In reward for these services Belisarius was invested with the consular dignity, and medals were struck in his honour.
Accordingly, Belisarius invaded Sicily; and, after storming Naples and defending Rome for a year against almost the entire strength of the Goths in Italy, he concluded the war by the capture of Ravenna, and with it of the Gothic king Vitiges.
Belisarius remained at Constantinople in tranquil retirement until 559, when an incursion of Bulgarian savages spread a panic through the metropolis, and men's eyes were once more turned towards the neglected veteran, who placed himself at the head of a mixed multitude of peasants and soldiers, and repelled the barbarians with his wonted courage and adroitness.
Shortly afterwards Belisarius was accused of complicity in a conspiracy against the emperor (562); his fortune was confiscated, and he was confined as a prisoner in his palace.
The fiction of Belisarius wandering as a blind beggar through the streets of Constantinople, which has been adopted by Marmontel in his Belisaire, and by various painters and poets, is first heard of in the 10th century.
When, therefore, Justinian undertook the reconquest of Italy, his generals, Belisarius and Narses, were supported by the south.
Long after the Goths had lost Rome they still clung to Ravenna, till at length, weary of the feebleness of their own king, Vitiges, and struck with admiration of their heroic conqueror, they offered to transfer their allegiance to Belisarius on condition of his assuming the diadem of the Western Empire.
Belisarius dallied with the proposal until he had obtained an entrance within the walls of the capital, and proclaimed his inviolable fidelity to Justinian.
Belisarius starved out Vitiges in 539, and became master of it.
Their development as a maritime people, engaged in small trading and intimately acquainted with their home waters, led Belisarius to seek their help in his task of recovering Italy from the Goths.
Reconquered by Belisarius in 534, Africa formed, under the name of praefectura Africae, one of the great administrative districts of the Byzantine empire.
Towards the end of 545 the Gothic king took up his station at Tivoli and prepared to starve Rome into surrender, making at the same time elaborate preparations for checking the progress of Belisarius who was advancing to its relief.
But its walls and other fortifications were soon restored, and Totila again marching against it was defeated by Belisarius, who, however, did not follow up his advantage.
Several cities were taken by the Goths, while Belisarius remained inactive and then left Italy, and in 549 Totila advanced a third time against Rome, which he captured through the treachery of some of its defenders.
The Romans, though led by Belisarius, could do little against him.
In 541 he fought under Belisarius in Mesopotamia.
Lost to Rome by the invasion of the Vandals, who took Carthage in 439, the province was recovered by Belisarius a century later (533-34), and remained Roman till the Arab invasions of 648-69.
547 Belisarius collected his fleet here before crossing into Calabria.
Under Athalaric he was praefectus praetorio, a post which he retained till about 540, after the triumphal entry of Belisarius into Ravenna, when he retired from public life.
The town was partially restored by Belisarius, and again sacked by the Arabs in the 7th century.
During the siege of Rome by Narses, Belisarius occupied Tibur: it was afterwards treacherously surrendered to Totila, whose troops plundered it, but who rebuilt it in A.D.
Here he wrote his Neue Apologie des Socrates (1772), a work occasioned by an attack on the fifteenth chapter of Marmontel's Belisarius made by Peter Hofstede, a clergyman of Rotterdam, who maintained the patristic view that the virtues of the noblest pagans were only splendida peccata.
Six months afterwards (Dec. 9) he was one of those who admitted Belisarius into the city.
He was deposed accordingly by Belisarius in March 537 on a charge of treasonable` correspondence with the Goths, and degraded to the rank of monk.
(q.v.) was driven back by Belisarius; but the latter was defeated in his pursuit at Rakka (531).
Yet Lilybaeum was a Gothic possession when Belisarius, conqueror of Africa, demanded it in vain as part of the Vandal possessions (Proc. Bell.
Belisarius was Pyrrhus and Marcellus in one.
The great source of our knowledge of Sicily in the century which followed the reconquest by Belisarius is the Letters of Pope Gregory the Great, and they naturally show the most Latin side of things.
He became a lawyer, probably at Constantinople, and was in 527 appointed secretary and legal adviser to Belisarius, who was proceeding to command the imperial army in the war against the Persians (De bello persico i.
When the Persian War was suspended and Belisarius was despatched against the Vandals of Africa in 533, Procopius again accompanied him, as he subsequently did in the war against the Ostrogoths of Italy, which began in 535.
It does not appear whether he was with the Roman armies in the later stages of the Gothic War, when Belisarius and afterwards Narses fought against Totila in Italy; his narrative of these years is much less full and minute than that of the earlier warfare.
A great expedition under the command of Belisarius (in whose train was the historian Procopius) sailed from the Bosporus in June 533, and after touching at Catana in Sicily finally reached Africa in the beginning of September.
Gelimer, who was strangely ignorant of the plans of Justinian, had sent his brother Tzazo with some of his best troops to quell a rebellion in Sardinia (that island as well as the Balearic Isles forming part of the Vandal dominions), and the landing of Belisarius was entirely unopposed.
Belisarius, however, was too late to save the life of Hilderic, who had been slain by his rival's orders as soon as the news came of the landing of the imperial army.
On the return of Tzazo from Sardinia a force was collected considerably larger than the imperial army, and Gelimer met Belisarius in battle at a place about 20 m.
The well-known stories of his laughter when he was introduced to Belisarius, and his chant, "Vanitas vanitatum," when he walked before the triumphal car of his conqueror through the streets of Constantinople, probably point to an intellect disordered by his reverses and hardships.
Toward the close of his reign (527) he resumed the war, defeating Belisarius at Callinicum (531), with the zealous support of the wild Arab Mondhir II.
In this capacity, in 530, he received into the emperor's obedience another Narses, a fellow-countryman, with his two brothers, Aratius and Isaac. These Persarmenian generals, having formerly fought under the standard of Persia, now in consequence of the successes of Belisarius transferred their allegiance to the emperor Justinian, came to Constantinople, and received costly gifts from the great minister.
In the fourth year of the latter war (538) the splendid successes of Belisarius had awakened both joy and fear in the heart of his master.
Belisarius understood that Narses came to serve under him like any other officer of distinguished but subordinate rank, and he received a letter from Justinian which seemed to support this conclusion.
The first interference of Narses with the plans of Belisarius was beneficial.
John, one of the officers highest in rank under Belisarius, had pressed on to Rimini, contrary to the instructions of his chief, leaving in his rear the difficult fortress of Osimo (Auximum) untaken.