Synopses & Reviews
The Lombards, also known as the Longobards, were a Germanis tribe whose fabled origins lay in the barbarian realm of Scandinavia. After centuries of obscurity during the long period of Roman domination in Europe, the Lombards began a concerted migration south-eastwards, coming to prominence immediately after the fall of Rome.
Pushing across the Danube to occupy Hungary, the tribe emerged as a powerful protagonist in the former heartland of the Empire in the early sixth century AD. The Lombards subsequently invaded Italy in AD 568-9, where they successfully countered the Byzantines and established a kingdom based on the fertile north Italian plains. This endured for more than two centuries before its conquest by Charlemagne, and even after this defeat, a Lombard state continued to exist in southern Italy until the eleventh century.
In this book, the author combines many sources, archaeological and historical, to offer a fresh and vividly detailed picture of Lombard society - its people, settlements, material and spiritual culture - and its evolution from martial 'barbarian' tribe to complex urbanized state.
"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
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.
About the Author
Neil Christie was an undergraduate and postgraduate student at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and subsequently held a Scholarship at the British School at Rome, the Sir James Knott Fellowship (Newcastle) and a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford. He is currently Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology in the School of Archaeological Studies at the University of Leicester.
Table of Contents
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?