From this station as a centre the little band of adventurers, playing the Greeks off against the Lombards, and the Lombards against the Greeks, spread their power in all directions, until they made themselves the most considerable force in southern Italy William of Hauteville was proclaimed count of Apulia.
The Lombards were Arians, and the archbishops of Milan from the days of Ambrose had been always orthodox.
Shared in the devastation of Rome by the Goths under Vitiges in the 6th century and by the Lombards at a later period; and partly through the spoliation of these barbarian invaders, partly through the neglect of those who should have been their guardians, they sank into such a state of decay and pollution that, as the only means of preserving the holy remains they enshrined from further desecration, Pope Paul I., in the latter part of the 8th century, and Pope Paschal, at the beginning of the 9th, entered upon the work of the translation of the relics, which was vigorously carried on by successive pontiffs until the crypts were almost entirely despoiled of their dead.
Then came the news of the Five Days of Milan, which produced the wildest excitement in Turin; unless First war the army were sent to assist the struggling Lombards of Italy at once the dynasty was in jeopardy.
The Lombards chose Ardoin, marquis of Ivrea, for king, and Pavia supported his claims against those of Henry of Bavaria, who had been elected in Germany.
Election took the place of ordination, but even here the Lombards showed their difference from the Ultramontanes, and recognized only two orders, like the Cathari, while the northern body kept the old three orders of bishops, priests and deacons.
We may add that in peninsular Italy, which was most clearly under his ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the Lombards had spread havoc and ruin; so that nearly ninety bishoprics had been suppressed, either temporarily or definitively.
Thus the Lombards neither occupied the extremities nor subjugated the brain-centre of the country.
To it were added the exarchate of Ravenna and a few other districts of central Italy, which had been recently conquered by the Lombards and retaken by the Frankish kings Pippin and Charlemagne.
The speech of the Lombards at last got the better of Greek, Arabic and French; how far its ascendancy can have been built on any survival of an earlier Latin speech which had lived on alongside of Greek and Arabic this is not the place to inquire.