Justinian I's (q.v.) greatest general. His contributions to Justinian I's reign were considerable. Without him, Justinian I might have lost his throne in the Nika Revolt (q.v.) of 532. The reconquest of North Africa from the Vandals (qq.v.) in 533-534 and the early successes against the Ostrogoths (q.v.) from 536-540 were due in large part to his generalship. Against the Persians (q.v.), his success was mixed, but his role invaluable. In 559 he was called out of retirement to conduct an heroic defense of the capital against a raid by Cotrigurs (q.v.). The negative portrait drawn of him (and of the reconquest of North Africa) in Prokopios of Caesarea's (q.v.) Anekdota (Secret History) is unfair, whatever the truth about Belisarios's wife Antonina (q.v.). And it would be unfair to blame him for the Berber (q.v.) revolt in North Africa that dragged the war on there until 548, or unforeseen events in Italy (q.v.) after his departure that continued the Ostrogothic war until 554. However protracted and ephemeral Justinian's reconquests were in the West (e.g., much of Italy was lost to the Lombards [q.v.] in 568), at least for a time the empire regained much of its former territory. What Justinian envisioned and planned, Belisarios, often with limited resources, made possible.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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