The Langobards or Lombards were the last Germanic group to invade the Roman Mediterranean, crossing the Alps into Italy in 568-9. They were nonetheless one of the longest-lasting, for their state survived Charlemagne's conquest in 774, and was the core of the medieval kingdom of Italy. The incompleteness of their conquest of Italy was also one of the root causes of Italian division for over 1300 years after their arrival. But they present a challenge to the historian, for most of the evidence for them dates to the last half-century of their independence, up to 774, a period in which Langobard Italy was a coherent and apparently tightly-governed state by early medieval standards. How they reached this from the incoherent and disorganised situation visible in late sixth-century Italy is still a matter of debate.
The historians and archaeologists who contribute to this volume discuss Langobard archaeology and material culture both before and after their invasion, Langobard language, political organisation, the church, social structures, family structures, and urban economy. It is thus an important and up to date starting point for future research on early medieval Italy.
Contributors: G. AUSENDA, S. BARNISH, S. BRATHER, T.S. BROWN, N. CHRISTIE, M. COSTAMBEYS, P. DELOGU, D. GREEN, W. HAUBRICHS, J. HENNING, B. WARD-PERKINS, C. WICKHAM.