Flavius Belisarius: The Defender Of The Byzantine Empire

1425 words - 6 pages

Flavius Belisarius (505-565 CE), a Byzantine general under Justinian I, succeeded in winning countless victories and notably expanded and defended the Byzantine Empire. Despite the fact that he was a successful, advanced leader, Belisarius tragically ended his life shunned from the public.
Flavius Belisarius was born in Germania, Illyria in 505 CE. Very little is known about his ethnic background, but some historians say he was of Slavic background (Barker 1). He was assigned under Justinian's command when he was about twenty-five years old, and he was awarded full command of the army (Barker 1). He led armies against the Sāsānian Empire (Persia), the Vandal Kingdom (North Africa), the Ostrogoths (Italy), and the other barbaric tribes that intruded Constantinople during Justinian's reign (Mark 1).
Belisarius is known as one of the “Last of the Romans” because he perfectly embodied the best of the values of the Roman Empire (Mark 1). The general won his first laurels in 530 CE after a great victory at Dara against the Sāsānian Empire. This battle occurred because hostilities between the empires had resurfaced in the previous disputes for control of the trade routes to India and Central Asia. The empires had lived in peace for 150 years before these trade battles resumed (Durant 108). Belisarius rose above as the hero of war, despite his defeat the following year (Barker 1). The Nika revolt broke out in Constantinople in January 532. Through collaborations with Mundus’ men and Narses, who was stationed at the exits of the Hippodrome to capture fleeing rioters, Belisarius and his men successfully put it out by massacring the rioters (Hughs 68). Over 30,000 people were killed (Hughs 68). Also, in 532, Justinian was able to make peace with Persia by paying Khrosru Anushirvan, while Belisarius prepared to win back Africa (Durant 108). Belisarius drew the conclusion that the population was too hostile and the frontier was too hard to defend in the East to expect to make any permanent conquests. Although, the opposite was true in the West, where there were nations who were already accustomed to Roman rule (Durant 108).
In 533, Belisarius was sent with five hundred transports and ninety-two warships to attack the Vandals in North Africa (Durant 109). Belisarius had proven to be a loyal and effective general, so Justinian gave him full command of the expedition (Hughs 75). He even gave Belisarius a large mixed army of infantry and cavalry (Hughs 75). He left in June 533, accompanied by his wife Antonia and Procopius who was his assessor and secretary (Hughs 78). In the process of his mission, he captured a one of the Vandal messengers who helped Belisarius discover the Vandals’ plot (Hughs 109). He was able to destroy the Vandal Kingdom in just a few months and only two victories (Barker 1). After this victory, Justinian had Belisarius return to Constantinople for a brief triumph. On his way home, the Moors came down the hill, attacking the Roman...

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