Alboin Must Know

Tough times in 6th century Northern Italy. The Langobards (Ger., Eng.) conquer the country since 568, and are in the process of establishing a state of their own. Other than the Goths, who were formally invited, these barbarians come clearly as enemies. On the countryside they are welcome, their rule can not be worse than what the detested Greek exactores, taxmen, did. But the cities do not like the idea of a new ruling class. The Langobards under their king Alboin (Ger., Eng.) do not care and capture one after another, Milano in 569. Next on the list is Pavia (Ger., Eng.), but the city resists, for three years. Meanwhile the Langobards reach out Southwards, take the dukedoms of Spoleto and Benevent, strengthen their rule.
Alboin really gets angry with that little Pavia town, and swears to kill them all, each and single one, tah.
Finally he is ready to to ride his horse through the gate of St.John into the future capital of the Langobardic kingdom , when his horse brakes down. And refuses to get up – only until Alboin brakes his vows (to kill each and single Pavese), and promises to kill only those who will not capitulate, then the old nag proudly carries the king into the city.
Alboin nevertheless insists on delivery of the twelve virgins for personal entertainment he required.
Eleven virgins moan and wail, while the twelfth orders flour, honey, and crystallised fruit. She bakes a cake – the first panettone (Ger., Eng.), in the form of a colomba pasquale. Of course Alboin suspects a poison attack, and has the girl eat a piece of the cake first. Since she does not drop dead, he tries it himself, is satisfied, and sets the cake baker free.
And you see children, cake is good for you. Learn something useful, so in case the barbarians invade, you can offer a cake of peace.

8 thoughts on “Alboin Must Know

  1. This was a wonderful surprise! Something different and unexpected. Sadly, I could not bake a cake to save my life. I would have to find my own odd way of winning the King’s favor. Mybe ride him like he rode his nag until he buckles. They came back many years later. I was reading about Isabella d’Estes for some book research. Everything was well and good until nearly the end of the book when Germans showed up and started throwing babies out the windows onto the streets of Florence. What sick bastards!

    Let’s return to the subject of cake. Mmm, cake!

  2. One never knows when them unwanted guests will arrive DInahmow ….

    Exactly MsScarlet, something with cards, or given the clientele in the story, preferably something with swords.

    I knew that you’d say this, dearest Mistress 1

    Isabella, yeah, a very important lady. Her lifetime (around 1500) sees Italy as battlefield of outer, foreign powers (France, Spain, the Reich) – but on the other hand it is the age of a tremendous cultural “Blüte”, peak or heyday. Isabella was in Rome through the days of the infamous “Sacco di Roma” (1527), when the troops of Emperor Karl V. went totally out of control. “Troops” means soldiers of fortune. They were not paid, and generally Karl’s military actions ere not that successful.. According to eye witnesses those from Southern Italy behaved similar to their non-Italian colleagues. I have no idea what exploded there Melanie.

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