The Northern Way

ORIGO GENTIUM LANGOBARDUM
The Origin of the Lombard Nation
Written c. 650 AD

IN THE NAME OF GOD, HERE BEGINS THE ORIGIN OF THE LOMBARD NATION

I. There is an island that is called Scadanan, which is interpreted “destruction,” in the regions of the north, where many people dwell. Among these there was a small people that was called the Winniles. And with them was a woman, Gambara by name, and she had two sons. Ybor was the name of one and Agio the name of the other. They, with their mother, Gambara by name, held the sovereignty over the Winniles. Then the leaders of the Wandals, that is, Ambri and Assi, moved with their army, and said to the Winniles: ‘Either pay us tribute or prepare yourselves for battle and fight with us.’ Then answered Ybor and Agio, with their mother Gambara: ‘It is better for us to make ready the battle than to pay tributes to the Wandals.’ Then Ambri and Assi, that is, the leaders of the Wandals, asked Godan that he should give them the victory over the Winniles. Godan answered, saying: ‘Whom I shall first see when at sunrise, to them will I give the victory.’ At that time Gambara with her two sons, that is, Ybor and Agio, who were chiefs over the Winniles, besought Frea, the wife of Godan, to be propitious to the Winniles. Then Frea gave counsel that at sunrise the Winniles should come, and that their women, with their hair let down around the face in the likeness of a beard, should also come with their husbands. Then when it became bright, while the sun was rising, Frea, the wife of Godan, turned around the bed where her husband was lying and put his face towards the east and awakened him. And he, looking at then, saw the Winniles and their women having their hair let down around the face. And he says, ‘Who are these Long-beards?’ And Frea said to Godan, ‘As you have given them a name, give them also the victory.’ And he gave them the victory, so that they should defend themselves according to his counsel and obtain the victory. >From that time the Winniles were called Langobards.

II. And the Langobards moved thence and came to Golaida and afterwards they occupied the aldionates of Anthaib and Bainaib and also Burgundaib. And it is said that they made for themselves a king, Agilmund by name, the son of Agio, of the race of Gugingus. And after him reigned Laimaichio of the race of Gugingus. And after him reigned Lethuc and it is said that he reigned about forty years. And after him reigned Aldihoc the son of Lethuc. And after him reigned Godehoc.

III. At that time king Audochari went forth from Ravenna with the army of the Alani and came into Rugiland and fought with the Rugians and killed Theuvane king of the Rugians, and led many captives with him into Italy. Then the Langobards departed from their own territories and dwelt some years in Rugiland.

IV. Claffo, the son of Godehoc, reigned after him. And after him reigned Tato the son of Claffo. The Langobards settled three years in the fields of Feld. Tato fought with Rodolf king of the Heruli and killed him and carried off his banner and helmet. After him the Heruli had no kingly office. And Wacho the son of Unichis killed king Tato his paternal uncle together with Zuchilo. And Wacho fought, and Ildichis the son of Tato fought, and Ildichis fled to the Gippidi where he died. And to avenge his wrong the Gypidis made war with the Langobards. At this time Wacho bent the Suabians under the dominions of the Langobards. Wacho had three wives : (first) Raicunda, daughter of Fisud king of the Turingi. After her he took as his wife Austrigusa a girl of the Gippidi. And Wacho had from Austrigusa two daughters; the name of one was Wisigarda whom he gave in marriage to Theudipert king of the Franks, and the name of the second was Walderada whom Scusuald king of the Franks had as his wife, but having her in hatred he transferred her to Garipald for a wife. He had as his third wife the daughter of the king of the Heruli, Silinga by name. From her he had a son, Waltari by name. Wacho died and his son Waltari reigned seven years without posterity. They were all Lethinges.

V. And after Waltari, reigned Auduin. He led the Langobards into Pannonia. And there reigned after him Albuin, his son, whose mother is Rodelanda. At that time Albuin fought with the king of the Gippidi, Cunimund by name, and Cunimund died in that battle and the Gippidi were subjugated. Albuin took as his wife Cunimund’s daughter Rosemund, whom he had captured as booty, since his wife Flutsuinda, who was the daughter of Folthar, king of the Franks, had already died. From her he had a daughter by name Albsuinda. And the Langobards dwelt forty-two years in Pannonia. This Albuin led the into Italy the Langobards who were invited by Narses of the secretaries. And Albuin, king of the Langobards, moved out of Pannonia in the month of April after Easter in the first indiction. In the second indiction, indeed, they began to plunder in Italy, but in the third indiction he became master of Italy. Albuin reigned in Italy three years, and was killed in Verona in the palace by Rosemund his wife and Hilmichis upon the advice of Peritheo. Hilmichis wished to be king and could not because the Langobards wanted to slay him. Then Rosemund sent word to the prefect Longinus that he should receive her in Ravenna. When Longinus presently heard this he rejoiced; he sent a ship of the public service and they brought Rosemund and Hilmichis and Albsuinda, king Albuin’s daughter, and conducted all the treasures of the Langobards with them to Ravenna. Then the prefect Longinus began to persuade Rosemund to kill Hilmichis and become the wife of Longinus. Having given ear to his counsel, she mixed poison and, after the bath, gave it to him (Hilmichis) to drink in a goblet. But when Hilmichis had drunk, he knew that he had drunk something pernicious. He commanded that Rosemund herself should drink although unwilling, and they both died. The prefect Longinus took the treasure of the Langobards and commanded Albsuinda, the daughter of king Albuin, to be put in a ship, and sent over to Constantinople to the emperor.

VI. The rest of the Langobards set over themselves a king named Cleph, of the stock of Beleos, and Cleph reigned two years and died. And the dukes of the Langobards administered justice for twelve years and after these things they set up over themselves a king named Autari, the son of Cleph. And Autari took as his wife Theudelenda, a daughter of Garipald and of Walderada from Bavaria. And with Theudelenda came her brother Gundoald, and king Autari appointed him duke in the city of Asta. And Autari reigned seven years. And Acquo, the Thuringian duke, departed from Turin and united himself with queen Theudelenda and became king of the Langobards. And he killed his rebel dukes Zangrolf of Verona, Mimulf of the island of St Julian and Gaidulf of Bergamo, and others who were rebels. And Acquo begot of Theudelenda a daughter, Gunperga by name. And Acquo reigned six years, and after him Aroal reigned twelve years. And after him reigned Rothari, of the race of Arodus, and he destroyed the city and fortresses of the Romans which were around the coasts from the neighbourhood of Luna up to the land of the Franks and in the east up to Ubitergitum (Oderzo). And he fought near the river Scultenna, and there fell on the side of the Romans the number of eight thousand.

VII. And Roathari reigned seventeen years. And after him reigned Aripert nine years. And after him reigned Grimoald. At this time the emperor Constantine departed from Constantinople and came into the territories of Campania and turned back to Sicily and was killed by his own people. And Grimoald reigned nine years, and after him Berthari reigned.

Latin Text

IN NOMINE DOMINI INCIPIT ORIGO GENTIS LANGOBARDORVM

I. Est insula qui dicitur scadanan, quod interpretatur excidia, in partibus aquilonis, ubi multae gentes habitant; inter quos erat gens parva quae winnilis vocabatur. Et erat cum eis mulier nomine gambara, habebatque duos filios, nomen uni ybor et nomen alteri agio; ipsi cum matre sua nomine gambara principatum tenebant super winniles. Moverunt se ergo duces wandalorum, id est ambri et assi, cum exercitu suo, et dicebant ad winniles: " Aut solvite nobis tributa, aut praeparate vos ad pugnam et pugnate nobiscum". Tunc responderunt ybor et agio cum matre sua gambara: "Melius est nobis pugnam praeparare, quam wandalis tributa persolvere". Tunc ambri et assi, hoc est duces wandalorum, rogaverunt godan, ut daret eis super winniles victoriam. Respondit godan dicens: "Quos sol surgente antea videro, ipsis dabo victoriam". Eo tempore gambara cum duobus filiis suis, id est ybor et agio, qui principes erant super winniles, rogaverunt fream, uxorem godam, ut ad winniles esset propitia. Tunc frea dedit consilium, ut sol surgente venirent winniles et mulieres eorum crines solutae circa faciem in similitudinem barbae et cum viris suis venirent. Tunc luciscente sol dum surgeret, giravit frea, uxor godan, lectum ubi recumbebat vir eius, et fecit faciem eius contra orientem, et excitavit eum. Et ille aspiciens vidit winniles et mulieres ipsorum habentes crines solutas circa faciem; et ait: "Qui sunt isti longibarbae" ? Et dixit frea ad godan: "Sicut dedisti nomen, da illis et victoriam". Et dedit eis victoriam, ut ubi visum esset vindicarent se et victoriam haberent. Ab illo tempore winnilis langobardi vocati sunt.

II. Et moverunt se exhinde langobardi, et venerunt in golaidam, et postea possiderunt aldonus anthaib et bainaib seu et burgundaib; et dicitur, quia fecerunt sibi regem nomine agilmund, filium agioni, ex genere gugingus. Et post ipsum regnavit laiamicho ex genere gugingus. Et post ipsum regnavit lethuc, et dicitur, quia regnasset annos plus minus quadraginta. Et post ipsum regnavit aldihoc, filius lethuc. Et post ipsum regnavit godehoc.

III. Illo tempore exivit rex audoachari de ravenna cum exercitu alanorum, et venit in rugilanda et inpugnavit rugos, et occidit theuvane regem rugorum, secumque multos captivos duxit in italiam. Tunc exierunt langobardi de suis regionibus, et habitaverunt in rugilanda annos aliquantos.

IV. Post eum regnavit claffo, filius godehoc. Et post ipsum regnavit tato, filius claffoni. Sederunt langobardi in campis feld annos tres. Pugnavit tato cum rodolfo rege herulorum, et occidit eum, tulit vando ipsius et capsidem. Post eum heruli regnum non habuerunt. Et occidit wacho, filius unichis, tatonem regem barbanem suum cum zuchilone. Et pugnavit wacho, et pugnavit ildichis, filius tatoni, et fugit ildichis ad gippidos, ubi mortuus est. Iniuria vindicanda gippidi scandalum commiserunt cum langobardis. Eo tempore inclinavit wacho suavos sub regno langobardorum. Wacho habuit uxores tres: raicundam, filia fisud regis turingorum; et postea accepit uxorem austrigusa, filiam gippidorum; et habuit wacho de austrigusa filias duas, nomen unae wisigarda, quam tradidit in matrimonium theudiperti regis francorum; et nomen secundae walderada, quam habuit uxorem scusuald rex francorum, quam odio habens, tradidit eam garipald in uxorem. Filia regis herulorum tertiam uxorem habuit nomen silinga; de ipsa habuit filium nomine waltari. Mortuus est wacho, et regnavit filius ipsius waltari annos septem; farigaidus: isti omnes lethinges fuerunt.

V. Et post waltari regnavit auduin; ipse adduxit langobardos in pannonia. Et regnavit albuin, filius ipsius, post eum, cui mater est rodelenda. Eo tempore pugnavit albuin cum rege gippidorum nomine cunimund, et mortuus est cunimund in ipsa pugna, et debellati sunt gippidis. Tulit albuin uxore rosemunda, filia cunimundi, quae praedaverat, quia iam mortua fuerat uxor ipsius flutsuinda, quae fuit filia flothario regis francorum; de qua habuit filia nomine albsuinda. Et habitaverunt langobardi in pannonia annis quadraginta duo. Ipse albuin adduxit langobardos in italia, invitatos a narsete scribarum; et movit albuin rex langobardorum de pannonia mense aprilis a pascha indictione prima. Secunda vero indictione coeperunt praedare in italia. Tertia autem indictione factus est dominus italiae. Regnavit albuin in italia annos tres, et occisus est in verona in palatio ab hilmichis et rosemunda uxore sua per consilium peritheo. Voluit regnare hilmichis, et non potuit, quia volebant eum langobardi occidere. Tunc mandavit rosemunda ad longinum praefectum, ut eam reciperet ravenna. Mox ut audivit longinus, gavisus est, misit navem angarialem, et tulerunt rosemunda et hilmichis et albsuindam, filia albuin regis, et omnes thesauros langobardorum secum duxerunt in ravenna. Tunc ortare coepit longinus praefectus rosemunda, ut occideret hilmichis et esset uxor longini. Audito consilium ipsius, temperavit venenum, et post valneum dedit ei in caldo bibere. Cumque bibisset hilmichis, intellexit, quod malignum bibisset; praecepit, ut ipsa rosemunda biberet invita; et mortui sunt ambo. Tunc longinus praefectus tulit thesauros langobardorum, et albsuinda, filia albuin regis, iussit ponere in navem et transmisit eam constantinopolim ad imperatorem.

VI. Reliqui langobardi levaverunt sibi regem nomine cleph de beleos, et regnavit cleph annos duos, et mortuus est. Et iudicaverunt duces langobardorum annos duodecim; posthaec levaverunt sibi regem nomine autarine, filio claffoni; et accepit autari uxorem theudelenda, filia garipald et walderade de baiuaria. Et venit cum theudelenda frater ipsius nomine gundoald, et ordinavit eum autari rex ducem in civitatem astense. Et regnavit autari annos septem. Et exivit acquo dux turingus de thaurinis, et iunxit se theudelendae reginae, et factus est rex langobardorum; et occidit duces revelles suos, zangrolf de verona, mimulf de insula sancti iuliani et gaidulf de bergamum, et alios qui revelles fuerunt; et genuit acquo de theodelenda filiam nomine gunperga. Et regnavit acquo annos VI. Et post ipso regnavit aroal annos duodecim. Et post ipso regnavit rothari ex genere arodus, et rupit civitatem vel castra romanorum quae fuerunt circa litora apriso lune usque in terra francorum quam ubitergium ad partem orienti, et pugnavit circa fluvium scultenna, et ceciderunt a parte romanorum octo milia numerus. VII. Et regnavit rothari annos decem et septem. Et post ipsum regnavit aripert annos novem. Et post ipsum regnavit grimoald. Eo tempore exivit constantinus imperator de constantinopolim, et venit in partes campaniae, et regressus est in sicilia, et occisus est a suis. Et regnavit grimoald annos novem; et post regnavit berthari.