At Home with the Langobards

Thrasimund I

In 661, as his earthly path was drawing to an end, King Aripert I divided the kingdom between his two sons, Perctarit and Godebert. This procedure remained unique in Longobard history. While Godebert resided in Pavia, Perctarit chose Milan, the ancient capital, as his seat. Serious conflicts soon arose between the two, and Godepert asked Garibald, duke of Turin, to intercede for the help of Grimoald, duke of Benevento.

In reality, the latter took advantage of the contrast between the two kings and their political and military inferiority to conquer the kingdom. Having ordained his son Romuald as duke at Benevento, he set out north with a well-chosen army, and in all the cities through which he passed he gathered friends and allies around him to conquer the kingdom. He sent Thrasimund, Count of Capua (662) to the duchies of Spoleto and Tuscia to recruit more troops.

Paul the Deacon, in his Historia Langobardorum, recounts that Grimoald, during his march towards Pavia, gathered countless supporters and “Thrasimund came to meet him on the Via Emilia with many partisans. When he reached Piacenza and found himself at the head of a large army, Grimoald sent Garibald, whom Godepert had sent as a messenger, to Pavia to announce his arrival”.

At the sight of the large army, young king Godepert was not at all frightened and, on Garibald’s advice, decided to host Grimoald in the royal palace, also because the duke of Benevento ‘came at the invitation of the king and was to marry his sister’.

In reality, Grimoald stabbed the young king at the first opportunity and also ousted Perctarit.

“As soon as he took up residence in the kingdom, Grimoald married in Pavia the daughter of King Aripert who had been promised to him by the late Godepert, then sent the army that had helped him seize the kingdom back to Benevento and laden with gifts, keeping some of them close to him and assigning them vast possessions”.
In gratitude for his loyalty, he granted Thrasimund the hand of one of his two daughters and the crown of the Duchy of Spoleto (in 663, probably in June).
Nothing is known of Thrasimund’s rule over Spoleto, which lasted about forty years, except that he shared the office with his brother Wachilapius.
Paul the Deacon uses the adverb pariter to indicate this co-management and does not give any indication of a territorial division.
Terminus ad quem of Thrasimund’s death is 703, when he was succeeded by his son Faroald II.

Happy Monday with the Langobards!


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