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The Lombards: The Ancient Longobards

Neil Christie

ISBN: 978-0-631-21197-6 January 1999 Wiley-Blackwell 292 Pages


This book offers a survey of the history and archaeology of the Longobards (known until recently as the Lombards), one of the many barbarian tribes who exploited the collapse of the Roman Empire.
1. Longobard Origins.

2. Longobards in Pannonia.

3. The Longobards and Italy.

4. Economy and Society.

5. Settlement and Defence in Longobard Italy.

6. Religion, Architecture and Art.

7. Benevento and beyond: Longobard Heritage?

"Evidence for the early movement of the Lombards (called Longobards by Christie) from Scandinavia to the middle Danube is primarily archaeological, inasmuch as later historical sources repeat largely unfounded muths about their origin and movement. Although this evidence does not provide a clear- cut picture of Lombard culture, it does offer a fairly clear picture of Lombard movement south-eastward in central Europe, until the historical record picks them up in the early sixth century in the former Roman province of Pannonia. There they established contact with the Byzantine Empire (which they served as mercenaries in the Gothic-Byzantine wars) and struggled with other barbarians (Gepids and Avars). The Lombards left Pannonia and descended into central Italy in 568; they succeeded in occupying most of northern and much of central Italy, creating a kingdom with its capital at Pavia. Christie (Univ. of Leicester) uses both archaeological and historical evidence to trace the Lombards from the Italian expedition to their conquest by Charlemagne in 774. The historical evidence relies heavily on the Lonbard chronicler Paul the Deacon, the Frankish Gregory of Tours, and on the Lombard law of codes. The archaeological evidence comes from the grave goods of Lombard cemeteries and from the remains of buildings (mainly ecclesiastical) in the Italian cities that became centers of Lombard administration. Extensive bibliography, numerous art plates, and a number of maps and diagrams." Choice
* First up-to-date guide to the "Lombards" in the English language.
* Scholarly - sound synthesis and original research, including up-to-date archaeological research.
* Well-written and accessible.