The Lombard Invasion

Citation preview


V ' O N II.


IilA Vul.u; .H t . I AN

*^ninfhpi' r,' I >I .' ' /'

C I V 11 >.\I.I-


IN T l i r

(f OKIIM I)I «; TANri :




INVADERS 1 7 /3 0

5 5 3 - 6 0 0





D.C.L., Oxford and D urham L itt . D., D ublin FELLOW OP U N IV ER Srry COLLEGE, LONDO"









p r v h s






offer to my readers the history of nearly


two centuries, extending from the expulsion of the Goths from Italy to the death of the Lombard King Liutprand. The period thus traversed is one for which our information is meagre and fragmentary, nor have we for any part of it such a lucid and copious narrative as was furnished for some portions of the earlier volumes by the histories of Ammianus and Pro­ copius.

The evident honesty of the national his­

torian of the Lombards, Paulus Diaconus, and his willingness to share with us the picturesque Sagas of his people, endear him to our h earts; but we are forced to see that he leaves many gaps in his history. These gaps have to be filled up, as best they may, by extracts from other even more meag;'/ chronicles



or fragments of Papal letters, and this process, which is laborious for the writer of a history, is even more tedious for his readers. I ought further to warn ‘ the general reader ’ (whom as Ivell as the trained historical student I always desire to find among my audience) that there are four chapters in the later of these two volumes, which I cannot expect him to endure with patience. They are th e fifth, tenth and fourteenth, dealing with the Lombard Laws, and the thirteenth which describes the official machinery of the Exarchate of Ravenna. Perhaps also, if he Lave not a keen appetite for theo­ logical controversy, he will do well to leave unread the last chapter of the fifth volume which describes the Istrian schism, important as that schism was in its bearing on the early history of Venice. I anticipate that most of my readers will be sur­ prised at th e amount of space given in these volumes to the history of the Franks and to Papal affairs. I consider however th at I can justify these demands on their atijention by the fact that the chief actors in the next scene will be the Frankish K ing amJ the Roman Pontiff, whose co-operation brought about the fall of the Lombard kingdom and changed the face of Italy.

I hope at no very distant date to produce

my concluding volume, describing that great revolu­ tion and bringing down the history to its appointed



term, the coronation of Charles the Great as Emperor of Rome. As with the previous volumes, I am indebted to the 11

kind assistance of ]\Ir. H. A. Grueber, of the British Museum, for the preparation of my plate of coins. He has on this occasion added to the obligation thus conferred upon me, by the preparation of a valuable note on the Lombard coinage. Without the formality of a dedication I have pleasure in connecting these two volumes with the names of two eminent Italian historians, whose advice has helped and whose friendly interest has greatly cheered me during their preparation.

They are

Professor Villari of Florence and Count Ugo Balzani of Rome. THOMAS HODGKIN. B am bubgh K eep, N okth um beelan d ,

January 26, 1895.



V I.






Authorities— Agathias . . . . jFjrankish affairs. Theudebert of Austrasia Theudebald. The Goths ask his help 553 Leuthar and Butilin, chiefs of the Alamanni, accept the Gothic invitation . . . . Siege of Cumae by Narses Siege of Lucca. Death of the Herulian, Phnlcaris Lucca and Cumae surrender Narses goes into winter quarters 554 Campaign of 554. The Alamannic brethren divide Disasters and death of Leuthar . Butilin on the Vulturnus. Battle of Capua. Death of Butilin . . . . . The Goths in Campsa . . . . The war ended . . . . . CH APTER

3-6 7-13 14 1517-20 21-24 27 29

34 35 36-45

47 48



Authorities . . . . Repair of the Cities of Italy The ‘ Pragmatic Sanction ’ 555 Narses at Rome. Consecration of Pelagius

49 49 50 50-55

15 16

Contents. A. D.


563 Eevolt of Araing and Widin. Verona and Brescia taken 565 Eevolt of Sindual the Herulian • ■ • 565 Deaths of Belisarius and Justinian . . Justin II, Emperor . . . . . Eecall of Narses. Story of Sophia and the distaff . Alleged invitation by Narses to the Lombards to invade Italy Later history of Narses. Legend about his hoards .


55 56-58 59 69-61 60-65 65-67



Authorities— Paulus Diaconus § I.

Early Notices o f the Langobardi hy Greek artd Roman Writers.

Strabo. Tacitus. Ptolemy . Nearness to the Ang l i . . Origin of name Langobardi Character of the Langobardi .

80-82 .


1 7 W ar between Arminius and Maroboduus Southward migration of the Langobardi 165 Langobardi on the Danube, routed by Vindex . Three centuries of oblivion

83 83-85 . 85

86 87

88 89

§ 2. The Saga of the Langobardi. Migration of the Winnili from Scandinavia W ar with the Vandals. The Winnili receive the name Langobardi . . . . War with the A ssip itti: further migrations Early kings. Lamissio The Langobardi in Eugiland (Bohemia and Moravia) The Langobardi in Feld Summary of results . . . . »

90 91 91-95 96

97 97 99-103

§ 3. TFar with the H&ruli.

Geogrtiphical position of the Heruli. Their manners and customs . . . . . 103—106 War between Langobardi and Heruli as described by Procopius . . . . . 106-108



PACE The same war as described by Paulus I0 8 -III Subsequent condition of the Heruli. Migration to Thule . . . . . III-II6

§ 4. TFar witli the Gepidae. Reign of Waccho : pedigree Reign of Audoin: Lombard and Gepid pedigrees Feud between Langobardi and Gepidae Embassies of both nations to Justinian Wars between Langobardi and Gepidae Alboin’s visit to the Gepid Court 565 (1) Alboin succeeds Audoin . Alliance with the Avars The Gepidae annihilated. The skull of Cunimund

118-120 121 122 193-129 129-134

134-136 137

138 139

Note A. On the early homes of the Langobardi Theory of Zeuss „ Bluhme . „ Schmidt . „ Westrum „ Von Stoltzenberg Luttmersen


Note B.


Extract from the Codex Gothanus

141 142

143 144

CH APTER IV . ALBom n r I t a l y .

Authorities . . . . 151 Ethnological relations of the Lombards . • 152-153 Their dress and appearance 154 Their political condition • 155-157 Their religion . . . . 158 They start for Italy 158 Venetia overrun. Felix, Bishop of Treviso 159 Gisulf, Alboin’s nephew, Duke of Forum Julii . i6 o - i6 i Liguria conquered 161 Three years’ siege of Pavia 163 Operations in other parts of Italy 164 Parts of Italy not conquered by the Lombards . 165-166 Famine and pestilence in Italy . 167

X ll


A. S .



Eosaraund’s vengeance. Murder of Alboin Flight and death of the murderers .

. 168-171 . 171-173

Note C. On’ the forms Langobardi and Lom­ bardi . . . . . I 74-175 Note D. Notices of Alboin and the Lombards in the ‘ Traveller’s Song' . . . 1 75-177


Table of Frankish Kings, from Chlotochar I to Dagobert I. . . . . Authorities— Menander, Gregory of Tours 572-574 Cleph, successor of Alboin H is assassination No king elected to succeed him . Titles of Duke and Count The Thirty-six Lombard Dukes and their Cities Migration of the Saxons . Borne blockaded Baduarius, son-in-law of Emperor Justin, sent t Italy . . . . 578 Tiberius II, Emperor Eome relieved. Classis taken by Duke of Spoleto Frankish history. The sons of Chlotochar I 568 First Lombard invasion of Gaul . 570 Second Lombard invasion of Gaul, Amatus de feated . . . . 571 Third Lombard invasion of Gaul, Mummolus victorious . . . . 574 Fourth Lombard invasion of Gaul (Valais)



178 179-181 181 182 182 183-185 188189 189193 193 194 196 197 199-215 215 216' 217 218

Fifth Lombard invasion of Gaul, under three Dukes, Zaban, Amo, and Itodan, defeated by 219-223 Mummolus . . . . . 223 Susa and Aosta lost to the Lombards 224-226 After-history of Mummolus Death of Emperor Tiberius II. Maurice succeeds 227 him . . . . . . Austrasian Duke Chramnichis attacks the Duke of Trient . . . . . 227




Childebert of Austrasia invades Italy The Lombards bribe him to retire

228 229


Failure of the Lombard oligarchy . . 231 Authari, sou of Cleph, chosen hing . . 232 His birth-place, character, and assumption of title Flavius . . . . 233-235 Authari’s wooing . . . . 236-238 589 Authari’s marriage to Theudelinda . . 239 Pope Pelagius II appeals to the Franks and to the Emperor for help against the Lom­ bards . . . . . 239-241 585-589 Smaragdus, Exarch . . . . 242 Career of Droctulf . . . . 242—248 Insula Comacina. Francio surrenders . . 244-246 580 Frankish affairs : marriage of Ingunthis to Hermenigild the Visigoth . . . 249—252 Table of matrimonial alliances between the Visi­ goths and Franks . . . . 251 Revolt and death of Hermenigild . . 253-255 Fortunes of Ingunthis and her child Athanagild 256 Eecared, the Visigoth, renounces Arianism . 257 587 Failure of Childebert’s second invasion of Italy . 258 Austrasian embassy to Constantinople to plead for restoration of Athanagild . . 259 588 Failure of Childebert’s third invasion of Italy . 260 5S9 Great inundations . . • • 262 Smaragdus recalled. Eomanus Exarch . . 263 Austrasian ambassadors slain at Carthage . 264-266 590 Childebert’s fourth invasion in concert with the Exarch. Army of the twenty Dukes . 267-271 Byzantine complaints of Frankish mismanage­ ment . . . . . 271-275 Embassy from Authari to Frankish kings . 275 5 Sept.590 Death of Authari . . . . 275 584

Note E. On the correspondence of 588 between the Austrasian Court and the Court of Con­ stantinople . . . . 277-278



A. D .


Authorities. Lives of Pope Gregory . . . 279-280 Theudelinda’s second husband, A gilulf . . 281-287 Pedigree of Theudelinda and the Lombard Kings of her race . . . . . 282 Theudelinda’s influence in winning the Lombards to Catholicism . . . . . 286 Pope Gregory the G reat: birth, parentage and education 287—288 Prefect of the City . . . . . 289 Retires into a monastery . . . . 289 Starts on missionary journey to England: is recalled by Pope Benedict . . . . 291 Appointed Seventh Deacon . . . . 292 Apocrisiariua of Pelagius II at Constantinople . 29.3-296 Eetuin to Rome. Abbot of St. Andrew’s . .297 590 Death of Pelagius D . Gregory chosen to succeed him 298 Pestilence at Rome: the great procession . . 298-302 Imperial assent received. Gregory Pope . . 302 His lamentations over his new dignity . . 303-307 Gregory’s Epistles . . . . . 307-308 His administration of the ‘ Patrimony of St. Peter' . 308-318, Expenditure of the Papal revenues . . . 319-3 21 "Work as Meti’opolitan of the West . . . 322-326 Conversion of England . . . . 326-328 Reconstruction of the L itu rgy: reform of Church music 328—329 Government of his household . . .329 His Roman patriotism . . . . 330 Portraits of Gregory and his Parents . . .331-332 Note F. The Letters of Pope Gregory I. consti'uction of the collection .

Ewald’s re.



Authorities . . . . Agilulf s negotiations with the Franks Rebellious dukes: Mimulf, Ulfari, Gaidulf 591 Anxieties of the Pope .

344 345 347 350-354



Increased temporal power of the Pope 354 Ai'iulf, Duke of Spoleto, and the sun’ender of Suana . . . . 355-359 Gregory provides for the defence of Naples 359 Estrangement between the Pope and Exarch 360 Eomanus . . . . May 592 Separate peace concluded between Gregory and Ariulf . . . . 363 Ariulf at Camerinum . . . . 365 Anger of the Emperor at receiving news of the 366 peace . . . . 368 593 Agilulf marches on Rome The siege of Rome averted by Gregory’s inter­ cession . . . . 371 Maurice’s edict forbidding officers to enter con vents . . . . 373 Gregory’s remonstrance . 374-376 Constantina’s petition for the head of St. Paul 377 Affair of Maximus of Salona. Gregory accused of murder . . . . 379 595 Sharp rebuke from Maurice to Gregory . 382 Gregory’s reply . . . . 383-387 CH APTER IX . THE



Authorities . . . . . 389 Contest with John the Faster, Patriarch of Con­ stantinople, about the title ‘ Universal Bishop ’ 390-400 595 Death of John the Faster. . . . 401 Matters arranged with the new Patriarcli, Cyriacus 402 The Pope’s Secretary lampooned at Ravenna 405 597 Contributions from Constantinople for the redemp­ tion of captives . . . . 407 Death of Exarch R,omanus. Friendly relations 410 with the new Exarch, Callinicus 598 Peace negotiations with the Lombards 413-415 A bitcli in the negotiations. The Dukes of Spoleto *416 and Benevento will not come in 599 Peace concluded. Gregory’s letters to Agilulf and 418-420 Theudel i nda. . . . . VOL. V. b



A. n.


421 Authorities , . 421 Importance of the peace of 599 . Peace between Lombards and Franks 423 Rebellion of three Lombard dukes : Gaidulf, Zangrulf, and Wamecaut 423 598-599 Gregory’s epistolary activity 424 Ravages of pestilence: Gregory’s sickness 426-427 428 601 The Exarch carries off Agilulf’s daughter 429 A gilu lfs revenge . . . . 602 Istria ravaged . . . . . 430 Bii-th of a son to Agilulf and Theudelinda 430 Exarch Callinicus succeeded by Smaragdus 431 603 Agilulf’s triumphs. Capture of Cremona and Mantua . . . . . 432 Peace concluded. Agilulf’s daughter restored 433 602 Affairs at Constantinople. Fall of Maurice. Phocas proclaimed Emperor 434-440 Maurice and his sons murdered . 441 603 Gregory’s letters of congratulation to Phocas and Leontia . . . . . 442-447' Gregory's letter to Theudelinda . 447 604 Gregory’s increasing sickness and death . 449 Sabinianus, his successor, cavils at his liberality . 450 Later legends . . . . . 451 Character of Gregory the Great . 452


Authorities . . . . The Three Chapters Controversy . Peculiar position of the Chui’ches of Istria S58-5YO Paulinus, Patriarch of Aquileia . 5 1 ^ 5 7 1 Probinus . . . . 57 ^~S86 Elias . . . . . 679 Council of Grade, ‘ the new AquQeia ’

454 455-457 457

458 459 459 459-461


X V ll

A. Z>.


Angry correspondence between Pelagius II and the Istrian Bishops 462-467 586-606 Sevenis, Patriarch of Aquileia 467 588^ High-handed proceedings of Exarch Smaragdus 468 589 Council of Marano . . 469 590 Letters of Pope Gregory to the Istrian Schismatics .470 591 Petition from the Schismatics to the Emperor 470 472 The Emperor proclaims a religious truce . •Callinicus Exarch: Schismatics returning to the fold . . . . 474-478 The Three Chapters at the Lombard Court. Then delinda favours the Schismatics 478 606 Two Patriarchs chosen, for Aquileia and Grado 481 Later history of the schism 482 698 The schism ended by the Synod of Pavia, con­ vened by K ing Cunincpert . 483

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS P onte D el D iavolo : Cividale (,Pokum J ulii) P late


Coins .





. .

. .

To face page xi x

M a p o p N o r t h e r n I ta ly u n d e r t h e r e ig n o f A u t h a b i C a p u a a n d C a s il in u m



Century showing


op the


Migrations .






D uchy


op the

of the

R ome .







b 2




)) ^ 37 F ifth



L ombard D ukes .



L ombards, F irst


„ G aul



81 217




P. 69, I. 24.

I have followed the example of Muratori, Waltz, and other

scholars, in calUng Secundus Bishop of T rien t; but S. Malfatti (in the ‘ Archivlo Storico per Trieste,’ ii. 290) asserts' that it has been proved by Bonelli that Secundus was Abbot, not Bishop. P. 71. In genealogy of Paulns Diaconus, the first two names should perhaps be ‘ Leupchis ’ and ‘ Lopiohis’ (as in vol. vi. p. 56), but the MSS. vary. P. 8 9 , 1. 5, for, ‘ Avieni ’ read ' Aviones.’ P. 91, 1. ^ ,for ‘ Scariuga’ read ‘ Scoringa.’ P. 178, in title of table,ybr ‘ French’ read ‘ Frankish.’ P" 282, 1. 1 2 (Pedigree of Theudelinda), fo r ‘ A ste ’ read ‘ Asti.’ P. 462.

I f the date suggested on p. 242 for the arrival of Smaragdus in Italy

be correct, the marginal (]ate here should be altered from 584 to 585.

I must

admit that I am not quite satisfied with Troya’s proposed alteration of the date of Pelagius I I ’s letter to Gregory II, and am inclined to think that the supersession of Longinus may have taken place before 585. This applies also to the statements
















T h i s plate gives illustrations of the coins of the Byzantine Emperors during the sixth and seventh centuries: and of those of the Lombard ICings and the Dukes of Beneventum during the seventh and eighth centuries. A t first the Lombards and the Dukes of Beneventum used for their currency the coins of the Byzantine Emperors, or they made such imitations of them as are scarcely to be distinguished from the original coins. It was not until the Lombard kingdom had attained its summit of importance that their kings established S, special coinage; the first king to strike money 'bearing his own name being Cunincpert. These coins are original in style and type, bearing scarcely, if any, resemblance to those of the Merovingian rulers on the one side or to the coins of the Empire on the other. They are of unusually low relief, and for the most part considerably lighter in weight. Not so was it with the coins of the Dukes of Beneventum. These follow closely the contemporary cuiTent imperial type, even to retaining on the obverse the name of the Emperor himself, Justinian II, &c. A s a distinguishing mark, however, the Dukes of Beneventum placed on the reverse either their initials or their monogi-ams. Compared w ith the actual Byzantine money, these coins are of higher relief and of full standard of weight, and they show the close relationship which existed between Southern Italy and Byzantium. H. A . G K U E B E K .

B Y Z A N T IN E EM PEROES. I. Justin II, A. D. 565-578.

Solidus. Olv. d m . i v s t i n v s p . p . a v g . Bust of Emperor facing, in armour, holding globe sur­ mounted by Victory in right hand. Eev. v i c t o r i a a v g g g . AL. Victory seated, holding spear and orb ; below, c o n o b (Con­ stantinople). Gold.


Description o f Coins on Plate.

2. Tiberius II, a . d . 578-582. Follis. Ohv. Dm . T ib c o k s x a n t . p . p , AVG. B ust of Emperor facing, in armour, holding volumen and sceptre surmounted by eagle. Rev. The numeral OO ( = 40 nummia) surmounted by cro ss; on left a n n o ; on right q ( = v), and below, c o n . e . Copper. 3. Mauricius Tiberius, a . d . 582-602. Solidus. Ohv. d . n . mAVR. T ib . p.p. AVG. B ust of Emperor facing, in armour, holding orb. Rev. v i c t o r i a a v g g . ©. Victory facing, holding cross surmounted by monogram of Christ and o r b ; below, c o n o b . Gold. 4. Foeas, a . d . 602-610. Half-FoUis. Obv. d . n . f o c a s p e r p . a v g . Bust of Emperor facing, in armour, orb in right hand. Rev. T he numeral k ( = 20 nummia) above cross; on left, ANNO ; on right, i i ; below, tes (Thessalonica). Copper. 5. Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine, a . d . 613-641 (accession of Heraclius 610 : association of his son 613). Solidus. Ohv. DO.NN. hERACLIVS ET hERA. CONST. P.P. AV. Busts facing, crowned, of the two Emperors; above, cross. Rev. VICTORIA Ai|G q.H . Cross on steps ; below, c o n o b . Gold. 6. Constans II, a . d . 641-668. Solidus. Obv. d . n . c o n s t a n t in v s p.p. AV. Bust of Emperor facing, diademed ; in right hand orb. Rev. v i c t o r i a a v g v s . Cross on ste p s ; near which s .; below, c o n o b . Gold. 7. Constantine IV , Heraclius and Tiberius, a . d . 668-669. Solidus. Ohv. DN. CON . . . TNVS p. B ust facing of Constantine, in armour and helmet, holding spear over right shoulder. Rev. VICTORIA AVG. Heraclius and Tiberius standing on either side of cross ; below, c o n o b . Gold. 8. Justinian I I , a . d . 685-695 and 70 5-711. Solidus. Obv. d n .

rvsTiNiANVS MVLTVS AV. Bust of Emperor facing, diademed ; holding cross in right hand and orb inscribed p a x . Rev. DN. ihs. chs. REX REGNAHTivm. Bust of Christ facing; right hand in benediction, left holding book of the gospels. Gold.

L O M B A E D K IN G S . 9. Flavius Cunincpert, a . d . 688-700. Solidus. Obv. d . n . c v n in c PERT. B u st of kin g to right, draped and diademed ; in front, H. Rev. scs MiHiHL, St. Michael standing to left, holding cross pomm6e and shield. Gold. 10. Aripeii, A. D. 701-712. Solidus. Obv. d . n . a r i p e r . Same as la s t; in front, h . Rev. Same as last. Gold.

Description of Coins on Plate.


H I* /Liutprand, A. D. 712-744.

Solidus. Ol»w. d . n . l v t p r a n . Same as No. 9 ; in front of head, h . Hm. Same as No. 9. Gold,. This coin shows traces of mis-striking. The piece which was struck before it not having been taken off the die j the letters are shown in intaglio on the present coin. '

DUICES OF BEN EVEN TU M . 12. Gisulf I, A.D. 689-706. Triens. Obv. d . n ivsvp . Bust facing, wearing diadem ; in right hand orb. 'Rev. v i c t v s . Cross on 1. C| (G isulf); below, c o n o b . Gold. 13. Komwald II, a . n. 706-730. Solidus. Obv. d . n . i v s h n v s a v g . Bust facing, wearing diadem ; in right hand orb. Rev. viCTOBA AVGYS. Ci’oss on steps; on left, k (Eomwald); below, coNOB. Gold. 14. Audelas, a . d . 730-732. Triens. A s No. 12, but on rev. on right of cross monogram, a v d e . Gold. 15. Gregory, a . d . 732-739. Solidus. Obv. d . n . i n v s . p . p . Bust as No. 13. Rev. VICTOR, a g v s t o . Same as No. 1 3 ; on left of cross X ; oil right Q (Gregory). Gold. u6. Godescalc, a . d . 739-742. Triens. Similar to No. 12 ; but on either side of cross on rev. C| C (Godescalc). Gold. 17. Gisulf II, A .D . 742-751. Solidus. Similar to No. 1 3 ; but on either side of cross on rev. CJ X (Gtisulf).


T he four invading nations whose history has been book v i . already related left no enduring memorial of their presence in Italy. The VisigOth, the Hun, the Vandal, the Ostrogoth failed to connect their names with even a single province or a single city of the Imperial land. What these mighty nations had failed to effect, an obscure and savage horde from Pannonia successfully accomplished. Coming last of aU across the ridges of the Alps, the Lombards found the venerable Mother of empires exhausted by all her previous conflicts, and unable to offer any longer even the passive resistance of despair. Hence it came to pass that where others bad but come m like a devourmg flood and then vanished away, the Lombard remained. Hence it has arisen that he has written his name for ever on that marvel of the munificence of nature ‘ The waveless plain of Lombardy.’

Strange indeed is the contrast between the earlier and the later fortunes of this people, between the misty marshes of the Elbe and the purple Apennines of VOL. V.


The Lombard Invasion. BOOK V I.

Italy, between the rude and lightly abandoned hut of the nomadic Langobard and the unsurpassed loveli­ ness of* Ihe towers of Verona. From the warriors ‘fiercer than even the ordinary fierceness of the Germans V what a change to the pale ‘ Master of Sentences,’ Peter the Lombard, intent on the endless distinctions which made up his system of philosophy. Nay, we may go a step further, and by a kind of spiritual ancestry connect London itself with the descendants of this strange and savage people. There is a street in London bearing the Lombard’s name, trodden daily by millions of hurrying footsteps, a street the borders of which are more precious than if it were a river with golden sands. From the solitary Elbe pastures, occasionally roamed over by some savage Langobardic herdsman, there reaches a distinct historic chain of causes and effects, which connects those desolate moorlands with the fullness and the whirl of London’s Lombard Street. r It was not however till the year 568 that the Lombards entered Italy. Between the defeat of Teias at Monte Lettere and that date, there intervened sixteen years of more or less trouble for Italy, the history of which will be told in the first two chapters of this volume. It wiU then be our duty to remount the stream of time through several centuries, in order to trace the early history of the Lombards. ‘ ‘ Fracti Langobardi, gens etiam Germana feritate forocior’ (Velleius Paterculus, ii. 106).

CH APTEE 1. T H E A L A M A N N IC B K ETH K EN . Sources:—


F or the chief events recorded in this chapter we have the BCWK v i. Ch . 1. advantag-e of a strictly contemporaiy, though not always accurate, authority, A gathias, a poetical lawyer of Constantinople. Agathias was born, probably about 536, at the little town of M yrina, on the north-west coast o f Asia M inor, ju st where the borders of M ysia and L ydia meet H is father, who was an advocate, appears to have removed to Constantinople while Agathias was still a boy. The future historian studied, law at Alexandria, but in the year 554 he returned to Constantinople, where he probably completed the usual five years’ course of a barrister. When he was just about to pass his final examina­ tion he crossed the Golden Horn to Pera, then a quiet country retreat, in order that he m ight study undisturbed. ^ H e describes, with some poetic feeling, the fresh green of the woods around him, and the thickets made musical by the songs o f goldfinches, but all these natural charms could not atone for the absence of his friend Paul the life-guardsman, to whom he was w riting, or o f his sweetheart, ‘ the slender antelope ’ Damalis. He must have been successful in his studies, for he obtained the title ' Scholasticus,’ which is practically equivalent to th at ‘ In the inscription on the statue to Agathias b y the gram­ marian Michael (see the Bonn edition, p. xxi) Myrina is called TToXir fiifuyof. Perhaps this has reference to the fact of its being situated on the frontier of two provinces, B 2

The A lam annic Brethren. !OOK VI. of barrister, and his life was passed in the courts of law, but he g iv es us to understand that his heai't was always not in law, but in literature, ‘ W ritin g history,’ says he ‘ is the greatest and noblest o f all achievements, but w ith me it has to take the place o f a mere side-pursuit and accessory o f m y life For when I would glad ly have m y'spirit clear and m y mind unruffled, in order th at I m igh t hold communion w ith th e wise of old and catch som ething o f their manner of speech, or else that I m ight inquire accurately into the precise circumstances of each event th a t I have to record, instead o f this I have to sit in the lawcourts from dawn to dark, tu rn in g over parchments which are full o f endless lawsuits.

I am worried when clients come and

beset me with their questions, but I am y e t more worried when th ey leave me alone, for then I begin to despair o f earning my d aily bread.' Upon the whole he seems to have suffered more from clients than from the absence o f clients, for he speaks o f him self as h avin g built a fine house, and the statues erected to him and to his father and brother at M yrin a were an acknowledgem ent of im portant benefits conferred b y him on his native town. H is first literary productions were amatory poems and epigrams, o f which only a few svu'vive, and w ith which we have here no concern.

I t was probably at the instigation o f his friend Paul

the life-guardsm an th at about the year 566 he conceived tha idea o f w riting a history in continuation o f the work o f Procopius, and began to collect m aterials for th at end. Some cause w ith w hich w e are not acquainted, probably his death, prevented his com pleting his work. W e have no information whatever as to the date o f his death, and can o n ly say that it must have been after 578, since he alludes to the death o f Justin I I , which occurred in th at year, and which he intended to describe in his history

553> ends

B u t the history itself, which begins w ith the events o f abruptly w ith the repulse of the K otrig u r H uns b y

Belisarius in 559 ^* E vid en tly the picture was not filled up according to the intention o f the artist. O w in g to the inevitable comparison w ith Procopius, A gathias has scarcely received the credit to which he is ju stly entitled as a historian. H e is undoubtedly too diffuse, too fond o f interH ist. iii. I. odov re Kal jSiou ndpcpyov ylyverai. ®H ist. iv. 2 2 (p. 255 ed. Bonn). ‘ gee vol. iv. 592-600,



larding his story with reflections, which are sometimes vapid BOOK VI. and commonplace: his affectation of an archaic style is often ridiculous, and we are provoked when we find some rare and half-' forgotten Homeric epithet thrust into the middle o f w’hat should be a plain narrative of a campaign in the sixth century after Christ. Thus we are not wholly indisposed to sympathize w ith Gibbon’s sarcasm, * W e must now relinquish a statesman and soldier, to attend the footsteps of a poet and rhetorician.’ B u t on the other hand there is something about the character of Agathias which tends to inspire us w ith confidence, w ith more confidence indeed than we can always give to the cynical and perhaps ^ insincere Procopius. Agathias, in the Introduction to his history, makes some remai'ks on the duty o f the historian to inquire after truth without fear or favour. These remarks, if somewhat trite, teach a lesson which the partisan-historian, whether of the sixth century or the nineteenth, would have done well to lay to h eart: and we have every reason to believe that Agathias has striven to practise his own precepts, and to convey to the mind of his reader la mate verite of the events which he records®. A t the same time it must be admitted th at his inforifaation, especially with reference to the affairs of the west of ' I use the word ‘ perhaps’ to indicate the shade of doubt which hangs over the Procopian authorship of the Anecdota. ®There is a very fair estimate of the merits and defects of Agathias in Niebuhr’s life of him prefixed to the Bonn edition. He blames, as every one must blame, his affected style, his want of grave and statesmanlike discourse, but he considers him to be perfectly free from adulation and envy, a much better man than Procopius, and even in his diction as much superior to the writers who follow him as he is inferior to his master. There is also an excellent, and on the whole favourable, estimate of the literary qualities of Agathias in v. Schubert’s Unterwerfung der Alamaunen, p. 95. V. Schubert conjectures (p. 11^), I think w ith much probability, that Agathias may have derived his full and accurate information as to the Franks, and especially as to the Austrasian monarchy, from one of K ing Sigebert’s ambassadors to Constantinople in the year 566, perhaps from Firminus, one of those ambassadors who was Count of Arverni and belonged to a distinguished Gallo-Roman family. (The student who is using Agathias in the Bonn edition of the Byzantine Historians must be careful not to trust to the marginal

The Alam annic Brethren. BOOK VI. Europe, is often very imperfect, and that, partly from want of personal knowledge o f the ground. H is accounts o f campaigns in Ita ly are sometimes confused and difficult to follow. Remnants o f the Gothic nation in Italy.

Frankish affairs.

Goths, who had fought under their last king, Teias, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, made, as the reader will remember, a compact with their conqueror Narses that they should receive certain sums of money, and march forth out of Italy to live as free men, some­ where among their barbarian kinsmen. Either similar conditions were not offered to the other Goths scattered up and down through Italy, or having been offered and accepted they had been afterwards repented of, for when th e history of Agathias commences, the curtain rises on a number of detachments of Gothic soldiers, some settled in Tuscia and Liguria, some wandering about from city to city of Venetia, all of them bent on remaining in Italy, and equally deter­ mined to abjure the service of the Emperor. W ith this intent, knowing themselves to be too weak to fight the Emperor single-handed, they decided to make one more desperate appeal to the Franks. A s the history of Italy now becomes almost inex­ tricably intertwined with that of the Franks, and will so .continue for a large part of the period embraced by this volume, it w ill be well briefly t o summarize some of the chief events in Frankish history during the forty-three years which elapsed a ft^ the death of Clevis. The founder of the Frankish monarchy, dying in 5 11, was succeeded by his four sons, who divided his The

dates, which, at any rate for the Italian part of the history (pp. 1-95), are all a year wrong, 552 being put for 553> 553 for 554, and 554 for 555-)

Frankish Affairs. u n w ie ld y a n d ill-c o m p a c te d k in g d o m


b e tw e e n t h e m ,

book vi.

The division was conducted on a most singular plan : ---- Lall kinds of outlying cities and districts being allotted to ea