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The Lombard Laws * Catherine Fisher Drew (1973)

I am looking a bit into non-Scandinavian sources about the prechristian faith and ran into this little book with an introduction to and translations of the 8th century laws of the Lombards, a tribe that more or less took over nowadays Italy. Fischer Drew gives a nice, historical introduction, but also highlights elements of the “barbarian law codes”. The laws concern “Rothair’s edict” which are later completed and adjusted by his followers-up Liutprand, Ratchis and Aistulf. The laws are quite similar to those of more Northern European Germanic tribes, nice in their details and it seems as if any situation is thought of (upto a ferryman that transfers a thief, or what happens to the inheritance of a man without sons). There are compensation tarifs for wounds, regulations around marriage and sums to be paid for almost anything. Especially the later laws are much like what we nowadays call jurisprudence with new situations. Also the tone gets more and more Christian and anti-pagan with high fines for people who consult witches or who worship idols. The laws themselves are not always too great a read, but the book overall is a very nice read.
1973 University Of Pennsylvania Press, isbn 0812210557

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