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Devastated by two decades of war and ravaged by the spread of the plague, large parts of Italy fell quickly into the hands of a group known to history as the Lombards. By the early 570s the Lombards were firmly established in Italy, which they ruled without ever fully unifying it. The events of the late sixth century shaped early medieval Italy. They also affected how Italian history was written: the Lombards were blamed for plunging the peninsula into the darkness of the Middle Ages, finally ending Roman civilization. But was it really a 'barbarian invasion' that created medieval Italy? What was the role of the imperial authorities and the papacy? In Warfare and the Making of Early Medieval Italy, Eduardo Fabbro brings a new take on the changes that shook Italy at the end of the sixth century. Moving past traditional narratives of barbarians and battles, the book re-evaluates the impact of war in creating early medieval Italy. Fabbro brings to the fore a complex picture that includes not only invading barbarians but also rebelling soldiers, disgruntled farmers, vexed commanders, and cunning adventurers trying to make the best of a bad situation. Through a complete reassessment of contemporary and later sources, this book rewrites the history of the first decades of Lombard rule and shows that warfare's impact went far beyond battles and invasions; it rewired the social and political links that bound the region.