The Lombard Laws

The Lombard Laws

The Lombard Laws

The Lombard Laws

Synopsis

Here presented for the first time in English are the law codes of the Lombard kings who ruled Italy from the sixth to the eighth centuries. The documents afford unparalleled insight into the structure and values of Germanic society.

Excerpt

There can be no question that the Germanic barbarians contributed enormously to the emergence of early medieval civilization, even if one may be tempted to rate somewhat higher the contributions of the Roman Empire and the Christian Church. The Germanic contribution, however, is not so easy to trace as is the Roman and the ecclesiastical for the simple reason that, although the barbarians may have had the most profound respect for the art of writing and the products of literacy, they had behind them no long tradition of experience in this area; as a result, the written materials produced by the barbarians themselves, or on their behalf by Roman officials, are not numerous. In contrast, even in the culturally darkest of those transitional centuries between the decay of late Roman civilization and the appearance of a distinctive medieval culture (symbolized by that movement known somewhat misleadingly as the Carolingian renaissance) there continued to be literary materials written by individuals trained in the old Roman tradition (or at least in a somewhat vulgarized form of it); and members of the higher clergy, also trained in the literary tradition, wrote in a relatively voluminous manner on theological subjects and on general matters touching the concerns of the Church.

However, the student who wishes to understand the early Middle Ages faces certain inescapable conclusions. The Roman Empire may never have "fallen," but something certainly happened that caused its virtual disintegration, at least in the west, between the fifth and the eighth centuries. The barbarian invasions were one of the most visi-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.