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Liutprand was born towards the beginning of the 10th century. He came from a good family. Liutprand entered service as a page to Hugh of Arles in 931. The Hugh of Arles kept court at Pavia as King of Italy. Liutrpand father and stepfather were sent as ambassadors to Constantine. Liutprand may have died in 972 because Cremona was installed in 973. The Catholic Encyclopedia said of his writings that They are an important historical source for the tenth century but Liutprand was always a strong partisan and often unfair towards his adversaries.

Hugh of arles

Liutprand was educated at the court Pavia. Afterwards, he became a cleric at the Cathedral of Pavia. He became confidential secretary to Berengar II, marchese d'Ivrea, the actual ruler of Italy. Eventually, Liutprand became chancellor to Berengar II who sent him on a mission as ambassador to the Byzantine court of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in 949. Liutprand knew Greek, a language that was not widely know in the 10th century west. His knowing Greek helped him on his mission to the Byzantine court. However, the mission proved worthless, plus it was a humiliating experience for Liutprand that lasted for four months. He recounts these experiences in Antapodosis which means retribution.

Otto I

Liutprand upon his return from the Byzantine court fell out of favor in Pavia. As a result he linked himself to the emperor Otto I who became King of Italy upon the death of Lothair 950. In 961, Liutprand returned to Italy with Otto I. The following year Liutprand became bishop of Cremona. He was also sent to Pope John XII in 963. He was often entrusted with important diplomacy for Berenger and because of that he was sent to the Pope. The papacy was allied with Berenger’s son Albert, and at the beginning of the quarrel between the pope and the emperor. Liutprand wrote specifically about when the Roman conclave of bishops deposed John XII, in November 6, 963.


Liutprand was employed continually on missions to the pope. He was sent to Constantinople in 968 for the future emperor Otto II, the hand of the emperor Romanus II daughter Theophano. Liutprand’s experiences at Constantinople were humiliating for him. He had recommended peace between Otto I and Romanus II, who still claimed Benevento and Capua. Romanus II forces had come to strife with Otto in Bari recently. Liutprand wrote of this in the Relatio de Legatione Constantinopolitana. This narrative is considered to be the most graphic and vivacious piece of writing which was produced in the 10th century. Although, this document is of rare value it is thought to be colored by Liutprand disastrous receptor and offended dignity at Constantinople and Byzantine court. It is unclear whether or not Liutprand returned in 971 with Theophano.