Date of Birth: circa 535
Royal House: Gausi
Spouse: (1) Chlothsind, daughter of Chlothar I, king of the Franks in Soissons, and Ingund, then (2) Rosamund, daughter of Cunimund, king of the Gepids
Reign: circa 565 – 572
Summary: The Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy was failing only fifty years after they had overthrown the Western Roman Empire. Alboin's father became king after serving as regent to a minor who died before reaching eighteen. Although the Lombards began as vassals to the Byzantines, hard years had forced the Lombards to ally with the Franks in Gaul. Alboin was a pawn in that game, marrying the Catholic daughter of the Frankish king of Soissons. In 552, Alboin fought at the Battle of Asfeld where he killed the rival Gepid king Thurisind. Through this battle, he earned his right to sit as his father's councils and rule alongside him. Sometime in the early 560s, Audoin died and Alboin took control of the Lombards.
As king, Alboin fought long and hard against the Gepids, a rival clan, perhaps after kidnapping a daughter of their king, Rosamund. The fight earned the interest of the Byzantines who sent an army to pacify the Lombards in 566. It was successful and the Lombards were put on the run. Alboin made an alliance with the Avars at a high cost but was finally able to completely defeat the Gepids as an independent people. Facing the threat of war with his allies, the Avars, he decided to march south into Italy to find a new home for the Lombards. Before he departed, he made an enduring pact with the Avars to protect each other from Byzantine imperialism. This pact lasted throughout the entire life of the Lombard Kingdom. In 568, the Lombards began their march into the Roman highland. Alboin adopted Arian Christianity immediately prior to his march, possibly due to Gothic influences in the north and possibly because he hoped to sway the Arian Ostrogoths in Italy. Friuli was the first city taken and became the basis of the oldest duchy in Italy. They then continued on and sacked Venetia and its many cities before marching on Milan, the old Roman capital. The city was abandoned with most of the people having fled to Genoa. Alboin marked the beginning of his reign as king of Italy from his taking of this strategic place. By 569, most of northern Italy was under the control of the Lombards. Pavia had closed its doors and since it saw on important waterways, it became the target of Alboin's aggression. Pavia fell three years later and Alboin moved to conquering Tuscany in the south, which was only finished during the reign of his successor. Alboin was not an autocratic ruler presiding over a feudal society, but he was becoming a dictator to the people. When Burgundy began raiding northern Italy, the Lombards began to waiver. The Franks seem to have abandoned the Lombards and allied with the Byzantines, which weakened control over Italy for the Lombards. Other Lombard warlords likely conquered the rest of Italy without Alboin's approval or even encouragement. By the time of his death in 572, Alboin was losing his grip on his people. After taking Ticinum in 572, Alboin made his governmental set at Verona, where he was assassinated by a close associate possibly urged by the queen. Byzantine assistance was evident since the guilty party fled to Byzantine territory. The conquest of Italy was completed by Cleph, a Lombard duke unrelated to Alboin.
Date of Death: 28 June 572
Other Monarchs Who Died Today: