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Note: All photos all thumbnailed links. Click on them for notes on figures and painting.
Although my familiarity with Lombard history is not comprehensive, I have noticed two enemies that seem to be missing from the DBA 1.1 Lombard enemy list.
In summary therefore, I would suggest that both the Magyars (DBA #107) and Arab Imperial (DBA #100) be added to the list of possible Lombard enemies.
- At the battle of Brenta in 899, a force of 15,000 Lombards were apparently annihilated by a smaller force of only 5,000 Magyars.
- As early as 812 Arabs were reported to be raiding islands off the coast of Italy. By 820 the North African Aghlabids were beginning their conquest of Sicily, and by 835 were starting to make their presence felt on the Italian mainland. In that year Naples invited a group of Arab mercenaries to settle at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. In 838 Arabs sacked Brindisi, in 840 Taranto was briefly occupied and in 840 or 841 Bari was plundered.
The Byzantines still claimed these cities as part of the Empire, albeit temporarily in Lombard possession. In reality the Lombards were in sole control of these areas. Under Byzantine prodding Venice did send two fleets against the Arabs raiding the Adriatic coast, but both attempts met with defeat.
In 846 a huge Arab raiding party, reportedly consisting of 11,000 men, 500 horses and 73 ships sacked Rome. The next year, 847, saw the Arab capture of Bari. This toehold in Apulia (the "heel" of Italy) became a sort of "mini-emirate". It seemed that Southern Italy was going to be conquered as Sicily had been. Indeed, Taranto and several inland towns also fell to the "Saracens". For twenty four years this Emirate on the mainland of Italy was the cause of frequent raids and warfare against the Lombards and the Papacy.
However Bari had been conquered by one Kalfun, an Arab adventurer of low-status and as a result, the Muslim expansion into Italy was regarded as relatively unimportant. Eventually Holy Roman Emperor Louis II was able to successfully retake Bari in 871 although warfare still continued for many years. As late as 915 a combined military force fought a band of Arabs that was harassing Papal territory near Gaeta. It seems the threat of Muslim conquest had receded, but after the recapture of Bari, the frequency of Arab slave raids actually increased. Numerous sources claim severe depopulation in the Lombard principalities as a result.
Links to Related Websites
- De Minoribus Rebus
Principes Consultant Some pictures of a DBM Lombard army from Matteo Martegani,an Italian wargamer.
- Peoples of the Dark Ages A quick description of many of the early Dark Ages tribes and nations, including the Lombards.
- Ian Heath, Armies of the Dark Ages, Wargames Research Group.
- Barbara M. Kreutz, Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, University of Pennsylvania Press.