History of the Langobards by Paul the Deacon

Date: 1907

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Chapter XXIV Stories of the Lombard Kings



Alboin and Turisind


When battle was joined, while both lines fought bravely and neither yielded to the other, it happened that in the midst of the struggle Alboin, the son of Audoin, and Turismod, the son of Turisind, encountered each other. Alboin, striking the other with his sword, hurled him headlong from his horse to destruction. The Gepidæ, seeing that the king’s son was killed, through whom in great part the war had been set on foot, at once started to flee. The Lombards sharply followed them up, overthrew them, and when many had been killed turned back to take off the spoils of the dead.

When, after the victory had been won, the Lombards returned to their own abodes, they suggested to their king Audoin that Alboin, by whose valor they had won the victory in the fight, should become his table companion, so that he who had been a comrade to his father in danger should also be a comrade at the feast. Audoin answered them that he could by no means do this, lest he should break the usage of the nation. "You know," he said, "that it is not the custom among us that the son of the king should eat with his father, unless he first receives his arms from the king of a foreign nation."

When he heard these things from his father, Alboin, taking only forty young men with him, journeyed to Turisind, king of the Gepidæ, with whom he had before waged war, and explained the reason for his visit. The king, receiving him kindly, invited him to his table and placed him on his right hand, where Turismod, his former son, had been wont to sit. In the meantime, while the various dishes were made ready, Turisind, reflecting that his son had sat there only a little while before, and recalling to mind the death of his child and beholding his slayer present and sitting in his place, drew deep sighs and could not contain himself. At last his grief broke forth into utterance. "This place," he said, "is dear to me, but the person who sits in it is grievous enough to my sight." Then another son of the king, who was present, aroused by his father’s speech, began to provoke the Lombards with insults, declaring (because they wore white bandages from their calves down) that they were like mares with white feet up to the legs, and saying, "The mares that you take after have fetlocks." Then one of the Lombards thus answered, "Go to the field of Asfeld and there you can find beyond a doubt how stoutly those whom you call mares succeed in kicking; there the bones of your brother are scattered in the midst of the meadows like those of a vile beast."

When they heard these things, the Gepidæ, unable to bear the tumult of their passions, violently stirred in anger and strove to avenge the open insult. The Lombards, ready for the fray, all laid their hands on the hilts of their swords. The king, leaping forth from the table, thrust himself into their midst and restrained his people from anger and strife. He threatened to punish him who first engaged in fight, and said that it is a victory not pleasing to God when anyone kills his guest in his own house. Thus at last the quarrel having been allayed, they now finished the banquet with joyful spirits. And Turisind, taking up the arms of Turismod his son, delivered them to Alboin and sent him back in peace and safety to his father’s kingdom. Alboin, having returned to his father, was made from that time his table companion. And when he joyfully partook with his father of the royal delicacies, he related in order all the things which had happened to him among the Gepidæ in the palace of Turisind. Those who were present were astonished and applauded the boldness of Alboin, nor did they less extol in their praises the most honorable behavior of Turisind.

1 , translated by W. D. Foulke. Philadelphia, 1907. Department of History, University of Pennsylvania.

2 Paul the Deacon, Historia gentis Langobardorum, i, 23–24.

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Chicago: W. D. Foulke, trans., History of the Langobards by Paul the Deacon in Readings in Early European History, ed. Webster, Hutton (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1926), 270–271. Original Sources, accessed September 29, 2023, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=STVA8D4UAHGKYXC.

MLA: . History of the Langobards by Paul the Deacon, translted by W. D. Foulke, in Readings in Early European History, edited by Webster, Hutton, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1926, pp. 270–271. Original Sources. 29 Sep. 2023. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=STVA8D4UAHGKYXC.

Harvard: (trans.), History of the Langobards by Paul the Deacon. cited in 1926, Readings in Early European History, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.270–271. Original Sources, retrieved 29 September 2023, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=STVA8D4UAHGKYXC.