Italy had long experienced literacy under Roman rule, but what happened to literacy in Italy under the rule of a barbarian people? This book examines the evidence for the use of literacy in Lombard Italy c. 568-774, a period usually considered as the darkest of the Dark Ages in Italy due to the poor survival of written evidence and the reputation of the Lombards as the fiercest of barbarian hordes ever to invade Italy. A careful examination of the evidence, however, reveals quite a different story. Originally published in 2003, this study considers the different types of evidence in turn and offers a re-examination of the nature of Lombard settlement in Italy and the question of their cultural identity. Far from constituting a Dark Age in the history of literacy, Lombard Italy possessed a relatively sophisticated written culture prior to the so-called Carolingian Renaissance of the ninth century.
Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication
Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series