Italy 750 CE

In Italy, long wars have caused massive destruction, and the peninsula is now divided between the Lombards and Byzantines.

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What is happening in Italy in 750CE

In 535 the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, emperor, Justinian, ordered his forces to bring Italy back under imperial control. The resulting wars between the Byzantines and the Ostrogoths lasted almost twenty years, and were a disaster for Italy. The Roman cities of Italy, above all Rome itself, suffered terribly, and most (including Rome) shrank to a fraction of their former size. These decades effectively marked the end of Roman Italy.

Further disaster came when another German tribe, the Lombards, conquered much of the peninsula (568-605), since which time Italy has been divided between the Lombards and the Eastern Romans (or Byzantines, as we shall now call them).

The Lombard kingdom is divided amongst powerful dukes; those in southern Italy have become practically independent. The Byzantine part of Italy is governed from Ravenna, in the north, but the local areas have much autonomy. The bishop of Rome, the pope, is by now the effective ruler of that city, as he has the support of the populace, whilst the Byzantine governor does not.

The Lombards continue to pose a potent threat to the Byzantines in Italy, and their army is now threatening Rome.

Next map, Italy 979

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