Desiderius, King of the Lombards

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Duke of Tuscany, reigned 756 to 774; date of death unknown. Desiderius secured papal support for his election by recognizing papal rule over the territory conferred on stephen iii by the "donation of Pepin," but his position was difficult. The existence of a strip of papal territory extending from Rome to Ravenna cut the Lombard kingdom into two partsthe main kingdom in the north and the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento in the south. Although the Lombard nobility normally sought independence, that same nobility favored Lombard expansion under royal leadership and, in order to consolidate the Lombard state, urged Desiderius to take those lands claimed by the papacy. In answer to an appeal from adri an i, charlemagne, Desiderius's son-in-law, led a Frankish invasion into Italy in 773774. The Lombard nobility failed to cooperate with the crown and the Lombard kingdom fell to the Franks. Desiderius was deposed and spent the rest of his life in a Frankish monastery.

Bibliography: t. hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, 8 v. in 9 (Oxford 189299) v.7. l. m. o. duchesne, The Beginnings of the Temporal Sovereignty of the Popes, A. D. 7541073, tr. a. h. mathew (London 1908). f. lot et al., Les Destinées de l'empire en Occident de 395 à 888, 2 v. (new ed. Paris 1940). w. k. williams, The Communes of Lombardy from the VI to the X Century (Balti-more 1891). t. schieffer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 3:250.

[k. f. drew]