Alboin, King of the Lombards

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Alboin, re dei Longobardi

Birthplace: Regnum Langobardorum, Pannonia Basin
Death: June 28, 572 (32-42)
Verona, Ducato del Verona, Austria, Langobardia Maior (Throat cut by his wife, Rosamund, for turning her father's skull into a drinking cup - a lesson to us all.)
Place of Burial: Città di Verona, Provincia di Verona, Regione del Veneto, Italia
Immediate Family:

Son of Audoin, king of the Lombards and Rodelinde
Husband of Chlodosinda, Queen of the Lombards and Rosamund of the Gepids
Father of Albsuinda
Brother of ... of the Lombards and Grasulf l of Friuli

Occupation: King of the Lombards
Managed by: Brandt Joseph Gibson
Last Updated:

About Alboin, King of the Lombards

Alboin (530s – 28 June 572) was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572. He had a lasting effect on Italy and the Pannonian Basin; in the former his invasion marked the beginning of centuries of Lombard rule, and in the latter his defeat of the Gepids and his departure from Pannonia ended the dominance there of the Germanic peoples.

The period of Alboin's reign as king in Pannonia following the death of his father, Audoin, was one of confrontation and conflict between the Lombards and their main neighbors, the Gepids. The Gepids initially gained the upper hand, but in 567, thanks to his alliance with the Avars, Alboin inflicted a decisive defeat on his enemies, whose lands the Avars subsequently occupied. The increasing power of his new neighbours caused Alboin some unease however, and he therefore decided to leave Pannonia for Italy, hoping to take advantage of the Byzantine Empire's vulnerability in defending its territory in the wake of the Gothic War.

After gathering a large coalition of peoples, Alboin crossed the Julian Alps in 568, entering an almost undefended Italy. He rapidly took control of most of Venetia and Liguria. In 569, unopposed, he took northern Italy's main city, Milan. Pavia offered stiff resistance however, and was taken only after a siege lasting three years. During that time Alboin turned his attention to Tuscany, but signs of factionalism among his supporters and Alboin's diminishing control over his army increasingly began to manifest themselves.

Alboin was assassinated on 28 June 572, in a coup d'état instigated by the Byzantines. It was organized by the king's foster brother, Helmichis, with the support of Alboin's wife, Rosamund, daughter of the Gepid king whom Alboin had killed some years earlier. The coup failed in the face of opposition from a majority of the Lombards, who elected Cleph as Alboin's successor, forcing Helmichis and Rosamund to flee to Ravenna under imperial protection. Alboin's death deprived the Lombards of the only leader who could have kept the newborn Germanic entity together, the last in the line of hero-kings who had led the Lombards through their migrations from the vale of the Elbe to Italy. For many centuries following his death Alboin's heroism and his success in battle were celebrated in Saxon and Bavarian epic poetry. and Byzantine territories at Alboin's death (572)

  1. Etymology
  2. Father's rule
  3. Reign in Pannonia
  4. Preparations and departure from Pannonia
  5. Invasion of Italy
  6. Assassination
  7. Aftermath

Ravenna in Late Antiquity, By Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis (2010, Cambridge University Press):

Chapter 6: Ravenna’s Early Byzantine Period, AD 540-600

The Byzantine Reconquest and the Lombards

The Gothic War initiated a period of conflict between the Byzantines and external forces that would last for centuries. Byzantine control over plague-ravaged Italy was tenuous to begin with and an ecclesiastic conflict known as the Three Chapters Controversy hindered unification, as we will see. In this unstable situation, peoples over the borders saw Italy as an attainable prize. The Franks had long been involved in the Gothic War, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. In 553 and 554 an expedition of Franks and Alamanni devastated northern Italy and were repulsed by Narses only with difficulty. A serious revolt brok out among the Herul imperial garrisons in the Alps in 566. [14]

There was therefore no real unity in Italy when yet another group of barbarians, the Lombards, appeared at the Alpine passes in 568. [15] The Lombards (Langobardi, “long-beards”) had coalesced as a group in the Balkans in the late 5th century and moved into Pannonia after the death of Theoderic (Aug. 30, 526), where they were settled as foederati by Justinian (ruled: Aug. 1, 527 - Nov. 14, 565). Their ambitious King Alboin married Chlodosinda, daughter of the Frankish king Lothar I. Alboin annihilated another group, the Gepids, in 567, and after Chlodosinda’s death, he married the Gepid princess Rosamunda, a move that was, as Paul the Deacon says, “to his own injury, as afteward appeared.” [16] The group that Alboin led into italy was made up of people from a variety of “ethnic” backgrounds, and may have numbered anywhere from 80,000 warriors to 400,000 total people, representing 5-8 percent of the population of the areas in which they settled. [17] In three years, Alboin’s Lombard armies had captured most of Italy north of the Po river as well as the central section of Italy, largely without opposition. Justinian had died in 565, and Paul the Deacon says that the Italians had been weakened by a bout of the plague in 566. By 575 the Byzantines were left only with the following: Naples and its hinterland, Calabria; Sicily; the coast north of Genoa; Ravenna and its surrounding territories (later known as the Pentapolis after the five cities of Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia, and Ancona); Rome; and a strip of land between Rome and Ravenna along the via Flaminia. This political configuration would remain roughly the same for the next 200 years.

That any territory at all was left to the Byzantines was the result of the instability of the Lombard kingdom. In 572, Alboin was murdered by one of his followers, who was apparently in league with Alboin’s Gepid wife Rosamunda. The couple are said to have fled to Ravenna, where they gave the Lombard treasure to the exarch Longinus and were subsequently murdered/executed. [18] Alboin’s successor Cleph was also murdered in 574, and for the next ten years, the Lombards did not have a king. Individual leaders who held the title dux, and who had been placed in key cities by Alboin, consolidated their own authority and fought among themselves. Some of the dukes as well as individual Lombards allied themselves with the Byzantines, further complicating the picture. The Byzantines dug in and attempted to fight back. Agnellus cryptically reports that the Prefect Longinus about 570 built a “fence in the form of a wall” to protect Caesarea, the region between Ravenna and Classe. This may have been a stake and ditch palisade, a type of fortification known elsewhere in Italy at the time, and is assumed to have been made in response to Lombard aggression. [19] A Byzantine army under the command of Justin II’s son-in-law Baduarius was sent to Italy in 575, but it was defeated. this embolded the Lombards to attack the Byzantine capital; Faroald, Duke of Spoleto, plundered Classe around 579, and the port city was only recovered by Drocdulf, a Sueve who fought for the Byzantines. [20]

In 584, assailed by both the Franks and the Byzantines, the Lombard dukes came together and chose Cleph’s son Authari (r. 584-590) as their king. Authari achieved success against a combined Frankish-Byzantine attack in 590, and negotiated a deal by which he paid tribute to the Franks, but he died that same year. In 589 he had married Theodelinda, daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, who was one of the remarkable women of her day: a correspondent of Pope Gregory I, upon her husband’s death she was granted the right to choose the next king, and she ruled alongside her second husband Agilulf until his death in 616, after which she ruled with her son Adaloald until his death in 626. Agilulf himself, freed of the Frankish threat, went on the offensive against the Byzantines, threatening Rome from 593-594, and counterthreatened the prefect Romanus about 595, with short-term truces negotiated several times before his death. [21] The situation thus remained precarious at the turn of the seventh century.

  • 14. LP Vita Johannis III 2 and other chronicles; see Everett, 2003, p. 66
  • 15. An excellent summary of Lombard history can be found in Everett, 2003, pp 54-79.
  • 16. HL I. 27.
  • 17. HL II.26; the evidence is summarized by Everett, 2003, p. 68.
  • 18. This is told in HL II.28-30, and then by Agnellus, based on Paul the Deacon's account in LPR ch. 96.
  • 19. LPR ch. 95 "palocopia in modum muri propter metum gentis"; see Deliyannis, ed., 2006, p. 369 n. 81, on the term palocopia; and Righini, 1991, p. 205.
  • 20. HL, III.13 and III.19.
  • 21. Truces in 598 (HL IV.8), 605 (IV.28), 607 (IV.32), several more times before 619 (IV.40). See esp. Markus, 1997, pp. 99-100.

From the Medlands project posted by the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy:,%20Kings%20to%20962.htm#Alboi...

ALBOIN, son of AUDOIN King of the Lombards & his first wife --- (-murdered Verona 28 Jun 572).

  • The Origo Gentis Langobardorum names "Albuin" as son of "Auduin"[353]. Paulus Diaconus names "Alboin, filius Audoin" when recording his succession[354]. He succeeded in 560 as ALBOIN King of the Lombards in Pannonia.
  • Paulus Diaconus reports that King Alboin defeated and killed in battle Cunimund King of the Gepids in 567, allegedly making his skull into a drinking cup[355]. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum records that Albuin fought and killed in battle "rege Gippidorum…Cunimund", weakening the power of the Gepids[356].
  • Narses, the Byzantine administrator in Italy, invited Alboin to Italy in revenge for his forced retirement by Empress Sophia, the invasion dated to 568. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum records that Albuin led his people to Italy after being invited by Narses[357]. Gregory of Tours records that Alboin King of the Lombards had abandoned his own country and emigrated to Italy "with all his Lombard people"[358].
  • He captured Milan in 569, Tuscany in 570 and Pavia in 572.
  • He was crowned ALBOIN King of the Lombards in Italy at Milan in [570], and made his capital at Verona[359]. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum records that Albuin ruled in Italy for three years but was killed in Verona by "Hilmichis et Rosemunda uxore sua per consilium Peritheo"[360].
  • The Iohannis Abbatis Biclarensis Chronica records that "Aluinus Lombardorum rex" was killed in 573 "factione coniugis suæ" by his own men at night[361]. The Marii Episcopi Aventicensis Chronica records that "Albuenus rex Langobardorum" was killed in 572 "a suis, id est, Hilmægis" at Verona with the connivance of his wife[362].
  • m firstly ([556/60]%29 CHLODESINDIS, daughter of CHROTHACHAR I [Clotaire] King of the Franks & his third wife Ingund (-before [567]).
    • Gregory of Tours names Clothsind as the daughter of King Clotaire & his wife Ingund, specifying that she married Alboin King of the Lombards[363]. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum names "Flutsuinda…filia Flothario regis Francorum" as the first wife of Albuin[364]. The Historia Langobardorum names "Ludusenda…filia Flothari regis" as the first wife of Alboin[365]. Paulus Diaconus names "Chlotharius rex Francorum, Chlotsuindam ei suam filiam" as wife of Alboin[366].
  • m secondly ([567]) ROSAMUNDIS, daughter of CUNIMUNDUS King of the Gepids.
    • The Origo Gentis Langobardorum records the marriage of Albuin to "Rosemunda filia Cunimundi" after killing her father in battle[367]. Theophylactus records that "Longobardicæ gentis principem…Alboinum" married "adolescentulam Conimundi Gepidarum regis filiam"[368]. Paulus Diaconus names "filiam [Cunimundum] Rosimundam" as second wife of Alboin, also reporting that he married her after killing her father in battle[369]. Gregory of Tours records that Alboin King of the Lombards married his second wife soon after he had killed her father, that "she loathed her husband as a result" and poisoned him "for she had become enamoured of one of his servants" with whom she fled before they were both caught and put to death[370].
    • According to Paulus Diaconus, she incited the murder of her husband by his own men[371]. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum records that Albuin was killed in Verona by "Hilmichis et Rosemunda uxore sua per consilium Peritheo", before she was poisoned herself with Hilmichis by "Longinus præfectus"[372].

King Alboin & his first wife had one child:

  • 1. ALBSUINDA (-after 572).
    • The Origo Gentis Langobardorum names "Albsuinda" as the daughter of Albuin & his first wife[373]. Paulus Diaconus names "Alpsuindam" as the daughter of Alboin & his first wife[374]. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum records that, after the murder of Rosamundis, "Longinus præfectus" sent "Albsuinda filia Albuin regis" to Constantinople[375].


  • [353] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 4.
  • [354] Pauli Historia Langobardorum I.23, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 61.
  • [355] Pauli Historia Langobardorum I.27, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 69.
  • [356] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 4.
  • [357] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 4.
  • [358] Gregory of Tours IV.41, pp. 235-6.
  • [359] Christie (1998), p. 145.
  • [360] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 5.
  • [361] Iohannis Abbatis Biclarensis Chronica [573], MGH Auct. ant. XI, p. 213.
  • [362] Marii Episcopi Aventicensis Chronica 573, MGH Auct. ant. XI, p. 238.
  • [363] Gregory of Tours IV.3, pp. 197-8.
  • [364] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 4.
  • [365] Historia Langobardorum Codicis Gothani 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 9.
  • [366] Pauli Historia Langobardorum I.27, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 68.
  • [367] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 4.
  • [368] Bekker, I. (ed.) (1834) Theophylacti Simocattæ Historiarum, Corpus Scriptorum Historiæ Byzantinæ (Bonn) VI, 10, p. 261.
  • [369] Pauli Historia Langobardorum I.27, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 68.
  • [370] Gregory of Tours IV.41, p. 236.
  • [371] Pauli Historia Langobardorum II.28, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 88.
  • [372] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 5.
  • [373] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 4.
  • [374] Pauli Historia Langobardorum I.27, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 68.
  • [375] Origo Gentis Langobardorum 5, MGH SS rer Lang I, p. 5.

Om Alboin, King of the Lombards (Norsk)

Alboin konge over langobardene - c. 560/565 - 572

Alboin, f. ca. 530, d. 28. juni 572, var konge over langobardene fra ca. 560 til sin død i 572. Han var sønn av Audoin som regjerte over langobardene fra 546 til ca. 560-565.

Langobardene var et germansk folkeslag som var på vandring sørover og østover i Europa tidlig i folkevandringstiden. De nevnes allerede hos den romerske historikeren Tacitus i hans bok Germania fra 98 e. Kr. og de ble av ham betegnet som dyktige krigere. [1] Under Alboins ledelse avsluttet langobardene sin migrasjon fra Nord-Tyskland (eller muligens helt fra Skandinavia) ved å slå seg ned i den nordlige delen av Italia som Alboin erobret mellom 569 og 572. Invasjonen av den pannoniske slette i Italia ble av varig karakter og markerte begynnelsen på langobardenes herredømme i området. Etter å ha samlet en koalisjon av flere folkeslag krysset Alboin de juliske Alpene i 568, inn i et nesten forsvarsløst Italia. Han tok raskt kontroll over det meste av Venetia og Liguria. I 569 tok han kontrollen i Nord-Italia største by, Milano, uten å møte motstand. I Pavia møtte han imidlertid sterk motstand og byen ble tatt etter en beleiring som varte i tre år.

Alboin ble myrdet den 28. juni 572 i et statskupp igangsatt av bysantinerne. Det ble organisert av kongens fosterbror, Helmichis, med støtte fra Alboins kone Rosamund som var datter av gepidenes konge Kunimund som Alboin hadde drept noen år tidligere. Kuppet mislyktes da et flertall av langobardene valgte Cleph som Alboins etterfølger og tvang Helmichis og Rosamund til å flykte til Ravenna hvor de fikk beskyttelse av den bysantinske keiseren. Alboin død fratok langobardene den eneste lederen som kunne ha holdt den ferske germanske enheten sammen. Han var den siste i rekken av heltekonger som hadde ført langobardene gjennom sine vandringer fra munningen av Elben til Italia. I flere århundrer etter hans død ble Alboins heltemot og suksess i kamp feiret i Sachsen og i bayerske episke dikt.

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Alboin, King of the Lombards's Timeline

Regnum Langobardorum, Pannonia Basin
June 28, 572
Age 42
Verona, Ducato del Verona, Austria, Langobardia Maior
Under the palace steps, near Piazza del Erbe, Città di Verona, Provincia di Verona, Regione del Veneto, Italia (Italy)