64-gun Ship LE FLEURON by Gerard DELACROIX

By Gerard DELACROIX

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The army, by the middle of the fifth century mostl y German , tended to fa vour an effecti ve civil administration, as it relied on the capacity of the government 10 coHeel (axes for its livelihood. I t had no permanent geographical base, but its centres lay in the northern cities (the North being most liable to invasion) and its relationship with Ravenna was close. The underlying opposition between the Senate and the administration was twofold . First , the Senate tended to regard itself as the legitimate source of authority in the Lat e Roman state, subject only to the emperor.

The first is the absence of evidence for any particular ferven cy for religion along the Lombards at all. Authari's anti-Catholic edict we have already referred to: it was limited to refusing to Lombards the right 10 baptise their children Catholic. Authari certainly had Catholic followers, however; Gregory tells us about one. 13 Arioald and Rothari can be seen in surviving actions 10 respect at least the rights of the Church of Rome over Catholics in Lombard territory. Of Grimoald 's religious sensibilities we know nothing whatsoever - though Paul, our major source here, never admitted any of his kings to be Arian with the sole exception ofRothari.

Droclulf was clhnically a Sueve, and the Lombard confederalion included a large number of different ethnic groups - Saxons, Gepids, Bulgars, Sarmalians, Sueves, Thuringians, Pannonian Romans - and the Saxons can actually be seen acting as a homogeneous group in our sources. Such a mix cannot have helped Lombard political cohesion in the period. By now, Spoleto and Benevento had certainly turned against Byza ntium , and could spread havoc in the peninsula . On the other hand , the Byzantines by 580 had bought the duke ofFriuli , Grasulf, probably the most powerful duke in the North.

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