Narses(redirected from Nerseh)
Born circa A.D. 478; died 568 in Rome. Byzantine military leader and political figure. Of Armenian descent.
Narses was a eunuch and a retainer of Emperor Justinian I. He helped suppress the Nika revolt in 532. In 538 he was sent to Italy to assist the Byzantine commander Belisarius, who was fighting the Ostrogoths, but in 539, Narses was recalled. He was sent to Italy again in 551 as commander of the Byzantine Army and in the summer of 552 crushed the forces of the Ostrogoth king Totila in the Apennines near the little town of Taginae (now Gualdo Tadino). He conquered central Italy, took Rome, and in late 552 routed the Ostrogoths near the Sarno River. In 554 he repulsed an attack on Italy by hordes of Franks and Alemanni. In 555, Narses was appointed ruler of the part of Italy conquered by the Byzantines; he followed a policy of restoring slave ownership and the Roman tax system. Court intrigues on the one hand and growing discontent among the Italian population on the other led to Narses’ retirement in 567.