Friday, January 1, 2010

Roman General: Belisarius

Belisarius was an Eastern Roman (Byzantine) general. Born Dalmatia (now in Yugoslavia), about 505 A.D.

Belisarius was one of the great soldiers in the service of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. After demonstrating his military skill in battle against the Persians on the eastern front and his loyalty by crushing the Nika revolt against the emperor, Belisarius was sent to attack the Vandals in Africa in 533 A.D. Overwhelmingly successful, he was then entrusted with the long-projected reconquest of Italy from the Ostrogoths. Landing in Sicily, Belisarius advanced to Rome, entering it in 536 A.D. By 540 A.D. he had gained control of Ravenna and all of peninsular Italy.

After his Italian triumph, Belisarius returned to the Persian wars in the east. In 544 A.D. he was recalled to Italy to meet the attacks of the Ostrogoth Totila.

Although he recaptured Rome, Belisarius was unable to restore his former Italian conquest. Unwilling or unable to reinforce Belisarius, Justinian relieved him in 548 A.D. Belisarius lived in retirement until 559 A.D., when he once again took command to repel a raid by the Kotrigur Huns on the empire's capital at Constantinople (now Istanbul). Historians believe there is no truth to later stories of Belisarius spending his final years in disgrace and poverty after having been blinded by Justinian.

Belisarius died in 565 A.D.