Wechtar of Friuli

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Wechtar (or Wechthari), a Lombard from Vicenza, was the Duke of Friuli from 666 to 678. He took control of Friuli at the command of King Grimoald following the rebellion of Lupus and Arnefrit and the invasion of the Avars. According to Paul the Deacon, he was a mild and fair ruler.

Soon after Grimoald pacified the region, Wechtar was appointed duke. Soon after his appointment, he travelled to Pavia and, while he was away, the Slavs, formerly allies of Arnefrit, invaded his duchy. They intended to take Forum Julii (modern Cividale) and camped at Boxas, the location of which remains uncertain. Some have put it at Purgessimus,[1] some at Prosascus near the source of the Natisone (Natisio), still others at Borgo Bressana,[2] and finally, and most definitively, near Brischis just outside the city.[3] Paul relates that Wechtari had just returned from Pavia at the same time when he heard of their encampment and marched against them with twenty five men. At a bridge over the Natisone,[4] Wechtari met them and, again according to Paul, defeated them in a route.[5] The historical accuracy of Paul's account has, on the basis of its outrageous numbers, been called into question.

Wechtari died and was succeeded by Landari.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bethmann.
  2. ^ Waitz.
  3. ^ Musoni, pp 187 – 188.
  4. ^ Possibly that of San Pietro dei Schiavi (Waitz) or that of San Quirino (Musoni, p 191). Also possible near Purgessimus, if that was the site of Slavic encampment.
  5. ^ Two anecdotes surround this brief expedition, the one concerning the insulting Slavic joke that the twenty six men advancing on them must be the Patriarch and his clergy, and the other concerning Wechtari's baldness, which he revealed by removing his helmet in order to inspire fear and flight in his enemies. The patriarch was then seated in Aquileia and not until 737 in Cividale, which supports doubts about this story.

Sources[edit]

  • Paul the Deacon. Historia Langobardorum. Translated by William Dudley Foulke. University of Pennsylvania: 1907.
  • Hodgkin, Thomas. Italy and her Invaders. Clarendon Press: 1895.
  • Oman, Charles. The Dark Ages 476–918. Rivingtons: London, 1914.
  • Musoni, Francesco. Atti del Congresso in Cividale. 1899.
  • Waitz, Georg, translator. "Pauli Historia Langobardorum." Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores Rerum Langobardicarum.
  • Bethmann, Ludwig. "Paulus Diakonus Leben," "Paulus Diakonus Schriften," and "Die Geschichtschreibung der Langobarden." Archiv der Gesellschaft fur altere deutsche Geschichtkunde. Vol. 10. Hannover: 1849.
Preceded by
Arnefrit
Duke of Friuli
666–678
Succeeded by
Landari