Narses

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Narses

Narses (närˈsēz), c.478–c.573, Byzantine official and general, one of the eunuchs of the palace. He assisted in the suppression of the Nika riot (532) by bribing the Blues of the Circus (see Blues and Greens) to return their allegiance to Justinian I. In 538 he was sent to Italy to cooperate with Belisarius; their dissensions delayed the campaign, and he was recalled. After the recall of Belisarius, Narses returned to Italy and completed the conquest, defeating (552) Totila. He defeated (554) an army of Franks and Alemanni at Capua. He was subsequently appointed prefect of Italy, but his administration was extremely unpopular and finally Justinian's successor, Justin II, recalled him.
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Narses

 

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.

REFERENCES

Udal’tsova, Z. V. Italiia i Vizantiia ν VI v. Moscow, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.