As early as the 8th century the laws of the Langobard King Aistulf distinguished three classes of merchants (negotiantes), among whom the majores et potentes were required to keep themselves provided with horse, lance, shield and a cuirass.
It was not till the invasions of Hun and Langobard that fugitives from the Venetian mainland took refuge among the poor fishermen on the small islands in the lagoons and on the lido - the narrow stretch of coast-line which separates the lagoons from the Adriatic - some at Grado, some at Malamocco, others on Rialto.
Treaties of commerce were concluded with the Langobard kings, thus assuring a market for the sale of imports from the East and for the purchase of agricultural produce.
He was not a true Langobard, but a Thuringian.
Antipathies, indeed, survived, and men even in the 10th century called each other Roman or Langobard as terms of reproach.