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By Chris Wickham

Discusses the social and financial improvement of Italy.

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Extra info for Early Mediaeval Italy: Central Power and Local Society, 400-1000 (New Studies in Medieval History)

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It was, however, not exactly normal for Germans even of Tacitus's time to abandon kingship in the middle ofa war, which in this case still continued afler Cleph's dealh - the first Byzantine counter-aHack came under Baduarius in 575, failing disastrously. Other explanations for the interregnum may be better. Many have been offered. The most satisfaclOry is again thaI of Bognelti, who suggesled that the Lombard dukes may have been subvened and dispersed by Byzantine bribes. Menander, the principal Byzantine chronicler for the laiC 560s and 57OS, records that in 577 Ihe Emperor Tiberius II paid to the Franks 30,000 pounds of gold to fight the Lombards, and to the Lombards 10 make peace.

Belisarius fought his way systematically up Italy in 535-40 as far as the Po, and occupied Ravenna, Witigis retiring to the East as an imperial patrician. EARLY MEDIEVA L ITALY But the Goths in the north elected new kings, the third of whom, Totiia, inell'ective lightning campaigns between 542 and 550, reconquered the whole of Italy and Sicily except for a number of coastal towns (including R avenna) reinforced by the Byzantine fl eet. Only a massive army led by Narses eventually destroyed Totila in 552, his successor Teias in the same year, and a supporting Franco-Aleman army in 554 .

14 Albain converted to Arianism for transparently political reasons, and the last king to support Arianism militantly died in 590, only twenty-five years later. This is not enough time, in such a confused period, to instil into the Lombard people much of a sense of the potential of Arianism as a nationalist rallying-call. 16 If Adaloald had rejected the Three Chapters schism, as Bognetti thought, this would not be wholly inconsistent; but there is insufficient evidence EARLY MEDIEVAL ITALY to allow us 10say that.

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