Longobard and Italian History Part II

By | February 12, 2022

According to iamhigher, the sources speak only of  Langobardi to the defense: then not even all the Lombards must have been. And it was deduced that the Lombard nation was always distinct and detached from the Romans. Alessandro Manzoni saw, still in the century. VIII, open dualism. But one could also deduce another conclusion: that is, that the Lombards no longer retained their compactness, almost absorbed by the Italian soil, on which they rested their feet; and the Romans, that is the mass of the population, were not and still did not feel well placed, juridically and morally, in a kingdom that still bore many signs of its barbaric origin and had a still imperfect territorial organization. However, after two centuries, the independence and political personality of the Lombard people ended, weakened by the impact of the nation and the Frankish monarchy, but already weakened and corroded by the vain effort to expand its conquests, by the tenacious opposition of the Greek masters of the sea, by the growing prestige of the Holy See which became a point of attraction also for Lombard elements, by the superior civilization of the vanquished and by its very approach to this civilization. And yet, even the Lombard invaders had enriched the life of the Italian people with elements of their own, they had introduced a small but robust stream of demographic elements, a little settled in new villages, a little mixed with the Romans in the old locations. and now partly absorbed by the indigenous mass, a little still distinct because they have changed into a high and middle aristocracy, socially and politically very important. Considerable elements of law and not small influences, even if not to be evaluated too much, on public and private Roman law. Just as this had acted on the rough habits and legal life of the barbarians, so did these on that, also as a result of the relative barbarization that Italian society as a whole suffered, that is, the decline of the exchange economy, the strengthening of the family bond, etc. it is true that Lombard influences were also had where the Lombards did not dominate. Some new technical skill and artistic ability, a certain set of habits of family and public life, a small legacy of legends that entered Italy with the invaders or formed on the ground of their Italian story, minimal linguistic influences, represented by a few hundred Germanic words enter the language of the country, since, in the race with that language, the Lombard succumbed. In the century X, it can be considered dead at all. Which was then, in the long run, the fate of many Lombard elements, men, law, institutions, various customs. What is the extinction of a large part of the old feudal aristocracy, the new vigor of Roman law, the new and original civilization in the 13th and 14th centuries, if not the gradual decline and disappearance of elements of life transplanted onto Italian soil with the Germans or by the Germans marked with their imprint.

But the importance of the Lombard dominion is given especially by those events that it creates or determines, by that complex of political and political-moral problems which in his time and also by his work begin to constitute the plot on which Italian history will be woven. . So those two centuries ranging from 568 to 774 mark, for that history, almost a beginning. They temper their vigor, consolidate their victory, in the friction with the invaders, Catholicism and the Roman Church and the papacy; and in Rome, as a defense organization, the political power of the popes was born, which would later become the real state of the Church. This appears to be an interest of the Holy See, which will become a permanent thing, opposed to any Italian political formation that appears to be prejudicial to its full freedom of movement: that is, a political force is already encamping in the center of the peninsula that will mark its destiny in no small part, both internally and in international relations. This contrast between papacy and kingdom, although purely political, will have its great reflections in the depths of consciences. And one can already guess, in the conduct of the Longobard kings themselves, in the internal contrasts of the kingdom, which precede and somewhat prepare for the tragedy of 774, that inner turmoil, that disagreement between civic duty and religious duty which later became something specifically Italian and it will make the solution of many problems of national life more difficult and tormented in Italy. They already appear clear before our eyes, from the century. V to VIII, the centrifugal tendencies of Italian life, too strong to be traced back to economic events. It seems that the pre-Roman regional and local forces are resurfacing, in the collapse of the legal and political scaffolding created by Rome. Even more, the forces and interests planted in Italy with the imperial reconquest which has, in part, the character of a Byzantine and Greek, that is, foreign affirmation, are operating; even more those who came with the Lombards. They broke the unity established by the Greeks, without being able to establish their own; and even within the realm that they managed to build in Italy, they soon reluctant to join the royal unit which was headed by Pavia (Spoleto and Benevento). And here is that new crumbling of the peninsula, that] the emergence of citizen jealousies and particularisms which, already visible and active in the Lombard and Byzantine age, will reach their peak in the following age, when the peninsula seems to return to being that of the one hundred and one hundred Gallic, Etruscan, Umbrian, Greek, Samnite, Sabine, Latin tribes, etc. With this difference: that Rome was involved, very powerful in leveling and unifying and always spiritually present in this function, even now that it has fallen. And the Lombard kingdom was also involved, with more modest functions, which also weaved its own plot and founded a political tradition of unity in Italy.

Longobard and Italian History 2