Lombards in Italy 590–732


Map Code: Ax00636

The year 590 marked the death of Authari, king of the Lombards, a Germanic tribe that had originated in Scandinavia, who ruled much of the Italian peninsula from 568. His wife Theodelinda, a Bavarian princess, later remarried and did much to promote Nicene Christianity within Lombardian society. This was at odds with most Germanic tribes, which tended towards Arian Christianity. Some traditionalists wanted to retain Arian customs and were opposed to the influence of Nicene Christianity, along with the use of Latin as an official language in lawmaking, which led to fighting between various nobles. Theodelinda’s Bavarian dynasty was the dominant force in the kingdom, moving in and out of power until the end of its lineage in 712. Throughout that time there were power shifts between Arian and Christian factions as well as outside clashes with powers such as the Franks and Byzantines who attempted to reclaim southern Italy in 663.

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