The History

In the spring of 568 A.D. the proud Longobards invaded the land of Friuli. Before proceeding to the south of the peninsula, their king, Alboin, made his nephew Gisulf duke of the lands they had conquered first. Forum Iulii (Cividale) thus became the capital of the Friuli Duchy.
Twenty Dukes would rule the Duchy over the next two centuries; the warrior Ratchis was one of them.
The years when Ratchis was Duke, from 737 to 744, were those of the Duchy’s greatest political stability and artistic flowering.
It is thanks to him that the famous altar bearing his name, now in Cividale cathedral’s Christian Museum, was created. The religious carvings on the magnificent four-sided, stone monument imbue it with great symbolyc value and it is fundamental to ouar knowledge of Longobard art of the period.
Ratchis inherited the dukedom from his father, Pemmone, and he married a Roman women, Tassia, from whom he had several children. He and his brother Aistulf won many battles and in 744 he was elected King of the longobards. He abdicated in 749 and retired to a monastery. His devotion to the Church (many buildings were restored and embellisched at his behest)  has caused him to be considered blessed in local tradition.
This is what pauls Diaconus, the late 8th century historian who wrote the history of his people in “HISTORIA LONGOBARDORUM”, tells us of Ratchis, “Duke” of friuli.