La memoria di Desiderio e Adelchi nella tradizione medioevale
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SUMMARY: After the fall of Pavia (774), the Frankish historians and the Liber Pontificalis transmitted a totally negative view to the following centuries on the end of the independent Lombard kingdom, and this visibly influenced the description of king Desiderius and his son Adelchis in Italian authors, active in Carolingian Italy and in the autonomous Duchy of Benevento in the 9th and 10th centuries. The survival of Lombard traditions cannot be easily documented; Desiderius and Adelchis enjoyed a sort of revival in the Novalesa Chronicon (11th Century), but the reason of it is difficult to trace. Later on, Adelchis was to remain a secondrater; on the contrary, the figure of his father gradually underwent a change: although his antagonism to the Papacy was never forgotten, he gained a pious reputation. Several monastic sources invented legends, where Desiderius was celebrated for his great religious zeal and appeared as the founder of churches and monasteries, so that in the late Middles Ages noble families, such as the Visconti, regarded him as a worthy ancestor. But late-medieval genealogists could also draw material from French chansons de geste, like Aspremont (12th century), where Desiderius was portrayed as a Christian hero and on friendly terms with Charlemagne. On that ground the historians of Puglia and the Kingdom of Sicily deeply reshaped the historical memory of the last Lombard king.
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