Series
Date
Circa 590
Regestum

Romanus, the exarch of Ravenna, writes to King Childebert II of Austrasia, informing him of his triumphs against the Lombards and asking him for military aid; Grasulf, the Lombard duke of Friuli, also supported Romanus' military efforts and he received Romanus' aid in his fight against his enemies in Istria.

Source
B = Rome, Vatican Library, Codex Vaticanus Palatinus 869, fols. 26r–27r; 11th or 12th- century copy; the manuscript is digitized and available online for consultation here.
Previous Editions
Wilhelm Gundlach (ed.), "Epistolae Austrasicae," in Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini aevi, vol. 1, Monumenta Germaniae historica, Epistolae 3, (Berlin 1892), doc. 41, pp. 147–48.
FIM Edition
Diplomatic edition based on B.
Transcription

Domino excellentissimo atque praecellentissimoa Childeberto regib Francorum.

Romanus.1

Quantum christianitas regni vestri exquiret cottidiae, quid ad placandum Deum debeat exhibere, tantum de Christianorum liberatione cogitare et facere excellentiam vestram confidimus, gratumque vobis esse, quod pro ipsorum remedio praesperitatem divino fabore constat esse concessam, ut talia tantaque, Deo auctore, promissa tam manefesta Dei misericordia invitet praecellentiam vestram ad participandam mercedem et laudem maximamc adquirendam.

Olim autem vos audisse credimus de Motenae, Altino atque Mantuanam civitatibusd, quia sanctae sunt reipublicae reformate. Praecedentibus autem scriptis nostris designasse vobise meminimus, quia, dum ad obsedendum Parma vel Regio atque Placentia civitates proficisceremus, duces Langobardorum ibidem constituti, in Mantuana civitate nobis cum omni festinatione ad subdendum se sancte reipublicae occurrerunt. Quos posteaquam in servitio sancte reipublicae suscepimus, filios eorum in obsidesf accipientes, Ravenna remeantes, in Histriag provincia contra hostem Grasoulfi deliberavimus ambulare. Quam provinciam venientes, Gisoulfus, vir magnificus, dux, filius Grasoulfi, in iuvennale aetate meliorem se patri cupiens demonstrare, occurrit nobis, ut cum omni devotione sanctae reipublicae se cum suis prioribus et integro suo exercitu, sicut fuit, subderet. Nam seh et gloriosus Nordoulfus patricius cum dominorum nostrorum gratia in Italia veniensi, omnes suos homines ad serviendum serenissimis nostris dominis recollegit diversasque civitates cum Ossone viro glorioso et Romano suo exercitu nostro cum consilio reparavit.

Et quia excellentiam vestramj in eandem promissionem et devotionem, quam semel piissimis patribus vestris dominis promissistis, permanere non ambigimus, maxime dum displicuisse vobis constat, iussiones vestras non inplentibus ducibus fuissent reversos eosque in vestra iracundia constitutos, praecipiat excellentia vestra omni cum celeritate implere ea, quae patribus vestris, piissimis nostris dominis, promisistis, ut de effectu promissionis digna gratia augeatur, eoque tempore dirigantur, ut fruges cunctas inimicorum foris inveniant. Nobisque designare iubete, quibus itineribus vel quo tempore exspectenturk a nobis, sperantes prae omnibus, ut, dum feliciter Francorum exercitus discenderit, Romani, pro quibus auxilia vestra poscimus, in depraedatione et captivitate non perducantur, sed et eos, quos transacto tempore abstulerunt, relaxari et provinciae restitui iubeatis, ut preterita emendantes, quid in futuro custodire debeant, demonstretis; sed nec fabricas incendi praecipite, ut agnoscatur, quiL pro defensione Italiae auxilium christianae gentis habuimus.

Finit.

Critical apparatus

a) XLI atramento rubeo addin margB. b) Childeberto regi] ex Childebertus regis corrB. cex maximum corrB. dex civitates corrB. e) nos exp. et corr. B. f) obsedato exp. et corr. B. gex historia corrB. hadd sup. l. B. iex venies corr. B. jex nostram corr. B. kex spectentur corr. B. lseq. de canc. B.


1) Exarchus Italiae seu Ravennae qui anno 590 exarchum Smaragdum succedit. Cf. Paulus diaconus, Historia Langobardorum, lib 3, cap. 26 (legitur hic).

Selected Bibliography
Harald Krahwinkler, Friaul im Frühmittelalter: Geschichte einer Region vom Ende des Fünften bis zum Ende des zehnten Jahrhunderts (Vienna 1992), pp. 35-37.
Andrea Bedina, "Grasulfo," in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 58 (Rome 2002), online here.
Editor's Notes

The letter shows that a Lombard duke of Friuli became a Byzantine federate and that Istria was the main stage in which the newly formed alliance fought together against their common enemies. Although these "enemies" (orig. hostes) are not identified in the letter, it is communis opinio that these were the Avars and the Slavs. This interpretation is further strengthened by the letters of Pope Gregory I in which he celebrates the victory over Slavs and laments how the Slavs are penetrating into Italy by way of Istria (see the documents here and here).

Duke Grasulf abandoned his pro-Byzantine stance soon thereafter, following the military campaign of the Lombard duke of Trento, Ewin, into Istria (see the source here).

How to Cite
First citation: Josip Banic (ed.), Fontes Istrie medievalis, vol. 1: A seculo VI usque ad 803, doc. 590_REC, fontesistrie.eu/590_REC (last access: date).
Subsequent citations: FIM, 1: doc. 590_REC.
Image Source and Info

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