Belisarius (bĕlĭsârˈēəs) [key], c.505–565, Byzantine general under Justinian I. After helping to suppress (532) the dangerous Nika riot (see Blues and Greens), he defeated (533–34) the Vandals of Africa, and captured their king. In 535 he was given command of the expedition to recover Italy from the Ostrogoths. He took Naples and Rome (536) and, after some delays occasioned by a conflict of authority with Narses, captured Milan and Ravenna (540). He fought an indecisive campaign (541–42) against Khosrow I of Persia, and in 544 was sent back to Italy against the Goths led by Totila. Handicapped by Justinian's jealousy and distrust, he could do little more than hold his enemies in check; he was recalled in 548 and replaced by Narses. In 559 he emerged from retirement to drive the Bulgarians from Constantinople. He was accused (562) of a conspiracy and temporarily imprisoned but was shortly restored to favor. He was largely responsible for the great expansion of the Eastern Empire under Justinian.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Late Roman and Byzantine: Biographies