from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Authari (also Autari, Authachar, Otharius ; * around 540 ; † September 5, 590 in Pavia ) was king of the Lombards from 584 to 590 .


Authari was the son of King Cleph of the Beleus family . His wife, Masane, was probably his mother.

After Cleph died in 574, the Lombard duces (dukes), who were concerned about independence, refused to appoint a successor, so that a ten-year period without rulers, an interregnum , came about .

Consolidation in Italy

It was not until 584, when Italy was threatened by a Frankish - Byzantine alliance, that Authari would be elected King of the Longobards. However, the kingship lacked the material basis, so that the dukes ceded half of their property to Authari, so that Authari could finance the "state business". To legitimize his rule over Italy, Authari took the Roman gentile name Flavius ; In late antiquity, this had in fact become a title that demonstrated that its bearer belonged to the imperial elite.

Around 585 the Lombard dux Droctulft had defected to the Byzantines and holed up in the city of Brexillus ( Brescello ). Authari conquered the city and had the walls razed. Droctulft fled to the exarch Smaragdus in Ravenna and freed the port of Classis from the Longobards in his service. Authari then made a three-year peace with Smaragdus.

King Authari sent dux Ewin of Trento in 587 with an army to Byzantine Istria . Ewin looted and pillaged the region before making a year-long peace and returning to Authari with a large tribute payment . The island of Comacina in Lake Como was also taken by the Lombards after a 6-month siege. The Byzantine magister militum (army master) Francio was allowed an honorable retreat to Ravenna.


Authari's rule brought about a general peace in the country from which the Romansh population in particular benefited from the fact that their tax obligations were regulated and arbitrary looting ceased. Paulus Deacon described this time as the "Golden Age".

The Roman Catholic faith was tolerated, but there was an express ban on baptizing Longobard children with Catholics.

Marriage policy

In order to improve the Franconian-Longobard relations, the Arian wanted to marry Authari Chlodosuintha, a sister of the Catholic King Childebert II , but the latter later broke off the engagement. Probably in 588 Childebert attacked the Lombards, was defeated by Authari's army and withdrew with heavy losses.

In view of the Franconian aggression, Authari sought an alliance with Bavaria and arranged his engagement and wedding in 589 with Theudelinde , the daughter of the Bavarian dux Garibald I and the Walderada , thus granddaughter of the Longobard King Wacho . On the one hand, these family ties protected the empire in the northeast, on the other hand, Authari joined forces with the royal dynasty of the Lethinger and married the powerful dux Ewin of Trento. When the Bavarian Duke Garibald I was threatened by Childebert II in 589, he sent his children Gundoald and Theudelinde to Italy to see their brother-in-law Ewin von Trient. On May 15, 589, King Authari married Theodelinde on the Sardisfeld near Verona and appointed her brother Gundoald to the dux of Asti.

War with the Franks and Byzantium

Not all Lombard duces stood behind their king. The new Exarch Romanus freed the area around Ravenna from the Longobards in the years 589 and 590. He regained Altinum, Modena and Mantua, and achieved that the Lombard dukes of Parma, Reggio and Piacenza submitted to the Roman Empire and held their sons hostage.

Childebert II attacked the Longobard Empire in 590 with 20 duces . The army marched in two separate formations. A part under Audovald and six other dukes penetrated as far as Milan, suffered some losses in minor skirmishes, but Mimulf, the dux of the island of St. Julius in Lake Orta, over to the Franks. The Lombards withdrew to fortified cities and holed up.

Another part of the army under Cedinus (also Chedinus) and thirteen other duces invaded Ewin's duchy from the northeast. Five castella (smaller fortifications) and the castra (larger fortifications, "castles") Tesana (Tiseno), Maletum (Male), Sermiana (Sirmian), Appianum (Hoch Eppan), Fagitana (Faedo), Cimbra (Cembra), Vitianum ( Vezzano ), Bremtonicum (Brentonico), Volaenes (Volano), Ennemase ( Neumarkt ), two fortifications in Alsuca ( Valsugana ) and one in Verona were conquered. The inhabitants were kidnapped as prisoners, but the bishops Ingenuinus of Savio ( Säben ) and Agnellus of Tridentum (Trient) managed to buy the inhabitants of Ferrugis (Verruca) free for a ransom. When the dysentery broke out in the army of the Franks , they withdrew. A letter from the Byzantine exarch Romanus to Childebert proves that Cedinus made a 10-month peace and withdrew across the Alps. Ultimately, the Frankish-Byzantine attack failed due to the lack of coordination between the two allies.

Death and succession

Shortly afterwards Authari sent an embassy to the Franconian kings Guntram I of Burgundy and Childebert of Austrasia to negotiate a peace on the "royal level". King Authari died childless before the conclusion of the negotiations on September 5, 590 in Pavia; it is believed that he was poisoned. He was succeeded by Agilulf , Duke of Turin .

Say and reception

Authari's bridal trip

According to legend, Authari went to the Bavarian court incognito to look for a bride . Only when riding home ...

Authari got himself up on the horse as much as he could and with all his might pushed the battle ax he was carrying into a nearby tree and left it stuck in it, and said: "Such blows Authari leads!" that had spoken, recognized the Bavarians, who showed him that he was King Authari himself.

The legend was published by the Brothers Grimm in Deutsche Sagen 1816. The poet and Germanist Wilhelm Hertz wrote the poem König Authari's Brautschau in 1859 . Friedrich von Bodenstedt wrote a comedy with the same name in 1860.

Authari's land grab

Authari is said to have taken possession of the regions of Spoleto and Benevento and ridden to Reggio on the southern tip of Italy. There he touched a pillar in the surf with his lance and is said to have shouted: “The borders of the Lombards should extend this far”.

The legend was published by the Brothers Grimm in Deutsche Sagen 1816.



Web links

Wikisource: Historia Langobardorum  - Sources and full texts (Latin)
Wikisource: Origo Gentis Langobardorum  - Sources and full texts (Latin)
Wikisource: Historiae  - Sources and full texts (Latin)

Individual evidence

  1. Origo Gentis Langobardorum chap. 6th
  2. Historia Langobardorum II, 31
  3. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II, Part 1, p. 64
  4. a b Historia Langobardorum VI, 16
  5. Historia Langobardorum VI, 18-19
  6. Historia Langobardorum III, 27
  7. Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum: Encyclopedia of the early church Vol. 1.2 , Clarke & Co, Cambridge 1992
  8. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II Part 1, p. 168
  9. Historia Langobardorum III, 28
  10. Historia Langobardorum III, 29 and Gregory of Tours, Historiae IX, 25
  11. a b c Historia Langobardorum III, 30
  12. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II Part 1, p. 68
  13. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II, Part 1, p. 72
  14. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II Part 1, p. 74
  15. ^ A b Gregory of Tours, Historiae X, 3
  16. Historia Langobardorum III, 31
  17. ^ The New Cambridge Medieval History I c. 500-c. 700, p. 155, Cambridge University Press 2005, ISBN 978-0-521-36291-7
  18. Historia Langobardorum III, 34–35
  19. Sage about King Authari , Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm: Deutsche Sagen Bd. 2, Kap 402
  20. ^ Wilhelm Hertz: King Authari's Bride Show
  21. Ludwig Julius Fränkel:  Bodenstedt, Friedrich von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 47, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1903, pp. 44-67.
  22. Historia Langobardorum III, 32
  23. Authari's column , Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm: Deutsche Sagen , Vol. 2, chap. 403
predecessor Office successor
Cleph King of the Lombards