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Scientific Area » Longobard History » 1st Process of Ethnic Group Formation

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During the different migratory phases, from Bohemia to Moravia and Lower Austria, from upper Hungary, the roman Pannonia (second half 5th – first half 6th century), to southern Hungary (around the middle of the 6th century up to 568), the Longobard people could absorb other populations and form political alliances – often through marriages– with Turingians, Franks and Gepids, sharing in this way common culture, traditions and customs (first process of ethnic group formation).

The qualitative leap taken by these people in life style, metalworking – that is to say, development of new shapes and decorations expecially in womenswear accessories – and in the abundance of grave goods items coincides with their establishment along the imperial Limes and their settlement as foederati within the territories of the roman provinces.

The turning point is represented by the Barbarians military leaders’ accession to the highest ranks of the Empire, being Stilicho just the most famous and culturally integrated figure among them.

From the architectural point of view, the Longobard culture of the migration phases does not display any peculiar trait in comparison with other Germanic people of the time.

In Pannonia the “Longobard” house is a hut with wooden-made structures, often with a partial development below the ground. Such a typology has been uncovered in Brescia in the area where San Salvatore Monastery was subsequently built, in Collegno in Piedmont, and in Poggibonsi in Tuscany, with rectangular, square or irregularly circular plans, clayey dirt floors and stone hearths.

Urban conglomerations are sorrounded by cultivated fields, sometimes protected by moats.

In some of the Hungarian sites, the huts were placed inside the abandoned roman cities, in the forum area (Sopron), frequently exploting the foundations of buildings in disuse.

Elsewhere, the masonry of military leaders or other authorities’ houses are dry-stone made, with re-employed stone materials (Tokod).

Particularly, their stay in the ex roman province of Pannonia (present Hungary), which lasted a little more than fourty years, allowed the Longobards to come into contact with the steppe populations cultures (Goths, Avars, Sarmats, Scyths and Huns), which signed their own civilization.

For instance, we can mention the Mongolian traditional custom of skull lenghtening through the application of strict bandages (evidences of such a tradition can be found in Italy as well, in some burials of Collegno necropolis).

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