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Theme of Longobardia
Λογγοβαρδία, θέμα Λογγοβαρδίας
Theme of the Byzantine Empire
873–ca. 965
Location of Longobardia
Map of Byzantine themes in Italy (yellow) c. 1000.
Capital Bari
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Byzantine conquest of Bari 873
 -  Establishment of the Catepanate of Italy 965
Today part of  Italy

Longobardia (Greek: Λογγοβαρδία, also variously Λογγιβαρδία, Longibardia and Λαγουβαρδία, Lagoubardia), was a Byzantine and Langbarðaland ("Land of the Lombards") term for the territories controlled by the Lombards in Italy. In the 9th-10th centuries, it was also the name of a Byzantine military-civilian province (or thema) known as the Theme of Longobardia located in southeastern Italy.


The term was traditionally used for the Lombard possessions, with the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor distinguishing between "Great Longobardia" (Greek: Μεγάλη Λογγοβαρδία; Latin: Longobardia major), namely the Lombard kingdom in northern Italy, and "Lesser Longobardia" (Latin: Longobardia minor), which comprised southern Italy, with the Lombard duchies of Spoleto, Salerno and Capua, the Byzantine possessions, and the city-states (Naples, Gaeta and Amalfi) under Byzantine suzerainty.[1][2]

In its strictest and most technical sense, the name referred to the Byzantine thema which encompassed the modern Italian region of Apulia and parts of Basilicata, with Bari as its capital. Its exact origin and evolution are not entirely clear. Its establishment, perhaps first as a subordinate division (tourma) of the thema of Cephallenia, dates to c. 876, when Bari was recovered by the Byzantines, who used it as a base to re-establish their control over southern Italy, lost in previous centuries to the Lombards and Arabs.[3] In the late 9th century, it appears that it was administered jointly with other European themata of the Byzantine Empire:[4] in 891 the first known strategos of Longobardia, Symbatikios, was also governor of Macedonia, Thrace and Cephallenia, while his successor George administered Longobardia jointly with its parent thema, Cephallenia.[5] A dedicated strategos is only attested from 911 on.[4] In 938 and 956, it also appears united with the thema of Calabria, although the duration of this arrangement is unclear. At any rate, after c. 965, the two themata were permanently united into the new Catepanate of Italy, with the catepan's seat again at Bari.[2][4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Kazhdan 1991, pp. 1249–1250.
  2. ^ a b Pertusi 1952, p. 181
  3. ^ Kazhdan 1991, pp. 256, 1250.
  4. ^ a b c Kazhdan 1991, p. 1250.
  5. ^ Pertusi 1952, p. 180


Further reading[edit]