Battle of Coronate

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Battle of Coronate
Cunincpert tremissis 612190.jpg
Lombard Tremissis: DN CVNI-INCPE RX / SCS MI-HAHIL
King Cunincpert of the Lombards
and
Saint Michael the Archangel who appeared before the battle
Date 689
Location Cornate d'Adda, Lombardy
Result Decisive victory for King Cunincpert [2]
Belligerents
Lombard Neustria [1]
Loyal to King Cunincpert
Lombard Austria [1]
Loyal to Duke Alahis
Commanders and leaders
King Cunincpert [3] Duke Alahis of Trent  [4]
Casualties and losses
Heavy
[4]
Heavy (poss. entire army)
[3]

The Battle of Coronate took place in 689, after King Cunicpert returned from exile and ousted Alahis, Usurper King and Duke of Trent, from the capital Pavia.[3]

Duke Alahis, fled towards the east, into Austria. There he assembled an army to march against the king. Within the same year, Alahis crossed the River Adda, the border between Neustria and Austria, and faced Cunincpert in the plain of Coronate.[1]

Wishing to spare the Lombard blood of so many, Cunincpert offered Alahis, to engage him in single combat. But Alahis refused and both camps prepared for battle.[4] Fearing for Cunincpert's life, a deacon named Seno begged the king to lend him his armor, so that he, the deacon, appeared to be the king and distract all troubles from Cunincpert.[3] Finally, Cunincpert agreed to that plan and battle was joined.

Once Alahis spotted the supposed king, he charged and killed him. When Alahis was about to take off the helmet, and present to his troops the dead king, he realised that he had only slain a cleric.[4] In fury, Alahis swore a horrible oath, as Paul the Deacon recorded:[5]

"Woe is me! We have done nothing when we have brought the battle to this point that we have killed a churchman! Therefore, I now make this kind of a vow that if God shall give me the victory I will fill a whole well with the members of churchmen."

Cunincpert's men were horrified by the news that the King had been killed. But Cunincpert assured them all that he was alive and well. Again the two hosts drew together for the battle, and again Cunincpert renewed his offer to settle the quarrel by single combat and spare the lives of the people. But Alahis again refused to accept the challenge, this time alleging that he saw among the standards of his rival the image of the Archangel Michael.[2]

The trumpets sounded again for the charge, neither side gave way to the other, a terrible slaughter was made of Lombard warriors. But at length Alahis fell, and the victory remained with King Cunincpert.[3] Great was the slaughter among the fleeing troops of Alahis, and those who were not killed by the sword, drowned in the River Adda.[5]

The head and legs of Alahis were cut off, leaving only his trunk.[3] The body of the brave deacon Seno, however, was buried by the king’s order before the gates of the church of St. John.[5] Cunincpert returned to Pavia in great triumph and in aftertime he reared a monastery in honor of St. George the Martyr on the battlefield of Coronate in memory of his victory.[3]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hartmann, Ludo Moritz (1900). Geschichte Italiens im mittelalter, Volume 2, Part 1. Gotha. 
  2. ^ a b Staubach, Nikolaus (1994). Iconologia sacra. Berlin. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hodgkin, Thomas (1895). Italy and her invaders, Volume 6. Oxford. 
  4. ^ a b c d Udwin, Victor Morris (1999). Between two armies: the place of the duel in epic culture. Leiden. 
  5. ^ a b c the Deacon, Paul (8th Century). Historia Langobardorum / Book 5, Chap. XL - XLI. Italy.  Check date values in: |date= (help)