Timeline                                                         Music                                                          Reading list

 List of rulers                                                 Maps


This is a general timeline of the story so far in the podcast

410 – The visigoth King, Alaric, invades Italy and sacks rome

452 – Attilla the Hunn invades Italy and arrives in Pavia where he is convinced to turn back by pope Leo I

475 – Birth of Severinus Boethius

476 – End of the Western Roman Empire. Odoacer becomes “king” of Italy

480 – Cassiodorus is born in Squillace. Possible year of birth of St. Benedict

488 – King of the Ostrogoths Theodoric starts his long march west

489 – 28th August. Odoacer meets Thodroci along the banks of the Isonso and is defeated

30th august. The two armies meet again and Odoacer is again defeated

493 – Ravenna falls to the Ostogoth siege and Odoacer is killed along with his family and followers

493 – Theodoric completes the cinquest of Italy

500 – Theodoric visits Rome and published an edict with 144 articles

523 – Relationships between Theodoric, Boethius break down over Simmachus

524 – Justin’s edict against heresies

524 – Boethius executed

526 – Death of Theodoric

529 – The monastery at Montecassino is completed

535 – Amalasunta is killed by order of her cousin Theodahad

535 – the general Belisarius arrives in Sicily

539 – First Frankish invasion of Northern Italy

540 – Gregory the Great is born in Rome

554 – The emperor Justinian issues the Pragmatica sanzione giving the Italian bishops greater autonomy and administrative power

568 – Alboino’s Lombards enter Italy. Milan falls on 3rd September

572 – Pavia surrenders to the Lombardsl. In the same year Alboin is assassinated in a plot by his wife Rosamunda. Cleph is acclaimed king.

574 – First appearance of the Duchies

578 – The Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento lay siege to Rome, but are dissuaded by pope Pelagius’s offer of gold

590 – Gregory the great is elected pope

599 – Italy is divided into three spheres of influence: Lombards, Bizantines and Romans

604 – Death of Gregory the great

636 – 652 – Reign of Rotary

643 – Rotary publishes a civil and penal code in a 388 chapter edict





Reading list

Early middle ages

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Teodorico il grande, (Theodoric the Great) 

Collacci Antonio

Mursia , 2001

Easy to read and well narrated with good insight into the life of the king. It starts by giving some family background and moves into the period just after his death and up to the Byzantine invasion. A little more of a look into the life of Theodoric would have been interesting

Amalasunta, la Regina (Amalasuntha, The Queen)

Vito Antonio Sirago

Jaca Books, Milan, 1999

A nice, easy to read book that brings the character and value of an otherwise ignored historical figure. It shows that she wasn’t just a victim of circumstance, but a real player on the national and international scene, as well as showing her great human value.

L’Italia dei Barbari (Barbarian Italy)

Claudio Azzara

Il Mulino, Bologna, 2002

A light, easy to read, yet well-reesarched book that goes from the fall of the Roman Ampire to the defeat of the Lombards and the arrival of the Franks. A great book if you want to get a quick idea of the period from 467 to the end of the eight century

La guerra gotica (The Gothic War)

Procopius of Cesarea

Garzanti, Milan, 2005

A nice surprise. I picked it up imagining I would just leaf through to get some dates and info,  ut ended up reading all 700 pages cover to cover in quite a short time. Full of interesting anecdotes as well as the story of the the 535 – 552 war. It is quite well balanced considering it was written by a member of the Byzantine contingent.

Totila L’immortale (Totila the immortal)

Dante Rossetto

Canova, Treviso, 1999

A book stuck between a history and a historical novel. Basically the biography of King Totila told from the point of view of his personal servant. It’s rather pro-goth, but interesting and informative, a good read.

Teodolinda, una regina per l’europa (Theodolina, a queen for Europe)

A biography of the Lombard queen that stretches back to the origins of her people and the conquest of Italy, before telling us about th Queen herself and the traces you can find of her in modern day Italy.

Andare per L’Italia Bizantina (Travelling around Byzantine Italy)

Giorgio Ravegnani

Il Mulino, Bologna 2016

A book for lovers of art and archeology about the traces of the Byzantines you can find in Italy today by region and city

Geschicte der Langobarden (History of the Lombards)

Jörg Jarnut

Verlag W Kohlhammer GmbH, Stuggart, Berlin, Koln, Mainz, 1982

A surprisingly fluid, informative, yet not too heavy read on a general history of the Lombards, focusing mainly on their presence in Italy

Italia Longobarda

Stefano Gasparri

Laterza, Rome – Bari 2012

A very detailed look at many different aspects of the Lombard reign in Italy, oarticukarly in the 8th century with a look at politics, economy and social groups. The book shows great depth of original source study and a view on a local and family level. Not an easy read, but precious if you really want to get to know the Lombards.

Storia dell’Italia medioevale

Paolo Cammarosano

La Terza Roma-Bari 2001

A book based more on social issues and ideas rather than a narrated, chronological history, but good for some insights into the economic and social situations in the early middle ages.



Early Medieval Italy, central power and local society 400-1000

Chris Wickam

Macmillan, London, 1981

A good book to get a general overview of Italy in this period, focusingocus on social and economic organisation, yet a little hard to follow when it comes to political history.  A great integration to a more narrative text.


La vita quotidiana dei Longobardi ai tempi di re Rotari (Daily life of the Lombards in the age of king Rotari)

Dario Pedrazzini

Gabriele Angelini Editore, Imola, 2007

An interesting look into the daily life of the Lombards in the 7th century, from their diet and clothes to Religion and war tactics. A great read for those that like to know about the history of every-day life.

List of rulers

After the fall of the Empire

Odoacer (476 – 493)

Ostrogoth rulers

Theodoric (493 – 526)

Athalaric (526 – 534

Amalasuntha (534 – 535)

Theodahad (534 – 536)

Vitiges (536 – 540)

Ildibad (540 – 541)

Eraric (541)

Totila (541 – 552)

Teia (552)




Maps and images

The mountains and plains of Italy


Here you can see how most of Italy is mountainous except for the area of the Po river valley

Lombard and Byzantine Italy


Here you can see how Italy was divided at the time of the maximum Lombard expansion. Thanks to the students of Anna Bellini’s class for the map!

Lomabrd men and women at the time of king Rothari

Images by Christina Tisi from “La Vita Quotidiana dei Longobardi ai tempi di re Rotar” (Daily life of the Lombards at the time of king Rothari) by Dario Pedrazzini.  Buy it on Amazon