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Liutprand (Liudprand, Luitprand) (c. 922-972), Italian historian and author, bishop of Cremona, was born towards the beginning of the 10th century, of a good Lombard family.

In 931 he entered the service of King Hugo of Italy[?] as page; he afterwards rose to a high position at the court of Hugo's successor Berengar, having become chancellor, and having been sent (949) on an embassy to the Byzantine court.

Falling into disgrace with Berengar on his return, he attached himself to the emperor Otto I, whom in 961 he accompanied into Italy, and by whom in 962 he was made bishop of Cremona. He was frequently employed in missions to the pope, and in 968 to Constantinople to demand for the younger Otto (afterwards Otto II) the hand of Theophano, daughter of the emperor Nicephorus Phocas.

His account of this embassy in the Relatio de Legatione Constantinopolitana is perhaps the most graphic and lively piece of writing which has come down to us from the 10th century. The detailed description of Constantinople and the Byzantine court is a document of rare value--though highly coloured by his ill reception and offended dignity. Whether he returned in 971 with the embassy to bring Theophano or not is uncertain. Liudprand died in 972.

He wrote:

  • Antapodoseos, seu rerum per Europam gestarum, Libri VI, an historical narrative, relating to the events from 887 to 949, compiled with the object of avenging himself upon Berengar and Willa his queen;
  • Historia Ottonis, a work of greater impartiality and merit, unfortunately covering only the years from 960 to 964; and
  • the Relatio de Legatione Constantinopolitana (968969).

All are to be found in the Monum. Germ. Hist. of Pertz, and in the Rer. Ital. Script, of Muratori; there are editions by E Dumrnler (MGH, 1877), J. Becker (MGH, 1915) and P. Chiesa (Corpus Christianorum, 1998), and a partial translation into German, with an introduction by W Wattenbach, is given in the second volume of the Geschichtsschreiber der deutschen Vorzeit (1853). Compare Wattenbach, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter. Three other works, entitled Adversarii, Chronicon, 606-960, and Opusculum de vitis Romanorum pontificum, are usually, but wrongly, assigned to Liudprand. An English translation of the embassy to Constantinople is in Ernest Henderson's Select Documents of the Middle Ages (Bohn series, 1896). A complete bibliography is in A Potthast's Bibl. Hut. Medii Aevi (Berlin, 1896).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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