Alboin (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: As a powerful and aggressive king of the Lombards in Pannonia, Alboin successfully invaded northern Italy in 568, countering the Byzantines and establishing a kingdom that lasted for more than two centuries.
The Lombards, a northwestern Germanic tribe that may have originated in Scandinavia, flourished on the borders of the Roman Empire during the fifth century. They moved across the Danube to occupy Hungary in the 520’s under the leadership of Waccho. It was there, in Pannonia, that Alboin was born to the Lombard king Audoin, ruler from approximately 547 to 565, by his first wife, Rodelinda. Little is known about Alboin’s early years, since much of his life remained undocumented until the Lombards moved into Italy in 568.
Alboin’s childhood and young adulthood were shaped by an ongoing conflict with a neighboring tribe, the Gepids, a feud which continued into Alboin’s rule. As a young adult, Alboin killed a Gepid prince, Thorismund, in a Gepid-Lombard battle that took place around 554. Alboin’s success made such an impression upon the other Lombard warriors that upon their return to his father’s court, the warriors proclaimed Alboin’s power and bravery to Audoin.
Alboin is described as a young man by the historian Paulus Diaconus in Historia Langobardorum (c. 770-786). According to Diaconus, Alboin was tall, with the frame and attitude of a...
(The entire section is 1759 words.)
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