign of Audoin lasted for about twenty years. During the greater part of that time there was a simmering feud between the Langobardi and the Gepidae, ever and anon boiling over into actual war. Mere neighbourhood was reason enough for bloodshed between two tribes so barbarous and so faithless. But in addition, there was the fact that the remnant of the conquered Heruli, henceforth the irreconcilable enemies of the Langobardi, had been received into the Gepid nationality, and there were also two pretenders to the throne of the rival nation, each one seated at the hearth of the hostile king. Ildichis, grandson of Tato, and the last descendant of the illustrious house of the Lithingi, in the intervals of his wanderings,93 which took him to the Sclavonian country, to Constantinople, even to the court of Totila, found his most abiding home in the palace of Thorisind,94 king of the Gepidae. On the other hand, Thorisind had himself a rival of whom he was in fear, the young  p123 Ustrigotthus,95 son of his predecessor Elemund, and this pretender was a refugee at the court of Audoin.

Alliance of the Langobardi with the Empire. To these two rival nations, whose power was so nearly equally balanced, the friendship and alliance of the great Caesar of Byzantium was a matter of supreme importance, and he was generally disposed to throw the weight of that alliance into the scale of the Langobardi, as slightly the weaker and the more remote of the two undesired neighbours. About the year 547, when the war between Totila and Justinian was dying down to its last embers, and when it was plain that either to hold or to conquer Italy alone was a task almost too heavy for either combatant, a great rearrangement of power took place in the countries under the shadow of the Alps.96 Without any trouble the Frankish kings took possession of the greater part of Venetia, neither Goths nor Romans being able to withstand them. On the other hand, the Gepidae pressed in from the north-east, resumed possession of their once held and long-coveted city of Sirmium, and spreading themselves thence across the Danube, wrested not from Goths, but from Romans, nearly the whole of the provinces which made up the diocese of Dacia.97 Irritated by this conduct of a people who still professed to call themselves 'foederati' of the  p124 Empire, Justinian discontinued the subsidies98 which he had hitherto allowed them, and, as counterpoise to the menacing Gepid power, invited the Langobardi across the Danube — not, however, to its southern, but to its western shore — and presented them with the city of Noricum99 and other fortresses over against the Pannonian settlements of the Gepidae. Settlement in Noricum and Pannonia. This migration, which is generally described as a migration into Pannonia, but which was probably as much into Noricum as into Pannonia, was a most important event in the history of the Langobardic nation. It brought them out of the distant Hungarian plains into the countries which we now know as Styria, Salzburg, and Carinthia. Henceforward the more adventurous huntsmen and warriors of the tribe were constantly scaling mountains from which at least other mountains could be seen that looked on Italy. As Theodosius brought Alaric, so now has Justinian brought the father of Alboin to the threshold of the Imperial land.100

It would be a difficult and unprofitable task to endeavour to reduce into their precise chronological order the rude, chaotic struggles which took place between Langobard and Gepid during the reign of Audoin. Procopius gives us one series of facts relating  p125 to them, Paulus another; and as neither writer gives us any exact dates, it is impossible to arrange them with any certainty in a consecutive history. A few scenes, however, which illustrate the habits and modes of thought of these barbarians — immeasurably ruder and more anarchic than the Goths, to whom our attention has hitherto been chiefly directed — may here be recorded.

In the first place, at some uncertain date, but probably about the year 550, we have the two tribes, 'neighbours, and therefore enemies, earnestly desiring to go to war with one another, and fixing a definite time for the encounter.'101 The Langobardi, who knew that they were outnumbered by the Gepidae, sought for a definite alliance with 'the Romans.' The Gepidae, on the other hand, who claimed to be still foederati of the Empire, though the foedus did not restrain them from occupying Dacia, south of the Danube, and laying waste Dalmatia and Illyricum as far as the city of Dyrrhachium, insisted that 'the Romans were bound either to give them active assistance, or, at the very least, to stand aside and let them fight their battle with the Langobardi unhindered.'

Langobardi and Gepidae at the Court of Justinian. Ambassadors from the two nations arrived at Constantinople and received separate audience from Justinian. The two harangues are given at great length by Procopius.102 There is much in them which savours of the Greek rhetorician and which is doubtless  p126 invented by him, but some of the pleas urged are so quaint and (in the case of the Gepidae) so impudent that we must believe that they were really uttered by the barbarians.

On the first day the Langobardi spoke.

'We are perfectly astounded,' said they, 'at the presumption of these Gepidae, whose embassy is the deadliest insult they could possibly have inflicted upon you. So long as the Ostrogoths were mighty, the Gepidae, cowering on the other side of the river, sought shelter in the Imperial alliance, received your yearly gifts, and were in all things the very humble servants of the Empire. As soon as the power of the Ostrogoths declined, when they saw them driven out of Dacia,103 while you at the same time had your hands full with the Italian war, what did these faithful allies of yours do? They spurned the Roman rule, they broke all treaties, they swarmed across your frontier, they took Sirmium, they brought its citizens into bondage, and now they boast that they are making the whole of Dacia their own. Yet in their whole history they have committed no more scandalous action than in this embassy which they are now sending you. For as soon as they perceived that we were about to make war upon them, they dared to visit Byzantium and  p127 to come into the presence of the prince whom they have so grievously wronged. Perhaps also in their abundant impudence, they will dare to invite you to an alliance against us, us your faithful friends. Should the condition of such an alliance be the restoration of the lands which they have wrested from you, the Roman gratitude will be due to the real authors of this late repentance, that is to the Langobardic nation. But if they propose to restore nothing, can anything be imagined more monstrous than their presumption?

'These things we have set forth with barbaric plainness of speech and in unadorned language, quite inadequate to the offence of which we complain. So you, Sire, carefully weigh our words and decide on such a course of action as shall be most for the interest, both of the Romans and of your own Langobardi. Especially remember this most important point, that in things pertaining to God we are at one with you in faith. The Gepidae are Arians, and for that very reason are sure to go into the opposite camp to yours, but we hold your creed, and have therefore, from of old, been justly treated by the Romans as their friends.'

Thus spake the Langobardi. On the next day the Gepidae had audience of the Emperor.

'We admit, Sire,' said they, 'that he who proposes to a neighbour that he should form an alliance with him, is bound to show that such alliance is just and expedient. That we shall have no difficulty in proving in the present instance. The alliance is a just one, for we have been of old the foederati of the Romans, while the Langobardi have only of late become friendly to the Empire. Moreover, we have constantly endeavoured to settle our differences with them by  p128 arbitration;104 but this, in their braggart insolence, they have always refused till now, when perceiving that we are in earnest and recognising their weakness they come whining to you for succour. And the alliance with us will be an expedient one, for any one who is acquainted with the subject knows that in numbers and martial spirit the Gepidae far surpass the Langobardi. If you choose our alliance on this occasion, grateful for your present succour, we shall follow your standard against every other foe, and the abundance of our strength will ensure you victory.

'But then these robbers pretend that Sirmium and certain other parts of Dacia are a sufficient cause of war between us and you. On the contrary, there is such a superabundance of cities and territory in your great Empire, that you have rather to look out for men on whom to bestow a portion of them. To the Franks, to the Heruli, and even to these very Langobardi, you have given such store of cities and fields as no man can number. Relying in full confidence on your friendship, we anticipated your intentions. When a man has made up his mind to part with a certain possession, how much more highly does he value the friend who reads his thought and helps himself to the intended gift (always supposing there is nothing insulting in his way of doing it), than him who passively receives his favour. Now the former is exactly the position which the Gepidae have occupied towards the Romans.

'Lay these things to heart we entreat you. If it be  p129 possible, which we earnestly desire, join us with your whole force against the Langobardi. But if that be not possible, stand aside and leave us to fight out our own quarrels.'

So ended the extraordinary harangue of the Gepidae.

Justinian sends help to the Langobardi. After long deliberation, Justinian decided to help the Langobardi, and sent to their aid 10,000 cavalry under the command of John, nephew of Vitalian, and three other officers whose names we have met with in the Gothic wars.105 The unstable and disorganized Heruli fought on both sides of the contest; three thousand of them, under their king's brother Aordus, helping their hosts the Gepidae, and seventeen hundred under Philemuth holding to their foedus with Rome and following the standards of John. Aordus and a large part of his Herulian army were slain by a detachment of the Imperial troops. Then, when the two rival nations perceived that Justinian's soldiers were really about to appear on the scene, the barbarians' dread and hatred of the great civilized Empire suddenly reassumed its old sway. The Gepid made proposals of peace and amity to the Langobard, the Langobard accepted them without the slightest reference to his Imperial ally; the quarrel was at an end, and the troops of Justinian, drawn far on into the barbarian territory and suddenly left without allies, were in imminent danger of destruction. Apparently they succeeded at length in making good their retreat, but we have no details of their escape, for Procopius leaves their story half-told.

The two nations, united by this patched‑up peace,  p130 soon106 drifted again into war. Large bodies of troops, 'many myriads of men,' followed each king into the field. But before the armies were in sight of one another, a strange panic seized on either host. All the rank and file of the Langobardi, all the rank and file of the Gepidae, fled impetuously homeward, disregarding both the threats and blandishments of their leaders. Shame forbade these, the nobles of the nation, to fly; but Audoin, finding himself with only a trusty few around him, and ignorant that the enemy were in precisely the same condition, sent an embassy to Thorisind proposing conditions of peace. The ambassadors, finding this king also with only a staff and without an army, asked what had become of his people. 'They have fled,' was the answer, 'though no man pursued them.' 'The very same thing has befallen us,' said the Langobardi. 'Come, then, since this has evidently happened by a Divine interposition to prevent two great nations from destroying one another, let us obey the will of God by putting an end to the war.' And accordingly a truce for two years was concluded between the two kings.

554 (?) Renewed alliance between the Empire and the Langobardi. Again, perhaps at the end of this two years' truce, did the Gepid and the Langobard arm for the inevitable strife. Again, as before, both sides sought the help of Justinian, who, alarmed and angry at the conduct of the Gepidae in ferrying his Sclavonic and Hunnish enemies across the Danube, and thus laying Thrace and Moesia open to their invasions,107 first, through fear,  p131 made a solemn treaty with that nation (which was ratified by the oaths of ten Senators of Byzantium), and then in his wrath made an equally solemn treaty with the Langobardi and sent an army to their assistance. The leaders of this expedition — Justinian seems, except in the case of Belisarius and Narses, to have shrunk from entrusting one man with the supreme command of an army — were Justin and Justinian, the two sons of Germanus, and great-nephews of the Emperor,108 Aratius, the Persarmenian, who had served under Belisarius in Italy,109 Suartuas, once king of the Heruli, who had been thrust aside by the returned wanderer from Thule, and Amalafrid, son of Hermanfrid, king of the Thuringians, and great-nephew of Theodoric. This Thuringian prince had been brought in the train of Witigis from Ravenna by Belisarius, had become a noble in the Court of Justinian and an officer in his army, and his sister had been given in marriage to Audoin,110 in order to cement the alliance between the Langobardi and the Empire.

The Langobardi obtain a decisive victory over the Gepidae without the aid of Justinian. Of all this many-generalled host only Amalafrid with his comitatus reached the dominions of his brother-in‑law. The rest of the generals with their troops tarried behind at Ulpiana, to settle in Imperial fashion some theological disputes which had broken out  p132 there, probably in connection with the controversy of the Three Chapters.111 Thus it came to pass that in the great, long-delayed and terrible battle between the Langobardi and the Gepidae, the former nation fought practically almost single-handed. They did indeed conquer and destroy multitudes of their foes,112 but king Audoin, in sending tidings of the victory to Justinian, took care to remind him that he had not fulfilled his duties as an ally, and had ill requited the loyalty with which the Langobardi had sent their soldiers, in large numbers, into Italy to fight under the banners of Narses against Totila.113 And in fact in that campaign, and at the decisive battle of the Apennines, Audoin himself had been present, as we have already seen, with 2500 warriors attended by their 3000 squires.114

 p133  The Gepids are called upon to surrender Ildichis. However, notwithstanding these complaints, the alliance between Justinian and the now victorious Langobardi lasted for the present unbroken, and the Gepidae, in a depressed and broken condition, suing for peace, were admitted to a humble place in the same confederacy. One condition, however, was needed to cement the alliance, and that was the surrender of the fugitive Ildichis, the last remnant of the old stock of the Lithingi. His life was a perpetual menace to the throne of the intruder Audoin, and, moreover, he had rendered himself obnoxious to Justinian, whose court he had deserted, whose stables he had robbed of some of their most valuable inmates, and whose officers he had slain in a well-contrived night attack on a detachment of the Imperial troops in an Illyrian forest.115 By both Emperor and King, therefore, the surrender of Ildichis was demanded as to a common enemy, and the Gepidae were plainly informed that, without the fulfilment of this condition, no durable peace could be concluded with them. But when Thorisind assembled the chiefs of his people,116 and earnestly entreated their advice on the question whether he should yield to the demand of these two powerful princes, the assembly absolutely refused to entertain the proposition of surrender, declaring that it was better for the Gepidae to perish out of hand with their wives and  p134 children, than to consent to so impious an act as the betrayal of a guest and a fugitive. Thorisind, who was brought hereby into a most difficult dilemma, between fear of his victorious neighbours and fear of his own nobles, parried the difficulty for a time by making a counter demand from Audoin for the surrender of his rival claimant, Ustrigotthus, son of Elemund. The Langobard nobles were as unwilling to disgrace themselves by the abandonment of Ustrigotthus, as the Gepid nobles had been to countenance the abandonment of Ildichis, and so for the time both demands were refused and the negotiation was at an end. A community of interest, however, drew the two usurpers together, and each privately got rid of the other's rival by secret assassination in a manner so foul, that Procopius refuses to describe it.117 The whole story is a valuable illustration of the character of Teutonic royalty, the limitations which in theory restrained it, and the means which it practically possessed of rendering those limitations nugatory.

The Saga of Alboin. Amid these events Alboin, the son of Audoin by his first wife Rodelinda, was growing up to his memorable manhood. Tall of stature, and with a frame admirably knit for all martial exercises, he had also the strenuous aptitude for war of a born general.118 In the great battle with the Gepidae which has been already spoken of, while the fortune of war was still uncertain, the sons of the two kings, Alboin and  p135 Thorismund, met in single combat. Drawing his great broad-sword, the Langobard prince cut down his Gepid rival, who fell from his horse lifeless. It was the sight of the death of this their bravest champion which struck terror into the hearts of the Gepidae and gave the victory and abundance of spoil to the Langobardi. When these returned in triumph to their homes they suggested to king Audoin that the son, by whose valour so conspicuous a victory had been wrought, was surely worthy now to take a seat at his father's table as King's Guest:119 and that he who had shared the royal peril might justly share in the royal conviviality. 'Not so,' replied the tenacious king, 'lest I violate the customs of our nation. For ye know that it is not according to our manners that a king's son should dine with his father, until he has received his arms from the king of some foreign people.'120

Alboin's visit to the Gepid court. When Alboin heard these words of his father he took with him forty young men of his comitatus and rode to the court of Thorismund, his father's recent foe. Having explained the object of his visit, he was courteously received and placed at the king's table in the seat of honour on his right hand. But Thorisind, though he thus complied with the laws of barbaric courtesy and recognized Alboin's right to claim adoption at his hands, was filled with melancholy when he saw the slayer of Thorismund sitting in Thorismund's seat. In one of the pauses of the long banquet he  p136 heaved a deep sigh and his grief broke forth in words: 'That place is to me ever to be loved, but the person who now sits in it is grievous to behold.' Stirred by these words of his father, the king's surviving son began to taunt the Langobardi with clumsy sarcasms, derived from the white gaiters which they wore wrapped round the leg below the calf. 'You are like stinking white-legged mares,'121 was the insult addressed to his father's guest by the Gepid prince. One of the Langobardi hurled back the taunt: 'Go,' said he, 'to the plain of Asfeld. There you will find out plainly enough how those mares can kick, when you see your brother's bones, like those in a knacker's yard, scattered over the meadows.' At these words the Gepidae started up trembling with rage: the Langobardi clustered together for defence: all hands were at the hilts of the swords. The king, however, leaped up from the table and threw himself between the combatants, threatening terrible vengeance on the first of his subjects who should begin the fray, and declaring that a victory earned over his guests in his own palace would be abomination in the sight of God. With these words he at length allayed the storm, and Gepid and Langobard returned with smoothed brows to the wassail bowl, the guttural-sounding song, and all the joys of the interrupted banquet. Thus did Alboin receive from Thorisind the arms of the dead Thorismund, and returning to his home was  p137 welcomed as a guest at his father's table, all voices being raised in praise of Alboin's valour and the faith — it is hard not to write the knightly faith — of Thorisind.

565 (?) About ten years after these events (if we have read the chronology aright) Audoin died, and Alboin, on whom the nation's hopes were fastened, ascended the throne. Thorisind had meantime been succeeded by Cunimund,122 who was perhaps a brother of the deceased king of the Gepidae.

The Avars appear upon the scene. It was by a new political combination and by the aid of an altogether new actor on the scene, that the long duel between the two nations was terminated. In the closing years of the reign of Justinian, a fresh horde of Asiatics, apparently of Hunnish origin, but who assumed the name of Avars — a name which for some reason was already terrible — entered Europe, menaced the Empire, extorted large subsidies from the aged Emperor, and even penetrated westwards as far as Thuringia, bent on battle with the Frankish kings. These rude successors of Attila's warriors did, in fact, erect a kingdom far more enduring than his, for it was not till the close of the eighth century that the power of the Avars received its death‑bow from the hands of Pippin, son of Charles the Great. The head of this barbarous race bore the title of Chagan (Khan), and the first Chagan of the Avars was named Baian. With  p138 him Alboin made a compact of a curious kind, and one which seems to show that hatred of the Gepid had blunted the edge of the land-hunger of the barbarian.123 Alliance of Avars and Langobardi. 'Let us combine to crush out of existence those Gepidae, who now lie between your territories and mine. If we win, yours shall be all their land and half of the spoils of war. Moreover, if I and my people cross over the Alps into Italy and conquer that land, all this province of Pannonia wherein we now dwell shall be yours also.' The league was made: the combined invasion took place: Cunimund heard that the  p139 terrible Avars had burst the barrier of the Eastern Carpathians, then that the Langobardi had crossed the Danube and were assailing him from the west. Broken in spirit and in sore distress from the difficulties of his position124 he turned to fight against the older and more hated foes. 'Let us fight,' said he to his warriors, 'with the Langobardi first, and if we vanquish them we shall without doubt drive the Huns forth out of our fatherland.' Overthrow of the Gepidae. The battle was joined. Both sides put forth all their strength, and the Langobardi with such success and such fury that of all the Gepid host scarce one remained to tell the tale of his nation's overthrow.

Cunimund's skull. Alboin himself slew Cunimund in a hand-to‑hand encounter, and, like the untutored savage that he was, cut off his head and fashioned his skull into a drinking‑cup, which ever after at solemn festivals was handed to the king full of wine, and recalled to his exultant heart the memory of that day's triumph.125

Nor was this the only trophy carried from the land of the Gepidae to the palace of Alboin. His first wife, Chlotsuinda, daughter of the Frankish king Chlotochar, had died, and Rosamund, daughter of Cunimund, was selected by the conqueror to fill her place at the high-seat beside him.126 What seemed to the barbarians  p140 vast stores of wealth, taken from the Gepid dwellings, enriched the Langobardic homes. The Gepidae, on the other hand, were so depressed and enfeebled that they never thenceforward dared to choose a king of their own, but dragged out an inglorious existence either as subjects of the Langobardi, or in their own fatherland under the hard yoke of the brutal Avars.

Such was the fate of the third nation in the Gothic confederacy, which so many centuries ago, in its laggart ship, made the voyage from Scandinavia to the Livonian shore.127


The Author's Notes:

1 This is the date assigned by Dr. R. Jacobi in his 'Quellen der Langobarden­geschichte des Paulus Diaconus,' p9. Waitz in his note (Monumenta, p1) speaks with some hesitation.

2 Paulus seems to have taken the Origo for 'Rothari's own prologus' (though I do not think this is yet quite proved). The whole subject of the relation of what we may call Grimwald's 'Origo' to Rothari's 'prologus' seems to me somewhat obscure.

3 The Origo as well as the Codex Gothanus which I am about to describe are published in the volume of Scriptores Rerum Langobardorum et Italicarum in the Monum. Germ. Historica. Waitz is the editor, and may be considered to have finally settled the text. There are three MSS., the Madrid, the La Cava, and the Modena. Waitz prefers the Madrid to the Modena MS. on which some previous editors had relied.

Thayer's Note: The Origo, in the same edition of Waitz's, is onsite here.

4 Especially to the Modena MS. of it.

5 This is the criticism, the sound criticism as it seems to me, of Waitz on Dr. Friedrich Bluhme (note on p7; M. G. H. Script. Rer. Lang. et Ital.).

6 H. L. III.29.

7 H. L. IV.40.

8 H. L. IV.27.

9 Bethmann has shown (Archiv, X.350, 351) that Secundus first became an ecclesiastic about the year 565. He was therefore at least seventy years of age at his death in 612.

10 Because the Levites bore, presumably, to the descendants of Aaron the same relation which the deacons bore to the Christian priests.

11 H. L. VI.7.

12 'Among other proofs of his generosity the king presented Felix with a stick adorned with gold and silver.'

13 'Ego hoc poculum vidi in quodam die festo Ratchis principem ut illud convivis suis ostentaret manu tenentem' (H. L. II.28).

14 Cf. Waitz in his preface to the H. L. p14.

15 Cf. Dahn (Paulus Diaconus, 23).

16 Printed in the Monumenta (u. s. p13).

17 'Ipse qui elegantiae tuae studiis semper fautor extitit, legendam tibi Eutropii historiam tripudians obtuli' (Ep. Pauli ad Adelpergam).

18 'Ac primum aulo superius ab ejusdem textu historiae narrationem capiens, eamque pro loci merito extendens, quaedam etiam temporibus ejus congruentia ex divina lege interserens, eandem sacratissimae historiae consonam reddidi' (Ep. ad Adelpergam).

19 This details are taken from Paulus, 'Carmen ad Karolum regem pro fratre captivo.'

'Septimus annus adest, ex quo nova causa dolores

Multiplices generat, et mea corda quatit.

Captivus vestris ex tunc germanus in oris

Est meus, afflicto pectore nudus, egens.

Illius in patriâ conjunx miseranda per omnes

Mendicat plateas ore tremente cibos.

Quattuor hac turpi natos sustentat ab arte

Quos vix pannuciis, praevalet illa tegi.

Est mihi quae primis Christo sacrata sub annis

Excubat egregia simplicitate soror.

Haec sub sorte pari luctum sine fine retentans.

Privata est oculis jam prope flendo suis.

Quantulacumque fuit, direpta est nostra supellex,

Nec est heu miseris qui ferat ullus opem.

Conjunx est fratris rebus exclusa paternis;

Jamque sumus servis rusticitate pares.

Nobilitas periit miseris, successit egestas:

Debuimus, fateor, asperiora pati,

Sed miserere, potens rector, miserere, precamur,

Et tandem finem his, pie, pone malis.'

20 This is Dahn's very probable explanation of the lines: —

'Cedre, vale et celsos pertange cacumine nimbos,

Tu quoque cum fructu, felix cyparisse per aevum.'

21 2 Samuel xxiv.13.

22 Totones or Theodonis Villa; Diedenhofen.

23 I.5.

24 'Ego autem in Gallia Belgicâ in loco qui Totonis villa dicitur constitutus, status mei umbram metiens, decem et novem et semis pedes inveni.'

25 Dahn suggests that possibly his brother Arichis may have been imprisoned there.

26 Why ce, the name for the seventh note, was not also taken from the hymn does not clearly appear. Was Sancte written 'Sce'?

27 Strabo, book VII (p420, Ed. Oxon.)º Μέγιστον μὲν τὸ τῶν Σουηύων ἔθνος· διήκει γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ Ῥήνου μέχρι τοῦ Ἄλβιος· μέρος δέ τι αὐτῶν καὶ πέραν τοῦ Ἄλβιος νέμεται, καθάπερ καὶ Εὐμόνδοροι καὶ Λαγκόσαργοι· νῦν δὲ καὶ τελέως εἰς τὴν περαίαν οὗτοι γε ἐκπεπτώκασι φεύγοντες. 'Greatest of all is the nation of the Suevi, for it stretches from the Rhine even to the Elbe: and a certain part thereof is situated even beyond the Elbe, to wit the Eumonduri and Lancosargi (= Hermunduri and Langobardi); but now these have been expelled and forced to flee altogether to the opposite shore.' The wording of the sentence is somewhat obscure, but it seems to me pretty clear that Strabo means to assert that in his time the Hermunduri and Langobardi had been driven (perhaps by the terror of the Roman arms) from the left to the right bank of the Elbe. Herein I agree with Schmidt (p33, n. 2) and differ from Bluhme (p19).

Tacitus (Germania, xl) after describing the Semnones, their hundred pagi and their pride of place as head of the Suevic nation, continues, 'Contra Langobardos paucitas nobilitat: plurimis ac valentissimis na­tionibus cincti, non per obsequium sed proeliis et periclitando tuti sunt.'

Ptolemy (Geogr. II.11, § 17) places the Langobardi next (eastwards) after the Chauci and Angrivarii and before the Dulgumnii. Apparently these tribes dwelt chiefly between the Weser and the Elbe.

But he also in an earlier paragraph (§ 8, 9) puts the 'Suevi Langobardi' next (southwards) after the Sigambri, who, it is agreed, dwelt on the right bank of the Rhine not far from Cologne. These may possibly have been an offshoot from the main body of the Langobardi who had pushed thus far westwards; but Ptolemy, who collected his geographical facts from various sources, is not very particular to make them agree one with the other.

28 'Reudigni deinde et Aviones et Angli et Varini et Eudoses et Suardones et Nuithones fluminibus aut silvis muniuntur.' Germ. xl.

29 So we should probably correct the name which we find in Tacitus, 'in commune Nerthum, id est Terram Matrem colunt.'

30 Generally supposed to be Heligoland, or possibly Rugen.

31 The same derivation is put forward by an earlier scholar who concerned himself with the history of the Teutonic races, if he was not himself of Teutonic descent, Isidore of Seville (cir. 560‑636). He says that 'the Langobards were commonly so called from their prolix and never shaven beards' (Isidor Hispal. Origg. 9.2: quoted by Zeuss, p109).

32 In Dutch baard, in Anglo-Saxon beard or berd, in Icelandic bart.

33 By Dr. Latham (Germania of Tacitus, p139).

34 Tacitus Germ. xxxi. 'Et aliis Germanorum populis usurpatum rarâ et privatâ cujusque audientiâ, apud Chattos in consensum vertit, ut primum adoleverint, crinem barbamque summittere, nec nisi hoste caeso exuere votivum obligatumque virtuti oris habitum.' This quotation hardly proves Dr. Latham's point. Wearing the hair and beard long seems to have been the exception, not the rule with the German tribes, and even among the Chatti who most practised it, as soon as a young warrior had slain his foe, he began to shave his beard and poll his hair.

35 Dr. Leonhard Schmitz, s.v. Langobardi in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography.

36 'Fracti Langobardi gens etiam Germanâ feritate ferocior: denique, quod nunquam antea spe conceptum, nedum opere tentatum erat, ad quadringent­esimum milliarium a Rheno usque ad flumen Albim, qui Semnonum Hermundorumque fines praeterfluit, Romanus cum signis perductus exercitus' (Velleius Paterculus, II.106).

37 'Contra Langobardos paucitas nobilitat: plurimis na­tionibus cincti, non per obsequium sed proeliis et periclitando tuti sunt' (Germania, xl).

38 See vol. III.270‑271,º for a sketch of the history of Maroboduus.

39 'Vis nationum, virtus ducum in aequo: sed Maroboduum regis nomen invisum apud populares; Arminium pro libertate bellantem favor habebat' (Tacit. Annal. II.44).

40 'E regno etiam Marobodui Suevae gentes Semnones et Langobardi defecere ad Arminium (Ibid. 45). I think this is the only distinct statement that we have as to the Suevic nationality of the Langobardi.

41 'Quum a Cheruscis Langobardisque pro antiquo decore aut recenti libertate . . . certaretur' (Ibid. 46).

42 'Pulsus ac rursus Langobardorum opibus refectus, per laeta, per adversa res Cheruscas adflictabat' (Ibid. XI.17).

43 Fragment 6: p124 of the Bonn edition, 'Dexippi Eunapii, Petri Patricii, &c. Historiarum quae supersunt.'

44 Tillemont assigns the events here recorded to 170: Niebuhr (in the Bonn edition of Petrus) to 167. Von Stolzenberg Luttmersen remarks that they must have happened before 166, 'as it can be proved that it was in that year that Vindex the Praefectus Praetorio (who is here spoken of as routing the Langibardi) himself fell in battle.'

45 It is suggested by Schmidt (p7) that this notice it taken over by Petrus from Dio Cassius, who was almost a contemporary of the events recorded therein. Müller (Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, IV.186) says, 'wherever we can compare the two writers, it is plain that Petrus copied Dio Cassius.'

46 In the Origo 'insula quae dicitur Scadanan, quod interpretatur excidia,' a derivation pointing to the Gothic skathjan, to injure, the German schaden, and our own scathe.

47 'Gens parva quae Winnilis vocabatur' (Origo).

48 Ybor and Agio (Origo).

49 Paulus here introduces the story of the Seven Sleepers, whom he places in the extreme limits of Germany; also a description of the Scritobini (apparently a nation dwelling in the north of Sweden), and an account of the land of the midnight sun. He then remarks on the difference in length of our shadows in winter as we proceed further north (see above, p77). He also inserts here a long description of Scylla and Charybdis, which he places near the Channel Islands.

50 Godan, both in Paulus and the Origo.

51 This story is given with somewhat more detail in the Origo than by Paulus, who as an ecclesiastic feels it necessary to apologise for relating anything so heathenish. 'Refert hoc loco antiquitas ridiculam fabulam.' . . . 'Haec risui digna sunt et pro nihilo habenda. Victoria enim non potestati est adtributa hominum, sed de caelo potius ministratur.' He goes on however to say that it is certain that the Langobardi, who had been previously called Winnili, derived their name from the length of their beards, untouched by the razor. 'Nam juxta illorum linguam lang longam bart barbam significat' (I.9).

52 There is nothing in the Origo corresponding to this paragraph of Paulus.

53 Possibly Assipitti = Usipetes (see Tacitus, Annals, I.51).

54 We have here an obscure sentence in the Origo which has evidently perplexed Paulus almost as much as it perplexes us. The Origo says, 'Et moverunt se exinde Langobardi, et venerunt in Golaidam et postea possederunt Aldonus (? Aldones) Anthaib et Bainaib, seu et Burgundaib.' Paulus expands this is 'Egressi igitur Langobardi de Mauringa applicuerunt in Golanda ubi aliquanto tempore commorati dicuntur post haec Anthaib et Banthaib, pari modo et Vurgundaib per annos aliquos possedisse, quae nos arbitrari possumus esse vocabula pagorum seu quorumcunque locorum.' He does not attempt to interpret aldonus, which still remains a partial enigma; but as we know that aldii with the Lombards signified serfs (half-free men), the Origo probably wishes to say that the Langobardi were in a condition of dependence on some other nation when they occupied Anthaib and Bainaib.

55 In the Origo he is called Laiamicho, and he is said to have been 'ex genere Gugingus,' an apparent contradiction to the singular story of his birth given by Paulus.

56 In the Origo, Lethuc.

57 In the Origo, Aldihoc.

58 In the Origo, Godihoc.º

59 See vol. III pp171‑192º for the account of this invasion of Rugiland by Odovacar. The only point that seems to require notice is Paulus' account of the nations under Odovacar's sway: 'Adunatis igitur Odoacar gentibus quae ejus ditioni parebant, id est Turcilingis et Herolis, Rugorumque parte quos jam dudum possidebat, venit in Rugiland . . . quae Latino eloquio Rugorum patria dicitur,' &c.

60 Joannes Antiochenus, § 214 (Ap. Müller, IV.619). See vol. III p121.

61 The Geographer of Ravenna, who is believed to have written in the seventh century after Christ, says, '[Dania] cujus ad frontem Alpes [? Albes] vel Patria Albis, Maurungani certissime antiquitus dicebatur' (I.11).

62 See vol. I p40 (second edition).

63 It is perhaps a slight confirmation of this view that it brings the Langobards near to the old homes of the Goths and Burgundians, which may be the 'Golanda' and 'Burgundaib' of the Saga, but I lay no stress on this argument.

64 Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstämme, p476.

65 As a summary of the wanderings of this people given by a careful student, I quote here the account given by Dahn (Urgeschichte, I.561), though I differ slightly from his conclusion as to their latest settlement. He says that the Heruli migrated from the Baltic to the north-east of the Sea of Azof, and occupied the country extending from thence to the Caspian Sea. In the middle of the fourth century their king, Alaric, was defeated in these regions by Hermanric the Ostrogoth (Jordanes De Reb. Get. 23). They were then probably pushed up the northern bank of the Danube by the Huns, in whose train they entered Gaul at the time of Attila's invasion (I have not found the authority for this statement, which is not made, I think, by Jordanes or Sidonius). After Attila's death they freed themselves from the Hunnish yoke at the battle of the Nedao. (This is an inference from Jordanes, ibid. 50.) In 460 they pushed westwards as far as Salzburg (this we know from the life of Severinus: see vol. III p176); but their real home was much further eastwards on the Lower Danube, where however they with difficulty defended themselves from the increasing power of the Ostrogoths. They therefore retreated westwards, and at the same time many of them took service under Odovacar and the Emperor.

66 Well insisted on by Pallmann, Geschichte der Völkerwanderung, II.45.

67 Geographical accuracy is here quite unattainable. Pallmann (p48) places the Heruli between the Gran and the Theiss — that is north of Buda-Pesth — and the Langobardi north of them, in Southern Moravia. Spruner-Menke (Handatlas I) agrees with him. I would bring both nations further south, in order to get for the Langobardi a position more closely corresponding to the Feld (campi patentes) of Paulus.

68 The words of Procopius (De B. G. II.14) are ἡνίκα Ἀναστάσιος Ῥωμαίων τὴν βασιλείαν παρέλαβεν. It does not seem to me that this necessarily means 'immediately on the accession of Anastasius' (491), an interpretation which introduces some confusion into the chronology.

69 Procopius calls Rodulf ἡγεμόνα, not βασιλέα.

70 ἡνίκα δὲ ἀμφότεροι ἄγχιστά πη ἀλλήλων ἐγένοντο τὸν μὲν ὕπερθεν Λογγοβαρδῶν ἀέρα ξυνέβαινε μελαίνῃ τινὶ νεφέλῃ καὶ ἐς ἄγαν παχείᾳ καλύπτεσθαι, ὑπὲρ δὲ τοὺς Ἐρούλους αἰθρίαν ὑπερφυῶς εἶναι. Οἷς δὲ τεκμηριούμενος εἴκασεν ἄν τις ἐπὶ τῷ σφῶν πονηρῷ ἐς τὴν ξυμβολὴν Ἐρούλους ἰέναι. Οὐ γάρ τι τούτου πικροτέρου βαρβάροις τέρας εἰς μάχην καθισταμένοις οἷόν τε εἶναι. (Procop. de Bello Gotthico, II.14.) Unless there is any special force in the word βαρβάροις, one would have expected the omen to be the other way.

71 H. L. I.20.

72 Paulus calls this nation Heroli.

73 Comitatum.

74 'Dum ipse securus ad tabulam luderet.'

75 De Bello Gotthico, II.14.

76 These words of Procopius are an interesting comment on the story of Frederic the Rugian. See vol. III pp188 and 230.

77 Procopius (De Bello Gotthico, III.33) says 'other parts of [the Diocese of] Dacia, those round Singidunum (Belgrade), were given by the Emperor to the Heruli, who are now settled there, and overrun and ravage Illyria and Thrace to their hearts' content.' It is true that 'the Emperor' here means Justinian, not Anastasius.

78 'Indict. v. Paulo et Musciano coss. . . . Gens Erulorum in terras atque civitates Romanorum jussu Anastasii Caesaris introducta.' (Roncalli, II.312.)

79 καὶ μίξεις οὐχ ὁσίας τελοῦσιν, ἄλλας τε καὶ ἀνδρῶν καὶ ὄνων, καί εἰσι πονηρότατοι ἀνθρώπων ἁπάντων καὶ κακοὶ κακῶς ἀπολούμενοι. (De Bell. Gotth. II.14.)

80 καίτοι καὶ πρότερον ὄνομα μὲν αὐτοῖς ὁ βασιλεὺς εἶχεν, ἰδιώτου δὲ ὁτοοῦν οὐδέν τι σχεδὸν ἐφέρετο πλέον. Ἀλλὰ καὶ ξυγκαθῆσθαι αὐτῷ ἅπαντες καὶ ξύσσιτοι εἶναι ἠξίουν, καὶ ἀνέδην ὅστις βούλοιτο ἐς αὐτὸν ὕβριζεν. (Ibid.)

81 μέθ’ οὓς δὴ καὶ Δανῶν τὰ ἔθνη παρέδραμον, οὐ βιαζομένων σφᾶς τῶν τῇδε βαρβάρων. Jordanes is also aware of intercourse between the Danes and this Herulian colony: but he makes it of a hostile kind: 'quamvis et Dani . . . Herulos propriis sedibus expulerunt qui inter omnes Scandiae nationes nomen sibi ob nimiam proceritatem afflictant praecipuum.' (De Rebus Geticis, cap. 3.)

82 This is no doubt the Scandinavian Yule-feast. The above description cannot be meant for Iceland, which is outside the Arctic Circle.

Thayer's Note: On the contrary, Iceland remains a marginal possibility — see my note below — precisely because it is beyond the Arctic Circle: else they would not have 40 days of darkness.

83 See vol. III p266.

84 Eleventh, according to Paulus' own list. It is suggested that he does not reckon Waccho, accounting him an usurper (?).

85 Paulus (I.21) makes Waccho the son of Zucchilo, brother of Tato. The German editor considers this to be a mis­understanding of the words of the Origo: 'Et occidit Wacho filius Unichis, Tatonem regem barbanem suum cum Zuchilone.' Barbanis, or barbanus, is known, from the Lombard laws, to be equivalent to 'uncle.' (See Ducange, s.v.). Zucchilo, instead of being the father of Waccho, was apparently an ally either of Tato or his nephew. The words seem capable of either construction.

86 Both the Origo and Paulus make Ildichis (or Hildechis) son of Tato. But Procopius, a contemporary, makes 'Ildiges' son of Risiulf, 'a cousin of Waces (Waccho), whom the law would call to the throne on his death.' This precisely describes what would be the probable position of a son of the dethroned Tato. It is much more likely that the Origo and Paulus should have omitted one link in the genealogy than that Procopius should have invented it; and it is not very probable that after the long reign of Waccho his first cousin would be taking so active a part in endeavouring to subvert the throne of Audoin, as is ascribed to Hildechis. It may be well to exhibit the two genealogies separately. Note in STEMMA 2:* Salinga was the third wife of Waccho, which accounts for her son being so young at his accession, notwithstanding the long reign of his father. Note in STEMMA 2:* Salinga was the third wife of Waccho, which accounts for her son being so young at his accession, notwithstanding the long reign of his father.

87 'Eo tempore inclinavit Wacho Suavos sub regno Langobardorum.' (Origo, 4.)

88 III.23, n.º

89 See Cassiodori Variae, IX.8, 9. The chief objection to this view is that we should have expected Savienses, rather than Suavos, for 'the inhabitants of Savia.' But this word Suavi is, to my mind, one of the most perplexing riddles of the fifth and sixth centuries. For the province of Savia (first constituted by the Emperor Galerius) see the Notitia Occidentis cap. II.30, and the note by Böcking, 142*‑146*.

90 Procopius, De Bell. Gotth. II.22.

91 By Procopius (ibid. III.35).

92 Audoin is said in the 'Historia Langobardorum' to have been 'Ex genere Gausus. Mater autem ejus nomine Menia uxor fuit Pissae regis.' The only explanation I can suggest of these words — and it seems a fanciful one — is that Audoin was of Ostrogothic descent, and the son of Pitzias, Theodoric's general in the war against the Gepidae about Sirmium (A.D. 504). The name Audoin is probably the same as our own English Edwin.

93 Described by Procopius (de Bell. Gotth. III.35 and IV.27). His visit to Totila took place apparently in 549, after the war which is about to be described. He had more than 6000 men under his command, with whom he defeated Lazarus, the Imperial general in Venetia. Procopius inadvertently calls him Ildegisal in IV.27, but Ildiges in III.35. Doubtless the latter is the more correct form of the name.

94 Called Turisindus by Paulus.

95 Dahn suggests that some probability that this Ustrigotthus or Ostrogothus may have been a brother of Austrigusa (or Ostrogotha), daughter of the king of the Gepidae, who was the second wife of the Langobard, Waccho.

96 Our fullest information as to this rearrangement of power in the Transalpine territories is derived from Procopius (de Bell. Gotth. III.33).

97 Δακίας ἐκ τοῦ ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἁπάσας καταλαβόντες ἔσχον (Procop. ibid.). There can be no doubt that Procopius means by these words the later Dacia, south of the Danube.

98 ξυντάξεις.

99 Probably Noreia, now Neumarkt, in the valley of the Mur.

100 The Origo (5), followed by Paulus (II.7), makes the sojourn of the Langobardi in Pannonia extend over forty‑two years. This calculation, however, cannot possibly be reconciled with their clear statement that the migration to Pannonia took place in the reign of Audoin. There is another reading, 'twelve years,' but this is too short. If the conjectural emendation 'twenty‑two' be correct, the migration took place in 546 or 547; but this is guess-work.

101 χρόνῳ δὲ ὕστερον Γήπαιδες δὲ καὶ Λαγγοβάρδαι, ἅτε δὴ ἐν γειτόνων πη ᾠκημένοι ἀλλήλοις, διάφοροι γεγένηνται ἐς τὰ μάλιστα. πολεμησείοντές τε προθυμίᾳ τῇ πάσῃ ἐς ἀλλήλους ἑκάτεροι ὤργων τοῖς πολεμίοις διὰ μάχης ἰέναι, χρόνος τε τῇ ξυμβολῇ τἀκτὸς ὥριστο. (Procop. De B. G. III.34.)

102 De Bell Gotth. III.34.

103 Γότθοι μὲν τὴν Δακῶν χώραν ἐς φόρου ἀπαγωγὴν τὰ πρότερα εἶχον, Γήπαιδες δὲ τοῦ Ἴστρου ἐπὶ θάτερα τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ᾤκηντο ἅπαντες . . . Ἐπειδὴ τάχιστα Γήπαιδες εἶδον Γότθους μὲν ἐκ Δακίας ἀπεληλαμένους ἁπάσης, ὑμᾶς δὲ ἀσχολίᾳ τῇ πρὸς τοὺς πολεμίους ἐχομένους, πανταχόθεν τῆς γῆς ἐπιβατεῦσαι τῆς ὑμετέρας οἱ μιαροὶ τετολμήκασι. It seems quite clear from these sentences that Theodoric's kingdom, at any rate after the war of Sirmium, included the whole of the Aurelianic Dacia, south of the Danube. Perhaps sufficient prominence has not hitherto been given to this fact.

104 δίκῃ γὰρ διαλύειν τὰ διάφορα ἐν σπουδῇ ἔχομεν . . . . δίκῃ μὲν τὰ διάφορα λῦσαι, καίπερ πολλὰ προκαλουμένων ἡμῶν οὐδαμῆ ἔγνωσαν, θράσει ἀλογίστῳ ἐχόμενοι.

105 Constantian, Buzes and Aratius.

106 Perhaps in 551; but Procopius, who tells the story in the 4th book of the De Bello Gotthico (18th chapter), is quite dateless here.

107 These acts of the Gepidae are described by Procopius (IV.18 and 25). I cannot help thinking that those whom he calls Kuturguri (Kotrigur Huns) in the first passage are the same as the Sclavonians of the second. It is clear that the position of the Gepidae in Dacia, south of the Danube, was one full of danger for the Empire.

108 See vol. IV.626 and 639.

109 See vol. IV.311, 327, 376.

110 Apparently after the death of his first wife Rodelinda, the mother of Alboin. (Cp. Paulus, H. L. I.27.)

111 'For the others by command of the Emperor tarried in Illyria, at the city of Ulpiana, a sedition having broken out among the dwellers at that place, on account of the things for which the Christians quarrel among themselves, as will be said by me in my treatise on these matters' (De B. G. IV.25). The reference is apparently to some lost work of Procopius, or perhaps to one which he never succeeded in writing. See the remarks in Dahn's Prokopius von Cäsarea, pp456‑7.

112 It is no doubt this battle to which Jordanes alludes at the end of his De Regnorum Successione, when he says 'The race of the Langobardi, in alliance with the sovereigns of the Roman kingdom, and having the daughter of the sister of Theodahad joined by the Emperor in marriage to their king, fought against the Gepidae, the rivals of the Romans. The battle, which lasted for one day, spread through almost their whole camp (?), and there fell on both sides more than 6000 men.º No equal battle has been heard of in our times since the days of Attila, except that which was fought by Calluc, Magister Militum, against the same Gepidae [A.D. 539], or that of Mundo [Mundus] with the Goths, in both of which the authors of the war equally fell.'

Thayer's Note: Hodgkin's printed text does have 6000; notice that Mommsen's edition (linked) has 60,000.

113 See vol. IV.705, 729.

114 From the way in which this allusion is introduced I think we may infer that the victory of the Langobardi over the Gepidae took place after the defeat of Totila by Narses (553), though Procopius introduces it before that event.

115 The adventures of Ildichis (or Ildigisal) and his fellow-refugee Goar the Goth are told by Procopius (De B. G. IV.27).

116 καὶ ὃς τοῖς Γηπαίδων λογίμοις κοινολογησάμενος τὰ παρόντα σπουδῇ ἀνεπυνθάνετο εἰ ποιητέα οἱ τὰ πρὸς τοῖν βασιλέοιν αἰτούμενοι εἴη (De B. G. IV.27).

117 ἑκάτερος δὲ δόλῳ τὸν θατέρου ἐχθρὸν ἔκτεινεν, ὅντινα μέντοι τρόπον ἀφίημι λέγειν.

118 'Fuit autem statura procerus et ad bella peragenda toto corpore coaptatus' (Paulus, II.28); 'virum bellis aptum et per omnia strenuum' (Ibid. I.27).

119 Conviva regis, a technical expression in the German codes.

120 See an instance of this adoption in Cassiodori Variae, IV.2. Theodoric adopts the king of the Heruli as his son in arms. 'Per arma fieri posse filium, grande inter gentes constat esse praeconium; quia non est dignus adoptari, nisi qui fortissimus meretur agnosci.'

121 'Asserens eos quia a suris inferius candidis utebantur fasceolis, equabus quibus crure tenus pedes Albi sunt similes esse, dicens "Fetilae sunt equae quae similatis" ' (Paulus, I.24). 'Fetilae' has puzzled the copyists: but the German editor connects with foeteo, to stink.

122 As far as I can see, Cunimund is nowhere called son of Thorisind, nor identified with the author of the joke about the white-legged mares. Paulus only says, 'Obiit interea Turisindus rex Gepidorum, cui successit Cunimundus in regno. It seems to me unlikely that the father of Rosamund, Alboin's wife, should be a younger brother of Thorismund, who is spoken of as his contemporary.

123 We get the account of this compact chiefly from Menander (Fr. 24 and 25, ap. Müller).

'Alboin, king of the Langobardi, still nourishing his hatred to the Gepidae, and determined on their overthrow, sent ambassadors to Baian to propose an alliance. These ambassadors urged the wrongs which the Avars had suffered from the Gepidae in past times, but quite especially on their present alliance with the Romans, whose Emperor [Justin], breaking the treaties made by his uncle, was depriving the Avars of their promised subsidies. They added that the Avars and Langobardi united would be irresistible, and might enjoy the territory and wealth of the Gepidae in common. Scythia and Thrace would then lie open to them and they might carry their victorious arms as far as to Byzantium itself . . . To these representations, Baian, in order to make as good a bargain as possible, listened with an appearance of haughty indifference. At one time he said that he could not accept the proposed alliance if he would, and at another that he would not if he could. But at length, after he had practised every artifice of this kind, he consented, but only on condition that the Langobardi should at once hand over to him the tenth part of their live-stock and that, in the event of victory, the Avars should receive half of the spoils and the whole of the Gepid territory.'

The further bargain about Italy is mentioned by Paulus, and perhaps in strictness belongs to a slightly later date.

'Tunc Alboin sedes proprias, hoc est Pannoniam, amicis suis Hunnis contribuit, eo scilicet ordine ut, si quo tempore Langobardis necesse esset reverti, sua rursus arva repeterent' (H. L. II.7).

124 'Prostratus animo et utrimque in angustiis positus' (Paulus, I.27). All this looks to me more like an elderly brother than a young son of Thorisind.

125 'In eo proelio Alboin Cunimundum occidit, caputque illius sublatum, ad bibendum ex eo poculum fecit. Quod genus poculi apud eos "scala" dicitur, lingua vero Latina "patera" vocitatur.' I suppose scala is really the German 'Schädel', our 'skull,' rather than the exact equivalent of 'patera.'

126 According to a somewhat obscure notice in Theophylact (VI.10), Alboin, after his accession to the Langobardic throne, forcibly carried off the daughter of Cunimund, whom he loved, but had wooed unsuccessfully. This led to war, in which Cunimund, having received succour from Justin II, gained the victory. The story here given cannot easily be reconciled with the account given by Paulus. It is true that Theophylact (who is believed to have written in the reign of Heraclius, 610‑641) is much more nearly a contemporary than Paulus, but his story is a confused one and is put into the mouth of a Gepid criminal, who, to hide an act of theft, was weaving together lie upon lie (ὁ μὲν οὖν ἐπισυνάπτει πλάσματα πλάσματι), and who was convicted of claiming a share in battles which were fought before he was born. On the whole it seems to me that we may here prefer Lombard saga to Byzantine gossip.

127 See vol. I p47 (p33, second edition).


Thayer's Notes:

a The latitude of Theodo's Villa (which has kept its name, more or less, the modern Thionville) is 49.36° N; thus, according to this Winter-Solstice Shadow Ratio & Azimuth Table, the shadow cast by an object is 3.23 times its height. Paulus must have been 6.037 feet tall. So far, so good.

But what "foot" does he mean? The one we would expect is the official Lombard standard, the so‑called "Liutprand's foot"; but it is out of the question, since the consensus is that it was a third again as long as most of the other feet in use at that time, and today's English foot, which are all in the same close range: that would have made Paul over 2m40 tall, an extraordinary height that would surely have been noted somewhere. So the foot meant by Paul has to be not the Lombard outlier, but one of those in that main cluster. It is quite impossible to decide which, and the precise length of none of them is known anyway, so all we can say is that he was about 6 feet tall. Here as everywhere else, we can confirm the truth of the old adage: Metrology is not a science, it's a nightmare.

b Taking Procopius literally — no reason not to — 40 days of darkness in winter puts the latitude at that of Murmansk, which is pretty much on the northern coast of Fennoscandia: a well-defined geographical area comprising Scandinavia, Karelia, and the Kola peninsula. A close look at the map shows that from the deepest inlet of the White Sea to the north to the deepest inlet of the Gulf of Finland to the south, there stretches an arc of low flat marshland marked by two very large lakes, so that Fennoscandia might easily be described as an island, 1.5 million square kilometers in area, or more than seven times the area of Great Britain.

Iceland, often said to be the ancient Thule, is much smaller (only half the size of Britain) and somewhat farther south: even at its northern edge the island does not quite get 40 days of darkness in winter. Greenland is almost exactly ten times the size of Britain, and in its southern parts, gets those 40 days of darkness; in its more northerly, much more.

If there is any truth to the flight of the Heruli to Thule, I would put this place on the Arctic shore of Scandinavia: Iceland or Greenland, requiring a long sea voyage of thousands of Heruli, is most unlikely. By the shores of the ocean then a crossing in barks, I suspect the Baltic straits between Denmark and Sweden are meant, and no more seafaring than that.


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