Belisarius | Byzantine general | mephistolessiveur.info
Flavius Belisarius ( - AD) personified the perfect example of what a When she was old enough, Antonina met a man of her own social. At the end of Belisarius's second expedition to Italy, he was obliged to retire in Totila was very eager to meet him in the open field, but never found an when he considered the character of Antonina and Belisarius's infatuation for his wife. – after ) was a Byzantine patrikia and wife of the general Belisarius. .. We do not know when or how Antonina and Belisarius met. Theodora might have .
In The late Roman or Byzantine emperor Justinian I — who now ruled from Constantinople — sent his brilliant young general, Flavius Belisariusagainst the Vandals. Belisarius had just defeated a major Persian invasion of the eastern frontier, now he quickly restored Africa to the empire.
When jealous subordinates warned Justinian that Belisarius intended to rebel and take the throne himself, the general showed his loyalty by returning to Constantinople without his guards.
Did Antonina Use Witchcraft to Enslave the Mighty Byzantine General Belisarius? | Ancient Origins
Justinian honored him with a triumph through the streets of Constantinople, made him consul, and then ordered him to also retake Sicily and Italy, at that time under Gothic rule.
Beside Belisarius rode his wife, the one-time prostitute Antonina who was a product of Constantinople's crime- infested streets and slums.
Antonina and another former prostitute, Justinian's wife, the Empress Theodorawere two of the most formidable women of that or any age. The christological disputes of the fifth century haunted the reign of Justinian and Theodora. Monophysitism disputed orthodox doctrine in the eastern empire and Arianism was the faith of the Barbarians who held the west. Antonina and Belisarius had even been godparents to a young man named Theodosius when he converted to the orthodox Catholic faith.
They had married less than two years before the African campaign and Antonina had born a daughter.
Kastenellos assumes that the baby Joannina must have remained in Constantinople, presumably in the care of Belisarius' mother and a grown daughter of Antonina. Antonina and Belisarius loved each other deeply as they did their godson, Theodosius.
But Antonina loved Theodosius too well. They engaged in a ten years affair while accompanying Belisarius in his brilliant campaigns in Africa, Sicily, and Italy where, despite grossly inadequate forces, he conquered the Gothic kingdom which ruled even the city of Rome itself.
Since almost nothing is certain of Antonina's life before meeting Belisarius, Kastenellos has invented a plausible youth. What is known from Belisarius' private secretary and biographer, Procopius of Caesariais that she was the daughter of a charioteer in the hippodrome of Constantinople and that after his death her mother prostituted the barely teenage girl.
Antonina (wife of Belisarius)
Antonina did manage a common law marriage or concubinage and was the mother of a daughter, Callista, and a son, Photius, who as a young officer would accompany her and Belisarius in Italy. In the fictional early life of Antonina, she is widowed and survives two earthquakes and a fire which are known to have ravished the city of Antioch at that time.
She meets and falls for the considerably younger Belisarius, and he for her. Then he is ordered back to the capitol.
As fate would seem to have it, she meets and is befriended by an elderly senator whom it is hinted the imperial couple have requested return her to the capitol and to Belisarius.
There they are reunited. After her marriage to Belisarius we have more exact, if slanderous, information from Procopius, and the story becomes a sympathetic narrative of her known life. The subtitle of Antonina is A Byzantine Slut and Kastenellos does not whitewash her infidelity, but he does sympathize. Antonina was a strong-willed and liberated lady from the streets of Constantinople who, Procopius admitted, contributed substantially to the Italian campaign.
Antonina stood a siege of Rome which lasted over a year. When her husband tried to send her to safety in Byzantine-occupied Naples, she instead raised an army and led reinforcements to relieve Rome. She was also the Empress Theodora's agent in reconquered Italy and did not hesitate, as her husband did, even to depose a pope who was suspected of treason.
She was just unimpressed by the hypocrisy of those who make much of the seventh commandment while ignoring the others. Kastenellos has written a more understanding account of her life. The narrative is based upon the facts reported by Procopius but with severe criticism of his interpretation and lack of empathy or insight. It is fictionalized only to the extent necessary to tell the tale of Antonina in the form of a novel.
Throughout all this, while Belisarius was risking his life and fortune for the emperor, the reader is immersed in literally Byzantine politics. His lieutenants are disobedient political appointments with familial relations to Justinian, or are barbarian chieftains with little loyalty to anyone.
A rival, the grand chamberlain Narses, plots against the general. Because he had received no funds from the Emperor, he plundered all the Italian peoples of Ravenna and Sicily, and the rest of Italy without mercy, by way of exacting vengeance for irregularities in their past lives. Thus he fell upon Herodianus, and asked him for money with the most dreadful threats; whereupon he, in his rage, threw off his allegiance to Rome and went over with his troops to Totila and the Goths, and handed over to them the town of Spoletum.
I will now tell how Belisarius fell out with John, the nephew of Vitalianus, a matter which was exceedingly prejudicial to the interests of Rome. For this reason, when John was sent by Belisarius on a mission to Byzantium, Germanus was forced to enter upon negotiations with him with a view to marriage with his daughter, although such an alliance was far beneath him.
When both had settled the matter to their satisfaction, they bound each other by the most solemn oaths, to use their best endeavours to bring about this alliance; for neither of them trusted the other, as John knew that he was seeking an alliance above his station, and Germanus despaired of finding another husband for his daughter.
The Empress was beside herself at this, and endeavoured to thwart them in every possible way; but as her threats had no effect upon either, she openly threatened to put John to death.
From this time forth the power of Rome, which had long been unstable, utterly fell to the ground for want of capable support. Such were the fortunes of Belisarius in the Gothic war. After this, despairing of success, he begged the Emperor to allow him to leave Italy with all speed. When he heard that his prayer had been granted, he joyfully retired, bidding a long farewell to the Roman army and the Italians.
In addition to his ill-success abroad, he also had to submit to a domestic misfortune, which came about as follows: These considerations prompted her to a most abominable act. She made the boy and girl live together without any marriage ceremony, in violation of the laws. It is said that the girl was unwilling to cohabit with him, and that the Empress had her secretly forced to do so, that the marriage might be consummated by the dishonour of the bride, and so the Emperor might not be able to oppose it.
After this had taken place, Anastasius and the girl fell passionately in love with each other, and lived together in this manner for eight months. Although he had sworn a solemn oath to Photius and to several of his intimates and broken it, yet all men readily forgave him, because they suspected that the reason of his faithlessness was not the dominion of his wife over him, but his fear of Theodora; but now that Theodora was dead, as I have told you, he thought nothing about Photius or any of his intimates, but entirely submitted to the sway of his wife, and her pander Calligonus.