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Ratchis (also Rachis, Achis, Ratchildis ) was King of the Longobards from 744 to 749 and a second time from 756 to 757 .

So-called. Altar by Ratchis, dedicated to the memory of his father Pemmo


Ratchis was the son of the dux (Duke) Pemmo of Friuli and his wife Ratperga.

When his father Pemmo captured the patriarch Calixtus around 737, he fell out of favor and Liutprand put Ratchis in as dux . Pemmo fled with his followers to the Slavs until Ratchis could persuade the king to reconcile. Pemmo and his sons Ratchait and Aistulf were pardoned, the other offenders were imprisoned.

Around 738 Ratchis and his army invaded Carniola ( Carniola ) in Slovenia . Numerous Slavs were killed and the country was devastated. In 742 Ratchis accompanied King Liutprand on a campaign against the rebellious dux Transamund II of Spoleto. Liutprand's advancing army was attacked by a Spoletan-Byzantine army between Fanum ( Fano ) and Forum Simphronii ( Fossombrone ). Dux Ratchis of Friuli and his brother Aistulf brought up the rear with their men and covered the advance. Liutprand managed to depose Transemund and force him to go to the monastery.

In 744 King Hildeprand , the successor of Liutprand, was deposed after about 8 months of reign and Ratchis was elected king instead. The attempts at autonomy of the southern ducats Spoleto and Benevento were initially successful, but Ratchis was able to restore his supremacy in 746 at least against dux Lupus von Spoleto.

Ratchis, described as extremely pious, was evidently trying to find a balance so that he could better assert himself against the expanding Franks. Ratchis developed a brisk building activity and was also a sponsor of Paulus Diaconus , who probably came to the royal court in Pavia in 744 at the latest in Ratchis' entourage.

Ratchis pursued a pro-Byzantine policy and tried to maintain good relations with the novels. The Lombard nobility, however, pushed him further to an aggressive foreign policy, especially against Byzantium. After he was persuaded by Pope Zacharias to break off the campaign against the Byzantine possessions in Italy, the anti-Byzantine opposition overthrew him in 749 and made his brother Aistulf king. After his dismissal, Ratchis entered the monastery of Monte Cassino as a monk . His wife Tassia and his daughter Rotrud founded the Plumbariola convent , to which they retired.

After Aistulf's death in late 756, he tried again to seize power. In the north he was able to prevail initially. Ratchis now carried the title "Servant of Christ and Prince of the Lombards". The central and southern Italian ducats Spoleto and Benevento became autonomous again. Dux Desiderius of Tuscien also claimed the throne and allied himself with Pope Stephen II and the Franks. In the face of this resistance, Ratchis seems to have abdicated. In any case, he retired to the Monte Cassino monastery, where he later died.

Legal system

Ratchis issued a passport rule to control UK refugees, secret foreign negotiators and other "suspects". The border guard should be reinforced and nobody should be allowed in without a passport. The surveillance was particularly strict on the Tuscan border, where an important pilgrimage led to Rome. Other laws regulated the administration of his "officials", but also placed them under special protection.



Web links

Wikisource: Historia Langobardorum  - Sources and full texts (Latin)
Commons : Ratchis  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Historia Langobardorum VI, 26
  2. Historia Langobardorum VI, 51
  3. Historia Langobardorum VI, 52
  4. ^ Historia Langobardorum VI, 56
  5. Historia Langobardorum VI, 57
  6. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages Vol. II Part 2, Perthes, Gotha 1903, p. 146
  7. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages Vol. II Part 2, Perthes, Gotha 1903, p. 147
  8. ^ Hubertus Seibert:  Paulus Diaconus. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 20, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-00201-6 , pp. 131-133 ( digitized version ).
  9. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages Vol. II Part 2, Perthes, Gotha 1903, p. 148
  10. Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages Vol. II Part 2, Perthes, Gotha 1903, p. 206ff
  11. ^ Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages, Vol. II Part 2, Perthes, Gotha 1903, p. 244
  12. ^ Hartmann: History of Italy in the Middle Ages Vol. II Part 2, Perthes, Gotha 1903, pp. 147-148
predecessor Office successor
Hildeprand King of the Lombards
Aistulf King of the Lombards