Alboin (530s – June 28, 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 reduced ability to defend 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 June 28, 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....LESS
The Lombards were already known to the Romans from the first century A.D. They were famous for their force, brutality and barbarian origins. Even though they were relatively scarce in numbers, they were able to move from their ancient and mythological land, called, by a Byzantine historian, The land of Thule, to modern Italy in less than six centuries. In this particular stage of their history, which is called, by modern scholars, volkerwanderung (i.e. migrations), the Lombards fought with many enemies; such as Vandals, Bulgars and Gepidans and they always won. They finally arrived in Italy in April 568. They conquered most of the northern part of the Italian peninsula, but they could not take it in its entirety. They were impeded by the Byzantines. For more than a century, Lombard fought Byzantine in a long-standing war, they won most of the battles and so they reduced the power of Constantinople in Italy. They were close to conquering the Italian peninsula, but they were blocked by the Franks and by the nascent power of the Pope. Charlemagne closed the political existence of the Lombards in Italy in 774 A.D. after a battle against the last Lombard king, Desiderius. Many Lombard communities found refuge in Benevento; the last duchy remained safe from the Frankish conquest and they prospered and preserved their ancient tradition until the fall of Salerno in 1076 to the Normans. This book will focus on: 1) Origins of the Lombards. Ethnicity, mythological identities and the history of old people according to origo gentis Langobardorum (i.e. origin of Longobards people). A description of ancient traditions will also be provided, such as the change of their name from Winnili to Longobards directly by Wotan will. 2) The ancient battles (from first to sixth century A.D.) The descriptions of the military tradition of the Lombards during the first period of migration. The battles and their equipment will be described in accordance with the few written primary sources available (especially by Historia Langobardorum by Paul the Deacon) and other material available, such as archeological finds. 3) The Lombard society during the migration. A description of Lombard society through the centuries. From a nomadic people to sedentary communities. Some particular figures will be described, such as: women, warriors, priests, dukes etc 4) The arrival in Italy. The constitution of the first duchy and the reign. Byzantine response led by kuropalates Baduarius and the great battle against the Lombards. The Byzantine military defenses. Relationships between the Lombard and Byzantine peoples will also be explored. 5) The wars between the Byzantines and the Lombards in Italy (568-688 A.D.). The military expedition of Exarchus Romanus. The conquests of Autari, Agilulf, and finally the big battle of Scultenna, between the Lombard king Alboin and the Exarchus Isacius. 6) The fall of the reign. The battles against the Franks. The Principality of Benevento and the continuation of the political and military Lombard entity. 7) Lombards in Southern Italy. The great battle against Adelchi, who led the Byzantine troops and the Duke of Benevento. The war against the Arabs. The Byzantine reconquering of southern Italy. The division of power into small political identities. The arrival of the Normans. The fall of Salerno in 1076."