Be this as it may, the Lombards, their ranks swelled by the Gepidae, whom they had lately conquered, and by the wrecks of other barbarian tribes, passed southward under their king Alboin in 568.
In the course of the 5th century it spread to several other nations, including the Gepidae, Burgundians, Rugii and Langobardi.
In alliance with the Avars, and Asiatic people who had invaded central Europe, Alboin defeated the Gepidae, a powerful nation on his eastern frontier, slew their king Cunimund, whose skull he fashioned into a drinking-cup, and whose daughter Rosamund he carried off and made his wife.
His too numerous sons began to quarrel about their inheritance, while Ardaric, the king of the Gepidae, was placing himself at the head of a general revolt of the dependent nations.
Lombards, Heruli, Huns, Gepidae and even Persians followed the standard of Narses, men equal in physical strength and valour to the Goths, and inspired by the liberal pay which they received, and by the hope of plunder.
Waccho is said to have conquered the Suabi, possibly the Bavarians, and he was also involved in strife with the Gepidae, with whom Ildichis had taken refuge.
He also was involved in hostilities with the Gepidae, whose support of Ildichis he repaid by protecting Ustrogotthus, a rival of their king Thorisind.
It was about this time that the Avars, under their first Chagun Baian, entered Europe, and with them Alboin is said to have made an alliance against the Gepidae under their new king Cunimund.
- In 568 Alboin, king of the Langobards, with the women and children of the tribe and all their possessions, with Saxon allies, with the subject tribe of the Gepidae and a mixed host of other barbarians, descended into Italy by the great plain at the head of the Adriatic. The war which had ended in the downfall of the Goths had exhausted Italy; it was followed by famine and pestilence; and the government at Constantinople made but faint efforts to retain the province which Belisarius and Narses had recovered for it.
In 57 2, according to the Lombard chronicler, Alboin fell a victim to the revenge of his wife Rosamund, the daughter of the king of the Gepidae, whose skull Alboin had turned into a drinking cup, out of which he forced Rosamund to drink.
Moreover the Gepidae, another Teutonic people, who are said to have formerly inhabited the delta of the Vistula, also appear to have been closely connected with the Goths.
Jordanes records several traditions of their conflicts with other Teutonic tribes, in particular a victory won by Ostrogotha over Fastida, king of the Gepidae, and another by Geberic over Visimar, king of the Vandals, about the end of Constantine's reign, in consequence of which the Vandals sought and obtained permission to settle in Pannonia.
2) states distinctly that the Gothic language was spoken not only by the Ostrogoths and Visigoths but also by the Vandals and the Gepidae; and in the former case there is sufficient evidence, chiefly from proper names, to prove that his statement is not far from the truth.
With regard to the Gepidae we have less information; but since the Goths, according to Jordanes (cap. 17), believed them to have been originally a branch of their own nation, it is highly probable that the two languages were at least closely related.
Possibly the information there given was derived from southern Hungary or Transylvania where remains of the Gepidae were to be found shortly before the Magyar invasion (889).
His own special kingdom comprised the countries which are now called Hungary and Transylvania, his capital being possibly not far from the modern city of Buda-Pest; but having made the Ostrogoths, the Gepidae and many other Teutonic tribes his subjectallies, and having also sent his invading armies into Media, he seems for nearly twenty years to have ruled practically without a rival from the Caspian to the Rhine.