The Lombards

In 568 -after the Ostrogoths- another Germanic power, the LOMBARDS, arrived in Italy. Their control soon spread from the north to Tuscany and Umbria, although much of southern and eastern Italy remained in Byzantine hands. The Lombards found heavy resistance by the popes -most notably by GREGORY I (r. 590-604)- who acted as political, military as well as ecclesiastical leaders in fact, and held a band of land stretching across the peninsula that later became known as the Papal States. By the end of the 7th century, papal resistance had induced the Lombards to consolidate their power in central and northern Italy, where they achieved political unification. Meanwhile, the unrest in the Byzantine centers in the south reflected the disturbances taking place in Byzantium itself, and popular revolts broke out in Rome, Naples, Venice, and in other regions. By 728, the Lombards -under Liutprand (r.712-44)- however, extended their influence in spite of strong papal attempts at intervention. During Liutprand's reign, many of the Lombards converted from ARIANISM to Roman Catholicism. By this time they were accepting many other elements of Roman culture, including the Latin language; their law and administration reflected both Roman and Germanic influences.
Created: November 1996
Updated: 04/07/01
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