Any member of a Germanic people who from 568 to 774 ruled a kingdom in the region of Lombardy. Originally a pastoral tribe from northwestern Germany, the Lombards migrated southward and adopted an imperial military system. In the 6th century they moved into northern Italy, conquering the cities that had been left defenseless after the overthrow of the Ostrogoths by the Byzantine Empire. In the 8th century Liudprand, probably the greatest of the Lombard kings, steadily reduced the area of Italy still under Byzantine rule. When the Lombard kings invaded papal territories, Pope Adrian I sought aid from Charlemagne. In 773 the Franks besieged the Lombard capital, capturing Desiderius, the Lombard king; Charlemagne became king of the Lombards as well as of the Franks, and Lombard rule in Italy ended.