About Cleph II, King of the Lombards
Clefi (also Clef, Clepho, or Kleph) was king of the Lombards from 572 or 573 to 574 or 575. He belonged to the Langobard Beleos dynasty. He was a duke among the Lombards when he elected to the position of king in 573 following the murder of Alboin, to whom he was not related by blood. His ascent to the throne marked the interruption of the Gausi dynasty because Clefi belonged to the lineage of Beleos.
He was a violent and terrifying figure to the Romans and Byzantines struggling to maintain control of the peninsula. He extended Lombard dominion over all of northern Italy, finishing the conquest of Tuscany and bringing Lombard authority to the gates of Ravenna.
His reign was short, just 18 months: in 574 was beheaded with a sword by a bodyguard, a slave whom he had mistreated, with his wife Masane, as reported by Paul the Deacon in his Historia Langobardorum (Book II, chapter 31). His death was followed by a ten year interregnum, known as the "Rule of the Dukes" because the territorial dukes were supreme. His son, Authari, eventually took the throne in 585.