1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alboin

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ALBOIN (d. 572 or 573), king of the Lombards, and conqueror of Italy, succeeded his father Audoin about 565. The Lombards were at that time dwelling in Noricum and Pannonia (archduchy of Austria, Styria and Hungary, west of the Danube). In alliance with the Avars, and Asiatic people who had invaded central Europe, Alboin defeated the Gepidae, a powerful nation on his eastern frontier, slew their king Cunimund, whose skull he fashioned into a drinking-cup, and whose daughter Rosamund he carried off and made his wife. Three years later (in 568), on the alleged invitation of Narses (q.v.), who was irritated by the treatment he had received from the emperor Justin II., Alboin invaded Italy, probably marching over the pass of the Predil. He overran Venetia and the wide district which we now call Lombardy, meeting with but feeble resistance till he came to the city of Ticinum (Pavia), which for three years (569-572) kept the Lombards at bay. While this siege was in progress Alboin was also engaged in other parts of Italy, and at its close he was probably master of Lombardy, Piedmont and Tuscany, as well as of the regions which afterwards went by the name of the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. In 572 or 573, however, he was assassinated by his chamberlain Peredeo at the instigation of Queen Rosamund, whom Alboin had grievously insulted by forcing her to drink wine out of her father's skull. After his death and the short reign of his successor Cleph the Lombards remained for more than ten years in a state of anarchy.

The authorities for the history of Alboin are Procopius, Paulus Diaconus and Agnellus (in his history of the church of Ravenna).