(died 567) was a king of the Gepids
in the 6th century. Cunimund was the last of the Gepid kings and led them in their defeat by the Lombards
War with the Lombards
The Gepids had held the important city of Sirmium
(now Sremska Mitrovica
) since 536, after taking it from the Byzantine
emperor Justinian I
. By 549, the Gepids were at war with the Lombards. The Lombards requested and received help from Justinian I in the form of 15,000 troops. This was a relatively large force, and the Gepids quickly came to a truce with the Lombards, but only while the Byzantine soldiers were in the area. There was, more or less, a long feud between the peoples of Turisind and Audoin
, then king of the Lombards.
Open war with the Lombards, now led by Alboin
, began again in 565. Cunimund appealed to the new Byzantine emperor, Justin II
, for help and promising Sirmium in return. Justin II accepted, and the Gepids had a temporary advantage, even though Cunimund failed to release Sirmium after all.
The Lombards later formed an alliance with the Avars. Cunimund made the same offer to Justin II as he had before, and this time when Justin accepted, the Gepid king handed Sirmium over to the Byzantines. As it turned out, however, the Byzantine troops neglected to join the Gepids in their fight but kept Sirmium, and although the Avars did not show up either, the Lombards soundly defeated Cunimund's forces in 567. Alboin apparently killed the defeated king and had his skull converted into a drinking cup known as a scala or patera.
Thurisind and Thurismund
Cunimund succeeded Thurisind
as king. According to multiple sources, the former king had been Cunimund's own father, and the enmity that both had for the Lombards was allegedly partly a result of Alboin's murder of Cunimund's brother (Thurisind's son), Thurismund.
Cunimund had a daughter named Rosamund
(or Rosemund). She was forced into marrying Alboin after the Gepids' defeat, but she arranged his assassination in 572 or 573.
Cunimund's grim end and Rosamund are mentioned in J. R. R. Tolkien
's story "The Lost Road"
, when the character Alboin asks his father, Oswin Errol, about the origin of his name: