Saturday, March 5, 2011

Alboin, King of the Langobards, part 2

Paul then goes on about the glorious reign of Justinian, who built Hagia Sophia and the Codex Justinian, his general Belisarius, Senator Cassiodorus, and Priscianus. After some verses which I am ignoring, he resumes Alboin's story in chapter 27.

Thereupon Audoin, king of the Langobards, about whom I spoke before, married Rodelinda, who brought forth for him Alboin, a man suited to war and vigilant in all matters. Then Audoin died and Alboin was now the tenth king, after he succeeded to the rule of his homeland by the votes of all. When he achieved a very celebrated and bright name to men everywhere, he joined Chlothare, King of the Franks, to himself by marrying his daughter, Chlotsuinda. From whom, he received but one daughter Alpsuinda, by name. Meanwhile, Turisind, King of the Gepids, died, to whom Cunimund succeeded in rule. He, desiring to avenge the old injuries of the Gepids, broke the pact with the Langobards, choosing war over peace. But Alboin entered into an eternal pact with the Avars, who were first the Huns, afterwards were called by the name of Avars by their kings.
After this, having prepared for war with the Gepids, he set out. When they hastened to attack him by a different path, the Avars, who stood with Alboin, invaded their homeland. The sad messenger, coming to Cunimund, told how the Avars had moved against their borders. Cunimund, struck down in spirit, and placed in dire straits, urged his men to contend with the Langobards first. If they succeeded in overcoming them, then they could expel the army of the Huns from their land. Therefore, the battle being joined, it was fought by all of the men. The Langobards achieved the victory, raging with such great anger against the Gepids that they destroyed them to the point of extinction and from the great numbers, scarcely the one messenger remained. In this battle, Alboin killed Cunimund, taking the head of him and making a cup for the purpose of drinking from it. This type of cup is called a 'scala' by them, but in the Latin tongue it is called a drinking bowl. He took Cunimund's daughter, Rosimund by name, with a great number of either sex and differing ages into captivity. Since Chlotsuinda had died, he married Rosimund, from whom he would endure calamity.
Then, the Langobards had obtained so much booty that they now came into very great riches. Truly the people of the Gepids were thus diminished, so much that from this time they did not have a king, but everyone, who was able to survive the war, was made subject to either the Langobards or the Huns, who hold their homeland to this day. They groaned subjected to a harsh rule. But Alboin increased the fame of his name far and wide by this, such that, even to the Bavarian people and the Saxons and to other peoples of the same language, the generosity, fortune in war, bravery and glory of him was being sung in their songs. It is told by many to this day, that extraordinary arms were to have been made during his rule.

4 comments:

Tracy said...

In this battle, Alboin killed Cunimund, taking the head of him and making a cup for the purpose of drinking from it.
Lovely custom!

The Red Witch said...

According to Paul the Deacon, it was not all that uncommon. It bites him in the butt later as we will see.

anachronist said...

Since Chlotsuinda had died, he married Rosimund, from whom he would endure calamity.

I bet the girl was thrilled to torment him.

The Red Witch said...

@I bet the girl was thrilled to torment him.

He was probably hardly ever around since he was so busy conducting wars. The old writers like to foreshadow stuff. It reminds me of the Nibelungenlied where the poet is constantly reminding you that it will all end in tears.