Alboin

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Alboin (ăl´boin), d. 572?, first Lombard king in Italy (569–572?). With the Avars he defeated the Gepidae (see Germans). He then led (568) an army across the Alps into Italy, took (569) Milan, and after a three-year siege conquered Pavia, which became his capital. He won most of N and central Italy from the Byzantines (see Lombards). According to a legend probably based on fact, he was murdered at the instigation of his wife, Rosamond.

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Rosamond (rŏz´əmənd), fl. c.570, wife of the Lombard king Alboin. The daughter of King Kunimund of the Gepidae, a Germanic people, she was captured by Alboin, who had defeated and killed her father. When Alboin forced her to drink from a cup made from her father's skull, she had him murdered by two of his own courtiers and took refuge with the Byzantine prefect at Ravenna. Although married to one of her fellow conspirators, Helmechis, she preferred the prefect, Longinus. When Rosamond offered Helmechis a poisoned drink, he swallowed half and forced her to drink the remainder. Her story, neither confirmed nor disproved by historical research, is the subject of two tragedies, Swinburne's Rosamund and Alfieri's Rosmunda.