"This account of his own people by one of the most learned of medieval historians will be a pleasant surprise to the English reader who has had no opportunity to put this vivacious chronicle . . . on the shelf with Herodotus."—IndependentHistory of the Lombards, by Paul the Deacon (c. 720-c. 799), is among the most important and oldest accounts of the Germanic nation. The book preserves many ancient myths and popular traditions and draws from sources that are now lost. The history traces the changing fortunes of the Lombards, the last of the migratory Germanic peoples to enter the western part of the old Roman Empire, from their first appearance in the West in the sixth century to the middle of the eighth century. The popularity of Paul the Deacon's book has endured over the centuries and, although there have been numerous translations and editions, this remains the only one in English.
Edward Peters is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, The First Crusade, and, with Alan C. Kors, Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History, all available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.