GRASULF I, Duke of Friulia

GRASULF I, [Grasnulf] Duke of Friulia in 581.
His mother was a sister of Alboin, king of the Lombards.

A Germanic tribe, the Lombards, invaded Italy in 568. King Albion established his capital at Pavia and conducted a series of campaigns whicch reduced the Byzantines to only a number of small enclaves in Italy. After the death of Albion, there was for some time no Lombard king. Bands of Lombards united under a number oif regional commanders called duces. There was considerable religious conflict with native Italians. The Lombards like the Goths expoused the Arian creed while the Italians were orthodox Christains. Further conflictv occurred as the Popes at this time began to expand their temportal power. This was tempered somewhat by Agiluf, a new Lombard king who converted to orthodox Cristianity. The Lombards, however began to encroach on Papal territory. They even threatened Rome itself, the center of church authority. Pope Stephen II appealed in 754 for help from the Franks who had accepted the spiritaul authority of the Pope over a century earlier.


CHILDREN of GRASULF I, Duke of Friulia:
  1. GISULF II, duke of Friulia 590-610, married Romilde. He died in 610. When Albion without any hindrance had thence entered the territories of Venetia, which is the first province of Italy - that is, the limits of the city or rather of the fortress of Forum Julii (Cividale) [1] - he began to consider to whom he should especially commit the first of the provinces that he had taken. For indeed all Italy (which extends toward the south, or rather toward the southeast), is encompassed by the waves of the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas, yet from the west and north it is so shut in by the range of Alps that there is no entrance to it except through narrow passes and over the lofty summits of the mountains. Yet from the eastern side by which it is joined to Pannonia it has an approach which lies open more broadly and is quite level. When Albion therefore, as we have said, reflected whom he ought to make duke [2] in these places, he determined, as is related, to put over the city of Forum Julii and over its whole district, [3] his nephew Gisulf, [4] who was his master of horse—whom they call in their own language "marpahis" [5] - a man suitable in every way. This Gisulf announced that he would not first undertake the government of this city and people unless Alboin would give him the "faras," that is, the families or stocks of the Langobards that he himself wished to choose. And this was done, and with the approval of the king he took to dwell with him the chief families of the Langobards he had desired. [6] And thus finally, he acquired the honor of a leader. [7] He asked also from the king for herds of high-bred mares, and in this also he was heeded by the liberality of his chief. The district or duchy of Friuli which Gisulf was to rule cannot be definitely bounded. It reached northward probably to the Carnic Alps, eastward to the Julian Alps, and southward to a line not far from the coast which was subject to the sea power of the Eastern Empire. Concordia was not won from the empire until about 615, and Opitergium in 642. To the west, Friuli was bounded by other Langobard territory, especially by the duchy of Ceneda from which it was separated by the Tagliamento or Livenza (IIodg., VI, 43, 44). The Bavarians dwelt northwest of the duchy, the Slavonians northeast, and behind them the Asiatic Avars (Hodgkin, VI, 44). Cividale was made the capital instead of Aquileia which had been the chief city (Hodgkin, VI, 39). Friuli is the first mentioned of the four great dukedoms conspicuous by their size and power over all others during the period of the Langobards: Friuli, Trent, Spoleto, and Benevento. The two last were largely independent of the Langobard kingdom. Trent and Friuli never succeeded in achieving their independence although this was several times attempted (Hodg., VI, 23). Bethmnnn believes that it was Grasulf, Gisulf's father who was Albion's Master of Horse, who received Friuli.