Category Archives: Slovenes

Tassilo’s Grant to Innichen Abbey

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The last (since he crossed the Franks) Bavarian ruler of the Agilolfing dynasty was Tassilo III (circa 741 – circa 796).  He is also important for the history of the Slavs as he established a number of monasteries that mention the Slavs and that were set up for their instruction in the Christian faith and to spread Bavarian influence, of course.  One of these documents appears in the Monumenta Boica, specifically, the Monumenta Schledorfensia, although really comes from the Cozroh-Codex (BayHStA HL Freising 3a).  It is a document issued by Tassilo in Bolzano (Bauzanum or Bauzana) which, at the time was part of Bavaria (now main city in South Tyrol) and establishes a monastery at Innichen in South Tyrol.  Note that during the gradual decline of the Romans’ influence in the 7th century, Bavarian immigration took place into northern Italy and the first mention of a Bavarian ruler in Bolzano dates from 679. The document discussed here comes from about a century later, from the year 769.

There are several interesting things here:

  • Innichen’s name was India – does it have to do with the Wends? Windische?  Most likely
  • the abbot Atto comes from Scharnitz which is itself clearly a Slavic name
  • Kislot, one of the signatories, reminds me of Niklot

In Bolzano
A.D. 769
(MB 9, page 9, number 2)

“In the name of God.  I Tassilo Duke of the Bavarians asks for divine mercy and eternal happiness, a steady hand, with the consent of the noblemen of the Bavarians, I bestow and establish the place known as India [Innchin[g]/Innichen], that the commoners call the Gelau field [ice field – compare gelato], to the abbot Atto of [Scharnitz] the church of Saint Peter, the prince of the Apostles, or other saints and martyrs for the benefit of my soul and those of my ancestors, for the establishment of the monastery and its servants, from the river called Tesido to the ends of [the habitations of] the Slavs, that is to the brook of Mount Anarasium, whole and entire, the flatlands, and the mountains, pastures, hunting grounds, swamps, all the shrubs, pertaining to the same place; and no one should in the future bother the natives nor any of those places or lodge complaints about the East [?]. neither during the time of the aforesaid Abbot Atto nor during the time of his successors, for with my own hand and ability, I lay down the letters of [this] document before my judges and nobles, for these places that have been, as we know, empty and uninhabitable since ancient times.  But now, I hear [your] asking and humbly beseeching, and [therefore] bestow for the education of the unbelieving Slavs in order to lead them onto the path of truth and with a happy countenance to deliver this advice; and I order that no one from my heirs or coheirs or any other people should oppose or go against this deed of grant or infringe this will of mine and anyone who would so will incur the wrath of God and of all the Saints. I sign with my proper hand, donating and confirming.”

“Done at Bauzano, in the 22nd year of his reign. Alizzeo.  Reginwolf.  Signed by the hands of Gunther. Drudmunt.  Pillunc.  Oatochar.  Hliodro.  Crimperht.  Papo.  Hariperaht.  Kislot.  Iubeano.  With all the bishops as witnesses. I wrote and signed.”

“In Dei nomine. Ego Tassilo Dux Baiovarorum vir iniuster conpunctus de divina misericordia atque de eterna beatitudine, manu valente, cum consensu optimatum Baiovarorum dono atque transfundo locum nuncupantem India, quod vulgus campo Gelau vocantur, Attoni Abbati ad Ecclesiam sancti Petri Apostolorum Principis, seu certorum sanctorum Apostolorum atque Martyrum, pro remedium anime mee, seu & antecessorum meorum, in edificatione monasterii atque ipsius servitio, a rivo, que vocatur tesidousque ad terminos Sclavorum, id est ad rivolum montis Anarasi, totum atque integrum, campestria, seu & montana, pascuas, venationes, umecta, seu & frutecta omnia ad eadem pertinentia locum, ut nullus deinceps genitorum hominum queat, nec usurpando presumat quis quolibet ingenio aut querimonia oriente, ullo modo inquietare locum, atque inhabitantes in eo, in exordio rationis predicto Abbati Attoni nec posteros eius, quia manu propria, ut potui, caracteres Cyrografu inchoando depinxi eoram iudicibus atque optimatibus meis, quia et ipsa loca ab antiquo tempore inanem atque inhabitabilem esse cognovimus.  Nunc vero postulantem atque humiliter supplicantem audivi et propter incredulam generationem Sclavorum,ad tramitem veritatis deducendam concessi, et hilari vultu tradedi per presentes apices, ut nullus, quod fieri minime arbitror, ex heredibus aut coheredibus meis, sive quolibet opposita persona, qui contra hanc epistolam donationis ire aut infrangere vult, iram Dei incurrat & omnium sanctorum. Signum manus mee propria Tassilonis donante atque confirmante.”  

“Actum in Bauzano, rediente de Italia, anno ducatui eius XXII.  Alizzeo.  Reginwolf.  Signum manus Gundheri.  Drudmunt.  Pillunc.  Oatochar.  Hliodro.  Crimperht.  Papo.  Hariperaht.  Kislot.  Iubeano.  Alim Episcopus testis.  Ego anno indignus iussus scripsi & subscripsi.”

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September 28, 2017

The Ordinance of Louis the Pious Regarding the Division of the Empire

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Another interesting Frankish capitulary document dates back to 817 and is the Ordinance of Louis the Pious regarding the Division of the Empire.  It begins with the words (check out the letters on top too):

“Divisio imperii domni Hludowici inter dilectos filios suos inter Hlotharium et videlicet et Pippinum et Hludowicum anno quarto imperii sui.”

It contains a reference to the Slavs:

“2. Likewise we will that Louis shall have Bavaria and Carinthia, and the Bohemians, Avars, and Slavs, who are on the eastern side of Bavaria; and furthermore, two demesne towns to do service to him, in the county of Nortgau, Lauterburg and Ingolstadt.”

“2. Item Hludowicus volumes ut habeat Baioariam et Carentanos et Bheimos et Avaros atque Sclavos qui ab orientali parte Baioariae sunt, et insuper duas villas dominicales ad suum servitium in pago Nortgaoe Luttfraof et Ingoldesstat.”

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September 26, 2017

Of Marshes

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We’ve previously mentioned that the word lug/ług/łęg which means a “marshy meadow” in Slavic (but too in Lithuanian).  As the link above shows, Brueckner was aware that the same name appears in Strabo’s Geography.  Didn’t pick up on this at first but then looking over that work, we came across the following statement about the lands about Pannonia:

“In like manner, also, there is a pass which leads over Ocra from Tergeste, a Carnic village, to a marsh called Lugeum/Lugeon.”

(Strabo’s Geography (Book 7, Chapter 5))

We should also add Mount Ocra sounds vaguely Slavic (okryt “to cover” or kra meaning “ice”) and similar to names such as Uecker or Wkra (recall, for example, Ucromirus).

We’ve already pointed out a few times that it seems odd that the town of Serbinum, also known as Servitium or Servicium in province of Pannonia should have been there under that name already in Ptolemy’s time even though the Serbs are said not to have gotten to the neighborhood until the 6th century (unless the Serbs did not get that name until they got to that area which seems improbable).

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March 28, 2017

Gregory I the Great and His Letters

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Pope Gregory the Great was Pope from 590 till 604.  He is most known today for the “Gregorian” chants, although the chants were not developed until the 8th/9th century and are merely attributed to him.  However, he was also known for Church reforms as well as the multitude of letters he wrote and which have been preserved (most recent edition The letters of Gregory the Great, translated, with introduction and notes, by John R.C. Martyn, 2004).  Among these letters there are two that mention the Slavs.

Letter to Callinicus Exarch of Italy
(May 599)
Book IX Letter 154

“In addition to the news of your victory over the Slavs, truly great joy was brought to me by the fact that Your Excellency sent to Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles, the deliverers of this letter from the island of Caprea [Capritana?], desiring to return to the Holy Church.  For if you bring under the yoke of the true Lord those of whom you know that they are enemies of God, the easier you will be able to defeat your [own] enemies; and the more honestly and piously you guard God’s matters amongst men, the more successful you shall be in your daily dealings with them.  Now as to your having desired that a copy should be shown me of he order that has been sent to you for the defense of the schismatic…”*

* The Exarch was a  Byzantine administrator.   This particular exarch was Callinicus or Gallicinus, the Exarch of Italy resident at Ravenna.  The reference to “Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles” is, of course, a reference to the seat of the Pope, i.e., the Vatican.  Insula Capreae was either a place between Tergeste and Piranum (see Ravenna Geography, Book 4, 31 and Book 5, 14) in Istria or an island at the mouth of the Piave river where Venice lies.

Letter to Maximus Bishop of Salona*
(July 600)
Book X Letter 15

“Venerable Brother, our common son, presbyter Veteranus, coming to Rome found me so weakened by attacks of the gout that I was in unable to find the strength to answer Your letter.  Nevertheless, I suffer much and fear [too] by reason of the pending threat to you from the tribe of the Slavs; I suffer for I am personally affected by what befalls you, and I fear, for by way of Istria they are beginning to make their way to Italy.  Furthermore, what shall I say of Julian the scribe, seeing that  see everywhere how our sins find us out, so as to cause us to be distributed by the nations from without any judges from within?  But be not at all saddened by such things, since those who shall live after us will see worse times…”

* Salona, nearby today’s Solin is about 2 miles from Split, Croatia on the Dalmatian coast.

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January 3, 2017

Saint Marinus and Annianus Face the Vandals

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Marinus and, his nephew, Annianus were (possibly) Scotch(?)-Irish monks who, according to legend, came to Rome in mid-7th century.  They were then sent by Pope Eugene I (which means this must have been between 654 and 657 when Eugene was Pope) to live as hermits to the area of Wilparting (Marinus) and Alb (Annianus) in today’s Oberbayern.  It was there that, forty or so years later in 697, they met their martyr deaths at the hands of…

Well, and that is where it gets interesting.

Irschenberg (contains Wilparting) coat of arms features our Saint

The pagan murderers were apparently Vandals. But… since this was the 7th century, it is more likely that the “Vandals” were Wends, i.e., Slavs and that has become the common interpretation of this legend – an interpretation that seems confirmed by a gloss in one of the sources describing these events.

So what are those sources?

One is called the Legenda Sancti Marini et Ammiani (the so-called Tegernsee Manuscript) and the other the Vita Sancti Marini et Ammiani (the so-called Rott Manuscript).

The Tegernsee version was originally published in volume 1 of the Moumenta Boica (pages 343-350).  It was discussed in the Beyträge zur teutschen Länder-, Völker-, Sitten- und Staaten-Kunde, Volume 1 (1825).  A portion of was also printed in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (SS 15.2 at pages 1068 – 1070).  Another source for this is “Über einige bairische Heiligenviten” by Oswald Holder-Egger published in 1889.  Finally, Bernhard Sepp produced the whole work (Legenda and Vita) in an 1892 edition.

The Tegernsee Manuscript is dated to the 12th century whereas the Rott one to the 15th.  Nevertheless, Oswald Holder-Egger thought the Rott one to be the older version.  The Rott manuscript contains a gloss that explains the words gens… uuandalorum by uulgariter winden.  It also contains an additional sermon written in which has a third version of the events.

The Benedictine Abbey at Rott am Inn

Anyway, the Vita Marinus was terminated by the Slavs (probably) either while he was praying/ conducting prayers in the middle of a dale (burnt to death) – if you believe the Tegernsee version – or, in another variation, because he refused to give the Slavs directions (perhaps, if you want to combine the two, because he thought prayers were more important).  We translated a portion of the Tegernsee version – more to come.

Allegedly, the Wilparting church sits on the site of the hermit house of Saint Marinus

Legenda Sancti Marini et Ammiani
(Tegernsee Manuscript (12th century))
(Lat 18625 (Tegernsee 625), 68r–71v)

“…Temporibus ergo regum Pippini et Karolomanni, quando in Frantia regnaverunt, ipsi sancti predicti, ut suprascriptum est, mira sanctitate in Norica provintia in deserto quodam cis Alpinos montes sito per multos annos in Christo claruerunt.  Adventiente autem die eorum vocationis ad Christum, sicut eis jam dudum coelitus est promissum, simul ambo una die migraverunt de hoc mundo, licet hinc essent assumpti diverso modo.”

Igitur crudelissima gens Wandalorum eadem tempestate idolatriam colens ritu paganorum, de propria egrediens patria longe lateque plura desiderabilia loca vastaverat in provincia Bajoaria, quam circumquaque percurrens pervenit etiam ad cellam Sancti Marini, quem reperit nil hostilem incursionem formidantem intente officiis assistere serviminis divini.  Unde feroces homines nimio concitati furore sanctum Virum studuerunt maximo perturbare dolore.  Omnia namque eius utensilia primitus despoliando violenter ei abstulerunt, moxque illum, ut Christum negaret, plurimis tormentis compellere studuerunt.  Diutinis vero illum verberibus affligebant posteaque cum sevis ungularum lacerationibus eculeo suspensum usque ad nuditatem costarum constringebant.”  

“Therefore, the cruel nation of the Vandals who at the time cultivated pagan rites, emerged from its own lands, ravaged many excellent places in the province of Bavaria, traversing through which [province] they hastened also towards the Saint Marinus’ hut, who [Marinus] was assisting at holy service, expecting no hostile incursion.  Whence the ferocious men grew very furious and strove to cause the most fearsome pain to the holy man.  They violently destroyed all his belongings and carried him away yelling [and] so as to compel him to deny Christ, they invented many torments.  Truly a long time did they whip him and they beat him after and suspended him from hooks until his ribs constricted.”  

“Sanctus autem vir, inter tantas poenas corde et ore Christum confessus, hilari mente illud psalmigraphi carmen Domino canebat indefessus: Dominus mihi adiutor, non timebo, quid faciat mihi homo, et reliqua.  Illos etiam qui se cruciabant totis nisibus ad Dominum convertere desideravit; quibus verbum salutis constanter quasi nil mali sustinens predicavit.  Sed nullo modo durum eorum cor et inpenitens potuit salutiferis doctrinis emollire, qui, ut apostolus ait, sibi thesaurizaverunt iram in die irae.  Quid plura?  Supra modum ergo idem hostes ex patientia sancti viri truculentiores facti et plus quam ille beatus corpore torqueretur cordibus suis cruciati, novissimam hanc sententiam super ipsum fieri statuerunt, scilicet ut grandi igne eum comburerent, quem prefatis atrocibus poenis superare non valuerunt.  Tali quoque tormento martyr sanctus carnem relinquere optavit, qui cum sancto Laurentio et concedere Dominum sempter oravit.  Concupivit enim post obitum suum cum psalmista Domino gaudens concinere: Probasti, Domine, cor meum et visitasti nocte; igne me examinasti, et non est inventa in me iniquitas.”  

“Succenso itaque a Wandalis cumulo lignorum copioso immissus flammis vir Domini Marinus XVII. Kal. Decem. ad Christum migravit fine gloriosso.  Prius tamen, quam obiert, in medio incendiorum, more trium puerorrum a Chaldaeis olim iussu Nabuchodonosor Regis fornacem ignis missorum, quamdiu voluit, Dominmum laudans, per flammas illesus deambulavit. Denique cum gratiarum actione animam Domino reddens in manus sanctorum.  Angelorum eam commendavit.  Nullum vero eius membrum ignis potuit consumere, neque faltem vestimenta eius valuit comburere.  Profani autem Wandali, relicto in igne S. Martiris corpore diffcefferunt; sed Domino disponente ad cellam S. Aniani non venerunt…”  

“…Denique post felicem obitum forum ex divina revelatione quidam prebiter, nomine Priamus in eodem pago habitans sepelevit eos pariter in uno loco, ubi reuieverunt eorum sacra corpora longo tempore…”

They came too late for Marinus

Vita Sancti Marini et Ammiani autentica (written about 749 – 755)
(Rott Manuscript 15th century)
(Lat 15608 (Rot 108), fol. 4r–8v)

“Tempore Leoncii imperatoris contigit, quod gens nefandissima Wandalorum* de Italia fugientes et nescientes viam, et venerunt per viam per cis alpos montes, et illum virum sanctum, cum errando per montes ibant, invenerunt, precipientes ei, ut illis dux itineris esset.  Ille vero vir sanctus votum Deo suo factum habuit, be ab illa specu vivus recederet, non illis aquievit.  Illi vero nefandissimi hoc audientes indignati sunt valde et furore nimio repleti fecerunt ignem succendi ipsumque virum sanctum ligna vehere et ipsum vivum cum ipsa congerie lignorum incendebant eumque in medio posuerunt.  Hac de re vitam finivit XVII kal decembrium.  Prefatus vero sanctus Anianus stimplo cum hoc audiens eodem die, sedens et gaudens de martirio, quiod in socio vel in consobrino factum fuerat, et eucharistiam sibi petens dari, columbam auream de ore exeunte, omnibus astantibus et aspicientibus, ita finivit vitam.  Deinde corpora eorum in terra quiescentia centum quinquaginta annos, tunc revelata sunt viro magno atque sanctissimo Priamo presbitero, et merita illorum et locum in quo iacuerunt indicavit, et ille tunc episcopo nomine Tolusio omnia per ordinem, sicuti ostensum fuerunt, narravit.  Tunc episcopus magno repletus gaudio per viam iter carpere cepit, et ad locum veniens, omnia invenit, sicut sancto viro per visionem revelatum est.  Idcirco tunc prefatus episcopus triduanum ieiunium indicens populo, et tercia die cum omni clero psallencium cum crucibus et ymnis ad locum venientes, omnia repererunt sicut antea creverunt, et levaverunt reliquias cum summo honore, et exportate sunt in loco nuncupato Arrisio, sequentibus vero signis, et in ipsa ecclesia sunt condite cum aromatibus in sarcofago marmoreo niveoque candore et miro ordine polito.  Invencio preciosorum corporum Pipiny Karlomanni tempore, et ipsi Franciam regebant, et in Italia Egilolfi tempore.  Priamus presbiter iussus a domino episcopo Tolusio vidi omnia et scripso et testimoniis hiis gests perhibeo, et testimonium meum verum est, quod ipse scit qui est benedictus in secula seculorum.  Amen.  Expliccit legenda de sancto Marino et ce. de sancto Aniano et cet.  Dentur pro pena scriptori celica regna.  Amen.”

* The manuscript contains a note that explains the words gens… uuandalorum as follows: “uulgariter winden“.

The Rott Manuscript Sermon

The Rott manuscript also contains a sermon about Marinus and Anianus written in the same hand right before the above Vita which sermon provides yet another version of events:

“…Audivit autem, dum quadam die ad missarum sollempnia staret cumcapellano suo sancto Aniano, audivit cocem de celo dicentem sibi: ‘Marine, serve Dei, cito erit remuneracio tua et socii tui Aniani.  Et quia in hoc mundo unam vitam dilexistis, in uno die coronari digni estis.’  Quod et factum est, nam cum Wandali terram nostram vastaturi eo tempore intrarent, accidit, ut ad specum sancti Marini Domino permittente peruenirent, quorum tamen adventum sanctus Marinus prius in spiritu sancto cognouerat; ut autem proprius accesserunt, viderunt venerabilem senem genibus flexis orationibus insistentem; ad cuius caniciem primum exterriti sunt.  Deinde cellulam eius infringentes, interrogaverunt, ubi pecunias suas incole haberent absconditas, et nisi eas ipsis demonstraret, ipsum vivum incenderent.  Ille vero veras pecunias in celo querendas respondit, et quod contra votum suum vivus de antro non exiret.  Ad hanc cocem extrahentes eum et vestibus spoliantes, durissimis verberibus cum affecerunt.  Post hec vero corpus eius in eculeo suspenderunt et carnes eius ungulis laceraverunt, usque dum ossa eius nuda apparerent.  Deinde seponentes eum, facto igne copioso, eum in medium iactaverunt.  Sanctus vero Marinus Deo animam suam commendans oravit, ut eciam Anianum sibi sociaret, et quisquis auxilium eius de quacumque tribulatione peteret, Deus promptum ei ferret auxilium.  Hacque finita oratione, reddidit Deo animam.  Sanctusque Anianus, corporali inifrmitate correptus, diebus illis Sanctum Marinum visitare iuxta consuetudinem suam non potuit; unde per Spiritum sanctum intellexit sanctum Marinum e corpore emigrasse, et communicans de corpore Domini, animam tamquam niveam columbam de ore suo, videntibus qui aderant, ad celos emisit; sicque eo die quo sanctus Marinus per martirium sanctus Anianus vitam finivit per confessionem…”

Further we also read:

“…ita eciam vandali a romanis prouinciis ignominiose expulsi plus seuientes et propter spolia diripienda per eadem montana [Alpium] circumquaque discurrentes ad specum viri dei domino permittente ferebantur…”

And further:

“…Tortoribus ergo vandalicis sine mora per fugam amotis ex eorum relatione, qui eis seruire consueuerant, cognito martirio, quod in magistro et consobrino suo gestum fuerat, gaudens deo gratias agebat sanctam quoque dari eukaristiam post orationem ad deum beatam emisit animam aspicientibus illic astantibus, tanquam columbam auream de de niueo ore suo in celum emiserit…”


Note there is also the manuscript number Latin 23846 (ZZ 846) which may contain another version at f. 349 – 353.  We were unable to check.

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December 29, 2016

The Slavs of Regino of Prüm (& Adalbert of Magdeburg)

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Here we present entries related to Slavs (or of interest to Slavs, see 889 regarding the name “Germany” – similar word play again to germs/spores) from the less known Chronicle of Regino of Prüm (circa 840 – 915) and from the Continuation of the same Chronicle by Adalbert of Magdeburg (910 – 981).  The translation and annotations are by Simon MacLean.


Book I


…King Dagobert fought with the Slavs and overcame them.  At that time a dux named Samo ruled over them.  He also restrained the rebellious Gascons with the sword.  The Huns and Bulgars joined in battle among themselves.  The Huns defeated the Bulgars.  Utterly defeated and driven from Pannonia, nine thousand with their wives and children appealed to King Dagobert for land they needed to live on.  The king ordered that they be received in scattered houses in Bavaria for the winter, and one nigh he ordered them all to be killed together with their wives and children…

Book II


In the year of the Lord’s incarnation 860, Eigil voluntarily renounced the abbacy of Prüm, and Ansbald, a man notable in all sanctity and goodness, succeeded him in command.  In these times the elder Louis [the German], brother of Emperor Lothar [I], very strenuously prosecuted many wars against the Slavic peoples.  Accordingly, he invaded the lands of the Moravians and completely tamed everything by force of arms, capturing their leader Rastiz and ordering his eyes to be gouged out for violating treaties…


…After this, the three aforementioned brothers met in the place called Schwaifeld, and there they divided the paternal kingdom.  Karlmann received Bavaria, Pannonia and Carnuntum [Carinthia], which in bad style is called Carantanum, and also the realms of the Slavs, Bohemians and Moravians.  Louis got east Francia, Thuringia, Saxony, Frisoia and part of Lothar’s kingdom.  To Charles’s portion fell Alemnania and some cities in the kingdom of Lothar.


In the year of the Lord’ incarnation 880, King Karlmann ended his last day on 22 March after a decline into paralysis.  He was buried with due honour in Bavaria, in the place called Altoetting. That most excellent king was learned in letters, dedicated to the Christian religion, just. peace-loving, and in all of  his habits adorned with probity.  The beauty of his body was extraordinary, and his strength too was remarkable; no less so was his greatness of his spirit.  In fact he fought very many battles together with his father, and still more without him, in the lands of the Slavs and always brought back the triumph of victory.  He added to and extended thus the borders of his kingdom with the sword.  He appeared mild to his own people., terrible to his enemies.  He was affable in speech, decorated with humility, and unusually gifted in ordering the affairs of the realm.  In short, nothing which was appropriate to royal majesty seemed to lack in him…

…When Louis [the Younger] heard that his brother had died, he went to Bavaria and came to Regensburg, where all the leading men of the kingdom flocked to him and put themselves under his command.  The king conceded Carinthia to Arnulf because his father had already conceded it to him.; there lies the very well defended stronghold of Moosburg, so called because of the impenetrable bog which surrounds it and offers very difficult entry to those who approach it.


…This is why such great numbers of peoples spring up under the northern skies, so that it is quite correct to call that entire region from the Don to the west by the general name of Germany, though individual places in it also have their own names.  Because Germany is so populous, innumerable groups of captives are often taken from there and sold to southern peoples for money.  Peoples have frequently led this region because it produces so many human beings that there re barely enough resources to feed them.  These groups have afflicted Asia, but mainly they have troubled adjacent parts of Europe.  Ruined cities throughout Illyricum and Gail testify to this, but a hove all unhappy Italy has experienced the savagery of almost all of these peoples.

The Hungarians were thus driven from their home in these lands by a neighboring people called the Petchenegs, because they were superior to them in strength and number and because, as we said before, their own country was not sufficient to accommodate their swelling numbers.

After they had been forced to flee by the violence of the Petchenegs, they said goodbye to their homeland and set out to look for lands where they could live and establish settlements.  First they roamed the wildernesses of the Pannonians and the Avars, and sought their daily food by hunting and fishing.  Then they attacked the lands of the Carinthians, Moravians and Bulgars with the infestation of constant raids, killing a very few with the sword and many thousands with arrows, which they fire from their bows made of horn with such skill that it is almost impossible to avoid being hit by them…


In the year of the Lord’s incarnation 890, King Arnulf gave the command [ducats] of the Bohemians to King Zwentibald of the Moravian Slavs.  Hitherto, the Bohemians had rulers from among their own kind and people, and had kept the fidelity they promised to the kings of the Franks by inviolable agreement.  Arnulf did this because, before he had been raised to the throne of the kingdom, he had been joined to Zwentibald in close friendship.  In fact, he raised from the holy font Arnulf’s son, who was born to him by a concubine, and named him Zwentibald after him.  This matter [the granting of Bohemia to Zwentibald of Moravia] provided a considerable stimulus for discord and defections.  For the Bohemians, on the one hand, withdrew the fealty that they had long kept, and Zwentibald, on the other, believing himself to have gained considerable strength through that acquisition of another realm and puffed up with the arrogance of price, rebelled against Arnulf.  When Arnulf learned about this reinvaded the Moravian realm and razed everything outside the cities to the ground.  Finally, because even the fruit trees were being uprooted, Zwentibald asked for peace and, having given his son as a hostage, belatedly gained it…


…While this [invasion by the Northmen] was going on, King Arnulf was staying in the furthermost parts of Bavaria, restraining the insolence of the Slavs…


…At that same time Arn, the venerable bishop of Wuerzburg, set out to fight the Slavs at the urging and encouragement of Poppo dux of the Thuringians, and was killed in battle [July 13].  Count Conrad’s brother Rudolf gained his seat and succeeded him as bishop.  Arnulf granted some of Count Megingoz’s offices to his son Zwentibald…”


…Also around this time Zwentibald king of the Moravian Slavs, a man most prudent among his people and very cunning by nature, ended his final day.  His sons held his kingdom for a short and unhappy time, because the Hungarians utterly destroyed everything in it.*

* Moimir and Zwentopulk.  By 906 the Hungarians encouraged by the Franks, had effectively destroyed Moravian power.

Adalbert’s Continuation 


The Bavarians fought the Hungarians, and many were cut down with a great slaughter.  In this battle dux Liutpold [of Bavaria] was killed.  His son Arnulf succeeded him in the command [ducatus]*

* The Battle of Bratislava was a major defeat for the Franks.


…Meanwhile King Henry strongly persisted in stabilizing peace and restraining the savagery of the Slavs.


King Henry attacked the Bohemians with hostile intent and with God’s aid he courageously conquered them.  At that time a son named William was born to the same king’s son Otto…


King Henry made the king of the Abodrites and the king of the Danes into Christians…


King Henry cut the Hungarians down with a great slaughter, and took even more prisoner.  In that same year he attacked the Slavs called Vucrani with hostile intent; he defeated them and made them his tributaries…


…In the same year Boleslaw, ruler of the Bohemians, rebelled against the king, who went against him with a very strong force and enforced his lordship completely…


The Hungarians came forth with such a great multitude that they said they could not be defeated by anyone unless the earth swallow them up or the sky fell and crushed the them.  With God’s support they were defatted at the River Lech by the army of the kings with so great a slaughter that never before among our people was such a victory heard of or accomplished.  Conrad, the former dux, was killed there.  When he had returned from there there king sent his army against the Slavs, where he won a similar victory and struck them down with a great massacre.*  Wichmann was expelled.  The king’s brother Henry, after recovering from his desperate situation and receiving the dukedom of Bavaria, died.  The pious king gave the ducats and the march to Henry’s son Henry.  The king’s son Otto [future Otto II] was born.

* The Battle of Recknitz (October 16), at which Otto defatted the Abodrites and their allies.


The king attacked the Slavs [Redarii] again…


…In that same year, by the doing of Archbishop Brun’s faction, Count Reginar was captured and sent into exile among the Slavs…


The king invaded the Slavs again, and Thietmar was killed there.*

*Presumably Otto’s battle against Slavs led by Wichmann the Younger during the previous year.


…Their sons Adalbert and Guy wandered aimlessly here and there, but they along with their followers still possessed certain fortifications, namely the strongholds at Garda* and Val Travaglia, and an island on Lake Como…

* notice the Slavic (?) Garda near Lake Como.  For Jesen in the area see here.


…Back home the Slavs called Lausitzer were also subdued.


…In the meantime Bishop Guy of Modena approached the emperor in Saxony on a mission for Adalbert, pretending with fox-like cunning to be loyal to the emperor and boasting that he would betray those who were unfaithful.  But he did not share in the emperor’s presence or conversation.  Instead, after he had been allowed to return home in shame, he was arrested int he Alps on the other side of Chur and, after being sent back to Saxony, wass placed in custody among the Slavs.

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November 25, 2016

Saint Amand’s Fail Among the Danubian Slavs

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Amandus (circa 575 – circa 676) aka Saint Amand of Maastricht was a bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht and one of the Christian missionaries in Flanders.  The primary source for the details of his life is the, appropriately named, Vita Sancti Amandi, an eighth-century Saint’s Lives text written by Beaudemond/Baudemundus and later expanded by Philippe of Aumône.


During the course of his rather unusually long life, Saint Amand also tried his hand at converting the Slavs (probably the Carantanians) which, it turns out, did not go so well.  We present here chapter 16 of the Vita which deals with that episode (and is yet another very early mention of Slavs).  The events described below likely took place immediately prior to or during the reign of Samo.


“When the holy man saw that his preaching had already converted some, he still burnt with a great desire to convert others and when he heard that the Slavs, horribly misled by the lies of the devil who’d bound and oppressed them, [and] especially convinced that he could win the prize of martyrdom, he crossed the Danube in the same places to free them by preaching the Gospel of Christ.   [Yet] only a few of those turned to Christ and seeing himself not increasing the fruit and not able to obtain martyrdom which he’d always sought, he returned again to his own sheep, to care for their needs and induce them, by preaching, to turn to the heavenly kingdom.”


(Cum iam vir sanctus videret praedicatione sua nonnullos converti, et adhuc maiori aestuans desiderio, quatenus adhuc alii converterentur, audivit, quod Sclavi, nimio errore decepti, a diaboli laqueis tenerentur oppressi, maximeque martyrii palmam se adsequi posse confidens, transfraetato Danubio, eadem circumiens loca, libera voce euangelium Christi gentibus praedicabat.  Paucisque ex his in Christo regeneratis, videns etiam sibi minime adcrescere fructum et martyrium, quem semper quaerebat, minime adepturum, ad proprias iterm reversus est oves, curamque gerens earum, ad caelestia regna praedicando perduxit.)

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October 17, 2016


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One of the more interesting Carolingian documents regarding Slavic presence in what is today Germany and Austria is a notice from the early 9th century setting a borderline between the parish lands of Puchenau (aka Buchenau near Linz, in today’s Austria, first mentioned in 807) by the mountain of Chestinperc/Caestinincperc (Pöstlingberg?) and the neighboring Slavic landholdings.


The bishop of Freising and Wilhelm, the count of Traungau (Travensko) on the river Traun decided to settle the matter and in order to achieve this, they brought the local elders from the Bavarian and Slavic side.  Thirty-two Bavarian witnesses and twenty-one Slavic ones testified to where the old boundary ran between the church lands of Puchenau and the lands of clan Techolin (the Slavic count above apparently not including Techolin himself and maybe not his sons either).  Based on the common understanding among them, the bishop and the count laid out and confirmed the boundary line.


At Chestinperc, August 21, 827

Notice of the agreement respecting Puchenau that the Bishop Hitto and Count Wilhelm made with the Slavs

“The venerable men Bishop Hitto and Count Wilhelm came to that place that is called Pohinawa and in that field that is so-called Caestinincperc* [Pöstlingberg?] and how many other nobles came correctly defining and deciding the boundaries between the House of God [i.e., the church parish] at Pohinava and the Slavs remaining there almost until no arguments were left.  But then count Wilhelm accompanied by Gerold commanded the Bavarian and Slav elders [to tell them] where the correct boundary was.  And so he brought agreement amongst the both of these groups: that the boundary ought to run to the House of God [i.e., the church] from that stream that is called Deozinbach [Sagbach?] where that [stream] empties into the Danube and then traveling to the old rocks and to Chestinperc; then on the east side until the border’s end as it runs to Linz and in the middle of which there are three green faunas;** and from the marks etched in them to the other boundaries.  This convention and agreement was made between the venerable Bishop Hitto and Techolin and his sons.  In the presence of count Wilhelm and others.  Altmar. Otperht.  Uolchuni.  Azzo.  Otuni.  Cozperht.  Adaluuart.  Booso.  Cozhelm.  Solih.  Emheri.  Pilicrim.  Uuillipato.  Oadalrih.  Uro.  Aliuuich.  Cozolt.  Alprih.  Cotafrid.  Irminfrid.  Emicho.  Tutti.  Fritilo.  Oaio.  Sigiuole.  Karaheri.  Adalker.  Salakrim.  Toto.  Hrodperht.  Drudolt.  Aaron. isti Sclauanii ibi presentes erant.  Egilolf.  Uualdrat.  Liupisco.  Zanto.  Traninh.  Tal.  Zemilo.  Liupnic.  Trepigo.  Liupin.  Uuelan.  Uuittan.  Uuento.  Tagazino.  Tesco.  Ocatino.  Zebon.  Zenasit.  Zinacho.  Dabramis.  Medilim.  This was done at Chestinperc on the 12th of [September] [Julian calendar].  In the 14th year of  emperor Louis the Pious, the 5th indiction.”

Caestinincperc may (like Puochinawa) be of Slavic origin referring to the tree Aesculus.  Both the Slavic kasztanowiec and the German Kastanienbaum/Kastanie come froom (or are cognate with?) the Latin castanea but the -ninc suffix suggests a Slavic origin.  The -perc probably is a German add-on suffix referring to a mountain (Berg).   

** Faunas has been seen as referring to the Fagus trees, i.e., the beeches or Buchen that seem to have given the name to the municipality of Puchenau (earlier Buchenau).  willi1

ad Chestinperc, August 21, 827

Notitia de illo placito ad Puochinauua quod Hitto episcopus et Uuillihelm habuerunt cum Sclauis.

“Conuenientibus uenerabilibus uiris Hitto episcopus et Uuillihelm comis ad illo loco quae dicitur Pohinauua et in illum campum qui sic dictum est caestinincperc et alii quam plurimi nobiles recte difiniendum et dirimendum terminum illum inter ipsa casa dei ad Pochinauua inter Sclauanis ibidem prope comanentibus ut nulla contentio inde eleuaretur.  tunc uero Uuillihelm comis secundum Keroldi iussionem quesiuit inter uetustissimis uiris Baiouuariis et Sclauaniis ubi rectissimum terminum inuenire potuissent.  et ita se concordantes inter ambobus.  ut ipsa marca ad casa dei pertinere deberet de illo riuolo qui dicitur Deozinbach ubi ipse fluxit in Danubium et deinde circumiens ad ueteranis petris usque ad Chestinperc.  deinde ad orientalem partem ad illo termino, quae marchit ad Linza et in medietatem fauas iii uirentes.  et illae signas in eis habent usque ad aliis terminis.  ista conuenientia et conplacitatio factum fuit inter ipso uenerabili episcopo Hittone et Techolino et filiis eius.  Uuillihelmo comite presente et aliis.  Altmar. Otperht.  Uolchuni.  Azzo.  Otuni.  Cozperht.  Adaluuart.  Booso.  Cozhelm.  Solih.  Emheri.  Pilicrim.  Uuillipato.  Oadalrih.  Uro.  Aliuuich.  Cozolt.  Alprih.  Cotafrid.  Irminfrid.  Emicho.  Tutti.  Fritilo.  Oaio.  Sigiuole.  Karaheri.  Adalker.  Salakrim.  Toto.  Hrodperht.  Drudolt.  Aaron. isti Sclauanii ibi presentes erant.  Egilolf.  Uualdrat.  Liupisco.  Zanto.  Traninh.  Tal.  Zemilo.  Liupnic.  Trepigo.  Liupin.  Uuelan.  Uuittan.  Uuento.  Tagazino.  Tesco.  Ocatino.  Zebon.  Zenasit.  Zinacho.  Dabramis.  Medilim.  Aetum est ad Chestinperc in xii. kalend.  Septembris.  anno Hludouuici imperatoris sui.  xiiii.  indictione v.”  


What’s fascinating about these names is the fact that most would not be identified as Slavic were they to appear out of context.  With the exception of Dabramis and Liupnic the other names are either ambiguous (Zemilo, Zenasit, Zinacho, Liupin, Uuelan and Uuittan) or maybe Germanic (Egilolf certainly, Uualdrat).  

On the other hand, a number of the other names may or may not be Germanic.  Note that the non-Slavs are not specifically identified as Bavarians nor as something else.  Thus, we have Uolchuni, Solih, Pilicrim, Salakrim (!?) not to mention Aaron.


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September 13, 2016

Crantz’s Wends

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Crantz (or Creontius/Craentius) was an eighth century Bavarian dignitary – chancellor to the Bavarian Duke Tassilo III (circa 736 – circa 796).

Tassilo (the last of the dynasty of Agolfings) was at various times in rebellion against Charlemagne and, as with all who rebelled against that tyrant, he did not profit by his resistance.  In the end he was outmaneuvered, forced to renounce his claims on Bavaria and was eventually tonsured (along with his son) and he and his family were forced to live out their lives as monks and nuns in the monastery at Lorsch and, as regards the daughters (as per the Chesne fragment), at Chelles and Laon.



So much for Tassilo.


Crantz does not appear much in literature but he is generally accepted as a genuine 8th century source.  References to Crantz’s now lost works are made in manuscripts written much later by Johann Georg Turmair or Thurmayr aka “Johannes Aventinus” or just Aventinus of Bavaria (1477 – 1534).  Aventinus is known as the father of Bavarian historiography and he mentions fragments that are generally accepted to have originated with Crantz.

The two works of note are Aventinus’:

  • Annales ducum Bavariae (the “Annals“), and
  • Baierische Chronik  (the “Chronicle“).

The Annals were written first in Latin.  The Chronicle is basically a German language version of the Annals.  Both were republished in the 19th century, most notably by Riezler (1882) as part of a wider set of Aventinus’ works.  They came to the attention of King when he was putting together an English translation of various sources regarding Charlemagne.

What interest us in particular are the mentions of Slavs – the Carantanians – in excerpts from the Annals and the Chronicle that attributed to Crantz.  We present these here in King’s English translation, along with the print versions of the same passages and the original manuscript pages (Clm 283 Annales; Cgm 1562 Chronik) .

We start with the print versions of the Annals:


And of the Chronicle:


Year 771

“…There succeeded Hadrian I, who supported the imperial regions against the Lombards.  The Lombards and stirred up (?) the Germans against the king of the Lombards.”


“The Lombards were were defeated by the Venetians [King notes ‘perhaps ‘by the Wends’ and notes that what follows (two words it seems) is ‘illegible’ ‘].”


Year 772

“Theodo, son of Tassilo, was taken to Italy, to Desiderius, his grandfather, and thence to Rome; he was baptized (?) at Whitsuntide.”


“A people extremely ferocious in war at this time were the Slavs or Wends, to use the language of common speech, or, to use their own, the Charini or Chariones [Carantanians], who lived on the rivers Drava and Mura [‘ad Dravus Nuciamque (?)’].  Into Italy with an immense multitude…”

[and the source breaks off]

[the parallel with the Charini of Jordanes’ Getica or, to the extent they were different, with the  Germanic Harii is interesting]

Year 772

“And the above-named princes, duke Tassilo, his wife, the duchess Liutperga, and their son, duke Dieth or Theodo, out of special devotion for the salvation of their souls, dispatched to Rome with truly great offerings a splendid embassy: bishop Alim of Saeben, count Maegel, count Machelm and many other magnates, spiritual and temporal, brave and eminent men.  King Charles would not let them all pass;”


“he allowed only the above-named Alim of Saeben or Brizen and abbot Atto of Mondsee to proceed to Rome and made all the other people go home again — But duke Tassilo was displeased by this affair; he felt insulted that his cousin, king Charles, had refused to let his people through and was seized by a great rancor towards him.  King Charles, for his part, was no less anxious about his cousin, duke Tassilo, who, to him, was aiming to be just too powerful; Tassilo was certainly at one with the Saxons, Wends and Huns, all of whom had long been sworn and mortal enemies of king Charles and all the kings in Francia.”


“A fierce war was on the point of breaking out.  Then pope Hadrian intervened became a mediator and sent two bishops from Rome to Bavaria, to duke Tassilo, who made peace between the duke and the king.  Duke Tassilo came to his cousin, king Charles, at Worms [781] and gave him great gifts of goods and money; in return the king gave him even more, receiving duke Tassilo right honourably and treating him with great propriety and respect.  They concluded an eternal peace with each other.  And so duke Tassilo went back to Bavaria and again sent count Machelm, a very elderly lord, with many companions, on pilgrimage to Rome.  All died there, of fever.”

Post Scriptum

Note that the Annals, the Chronicle and other writings by Aventinus also mention Wends/Slavs elsewhere but those passages are not attributable to Crantz so we do not generally present them here.  Nevertheless, since Chapter 78 of the Chronicle does address Tassilo’s (Thessel’s) dealings with the Carantanian Slavs, we thought we should include those passage here.  We leave to you to translate the terrible things that the Carantanian Slav pagans did to deserve their fate according to the author.  The like source here is the Conversion of the Carantanians:


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September 5, 2016

Paul the Deacon’s Historia Langobardorum – Part II

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Here we continue with Paul the Deacon where we left off in Book 4 of the History of the Lombards.


in Carniolam Sclavorum patriam

Chapter 38

“After the death, as we said, of Gisulf, duke of Forum Julii, his sons Taso and Cacco undertook the government of this dukedom. They possessed in their time the territory of the Slavs which is named Zeilia (Gail-thal), [The valley of the Gail in Carinthia and eastern Tyrol] up to the place which is called Medaria (Windisch Matrei), hence, those same Slavs, up to the time of duke Ratchis, paid tribute to the dukes of Forum Julii. Gregory the patrician of the Romans killed these two brothers in the city of Opitergium (Oderzo) by crafty treachery. For he promised Taso that he would cut his beard,* as is the custom, and make him his son, and this Taso, with Cacco his brother, and some chosen youths came to Gregory fearing no harm. When presently he had entered Opitergium with his followers, straightway the patrician ordered the gates of the city to be closed and sent armed soldiers against Taso and his companions. Taso with his followers perceiving this, boldly prepared for a fight, and when a moment of quiet was given, they bade each other a last farewell, and scattered hither and thither through the different streets of the city, killing whomsoever they could find in their way, and while they made a great slaughter of the Romans, they also were slain at last.  But Gregory the patrician, on account of the oath he had given, ordered the head of Taso to be brought to him, and, perjured though he was, cut off his beard as he had promised.”**

* As per the translator: “A ceremony indicating that he whose beard is shaved and whose hair is cut has arrived at the state of manhood. Thus king Liutprand performed a similar ceremony for the son of Charles Martel (Historia Langobardorum, Book 6, Chap. 53).”

** As per the translator: “Fredegar (IV, 69) tells a story (which is considered by some to be a variation of this) as to the murder of Taso, duke of Tuscany, by the patrician Isaac.  King Arioald offered Isaac to remit one of the three hundredweights of gold which the empire paid yearly to the Langobards if he would kill Taso, who was a rebel (see chap. 49). Isaac invited Taso to Ravenna with a troop of warriors who were prevailed upon to leave their arms outside the walls, and when they entered the city they were assassinated. The tribute was accordingly reduced. Soon afterwards Arioald died. As Arioaild reigned from 626 to 636 and Isaac did not become exarch until 630, this story can not be reconciled with Paul’s account of an event which must have happened many years earlier. Either Fredegar got hold of an inaccurate version, or the coincidence of name is accidental and the story relates to some different event.”

Mortuo, ut diximus, Gisulfo duce Foroiulensi, Taso et Cacco, filii eius, eundem ducatum regendum susceperunt. Hi suo tempore Sclavorum regionem quae Zellia appellatur usque ad locum qui Medaria dicitur possiderunt. Unde usque ad tempora Ratchis ducis idem Sclavi pensionem Foroiulanis ducibus persolverunt. Hos duos fratres Gregorius patricius Romanorum in civitate Opitergio dolosa fraude peremit. Nam promittens Tasoni, ut ei barbam, sicut moris est, incideret eumque sibi filium faceret, ipse Taso cum Caccone germano suo et electis iuvenibus ad eundem Gregorium nihil mali metuens advenit. Qui mox cum Opitergium cum suis esset ingressus, statim isdem patricius civitatis portas claudi praecepit et armatos milites super Tasonem eiusque socios misit.


Quod Taso cum suis conperiens, audacter se ad proelium praeparavit; ultimumque sibi data pace valedicentes, per singulas civitatis plateas hac illacque dispersi, quoscumque obvios habere poterant trucidantes, cum magnam stragem de Romanis fecissent, ad extremum etiam ipsi perempti sunt. Gregorius vero patricius propter iusiurandum quod dederat caput Tasonis sibi deferri iubens, eius barbam, sicut promiserat, periurus abscidit.

Chapter 39

“When they were thus killed, Grasulf, the brother of Gisulf, was made duke of Forum Julii. [in 636?] But Radoald and Grimoald, as they were now close to the age of manhood, held it in contempt to live under the power of their uncle Grasulf, and they embarked in a little boat and came rowing to the territories of Beneventum. Then hastening to Arichis, duke of the Beneventines, their former preceptor, they were received by him most kindly and treated by him in the place of sons. In these times, upon the death of Tassilo, duke of the Bavarians, his son Garibald was conquered by the Slavs at Aguntum (Innichen), and the territories of the Bavarians were plundered. The Bavarians, however, having recovered their strength, took away the booty from their foes and drove their enemies from their territories.”


His ita peremptis, dux Foroiulanis Grasulfus, Gisulfi germanus, constituitur. Radoald vero et Grimoald despectui ducentes sub patrui sui Grasulfi potestate degere, cum essent iam prope iuvenilem aetatem, ascensa navicula remigantes, ad Beneventi fines perveniunt; et exinde ad Arichis Beneventanorum ducem, suum quondam paedagogum, properantes, ab eo gratissime suscepti et filiorum loco sunt habiti. His temporibus mortuo Tassilone duce Baioariorum, filius eius Garibaldus in Agunto a Sclavis devictus est, et Baioariorum termini depraedantur. Resumptis tamen Baioarii viribus et praedas ab hostibus excutiunt et hostes de suis finibus pepulerunt.

Chapter 40

“King Agilulf, indeed, made peace with the emperor for one year, and again for another, and also renewed a second time the bond of peace with the Franks. In this year, nevertheless, the Slavs grievously devastated Istria after killing the soldiers who defended it. Also in the following month of March, Secundus, a servant of Christ of whom we have already often spoken, died at Tridentum (Trent). He composed a brief history of the deeds of the Langobards up to his time.  At that time king Agilulf again made peace with the emperor. In those days Theudepert, king of the Franks, was also killed, and a very severe battle occurred among them. Gunduald too, the brother of queen Theudelinda, who was duke in  the city of Asta (Asti), died at this time, struck by an arrow, but no one knew the author of his death.”

Rex vero Agilulf pacem cum imperatore in annum unum itemque in alterum faciens, cum Francis quoque iterato pacis concordiam renovavit. Hoc nihilominus anno Sclavi Histriam, interfectis militibus, lacrimabiliter depraedati sunt.


Sequenti quoque mense martio defunctus est aput Tridentum Secundus servus Christi, de quo saepe iam diximus, qui usque ad sua tempora succinctam de Langobardorum gestis conposuit historiolam. Eo tempore rex Agilulf cum imperatore iterato pacem conposuit. Occisus quoque est his diebus Theudepertus rex Francorum, et facta est pugna gravissima inter eos. Gunduald etiam, germanus Theudelindae reginae, qui erat dux in civitate Astensi, nemine sciente auctorem mortis ipsius, hoc ipso in tempore sagitta ictus interiit.

Chapter 44

“Then on the death of Arichis, who had held the dukedom fifty years, Aio, his son, was made leader of the Samnites,* and still Radoald and Grimoald obeyed him in all things as their elder brother and lord. When this Aio had already governed the dukedom of Beneventum a year and five months, the Slavs came with a great number of ships and set up their camp not far from the city of Sipontum (Siponto). They made hidden pitfalls around their camp and when Aio came upon them in the absence of Raduald and Grimoald and attempted to conquer them, his horse fell into one of these pitfalls, the Slavs rushed upon him and he was killed with a number of others. When this was announced to Raduald he came quickly and talked familiarly with these Slavs in their own language, and when in this way he had lulled them into greater indolence for war, he presently fell upon them, overthrew them with great slaughter, revenged the death of Aio and compelled those of his enemies who had survived to seek flight from these territories. [in 642]”

* As per the translator: “That is the Beneventines. This occurred in 641 (Waitz).”
** As per the translator: “Raduald and Grimoald had been neighbors to the Slavs in the dukedom of Fruili from which they had come to Beneventum (Waitz).”


Defuncto ergo Arechis, qui ducatum quinquaginta tenuerat annis, Aio, eius filius, Samnitum ductor effectus est; cui tamen Radoald et Grimoald sicut seniori fratri et domino per omnia paruerunt. Qui Aio cum iam anno et mensibus quinque Beneventanorum ducatum regeret, venientes Sclavi cum multitudine navium, non longe a civitate Seponto castra posuerunt. Qui occultas foveas circa sua castra facientes, cum Aio super eos, absentibus Raduald et Grimoald, venisset eosque debellare vellet, equus eius in unam de eisdem foveis cecidit, atque inruentibus super eum Sclavis, simul cum aliquantis aliis extinctus est. Quod cum Raduald nuntiatum fuisset, cito veniens, eisdem Sclavis propria illorum lingua locutus est. Cumque eos propter hoc segniores ad bellum reddidisset, mox super eos inruens magnaque eos strage prosternens, et Aionis mortem ultus est et de illis finibus eos qui remanserant hostes fugam petere coegit.

Book V

Chapter 22

“Finally, after Lupus was killed in this way, as we have related, Arnefrit, his son, sought to obtain the dukedom at Forum Julii in the place of his father. But fearing the power of king Grimuald, he fled into Carnuntum, which they corruptly call Carantanum (Carinthia)* to the nation of the Slavs,** and afterwards coming with the Slavs as if about to resume the dukedom by their means, he was killed when the Friulans attacked him at the fortress of Nemae (Nimis), which is not far distant from Forum Julii.”***

* As per the translator: “The name given by Paul (Carnuntum), the modern [this translation is from 1907] Presburg, is incorrect, Carantanum was the proper name for Carinthia. (Hodgkin).”
** As per the translator: “These Slavs belonged to the Slovene branch of the Slav race (Hodgkin).”
*** As per the translator: “About 15 miles northwest of Cividale (Hodgkin).”


Denique Lupo hoc modo ut praemisimus interempto, Arnefrit, eius filius, voluit in loco patris aput Foroiuli optinere ducatum. Sed metuens Grimualdi regis vires, fugit ad Sclavorum gentem in Carnuntum, quod corrupte vocitant Carantanum. Qui postea cum Sclavis adveniens, quasi ducatum eorum viribus resumpturus, aput Nemas castrum, quod non longe a Foroiuli distat, inruentibus super se Foroiulanis, extinctus est.

Chapter 23

“Afterwards Wechtari was appointed duke at Forum Julii. He was born at the city of Vincentia (Vicenza), was a kind man, and one who ruled his people mildly. When the nation of the Slavs had heard that he had set out for Ticinum, they collected a strong multitude and determined to attack the fortress of Forum Julii, and they came and laid out their camp in the place which is called Broxas, * not far from Forum Julii. But it happened according to the Divine will that the evening before, duke Wechtari came back from Ticinum without the knowledge of the Slavs.  While his companions, as is wont to happen, had gone home, he himself, hearing these tidings concerning the Slavs, advanced with a few men, that is, twenty-five, against them. When the Slavs saw him coming with so few they laughed, saying that the patriarch was advancing against them with his clergy. When he had come near the bridge of the river Natisio (Natisone)** which was where the Slavs were staying, he took his helmet from his head and showed his face to them. He was bald-headed, and when the Slavs recognized him that he was Wechtari, they were immediately alarmed and cried out that Wechtari was there, and terrified by God they thought more of flight than of battle. Then Wechtari, rushing upon them with the few men he had, overthrew them with such great slaughter that out of five thousand men a few only remained, who escaped with difficulty.”***

* As per the translator: “Bethmann believes that a certain stronghold, Purgessimus, is meant, near the bridge hereafter referred to; others say Prosascus, at the source of the Natisone; others, Borgo Bressana, a suburb of Cividale (Waitz). Musoni (Atti del Congresso in Cividale, 1899, pp. 187, 188) considers all these conjectures inadmissible, and shows that it was at the place now called Brischis, near that city.”

** As per the translator: “Waitz says the bridge of San Pietro dei Schiavi. Musoni (Atti, etc., p. 191), believes it was probably the present bridge of San Quirino.”

*** As per the translator: “It is evident that this account, which is no doubt based upon oral tradition and perhaps has some historical basis, has been greatly exaggerated, if indeed there is not a mistake in the figures, as Muratori suggests, The allusion to the patriarch also appears to contain an anachronism, since it was in 737, after these events, that the patriarch Calixtus removed his see to Cividale. Communities of Slavs still [this translation is from 1907] inhabit a portion of Friuli; they are divided, according to their linguistic peculiarities, into four principal groups, and probably came into this district at different times. (Musoni, Atti del Congresso in Cividale, 1899, pp. 187, 193.)”


Deinde ordinatus est aput Foroiuli dux Wechtari, qui fuit oriundus de Vincentina civitate, vir benignus et populum suaviter regens. Hunc cum audisset Sclavorum gens Ticinum profectum esse, congregata valida multitudine, voluerunt super Foroiulanum castrum inruere; et venientes castrametati sunt in loco qui Broxas dicitur, non longe a Foroiuli. Secundum divinam autem dispositionem contigit, ut dux Wechtari superiori vespere a Ticino reverteretur nescientibus Sclavis. Cuius comites cum ad propria, ut adsolet fieri, remeassent, ipse hoc nuntium de Sclavis audiens, cum paucis viris, hoc est viginti quinque, contra eos progressus est.


Quem Sclavi cum tam paucis venire conspicientes, inriserunt, dicentes, patriarcham contra se cum clericis adventare. Qui cum ad pontem Natisionis fluminis, qui ibidem est ubi Sclavi residebant, propinquasset, cassidem sibi de capite auferens, vultum suum Sclavis ostendit; erat enim calvo capite. Quem dum Sclavi, quia ipse esset Wechtari, cognovissent, mox perturbati, Wechtari adesse clamitant, Deoque eos exterrente, plus de fuga quam de proelio cogitant. Tunc super eos Wechtari cum paucis quos habebat inruens, tanta eos strage prostravit, ut ex quinque milibus viris vix pauci qui evaderent remanerent.

Book VI

Chapter 24

“When Ado who we said was caretaker had died at Forum Julii, Ferdulf, a man tricky and conceited, who came from the territories of Liguria, obtained the dukedom. Because he wanted to have the glory of a victory over the Slavs, he brought great misfortune upon himself and the people of Forum Julii. He gave sums of money to certain Slavs to send upon his request an army of Slavs into this province, and it was accordingly done. But that was the cause of great disaster in this province of Forum Julii. The freebooters of the Slavs fell upon the flocks and upon the shepherds of the sheep that pastured in their neighborhoods and drove away the booty taken from them. The ruler of that place, whom they called in their own language “sculdahis,” [Schultheiss’, local magistrate] a man of noble birth and strong in courage and capacity, followed them, but nevertheless he could not overtake the freebooters. Duke Ferdulf met him as he was returning thence and when he asked him what had become of these robbers, Argait, for that was his name, answered that they had escaped. Then Ferdulf in rage thus spoke to him: “When could you do anything bravely, you whose name, Argait, comes from the word coward,” and Argait, provoked by great anger, since he was a brave man, answered as follows: “May God so will that you and I, duke Ferdulf, may not depart from this life until others know which of us is the greater coward.” When they had spoken to each other in turn, these words, in the vulgar tongue* it happened not many days afterwards, that the army of the Slavs, for whose coming duke Ferdulf had given his sums of money, now arrived in great strength. And when they had set their camp upon the very top of a mountain and it was hard to approach them from almost any side, duke Ferdulf, coming upon them with his army, began to go around that mountain in order that he could attack them by more level places. Then Argait of whom we have spoken thus said to Ferdulf: ‘Remember, duke Ferdulf, that you said I was lazy and useless and that you called me in our common speech a coward, but now may the anger of God come upon him who shall be the last of us to attack those Slavs,’ and saying these words, he turned his horse where the ascent was difficult on account of the steepness of the mountain, and began to attack the fortified camp of the Slavs. Ferdulf, being ashamed not to attack the Slavs himself, through the same difficult places, followed him through those steep and hard and pathless spots, and his army too, considering it base not to follow their leader, began also to press on after him. Consequently the Slavs, seeing that they were coming upon them through steep places, prepared themselves manfully, and fighting against them more with stones and axes than with arms they threw them nearly all from their horses and killed them.** And thus they obtained their victory, not by their own strength, but by chance. There all the nobility of the Friulans perished. There duke Ferdulf fell and there too he who had provoked him was killed. And there so great a number of brave men were vanquished by the wickedness and thoughtlessness of dissension as could, with unity and wholesome counsel, overthrow many thousands of their enemies. There, however, one of the Langobards, Munichis by name, who was afterwards the father of the dukes Peter of Forum Julii and Ursus of Ceneta (Ceneda), alone acted in a brave and manly manner. When he had been thrown from his horse and one of the Slavs suddenly attacking him had tied his hands with a rope, he wrested with his bound hands the lance from the right hand of that same Slav, pierced him with it, and tied as he was, threw himself down through the steep places and escaped. We put these things into this history especially for this purpose, that nothing further of a like character may happen through the evil of dissension.”

* As per the translator: “‘Vulgaria verba.’ Hartmann (II, 2, 58) regards this passage as presupposing that Ferdulf and Argait could speak Latin with one another. After the permanent settlement of the Langobards in Italy the current Latin language of the time (which was the only written language, and the only one fitted to many of the new relations imposed by their intercourse with the Roman population) gradually superseded their own more barbarous tongue. (Hartmann, II, 2, 22.) It is evident, however, from the German words used by Paul, as well as from his description of this controversy between duke Ferdulf and Argait, which must have occurred not far from A.D. 700 (Hodgkin, VI, 328, note 3), that the Langobard language was spoken in the eighth century, and there are traces of its continuance even after the Frankish invasion, A.D. 774. In a document in upper Italy the pronoun ‘ih’ introduced by mistake before the Latin words “have subscribed myself” indicate the existence of the Langobard as a spoken language in the latter half of the ninth century. The Chronicle of Salerno, composed in 978 (Ch. 38, MGH. SS., Ill, 489), refers to the German language as “formerly” spoken by the Langobards, from which it would appear that in that region at least it had then become extinct. But it is quite uncertain just when it ceased to be used. Probably the language continued longest where the German population was most dense, and the period where it died out as a living language must have been preceded by a considerable time, in which those who spoke it also understood and spoke the Latin tongue. The period of its decline can be traced by numerous Latin terminations of German words and the addition of German suffixes (for example, engo, ingo, esco-asco- atto- etio- otto) to Latin words, combinations which have been important ingredients in the formation of modern Italian (Bruckner, Sprache der Langobarden, pp. 11-17).”

** As per the translator: “‘Securibus’. Hodgkin translates “tree trunks,” believing that the axes were used in felling trees to cast down upon them (VI, 330, and note 3).”
z1Mortuo quoque aput Foroiuli Adone, quem dixeramus lociservatorem fuisse, Ferdulfus ducatum suscepit, qui de partibus Liguriae extitit, homo lubricus et elatus. Qui dum victoriae laudem de Sclavis habere cupiit, magna sibi et Foroiulanis detrimenta invexit. Is praemia quibusdam Sclavis dedit, ut exercitum Sclavorum in eandem provinciam sua adhortatione inmitterent. Quod ita quoque effectum est. Causa autem magnae in eadem Foroiulana provincia perditionis ista fuit. Inruerunt latrunculi Sclavorum super greges et pastores ovium, quae in eorum vicinia pascebantur, et de eis praedas abigerunt. Subsecutus est hos rector loci illius, quem «sculdahis» lingua propria dicunt, vir nobilis animoque et viribus potens; sed tamen eosdem latrunculos adsequi non potuit. Cui exinde revertenti dux Ferdulfus obviam factus est.


Quem dum interrogaret, quid de illis latrunculis factum esset, Argait ei – sic enim nomen habebat –, eosdem fugisse, respondit. Tunc ei Ferdulfus indignans ita locutus est: «Quando tu aliquid fortiter facere poteras, qui Argait ab arga nomen deductum habes?». Cui ille maxima stimulatus ira, ut erat vir fortis, ita respondit: «Sic velit Deus, ut non antea ego et tu, dux Ferdulfe, exeamus de hac vita, quam cognoscant alii, quis ex nobis magis est arga». Haec cum sibi invicem vulgaria verba locuti fuissent, contigit non post multos dies, ut exercitus Sclavorum, pro quorum adventu dux Ferdulfus praemia dederat, cum magnis viribus adventaret. Qui cum castra in summo montis vertice posuissent, et pene ex omni parte difficile esset ad eos accedere, Ferdulfus dux cum exercitu superveniens, coepit eundem montem circuire, ut per loca planiora super eos possit inruere. Tunc Argait, de quo praemisimus, ita Ferdulfo dixit: «Memento, dux Ferdulf, quod me esse inertem et inutilem dixeris et vulgari verbo arga vocaveris. Nunc autem ira Dei veniat super illum, qui posterior e nobis ad hos Sclavos accesserit». Et haec dicens, verso equo, per asperitatem montis, unde gravis erat ascensus, ad castra contendere coepit Sclavorum. Ferdulfus vero opprobrium ducens, si non ipse per eadem difficilia loca super Sclavos inruerit, eum per aspera quaeque et difficilia inviaque loca secutus est. Quem suus exercitus, turpe ducens ducem non sequi, subsequi et ipse coepit.


Videntes itaque Sclavi eos per devexa loca super se venire, praeparaverunt se viriliter, et magis lapidibus ac securibus quam armis contra eos pugnantes, pene omnes deiectos equis perimerunt. Sicque victoriam non viribus, sed casu adepti sunt. Ibi omnis nobilitas periit Foroiulanorum; ibi Ferdulfus dux cecidit; ibi et ille qui eum provocaverat extinctus est. Tantique ibi viri fortes per contentionis malum et inprovidentiam debellati sunt, quanti possent per unam concordiam et salubre consilium multa milia sternere aemulorum. Ibi tamen unus e Lango bardis nomine Munichis, qui pater post Petri Foroiulani et Ursi Cenetensis ducum extitit, solus fortiter et viriliter fecit. Is cum de equo eiectus esset, et eum unus e Sclavis subito invadens eius manus fune conligasset, ipse manibus ligatis lanceam ab eiusdem Sclavi dextera extrahens, eum cum ipsa percussit, et ligatus per aspera se loca deiciens evasit. Haec ideo vel maxime in hac posuimus historia, ne quid aliquid per contentionis malum simile contingat.

Chapter 45

“When then at Forum Julii (Cividale) the patriarch Screnus had been taken away from human affairs, Calixtus, a distinguished man who was archdeacon of the church of Tarvisium (Treviso) received through the efforts of king Liutprand the government of the church of Aquileia. At this time as we said, Pemmo ruled the Langobards of Forum Julii. When he had now brought to the age of early manhood those sons of the nobles whom he had reared with his own children, suddenly a messenger came to him to say that an immense multitude of Slavs was approaching the place which is called Lauriana.*  With those young men, he fell upon the Slavs for the third time, and overthrew them with a great slaughter, nor did any one else fall on the part of the Langobards than Sicuald, who was already mature in age. For he had lost two sons in a former battle, which occured under Ferdulf, and when he had avenged himself upon the Slavs a first and a second time according to his desire, the third time, although both the duke and the other Langobards forbade it, he could not be restrained but thus answered them: ” I have already revenged sufficiently,” he says, ” the death of my sons and now if it shall happen, I will gladly receive my own death.” And it so happened, and in that fight he only was killed. Pemmo, indeed, when he had overthrown many of his enemies, fearing lest he should lose in battle any one more of his own, entered into a treaty of peace with those Slavs in that place. And from that time the Slavs began more to dread the arms of the Friulans.”

* As per the translator: “Supposed to be the village of Spital near Villach (Waitz) on the Urave in Carinthia (Waitz). This seems quite uncertain.”


Aput Foroiuli igitur sublato e rebus humanis patriarcha Sereno, Calistus, vir egregius, qui erat Tarvisianae ecclesiae archidiaconus, adnitente Liutprando principe, Aquileiensem ecclesiam regendam suscepit. Quo, ut diximus, in tempore Pemmo Foroiulanis praeerat Langobardis. Is cum iam nobilium filios, quos cum suis natis nutrierat, [eos] iam ad iuvenilem perduxisset aetatem, repente ei nuntius venit, inmensam Sclavorum multitudinem in locum qui Lauriana dicitur adventasse. Cum quibus ille iuvenibus super eosdem Sclavos tercio inruens, magna eos clade prostravit; nec amplius ibi aliquis a parte Langobardorum cecidit quam Sicualdus, qui erat iam aetate grandaevus. Iste namque in superiori pugna, quae sub Ferdulfo facta est, duos filios amiserat. Qui cum prima et secunda vice iuxta voluntatem suam se de Sclavis ultus esset, tercia vice, prohibente duce et aliis Langobardis, non potuit inhiberi, sed ita eis respondit: «Iam satis» inquit «meorum filiorum mortem vindicavi, et iam, si advenerit, laetus suscipiam mortem». Factumque est, et ipse solus in eadem pugna peremptus est. Pemmo vero cum multos inimicorum prostravisset, metuens ne aliquem suorum amplius in bello perderet, cum eisdem Sclavis in eodem loco pacis concordiam iniit;


atque ex illo iam tempore magis ac magis coeperunt Sclavi Foroiulanorum arma formidare.

Chapter 51

“At the same time a grievous strife arose between duke Pemmo and the patriarch Calixtus and the cause of this discord was the following: Fidentius, bishop of the Julian fortress (Julium Carnicum) [Zuglio, a town north of Tolmezzo] came on a former occasion and dwelt within the walls of the fortress of Forum Julii (Cividale) and established there the see of his bishopric with the approval of the former dukes. When he departed from life, Amator was ordained bishop in his place. Up to that day indeed, the former patriarchs had their see, not in Forum Julii, but in Cormones (Cormons) because they had not at all been able to dwell in Aquileia on account of the incursions of the Romans. It greatly displeased Calixtus who was eminent for his high rank that a bishop dwelt in his diocese with the duke and the Langobards and that he himself lived only in the society of the common people. Why say more? He worked against this same bishop Amator and expelled him from Forum Julii and established his own dwelling in his house. For this cause duke Pemmo took counsel with many Langobard nobles against this same patriarch, seized him and brought him to the castle of Potium, [not identified – Giansevero believes it was the castle of Duino] which is situated above the sea, and wanted to hurl him thence into the sea but he did not at all do this since God prohibited. He kept him, however, in prison and nourished him with the bread of tribulation. King Liutprand hearing this was inflamed with great rage, and taking away the dukedom from Pemmo, appointed his son Ratchis in his place. Then Pemmo arranged to flee with his followers into the country [patria = fatherland] of the Slavs, but Ratchis his son besought the king and reinstated his father in the monarch’s favor. Pemmo then, having taken an assurance that he would suffer no harm, proceeded to the king with all tlhe Langobards with whom he had taken counsel. Then the king, sitting in judgement, pardoned for Ratchis’ sake Pemmo and his two sons, Ratchait and Aistulf, and ordered them to stand behind his chair. The king, however, in a loud voice ordered that all those who had adhered to Pemmo, naming them, should be seized. Then Aistulf could not restrain his rage and attempted to draw his sword and strike the king but Ratchis his brother prevented him. And when these Langobards were seized in this manner, Herfemar, who had been one of them, drew his sword, and followed by many, defended himself manfully and fled to the church of the blessed Michael and then by the favor of the king he alone secured impunity while the others were for a long time tormented in bonds.”


Gravis sane per idem tempus inter Pemmonem ducem et Calistum patriarcham discordiae rixa surrexit. Causa autem huius discordiae ista fuit. Adveniens anteriore tempore Fidentius episcopus de castro Iuliensi, cum voluntate superiorum ducum intra Foroiulani castri muros habitavit ibique sui episcopatus sedem statuit. Quo vita decedente, Amator in eius loco episcopus ordinatus est. Usque ad eundem enim diem superiores patriarchae, quia in Aquileia propter Romanorum incursionem habitare minime poterant, sedem non in Foroiuli, sed in Cormones habebant.


Quod Calisto, qui erat nobilitate conspicuus, satis displicuit, ut in eius diocesi cum duce et Langobardis episcopus habitaret et ipse tantum vulgo sociatus vitam duceret. Quid plura? Contra eundem Amatorem episcopum egit eumque de Foroiuli expulit atque in illius domo sibi habitationem statuit. Hac de causa Pemmo dux contra eundem patriarcham cum multis nobilibus Langobardis consilium iniit adprehensumque eum ad castellum Potium, quod supra mare situm est, duxit indeque eum in mare praecipitare voluit, sed tamen Deo inhibente minime fecit; intra carcerem tamen eum retentum pane tribulationis sustentavit. Quod rex Liutprand audiens, in magnam iram exarsit, ducatumque Pemmoni auferens, Ratchis, eius filium, in eius loco ordinavit. Tunc Pemmo cum suis disposuit, ut in Sclavorum patriam fugeret; sed Ratchis, eius filius, a rege supplicavit patremque in regis gratiam reduxit. Accepta itaque Pemmo fiducia, quod nihil mali pateretur, ad regem cum omnibus Langobardis, quibus consilium habuerat, perrexit. Tunc rex in iudicio residens, Pemmonem et eius duos filios Ratchait et Aistulfum Ratchis concedens, eos post suam sedem consistere praecepit. Rex vero elevata voce omnes illos qui Pemmoni adhaeserant nominative conprehendere iussit. Tunc Aistulfum dolorem non ferens, evaginato pene gladio regem percutere voluit, nisi eum Ratchis, suus germanus, cohibuisset.  Hoc modo his Langobardis conprehensis, Herfemar, qui unus ex eis fuerat, evaginato gladio, multis se insequentibus, ipse se viriliter defensans, in basilica beati Michahelis confugit, ac deinde regis indulgentia solus inpunitatem promeruit, ceteris longo tempore in vinculis excruciatis.

Chapter 52

“Then Ratchis having become duke of Forum Julii as we have said, invaded Carniola (Krain), the country [patria = fatherland] of the Slavs, with his followers, killed a great multitude of Slavs and laid waste everything belonging to them. Here when the Slavs had suddenly fallen upon him and he had not yet taken his lance from his armor-bearer, he struck with a club that he carried in his hand the first who ran up to him and put an end to his life.”


Ratchis denique aput Foroiuli dux, ut dixeramus, effectus, in Carniolam Sclavorum patriam cum suis ingressus, magnam multitudinem Sclavorum interficiens, eorum omnia devastavit. Ubi cum Sclavi super eum subito inruissent, et ipse adhuc lanceam suam ab armigero non abstulisset, eum qui primus ei occurrit clava, quam manu gestabat, percutiens, eius vitam extinxit.

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June 6, 2016