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The Origo Gentis Langobardorum is a short 7th century text, detailing a legend of the origin of the Lombards, and their history up to the rule of Perctarit (672–688). It is preserved in three Manuscripts of the Leges Langobardorum,
  • Modena, Biblioteca Capitolare 0.I.2 (9th century)
  • Cava de’Tirreni, Archivio della Badia 4, (early 9th century)
  • Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional 413 (early 11th century)

The legend is summarized in the Historia gentis Langobardorum by Paulus Diaconus, who dismisses it as a "ridiculous fable". The text is also the source of the Lombard theonym Godan.



Winnili women with their hair tied as beards looking up at Wodan and Frea (1905) by Emil Doepler.
The text mentions an island Scanadan, the home of the Winnili. Their ruler was a woman called Gambara, with her sons Ybor and Agio. The leaders of the Vandals, Ambri and Assi, asked them to pay them tribute, but they refused, saying they would fight them. Ambri and Assi then went to Godan, and asked him for victory over the Winnili. Godan replied that he would give the victory to whomever he saw first at sunrise. At the same time, Gambara and her sons asked Frea, Godan's wife, for victory. Frea advised that the women of the Winnili should tie their hair in front of their faces like beards and join their men for battle. At sunrise, Frea turned her husband's bed so that at he was facing East, and woke him. Godan saw the women of the Winnili, their hair tied in front of their faces, and asked "who are these longbeards?", and Frea replied, since you named them, give them victory, and he did. From this day, the Winnili were called Langobardi, "longbeards".

Migration period

After this, the Lombards migrated, and they came to Golaida (perhaps at the Oder), and later they ruled Aldonus and Anthaib (unclear, perhaps in Bavariamarker) and Bainaib (also Banthaib; perhaps in Bohemia) and Burgundaib (perhaps territory of the Burgundians, at the Middle Rhinemarker ), and they chose as their king Agilmund, son of Agion, from the line of Gugingus, and later they were ruled by Laiamicho of the same dynasty, and after him Lethuc, who ruled for some 40 years. He was succeeded by his son, Aldihoc, and after him, Godehoc ruled.

In (487) Audochari came from Ravennamarker with the Alans, and came to Rugilanda (Lower Austriamarker, north of the Danube) to fight the Rugi, and he killed Theuvanue their king, and returned to Italy with many captives. The Lombards consequently left their land and lived in Rugilanda for some years.

Gudehoc was succeeded by his son, Claffo, and he by his son, Tato. The Lombards tarried at Feld for three years, where Tato fought and killed Rodolfo, king of the Heruli.

Wacho son of Unichus killed Tato, and Ildichus, Tato's son fought Wacho, but he had to flee to the Gepids, where he died. Wacho had three wives, the first Raicunda, daughter of Fisud, king of the Turingi, the second Austrigusa, a daughter of the Gippidi, who had two daughters, Wisigarda, who married Theudipert, king of the Franks, and Walderada, who married Suscald, another king of the Franks, who didn't like her and gave her to Garipald, and the third Silinga, daughter of the king of the Heruli, who had a son named Waltari, who succeeded Wacho and ruled for seven years. Farigaidus was the last of the line of Lethuc.

After Waltari ruled Auduin, who led the Lombards to Pannonia. Albuin, son of Auduin and his wife Rodelenda ruled after him. Albuin fought and killed Cunimund, king of the Gippidi. Albuin took to wife Cunimund's daughter, Rosemunda, and after she died Flutsuinda, daughter of Flothario, king of the Franks. She had a daughter called Albsuinda.


After the Lombards had lived in Pannonia for 42 years, Albuin led them into Italy, in the month of April, and two years later (565), Albuin was lord of Italy. He ruled for three years, before he was killed by Hilmichis and his wife Rosemunda, in the palace in Veronamarker. The Lombards however didn't suffer Hilmichis to rule them, so Rosamunda called the prefect Longinus that he should capture Ravenna, and Hilmichis and Rosamunda escaped with Albsuinda, daughter of king Albuin, and the whole treasury of Ravenna. Longinus then tried to persuade Rosamunda to kill Hilmichis, so she might marry him, and she poisoned followed his advice and poisoned him, but as Hilmichis drank the poison, he realized what was happening, and he asked Rosamunda to drink with him, and they died together. Thus, Longinus was left with all the treasures of the Lombards, and with Albsuinda, the king's daughter, whom he carried away to the Emperor at Constantinoplemarker.

After Albuin, Cleph was king for two years (572-574). Then there followed an interregnum of twelve years, during which the Lombards were ruled by dukes. After this, Autarinus, son of Claffo was king for seven years (584-590). He married Theudelenda, daughter of Garipald, and also Walderade of Bavariamarker. With Theudelenda came Gundoald her brother, and Autarinus made him duke of Astimarker.

Acquo, duke of the Turingi came from the Thaurini, and married queen Theudelenda, becoming king of the Lombards. He killed his enemies, Zangrolf of Verona, Mimulf of the Island of Saint Julian, Gaidulf of Bergamomarker, and others. With Theudelenda, he had a daughter called Gunperga, and he ruled for six years.

After him ruled Aroal, for twelve years (c. 624-636), and after him Rothari of the Arodus family, and he broke the a city and fortress of the Romans, and he fought at the Scutella river, killing 8,000 Romans. Rothari ruled for 17 years (636-652), and after him Aripert for nine years (653- 661), and after him Grimoald, for nine years. During his reign, Constantine came from Constantinople on a campaign, and went back to Sicily where he was killed by his own people. After Grimoald, Berthari was king.

See also


  • Georg Waitz, MGH (Monumenta Germaniae Historiae [214089]) SS rerum Langobardicarum, Hannover 1878, 1-6
  • Caudio Azzara/Stefano Gasparri, Le leggi dei Longobardi, Storia memoria e diritto di un popolo germanico, Milano 1992, 2-7
  • Annalisa Bracciotti, Biblioteca di cultura romanobarbarica 2, Roma 1998, 105-119.
  • Historia Langobardorum, book 1 [214090]

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