Lombard king of Italy who conquered Liguria pushing the Lombard boundaries to their greatest extent and codified the Lombard laws.
Originally duke of Brescia (east of Milan) Rothari became king by marrying the widowed daughter of King Agilulf and Queen Theodelinda in 636.
Strongly nationalistic and a firm adherent of Arianism (an unorthodox Christian sect) accused his wife of pro-Catholic activity and kept her imprisoned for five years until she was freed through the intervention of the Frankish king Clovis II.
Rothari reopened hostilities against the Byzantines taking Genoa c. 641 and razing its walls.
On Nov. 22, 643 he published his famous edict, in 388 articles, a code of civil and criminal law based on the Germanic principle of guidrigild (like Anglo-Saxon wergild, a money fine for serious crimes), a document that is a source of information not only on Lombard law but also on the structure of Lombard society, the blood price of injured or murdered persons varying with social status.
He died in 652 the last Lombard king to profess Arianism.