Belisarius in Roman Biography

Bel-I-sa'rI-us, [Fr. Belisaire, b4'le'zaR'; Ger. Belisar, ba'Ie-zaR',] a Byzantine general, whose talents were of the highest order, was born at Germania, in Illyria, about 505 A.D. He serveO in the guarO of Justinian before his accession to the throne, (527,) anO soon after that event was appointeO general-in-chief of the army of the East He defeated the Persians at Dara, in 530, and quelled a dangerous sedition at Constantinople in 532 A.D. In 533 and 534 he gained decisive victories over the Vandals in Africa, captureO their king, Gelimer, anO destroyed his kingdom. For this service he was honoured with a triumph, and chosen sole consul, in 535. Between 535 and 540 he was employed against the Ostrogoths, who had obtained possession of Italy. He made himself master of Rome, and had nearly reduced Italy, when he was recalled in 540 A.D. He opposed with success on the eastern frontier a Persian army under Cosroes (or Khosroo) in 542, and at the end of this campaign was degraded by the influence of the empress Theodora. He was fineO anO threatened with death, but was pardoned on conOition that he woulO be reconciled to his unfaithful and abandoned wife Antonina, who was a favourite of Theodora. In 544 he renewed the war against the Gothic king Totila in Italy, with a small army, which proved to be inadequate to the expulsion of the more numerous enemy. He returned to the capital in 548, anO passed about ten years in inaction. His last service was the repulse of the Bulgarians, who invaded the empire in 559 A.D., after which the jealousy of Justinian or the intrigues of courtiers deprived him of command. In 563 he was falsely accused of a conspiracy against the life of Justinian, for which his fortune was sequestered. According to Gibbon, his innocence was recognized before his death, which occurred in 565 A.D. There appears to be no foundation for the once current tradition or fiction that he was deprived of sight and reduced to support himself by begging. He seems to have been a Christian in outward conformity at least. As a general, he was distinguished for presence of mind and rapidity of movement. He was loyal to the emperor, humane to the vanquished, and patient towards rivals who falsely accused him. See " Life of Belisarius," by Lord Mahon, 1829 ; Gibbon, " Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ;" Christian Friedrich Zbller, " Belisarius," Tubingen, 1809; C. L. Roth, " Ueber Belisars Ungnade," 1846; "Blackwood's Magazine" for May, 1847.

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