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Alboin (* before 526; † June 28, 572 or 573 in Verona ) came from the Gausen family like his predecessor Audoin . Alboin was a King of the Longobards and the founder of the Longobard Empire in Italy .

The kingdom of the Lombards (blue) around AD 572


Alboin succeeded his father Audoin to the throne between 560 and 565. In 567 he defeated the Gepids at the head of the Lombards, who at that time settled as Eastern Roman allies on the Drava and Danube , and killed their king Kunimund . In 568, after Alboin had come to an understanding with the Avars under Chagan Baian , the Lombards invaded Italy, which had only just been pacified by the Eastern Romans. It was not just a campaign, but the relocation of almost the entire Lombard population. The reason was supposedly a call for help from Narses , the Eastern Roman governor of Italy; in reality, Alboin probably wanted to evade the Avar pressure. Parts of numerous other peoples, including the Romans, Gepids and Saxons , moved with Alboin , while parts of the Lombards did not take part in the procession.

In a very short time the Lombards conquered the northern and central parts of Italy, which had been devastated by Justinian's previous Gothic Wars , except for Rome , Ravenna and the sea cities. In Cividale del Friuli , Alboin appointed his nephew Gisulf I as dux ; In 569 Verona fell and the Lombards advanced as far as Trent ; In 569 Milan also fell . In early 572 they took Pavia after allegedly three years of siege. Over time, the city developed into the most important capital of the Longobard Empire.

Alboin had married Chlodoswinth, a daughter of the Frankish king Chlothar I , before his accession to the throne , who had probably died (before) 567. His next marriage was with Rosamunde , the daughter of the Gepid King Kunimund, who was slain by him. In 572 (or maybe only 573) Alboin fell victim to a conspiracy and was murdered. In some sources, this conspiracy is legendarily embellished and named Alboin's wife Rosamunde as its instigator because Alboin allegedly forced her to drink from her father's skull.

The most important source is the (not always reliable) Historia Langobardorum of Paulus Diaconus . Alboin's successor as King of the Lombards was Cleph . Under him, however, the royal rule was much weaker. The Lombard dukes, especially those of Friuli , Spoleto and Benevento, ruled largely independently of the king. The division of Italy into the Lombard north, the strong duchies of the center and the Byzantine south, which emerged during Alboin's rule and shortly after his death, laid the foundation for the division of Italy, which lasted into the 19th century.


Depiction of Alboin in Schedel's World Chronicle , 1493

A memorial plaque for him was placed in the Walhalla near Regensburg . In memory of Alboin, a garden monument in Berlin-Schöneberg was named Alboinplatz .

In 1962 there was a film adaptation of Carlo Campogalliani in Italy under the title Alboin, King of the Lombards (in the original Rosmunda e Alboino ). She focuses on the confrontations with the Gepids and focuses on the relationship with a king's daughter. The actors include Jack Palance , Eleonora Rossi Drago , Guy Madison and Mirella d'Angelo .



  1. For the early days see Menghin, Die Langobarden , pp. 85ff.
  2. Menghin, Die Langobard , p. 94ff.
  3. See on this, towardsäbüttel, Germanische Herrscher , p. 156ff. and Menghin, Die Langobard , pp. 99ff.
  4. Alboin, King of the Lombards in the Internet Movie Database (English)
predecessor Office successor
Audoin Duke and King of the Longobards
560 / 568–572