568 to 774
Pavia, ItalyThe Kingdom of the Lombards also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of Italy, was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. The king was traditionally elected by the very highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed. The kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy.
Problems were further exacerbated by widespread famine (538–542) and a devastating plague pandemic (541–542). Although the Byzantine Empire eventually prevailed, the triumph proved to be a pyrrhic victory, as all these factors caused the population of the Italian Peninsula to crash, leaving the conquered territories severely underpopulated and impoverished.
The Lombard's arrival broke the political unity of the Italian Peninsula for the first time since the Roman conquest. The peninsula was now torn between territories ruled by the Lombards and the Byzantines, with boundaries that changed over time.
Authari was king of the Lombards from 584 to his death. He was considered as the first Lombard king to have adopted some level of "Roman-ness" and introduced policies that led to drastic changes particularly in the treatment of the Romans and Christianity.
It was the young widow Theodelinda who chose the heir to the throne and her new husband: the Duke of Turin, Agilulf. The following year (591) Agilulf received the official investiture from the Assembly of the Lombards, held in Milan. The influence of the queen over Agilulf's policies was remarkable and major decisions are attributed to both.