Agilulf (Longobard)

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Agilulf (also Ago and Turingus (the Thuringian) † 615 ) was king of the Lombards in the years 590–615 .


Agilulf is also called Ago by Paulus Diaconus and Pope Gregory the Great , apparently a short form of his name. Agilulf was dux Taurinensium civitatis (Duke of Turin ). Its designation as "Turingus" does not indicate its ducal city, but rather its origins from the West Germanic tribe of Thuringians . Paulus Diaconus therefore calls him dux Turingorum de Taurinis , which refers to a larger group of Thuringians who probably joined the Lombards after the Thuringian Empire was destroyed by the Franks in 531.

As Duke of Turin, Agilulf attended the wedding of King Authari with Theodelinde , daughter of the Bavarian dux Garibald I , on May 15, 589 . After Authari died on September 5, 590, his relative Agilulf became the successor of Authari in Laumellum (Lumello) in early November through marriage to Theodelinde, the widowed Queen of the Lombards. In May 591, the Lombard duces in Milan confirmed and crowned him as king.

Felix Dahn already pointed out that the tradition of his marriage has legendary features, but rejected the opinion that Agilulf usurped the throne and forced Theodelinde to marry.


The kingdom of the Lombards (blue) around 615 AD
Agilulf plate (helmet plate by Valdinievole, Bargello National Museum, Florence)

The balance of power in Italy was fragmented: in Ravenna an exarch and in Rome the dux romanus represented the Byzantine emperor. The popes carried out their own independent franc-friendly policy. The Longobard ducats Friuli and Trento on the borders of the empire and Benevento and Spoleto in the remote south tended to be insubordinate.

Foreign policy


Agilulf immediately began to consolidate his rule. The connections to the northern neighbor Baiern were good through his marriage. B. be expanded by the elevation of his brother-in-law Gundoald to dux of Asti . Most of the Lombard kings until 712 were his descendants. The Baier rex (king) Tassilo I (593–610) was also a relative, possibly a brother of Agilulf's wife Theodelinde.

Franconian Empire

In terms of foreign policy, he relaxed relations with the Frankish Empire and sent his brother-in-law dux Ewin of Tridentum ( Trient ) to Austrasia to conclude a peace treaty. Bishop Agnellus of Trento managed to buy some prisoners from the last war through the mediation of Queen Brunichild of Austrasia. Agilulf later concluded a pacem perpetuam (perpetual peace) with Theuderic II and arranged the engagement of his son Adaloald to a daughter of the Frankish king Theudebert II in 604. Around 611 Agilulf renewed the peace with the Franks.


Around 593 Agilulf made peace with the Avars . Around 601 he sent the Avar-Khagan ship carpenters to build a fleet and concluded a pacem perpetuam (eternal peace), which also contained a "pact of assistance". Around 610 the Avars invaded Friuli and plundered. Gisulf II of Friuli was killed in defense. The capital, Forum Julii , was conquered, women and children were deported to Pannonia and the men were killed. Gisulf's sons managed to escape.

Byzantine Empire

The conflict with the Byzantine Empire continued. The duces Ariulf of Spoleto and Arichis I of Benevento had occupied several cities in 592 and besieged Naples. Pope Gregory concluded a separate peace with the Lombards. The Byzantine exarch Romanus , who was not included in this peace, undertook a campaign (592-593) in which he found the places Sutrium (Sutri), Polimartium (Bomarzo), Hortas (places), Tuder (Todi), Ameria (Amelia) , Perusia (Perugia), Luceolis (Cantiano) u. a. recaptured. Now Agilulf also intervened. He conquered Perugia, whose Lombard dux Maurisio had defected. Then he marched on Rome, but then withdrew for reasons unknown. Pope Gregory tried again to broker a peace treaty between Agilulf on the one hand, Emperor Maurikios and the exarch Romanus on the other. An armistice could only be concluded after the death of Romanus in 598. The contract was limited to one year, but was extended for another.

From 601 Agilulf led several campaigns against Ostrom after his daughter and his son-in-law Gudescalc (Gottschalk) had been kidnapped by the Byzantine exarch Kallinikos from Parma to Ravenna. Patavium ( Padua ) was besieged and taken, the garrison let Agilulf withdraw to Ravenna. With the allied Avars and Slavs, Agilulf plundered and plundered Byzantine Istria . In 602 the Lombards attacked the Monselice castrum . In July 603 Agilulf left Mediolanum ( Milan ) and besieged Cremona with Avar auxiliaries , which he captured on August 21. On September 13th, Mantua fell , whose garrison he again released to Ravenna. The castrum Vulturina (Valdoria) surrendered and the garrison of Brexillus ( Brescello ) set their city on fire and fled. The new Exarch of Ravenna, Patricius Smaragdus , signed a nine-month truce with the Lombards in September. Agilulf's daughter was released with her husband and children and went to Parma , where she died soon after giving birth to another child. In Tuscany, after the armistice expired in April 605, the Lombards conquered the cities of Balneus Regis (Bagnarea) and Urbs Vetus ( Orvieto ), before Smaragdus bought the peace for 12,000 solidi in November.

Agilulf sent his notarius Stablicianus to Constantinople to see Emperor Phocas in order to achieve a final peace. Byzantine envoys then came to Italy with “gifts” and a one-year peace was agreed. These were the first direct negotiations between a Lombard king and the Byzantine emperor; the previous treaties had been concluded by exarchs. Thus, the Lombard kingdom in Italy was de facto recognized by Byzantium. This peace was extended by the subsequent Emperor Herakleios in 611 and 612 for a further year.

Domestic politics

Not all duces of the Lombards agreed with the new king. The unauthorized elevation of the rural refugee Gundoald to dux of Asti and the strengthening legitimation of his kingship through the marriage to the granddaughter of King Wachos have reinforced the rejection of the opposition Longobard greats. Domestically, he knew how to assert himself against these duces : he had Zangrolf of Verona and Mimulf of Isola San Giulio executed in 593 and replaced by his own confidants.

Dux Gaidulf of Bergamo rebelled against Agilulf and holed up in his city before submitting . Gaidulf rose again and holed up on the Isola Comacina . When Agilulf conquered the island, Gaidulf fled to Bergamo, where he was seized and pardoned by the king. After another rebellion in 593, Gaidulf was executed.

Also dux Ulfari of Tarvisium ( Treviso ) rebelled against Agilulf, was besieged by him and captured.

Agilulf's power was not enough to divide up the falling duchies and take them into direct administration by royal gastalden (officials). The nobility waited for the re-award of finished duchies and the king was evidently dependent on the ducal families. Around 600 Gaidoald von Trient and Gisulf von Friuli rose against Agilulf, who put down the rebellion in 602, but pardoned the duces.

Under Agilulf's rule, Italy gradually recovered from the devastation of previous invasions. Monza was expanded into a magnificent summer residence, in which a palace and the cathedral of San Giovanni Batista were built.

Religious politics

Agilulf himself was an Arian , but under the influence of his Catholic wife Theodelinde he sought rapprochement with the Catholic Pope in Rome . He allowed some of the bishops who had fled the Lombards to return and also gave back expropriated church property. At least one adhered to the " schismatic " bishops who had fallen away from the Pope as a result of the three-chapter dispute .

So it seems that Agilulf tried to have a favored schismatic follower of the three chapters elected as Bishop of Milan in the event of a sedis vacancy, whereby the Milanese clergy wavered on how they should behave in consideration of the church property controlled by the Lombards. Pope Gregory declared that a schismatic could not take the chair of h. Ambrose and prevented the north-west of Italy, like the north-east under the Patriarch of Aquileia, from being withdrawn from papal influence.

The only son of Agilulf, the heir to the throne Adaloald, was baptized a Catholic by Bishop Secundus of Trient in 603 , although Agilulf himself remained an Arian throughout his life, as can be seen from letters from St. Columban and Pope Gregory the Great .

He willingly provided land to the Irish missionary Columban in 612 to establish Bobbio Abbey . Bobbio soon became a center of proselytizing among the predominantly Arian Lombards.

Death and succession

Agilulf died of natural causes in 615 after 25 years of reign as the first Longobard king. Theodelinde reigned for Adaloald, the still minor successor, whom Agilulf had married to a daughter of the Frankish king Theudebert II .



Older literature (partly outdated)

Web links


  1. ^ A b Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 1
  2. a b c Origo Gentis Langobardorum chap. 6th
  3. Paulus Deacon: Storia dei Longobardi . Ed .: Antonio Zanella. Biblioteca universale Rizzoli, Milano 1991, ISBN 978-88-17-16824-3 , p. 326 (Latin, Italian, 563 pp., [accessed on January 3, 2020] Original title: Historia longobardorum .).
  4. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum III, 30
  5. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum III, 35
  6. ^ Waitz, Verfassungsgeschichte III, 35
  7. a b c d e f g h i Felix Dahn:  Agilulf . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 45, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1900, pp. 706-709.
  8. Gerhard Dilcher : The Agilulf plate as a testimony to the Lombard Gairethinx. In: ders., Bernd Kannowski, Susanne Lepsius , Reiner Schulze (eds.): Norms between orality and written culture. Studies on the medieval concept of law and Lombard law. Cologne 2008, pp. 319-330.
  9. Wilhelm Störmer: Tassilo I . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 8, LexMA-Verlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-89659-908-9 , column 484 f. (here col. 484).
  10. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 30
  11. ^ A b Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 40
  12. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 4
  13. ^ A b Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 12
  14. ^ A b Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 20
  15. ^ A b Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 24
  16. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 37
  17. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 8 and History of the Langobards, Book IV Chapt. 8 Footnote 4 ( Memento of May 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), Paulus Diaconus, Translated by William Dudley Foulke, LL.D., Published 1907 by the University of Pennsylvania
  18. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II, 1, p. 115
  19. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 23
  20. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 25
  21. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 28
  22. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 31
  23. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 35
  24. ^ Menghin, Die Langobardden , p. 111
  25. ^ A b Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 13
  26. a b c Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 3
  27. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II Part 1, p. 164
  28. ^ Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 27
  29. Thomas Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders , Vol. 6, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1895, pp. 140-144
  30. ^ A b Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum IV, 41
predecessor Office successor
Authari King of the Lombards