Rule of the Dukes
“After (the death of Alboin) the Langobards had no king for ten years but were under dukes, and each one of the dukes held possession of his own city, Zaban of Ticinum, Wallari of Bergamus, Alichis of Brexia, Euin of Tridentum, Gisulf of Forum Julii. But there were thirty other dukes besides these in their own cities. In these days many of the noble Romans were killed from love of gain, and the remainder were divided among their “guests” and made tributaries, that they should pay the third part of their products to the Langobards. By these dukes of the Langobards in the seventh year from the coming of Alboin and of his whole people, the churches were despoiled, the priests killed, the cities overthrown, the people who had grown up like crops annihilated, and besides those regions which Alboin had taken, the greater part of Italy was seized and subjugated by the Langobards."
-Paul the Deacon
The thirty-five dukes administered his own strip of territory according to his own liking, and without being held accountable to any superior authority. Of these thirty-five the highest in rank was Zaban, duke of Pavia, who took the lead in the joint deliberations and expeditions of the chieftains; six others were pre-eminent, viz. Wallari, duke of Bergamo, Alichis of Brescia, Euin of Trent, Gisulf of Friuli, Farwald of Spoleto, and Zotto of Benevento. The localities of the remaining twenty-eight corresponded approximately with the principal episcopal towns of conquered Italy.
Of the military operations during these ten years there is scanty information. On the death of Pope John III (574 AD), communications between Rome and Constantinople were apparently cut off. In the time of Pope Benedict I the Lombards swept over the whole of Italy. The invasion coincided with a severe famine, and many fortified places which had hitherto held out for the Empire were compelled by hunger to capitulate.