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Book VIII
Chapter 13

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,
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Book VIII
Note E

Book VIII (continued)

Vol. VII
p364
Chapter XIV

End of the Lombard Monarchy

Sources: —

Our only sources for this chapter are the Liber Pontificalis and the Frankish Annals, which are in the main accordant with one another. No evidence unfortunately comes from the Lombard side.

Guide: —

For the first twenty-seven years of the reign of Charlemagne a very useful and impartial guide is furnished us by Bartolomeo Malfatti in the second volume of his 'Imperatori e Papi' (1876). He worked on a large scale, and his book, had it come down to the period of the contest on Investitures, would have been a most valuable contribution to European history. Unhappily the work was cut short at 795 by the premature death of the author.

At last the reign of the shifty and perfidious Desiderius was to come to an end. He had climbed to the throne by the help of a Pope whom he had deluded with vain promises. He had maintained himself thereon for sixteen years by a policy cunningly compounded of force and fraud. Now the day of reckoning was come.

Unpopularity of Desiderius with his own nation. Though we have really no Lombard history of this period — alas for the silent voice of the national historian Paulus — we have sufficient indications that the reign of Desiderius was unpopular with many of his subjects, and we may conjecture that the whole state  p365 was honeycombed by domestic treason. In November, 772, the young king Adelchis, enthroned in Brescia, signed a document by which he conveyed to the monastery of St. Saviour 'all the property and serfs1 of Augino, who has revolted and fled to Frank-land,' together with all the farms, territories and serfs of eight other proprietors whose names are mentioned, and of other their accomplices, 'which they have lost for their disloyalty and which have thus become the property of our palace.'2

Anselm, abbot of Nonantula. We hear also of the avowed disaffection of Anselm, formerly duke of Friuli, who in 749 had laid down his ducal dignity, had assumed the monk's cowl, and had founded the monastery of Nonantula, a few miles north-east of Modena.3 Banished and proscribed by Desiderius, he was now living in retirement at Monte Cassino, but was using all the power which he had acquired by his deserved reputation for holiness to shake the throne of his royal antagonist. As he was a brother of Giseltruda, Aistulf's queen, we have in Anselm's disgrace probably another indication of the ill‑will which existed between the families of the two last kings of the Lombards.

 p366  All these elements of weakness in the Lombard state were doubtless known to Charles, when, after deliberation with his Franks, probably at the Field of May, he determined to follow his father's example and invade Italy in the service of St. Peter. A levy of the nation in arms was ordered, Charles, before making war, tries diplomacy. and while it was proceeding Charles, still treading in his father's footsteps, sought by diplomacy to render the war needless. We are told that he offered Desiderius 14,000 solidi of gold, besides an [unnamed] quantity of gold and silver [vessels],4 if he would comply with the demands of Hadrian. The transaction looks suspiciously like a duplication of the similar offer of Pippin,5 but if the offer was ever made, it was this time also ineffectual. 'Neither by prayers nor by gifts did Charles avail to bend the most ferocious heart' of Desiderius.

The campaign opened. The Frankish host was mustered at Geneva, and Charles then proceeded, according to a favourite strategic plan of his, to divide his army into two portions, one of which, under the command of his uncle Bernhard, was to march by the pass of the mountain of Jupiter, now called the Greater St. Bernard, while Charles himself was to lead the other over the Mont Cenis.

Charles meets with a check. What next followed is told us in meagre and confused fashion by the annalists on one side and the Papal biographer on the other; and it is only by the help of one or two conjectures that we can combine the details into any harmonious picture. With that aid  p367 the story may be thus narrated. As before, there was no fighting on the actual summits of the passes, but Desiderius prepared to meet the invaders in the narrow gorges on the Italian side before they had got clear of the mountains. He himself advanced from Susa to meet King Charles, while his son Adelchis,6 marching from Ivrea, awaited the approach of Bernhard. When Charles descended toward the valley of the Dora he found his further progress barred not only by the Lombard army, but by walls which they had built and by warlike engines commanding the pass.7 To force his way through seemed so difficult an enterprise that he again tried the path of diplomacy. He renewed his offer of the 14,000 solidi if Desiderius would restore the conquered cities. When this offer was refused he reduced his demand. Without the actual restoration of the cities he would be satisfied with the surrender of three hostages, sons of Lombard nobles,8 as a pledge for their future restitution. This too was met with a surly negative by Desiderius, and thereupon the young Frankish king was actually about to turn back and re‑ascend the mountain. A dangerous enterprise surely with an embittered foe behind him! The question was then probably trembling in the balance whether the name of Charles the Great should ever be heard of in European history. Panic of the Lombards. But just at this crisis, on the very eve of the intended retreat, a panic seized the host of Desiderius. They  p368 left their tents, with all the stores that they contained, and fled in terror down the valley, at first urged by no man, but soon followed by Frankish soldiers, who slew numbers of them, though Desiderius and his nobles succeeded in making their escape to Pavia.

Their position probably turned by Bernhard. What was the cause of this sudden terror? Almost certainly the advance of Bernhard, who had succeeded in eluding or defeating Adelchis, and now, advancing on the flank of the army of Desiderius, threatened to cut them off from Pavia. The strategic operation planned by Charles, involving an attack by two converging hosts on an enemy in the centre of the circle, is admitted to be a very dangerous one for the assailant, but when it succeeds, the effect is crushing. It was the consciousness that they were thus utterly outmanoeuvred which drove Desiderius and his men in headlong rout down the valley.9

 p369  Siege of Pavia begun, Oct. 773. Charles now meeting no obstacle in his onward march, in the beginning of October commenced the siege of Pavia. Seeing, however, that it was likely to be a long and tedious affair he returned to Frank-land, and fetched from thence his girl-wife Hildegard, an Alamannian lady of noble birth, only thirteen years of age, whom he had married immediately after his repudiation of Desiderata. She came with her infant son Charles and with his half-brother Pippin, the son of the first of all Charles's wives, Himiltrud. A boy of some seven or eight years old, probably, was this Pippin, born apparently to high destinies, but unhappily deformed in his person. The family affection, conspicuous in the Teutonic conquerors of Rome, shows itself in this young Austrasian warrior Charles, who must have his wife and children beside him if he is to endure the weariness of the long blockade of Pavia.

That blockade occupied eventually more than eight months, but not all of that time was spent by Charles himself before the walls of the city on the Ticino. Charles takes Verona. When he learned that Adelchis, son of Desiderius and partner of his throne, had fled with Gerberga and her sons to Verona, Charles marched thither with a chosen band of Frankish warriors, and, notwithstanding the strong position of Verona, appears to have taken it without much difficulty. Gerberga and her sons, with their chief adviser Autchar, surrendered themselves  p370 at once to Charles. 773 Doubtful fate of Gerberga and her sons. All of them at this point vanish from history: a fact which may be interpreted differently according to our estimate of the character of the conqueror. To me, considering the clemency with which Charles usually treated his vanquished foes, it seems probable that all their lives were spared, though it is not unlikely that Gerberga and Autchar were recommended to embrace the monastic life, and that the sons were educated for the service of the Church.10 As for Adelchis, he escaped from Verona and began that life of wandering and exile which was his portion for the remainder of his days. Charles rioted to the upper valley of the Po, and took many cities of the Lombards without relinquishing his grasp on Pavia.11

'Commendation' of the men of Spoleto to the Pope. Meanwhile, or perhaps even before some of the events just related, important political changes had been taking place in Central Italy. When it was seen that the throne of Desiderius was tottering, the Lombards of Spoleto, who had probably never heartily accepted the sovereignty of the Tuscan upstart, proceeded  p371 to make terms for themselves with him who seemed now likely to become the most powerful of Italian princes, the Bishop of Rome. 'The leading men of Spoleto and Rieti,' says the biographer, 'ere yet Desiderius and his Lombards had arrived at the Alpine passes, fleeing for refuge to St. Peter, handed themselves over to Pope Hadrian, swore fealty to the Prince of the Apostles and the most holy Pope, and were tonsured after the manner of the Romans.'12 Their example, we are told, would have been followed by all the inhabitants of the Spoletan duchy, but they were restrained by fear of Desiderius. After his defeat and flight to Pavia, and when his Spoletan soldiers had returned home, 'immediately the whole body of inhabitants of the various cities of the duchy of Spoleto streamed together into the presence of the lovely pontiff,13 and rolling themselves at his feet earnestly besought his holy Thrice-Blessedness that he would receive them into the service of St. Peter and the Holy Roman Church, and would cause them to be tonsured after the manner of the Romans.' Pope Hadrian marched with his new subjects to St. Peter's, administered the sacrament, received their oath of fidelity for themselves and their remotest descendants, gave them the desired Roman tonsure, and 'appointed them a duke whom they themselves had chosen of their own free will, to wit the most noble Hildeprand, who  p372 had previously taken refuge with the rest [of his followers] at the Apostolic See.'14

Other cities follow the example of Spoleto. At the same time, the citizens of Fermo, Osimo and Ancona, at the southern end of the Pentapolis, and the Tuscan town of Castellum Felicitatis,15 west of the Apennines, submitted themselves in similar manner to the Pope and his successors. Well may the biographer describe with exultation the extension of the Papal territory which Hadrian had thus obtained by his own unaided efforts.16 The commendation — for such the above transaction seems to have been — of the great duchy of Spoleto and the annexation of the other cities just mentioned, gave to the dominions of St. Peter the shape and extent which they retained down to our own day. The Adriatic provinces were now joined to the Ducatus Romae, not by the slender and precarious thread of Perugia and the Via Flaminia alone: a solid block of territory covering both sides of the Apennines and including the old Roman province of Picenum now gave roundness and symmetry to  p373 dominions which reached, nominally at any rate, from Ferrara in the north to Terracina in the south, a distance in a straight line of some two hundred and twenty miles.

Charles's visit to Rome, Easter 774. The winter passed away, Easter-tide was approaching, and Charles, who had probably a wider mental horizon than Pippin, determined to visit that great metropolis of Christendom which his father had never seen. Leaving of course all the working part of his army encamped round beleaguered Pavia, he started with a brilliant train of dukes, counts, bishops and abbots, and a sufficient body-guard of soldiers, on the road through Tuscany to Rome. He marched in haste, and was within a day's journey of the City, ere Hadrian heard of his arrival. 'Falling into an ecstasy of great astonishment,' the Pope directed all the magistrates of the City to go thirty miles along the north-western road to meet the great Patrician. They met him at the place called Ad Novas, the third station on the Via Clodia, near the shores of Lake Bracciano,17 and here they presented him with a standard,18 probably such an one as St. Peter is represented as granting 'Carulo Regi' in the mosaic outside the Lateran.

At one mile from the City the Pope had ordered that illustrious visitor should be met by all the regiments of the little army of the Ducatus Romae,19  p374 together with their officers,20 and the boys who had come to Rome, probably from all the countries of the Christian West, to learn the language of the Church.21 The great crosses, which were, so to speak, the standards of the Church, were brought forth, as was the custom when an Exarch or Patrician entered Rome. All the Romans, men and boys alike, sang hymns of praise, in which Charles's Frankish soldiers joined with their deep Teutonic voices. As soon as Charles saw the crosses being borne towards him, he alighted from his horse, and in lowly pedestrian fashion, with the nobles who followed his example, accomplished the rest of the journey. Scene at St. Peter's, April 2, 774. And now the venerable basilica of St. Peter — a building utterly unlike the domed Renaissance temple of Bramante and Michel Angelo — rose before them on the Vatican hill, and there in the long atrium outside the doors of the church stood Pope Hadrian and all his clergy, who had risen at early dawn to welcome their great deliverer. At the foot of the hill King Charles knelt down, assuredly in no feigned reverence, but overcome with emotion at the sight of the long dreamed of sanctuary, and kissed each step that led up to the crowded atrium. When he reached the summit, King and Pope clasped one another in a loving embrace — no Byzantine prostration of the ecclesiastic before his sovereign, no Hildebrandine abasement of the sovereign before the ecclesiastic — and so, while Charles cordially grasped the right hand of Hadrian, they together entered 'the venerable hall of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles,' all the clergy and brethren of the monastic orders  p375 chanting the while with loud voices, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'

Appearance of the two men —. Let us pause for a moment to gaze at the figures of the two men, the highest types in their day of the old Roman and the new Teutonic civilisation, who accomplish this fateful meeting on the steps of St. Peter's basilica. Hadrian Hadrian, a Roman of the Romans, sprung of a noble stock, born almost under the shadow of the mausoleum of Augustus, bearing the name of the most artistic of Roman Emperors, 'elegant and very graceful in person,' but a man of indomitable will and of courage that had never quailed before the threats of the brutal Desiderius — this man, as worthily as Leo or as Gregory, represents the old heroic spirit of the men of Romulus, transferred yet hardly softened by the teachings of the Man of Nazareth.

and Charles. And Carl, not the majestic yet somewhat out‑worn Emperor of medieval romance, but a young and lusty warrior who has not reached the half‑way house of life.22 The very name of this grandson of Charles Martel has a Teutonic ring in it, and reminds us of the day when the unmannerly messenger burst into the second Pippin's presence as he was sitting by the solemn Plectrude and shouted out 'It is a Carl.'23 But though he is a Teuton and Austrasian to the core, a descendant of untold generations of Rhine-land warrior-chiefs, and though the Frankish lawless love of women stains many pages of his history, he never forgets that he is also the descendant of the sainted Arnulf of Metz, and that his father was crowned by the not less saintly Boniface. The welfare of the church is dear to his heart. If he be not a pattern  p376 of morality himself, he will not tolerate immorality in that Church's ministers. He has perhaps already begun to read the book which will be the delight of his middle life and old age, Augustine's great treatise 'On the City of God'; and with the help of this great Roman, the Vicar of Peter, he has visions of one day bringing that city down to dwell on the earth, such wide spaces of which are subject to his rule.

A word as to the personal appearance of the great Austrasian. He was of commanding stature, probably not less than six feet five in height.24 His nose was long, his eyes large and sparkling, his face bright and cheerful. His hair, which when Einhard drew his picture was 'beautiful in whiteness,' we may imagine to have been at this time golden in hue, descending in long curls to his shoulders. His gait, even when he was an old man, was firm and martial: how much more when he now for the first time trod the soil of Italy at the head of his Frankish warriors.

Such were the two men who on Holy Saturday, the 2nd of April, 774, met in the atrium of St. Peter's. They marched together up the long nave, followed by all the bishops, abbots and nobles of the Franks, drew nigh to the confessio25 of the Apostle, and there, prostrate before the relics of the saint, offered up their loud thanksgivings to Almighty God for the victory which had been wrought by his intercession. Prayer  p377 being ended, Charles humbly besought the pontiff for leave to worship at the various churches in Rome. It was not the Patrician, come to set in order the affairs of the City, but the pilgrim from across the Alps come for the healing of his soul, who preferred this lowly request. Then they all went down the steps into the crypt and stood by the actual (or alleged) body of the Apostle, while Pope, King, and nobles gave and received solemn oaths of mutual fidelity.

We need not follow the enthusiastic biographer through his minutely-detailed description of the ceremonies which followed this 'joyous entry' of Charles into the City of Rome. On Saturday, the numerous baptisms usual on this day of the Calendar were administered by the Pope at the Lateran basilica. On Easter Sunday, a great presentation of Roman magistrates and officers to Charles was followed by a mass at S. Maria Maggiore, and then by a banquet at the Lateran Palace. On Monday there was mass at St. Peter's, and on Tuesday at St. Paul's. But on Wednesday there was enacted, if the Papal scribe speaks truth, that great event the Donation of Charles to Hadrian, an event of such transcendent importance that the biographer must be allowed to tell it in his own words: —

The great Donation as described by Hadrian's biographer. 'Now on the fourth day of the week [April 6, 774] the aforesaid Pope, with his officers both of Church and State, had an interview with the King in the church of St. Peter, when he earnestly besought and with fatherly affection exhorted him to fulfil in every particular the promise which his father, the late King Pippin of holy memory, and Charles himself with his brother Carloman and all the Frankish nobles, had  p378 made to St. Peter and his vicar Pope Stephen II on the occasion of his journey into Frank-land: this promise being that divers cities and territories of that province of Italy should be handed over to St. Peter and his vicars for a perpetual possession. And when Charles had caused this promise which was made at Carisiacum in Frank-land to be read over to him, he and his nobles expressed their entire approval of all things therein contained. Then, of his own accord, with good and willing mind, that most excellent and truly Christian Charles, king of the Franks, ordered another promise of gift like the former one to be drawn up by his chaplain and notary, Etherius. Hereby he granted the same cities and territories to St. Peter, and promised that they should be handed over to the pontiff, according to their defined boundaries, as is shown by the contents of the same donation, to wit, from Luna with the isle of Corsica, thence to Surianum, thence to Mount Bardo, that is to Vercetum, thence to Parma, thence to Rhegium, and from thence to Mantua and Mons Silicis, together with the whole exarchate of Ravenna, as it was of old, and the provinces of the Venetiae and Istria; together with the whole duchy of Spoletium and that of Beneventum. And having made this donation and confirmed it with his own hand, the most Christian king of the Franks caused all the bishops, abbots, dukes and counts to sign it also. Then placing it first on the altar of St. Peter, and afterwards within, in his holy confessio, the king and all his nobles promised St. Peter and his vicar Pope Hadrian, under the sanction of a terrible oath, that they would maintain his right to all the territories included in that donation. Another copy  p379 thereof, by order of the most Christian king, was made by Etherius, and to keep alive the eternal memory of his own name and the Frankish kingdom, was placed by Charles's own hands upon the body of St. Peter under the gospels which it is the custom to kiss in that place. Certain other copies of the same donation made by the bureau26 of our Holy Roman Church were carried away by his Excellency.'

Extent of this donation. By this transaction on the 6th of April, 774, if the Papal biographer is to be believed, the bishop of Rome became the actual or expectant sovereign of two‑thirds of Italy.27 Actual or expectant, I say, because some part of the territory thus assigned was still in the hands of the Lombards, and yet more because the provinces of Venetia and Istria still, probably, owed allegiance to the Emperor Constantine. Impossibility of accepting it as genuine. But in fact all enquirers who have carefully considered the question admit the impossibility of reconciling this alleged donation with the facts of history. The Pope of Rome never, we may confidently assert, was (as this donation would have made him) lord of all Italy with the exception of Piedmont, Lombardy, the immediate neighbourhood of Naples, and Calabria. The explanations of the difficulty are numerous. Forgery by the biographer, interpolation by a later hand, forgery by a papal scribe, mis­understanding by the unlettered Frank, confusion between ownership of estates and lordship of territories, an early surrender by the Pope of rights which he found himself unable to maintain —  p380 all these solutions of the enigma have been suggested. For a slight and far from exhaustive discussion of the subject I must refer to a note at the end of this chapter. Only this much may be said at the present point, that the more completely the reader can banish from his mind the thought that in 774 Charles the Frank deliberately and of set purpose made Pope Hadrian sovereign of two‑thirds of Italy and of the island of Corsica, the easier will he find it to follow the events of the next quarter of a century.

Fall of Pavia, June, 774. From Rome the Frankish king soon returned to Pavia, where the long siege was drawing to a close. Disease was rife within the city, and more men fell under its ravages than by the sword of the enemy. At last on a Tuesday in the month of June28 the city surrendered, and Desiderius with his wife Ansa and a daughter whose name we know not became prisoners of the Frankish king. Fate of Desiderius. Recent events might well have embittered Charles against his Lombard father-in‑law, but he displayed his usual clemency, and sparing his life sent him, apparently accompanied by the two royal ladies, to the monastery of Corbie in Picardy,29 the same holy house to which young Adalhard  p381 had retired when he refused to connive at the repudiation of the Lombard princess Desiderata, and of which he was one day to be the venerated abbot. Here, we are told,30 the exiled king remained till the day of his death, passing his time in prayers and watchings and fastings, and many other good works. His wife, who had always been a zealous builder of churches and monasteries, doubtless shared this pious ending to that which had been in her husband's case a troubled and somewhat ignoble career.

Saga as to the fall of Pavia. The reader has now before him the historic facts, as far as they are known, concerning the siege and fall of Pavia. He may be amused by seeing the transformation which, in the course of a century, these facts had undergone in the hands of monastic rhapsodists.

'There was in the court of Desiderius,' wrote the Monk of St. Gall31 (in the book on the deeds of Charles which he dedicated to his great-grandson),32 'a chief minister of King Charles named Otker,33 who having incurred his master's displeasure sought a refuge among the Lombards. When the war had broken out and the approach of Charles was expected, Desiderius and Otker together ascended a tower which commanded a very wide view. When the baggage waggons drew near which would have not misbeseemed the expeditions of Darius or Julius, Desiderius said to Otker, 'Is Charles in this mighty army?" "Not yet," said Otker. The rank and file of soldiers collected from so many lands appeared: then the corps of guards, for ever intent on their duty: then the  p382 bishops, abbots and chaplains with their trains. At the sight of each successive company Desiderius asked, "Is not Charles with these?" and [for some unexplained reason] the appearance of the ecclesiastics filled him with more overmastering fear than all the rest, so that he longed to leave his tower and hide himself under ground from the face of so terrible an enemy. But Otker said to him, 'When you see an iron harvest bristling in the plain, and these rivers Po and Ticino which surround your walls black with the reflection of iron-clad warriors, then know that Charles is at hand." Even while he spoke a dark cloud from north and west seemed to overshadow the light of day. But then as the monarch drew nearer, the reflection from his soldiers' arms made a new daylight more terrible than night.34 Then appeared that man of iron, Charles himself, with iron helmet, gauntlets and breastplate,35 with an iron spear held erect by his left hand, for his right was ever stretched forth to his unconquered sword: the outer surfaces of his thighs, which for ease in mounting on horseback are with other men left bare, with him were encircled in rings of iron. Why speak of his greaves, for they, like those of all the rest of his army, were iron? Of iron too was his shield; and his iron-grey horse had the strength as well as the colour of that metal. Him, the great leader, all who went before, all who flowed round him on each side, all who followed him, imitated  p383 to the utmost of their power. The iron river filled all the plain, reflected the rays of the sun, struck terror into the pale watchers on the walls. "O the iron! alas for the iron!" so rose the confused murmur of the citizens. All these things I, a toothless and stammering old man, have told you at far greater length than I should have done, but then he, the truthful sentinel Otker, took them all in at a glance, and turning to Desiderius said to him, "Lo, now you have him whom you so earnestly desired to behold"; whereupon Desiderius fell fainting to the ground.'

The Monk then goes on to describe how, as there were still some among the citizens of Pavia who refused to open the gates to the Franks, Charles in order that the day might not pass over without some worthy deed, ordered his men to build a basilica in which they might render service to Almighty God outside the walls, if they could not do so within them. So said, so done. The men dispersed in all directions, some seeking stones, some lime for mortar, some timber, some paints and painters, and thus setting to work at the fourth hour of the day, before the twelfth hour thereof 'they had erected such a basilica, with walls and roofs, with ceilings and pictures all complete, that no one who looked upon it would have supposed that it could have been built in less than a twelvemonth.'

After this, that party among the citizens which was in favour of surrender prevailed, and on the fifth day of the siege, without shedding a drop of blood, Charles was master of the city.

Thus with the lapse of three generations had the  p384 story of the siege of Pavia been transformed, and the long and weary blockade of eight months' duration had become changed into a sudden capture, caused by the magic of his presence, a capture almost as marvellous and quite as unhistorical as the building in eight hours of the suburban basilica.

Causes of Charles's success. Passing from the realm of Saga, we are forced to ask ourselves the question why it was that the Lombard power went down so easily before the impact of the Franks. We ask, but our materials are so scanty that we must be contented with a most imperfect answer. We have seen that there were treachery and disunion in the Lombard camp, and that, from some disadvantage of birth or defects of character, Desiderius failed to win for himself the loyalty of the whole Lombard people. Moreover, throughout the two centuries of their history the 'centrifugal' tendency, which was the bane of so many of the new Teutonic states, was fatally manifest in the Lombard nation. Benevento and Spoleto were always bound by a very loose tie to Pavia, and at the least provocation Trient and Friuli were ready to fly off from the central power. Then there was probably the same want of cohesion between the Teutonic and the Latin elements of the population which had led to the early downfall of the Burgundian and Visigothic kingdoms. The condition of the Roman aldius may have been, probably was, far better under Desiderius than under Alboin or Authari, but still he felt himself to be a subject where his fathers had been lords, and he saw no reason why he should fight for the maintenance of Lombard supremacy. To this must be added the inextinguishable and to us inexplicable animosity of the church,  p385 to which, however orthodox their profession of faith, however lavish their gifts to convent and cathedral, the Lombards were still the same 'most unspeakable, most foul and stinking' race that they had been at their first entrance into Italy. Assuredly in this case the antipathy was one of race rather than of religion. The ecclesiastic who was perhaps the son of a Roman aldius hated the man 'who dressed his hair after the manner of the Lombards,' not now as a heretic, but as the descendant of the invaders who had reduced his fathers to slavery.

And lastly, but perhaps not of least importance, we may suggest that the influence of climate was not unimportant in weakening the fibre of Lombard manhood. The soldiers of Alboin came, fresh and hardy, from the forests of the Danube and the glens of Noricum (very different countries assured from the pleasant lands which now represent them); they came into the softer climate of a land whose thousand years of civilisation not all the ravages of the barbarians had availed wholly to obliterate. They came, they enjoyed, and probably they lost some of their ancient manhood.

Whatever the cause, it must be admitted that there is something which disappoints us in the meagrely-told tale of the downfall of the kingdom of the Lombards. Herein they differ from the Anglo-Saxons, their old neighbours, with whose history their own for so many years ran parallel. In both nations there was for long the same want of cohesion (till the Church, the enemy of Lombard unity, accomplished the unity of England); in both there was the same slackness, the same tendency to procrastination,  p386 the same absence of wide and far‑seeing statesmanship. But the old Anglo-Saxon battle-songs found a fitting close on the well-fought field of Senlac, while the course of Lombard history trickled out to an unworthy end amid the famine and fever of Pavia.


The Author's Notes:

1 'Familiae.'

2 Troya, V.715 (quoted by Abel, p138, who decides for the date 772 against 773 favoured by Troya). The names of the other traitors are Sesennus, Raidolf, Radwald, Stabilis, Coard (?), Ansahel, Gotefrid and Theodosius.

3 The date 749 is apparently given by the biographer for Anselm's retirement from the world, 751 for his foundation of the monastery of Nonantula, and 753 for the commencement of his rule over it as abbot (see Vita Anselmi in Rerum Langobardicarum Scriptores, apud M. H. G. 567 and 569. See also Abel, p186). His seven years' exile from Nonantula is mentioned, not in the Vita, but in the Catalogus Abbatum (Ibid. p571).

4 'Promittens insuper ei tribui quatuordecim millia auri solidorum, quantitatem in auro atque argento' (Vita Hadriani).

5 But is it possible that what was now in question was the return of a sum paid as the marriage-portion of Desiderata?

6 This is a conjecture.

7 'Jam dictus vero Desiderius et universa Langobardorum exercituum multitudo ad resistendum fortiter in ipsis clusis assistebant, quas fabricis et diversis maceriis curiosè munire nisi sunt' (Vita Hadriani).

8 'Longobardorum judicum filios.'

9 As previously stated, the story of the battle given above is obtained by combining two independent narratives, a dangerous but sometimes necessary process. The Papal biographer says nothing about the division of Charles's army, but mentions the walls and machines blocking the pass, the pacific overtures of the Frankish king and his impending retreat, and then describes the sudden and apparently causeless terror of Adelchis and the other Lombards, and the headlong flight of Desiderius. The narrative seems modelled on the story in 2 Kings, chap. vii, of the flight of the Syrian host from Samaria, and suggests, though it does not expressly claim, a miraculous interposition on behalf of Charles.

The Annales Laurissenses and Einhardi mention the division of the army, and state that Charles earned a bloodless victory, but say nothing about his previous discouragement. The weak point of the suggested combination is that Annales Laurissenses, after mentioning the division of the army and the arrival of both portions at the passes, go on to say that Charles 'misit scaram suam per montana.' This does not exactly suit the idea of the panic being caused by the appearance of Bernhard's division. Some difficulty has also arisen from the words 'et tunc ambo exercitus ad clusas se conjungentes,' since it was impossible for the two divisions to unite before penetrating the passes: but Simson shows quite convincingly that 'se conjungentes,' according to the usage of the annalists, means only 'arriving at the passes,' not 'joining at the passes.'

10 The statement that one of them, Syagrius, became bishop of Nice and received the honour of canonisation, appears to rest on insufficient authority. See Malfatti, Imperatori e Papi, II.86‑87, quoting 'Barralis, Chronologia Insulae Lerinensis,' p132.

11 In placing the capture of Verona at this time, I follow, though with some hesitation, the order of time indicated by the Liber Pontificalis. On the authority of a deed dated at Verona, 'regn. dns. Desideriomº et Adelchis annis regno eorum octabo decimo et quinto decimo per Ind. duodecima (774) de mense Abrile,' both Maffei (Verona Illustrata, II p505, ed. 1825) and Malfatti (Imperatori e Papi, II.87) postpone the capture of Verona till after Charles's visit to Rome. But would not the notaries go on using the regnal years of Desiderius and Adelchis until the capture of Pavia and the actual fall of the Lombard kingdom? (The deed is given by Troya, V.726.)

12 'More Romanorum tonsurati sunt.' I think we have no precise information how the Roman coiffure differed from that of the Lombards. It is made a complaint against Liutprand by the author of the life of Gregory III that 'multos nobiles de Romanis more Langobardorum totondit atque vestivit' (Lib. Pont. I.420).

13 'Ad praefatum almificum pontificem confluentes advenerunt.'

14 What became of the previous duke, Theodicius, we are not informed. The Regesto di Farfa (Nos. xcvii and c) shows that he was still reigning in Sept. 773, and that Hildeprand had succeeded in the early part of 774 (Sansi, 'I Duchi di Spoleto,' 62). The mode of dating the latter document is interesting, and confirms the statement of the Papal biographer. It is expressed as being 'temporibus ter beatissimi et coangelici domini Adriani pontificis et universalis Papae.' Probably had it been after June, 774, there would have been at least some allusion to 'Carolus Rex Langobardorum.'

15 Now Città di Castello; known in classical times as Tifernum. Pliny the Younger, whose villa was situated near this town, built in it a temple to Felicity, from which the above name was derived. The cathedral now stands on the site of the temple. It is on the left bank of the Tiber, about thirty miles from its source.

16 'Suo certamine.'

17 So much can be certainly stated as to the position of Ad Novas on the authority of the Tabula Peutingeriana and the Geographer of Ravenna. The precise identification with the ruins a mile east of Trevignano, mentioned by Duchesne (L. P. I.516), seems to me an improbable one, as that site is on the north shore of the lake, and the Via Clodia evidently went along the south of it.

18 'Bandora.'

19 'Scolas militiae.'

20 'Patroni.'

21 'Pueris qui ad didicendas (sic) literas pergebant.'

22 Charles was probably thirty‑two in 774.

23 See p49.

24 Einhard tells us that his height was equivalent to seven times the length of his foot. Evidently this information is imperfect, till we know what that length was. But eleven inches is the usual size of a man's foot and this would give six feet five inches for Charles's stature.

25 The altar raised over a martyr's tomb: originally the place where he witnessed a good confession.'

26 'Scrinium.'

27 An approximate calculation, based on the extent of the provinces of modern Italy, gives 68,000 square miles for the regions included in the donation, and 36,500 for those which were excluded.

28 It does not seem possible to fix the date more accurately than this. Annales Laurissenses (and other chronicles) say that it was 'in mense Junio.' Catalogus Regum Langobardorum, &c. says it was 'die Martis.' The Tuesdays in June, 774, would be the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th: the Dominical letter for that year being B.

29 According to the Annales Lobienses (Pertz, II.195) he was sent 'ad locum qui dicitur pausatio Sancti Lantberti martyris,' which is identified with Liège. The Annales Lobienses are a poor tenth-century authority closely connected with the diocese of Liège, which may from one point of view increase, from another diminish, their trustworthiness as to this fact.

30 Annales Sangallenses.

31 Between 883 and 887.

32 Lib. II cap. 17.

33 Otkerus: possibly meant for Autchar.

34 I paraphrase, 'Sed propiante paululum imperatore ex armorum splendore dies omni nocte tenebrosior oborta est inclusis.'

35 'Ferreâ thorace ferreum pectus humerosque Platonicos tutatus.' Probably 'Platonicos' simply means 'broad'; from some dim remembrance of the Greek πλατύς. The Athenian philosopher would have marvelled at this use of his name.


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