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Belisarius: The Last Roman General. Ian Hughes

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  13 reviews
This is a military history of the campaigns of Belisarius, the greatest General of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Justinian. It also discusses the evolution from classical Roman to Byzantine armies and systems of warfare, as well as those of their chief enemies, the Persians, Goths and Vandals.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Pen & Sword Military
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Community Reviews

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José Luís  Fernandes
To start, I must say I was a bit hopeful this book might be good by the reviews available here despite being a work of popular History, but I was a bit defrauded while reading it.

The introduction and the first chapters (on the Roman world) are a bit awful, with many real basic mistakes being done there. The contrasting descriptions of the governments of Ravenna and Constantinople and the people from the western and eastern provinces regarding the way how they viewed themselves are completely fa
Matthew Storm
I applaud Ian Hughes for attempting the first English language biography of the great general, Flavius Belisarius in nearly two hundred years. The paucity of current scholarly (or popular) writing on him is a mystery bordering on tragic. In a world in desperate need of heroes, of people that inspire through deeds not words, of public figures who are decent, honest and incorruptible and selfless - it would seem that Flavius Belisarius' story is as salient and powerful today as it was when Procopi ...more
S.J. Arnott
I found this quite a slog to get through. The book is packed with information and would no-doubt be of interest to anyone undertaking a detailed study of Belisarius' campaigns, but for the most part it came across as a dry re-telling of the contemporary histories with little commentary to bring it to life.

There were also some disconcerting spelling mistakes (obvious ones that should have easily been by picked up by a spull-cchocker) that made it look as if it had been produced in a hurry.
Nick Jones
I read this because I'm interested in that period of late antiquity turning into the Dark Ages. It's interesting about someone I knew little about, so mission accomplished.

The proof reading left quite a bit to be desired, however, especially in the Latin expressions. "Comitatus" gets misspelled in a number of ways across the entire text.
Dom Moulding
Thoroughly interesting and well written. Very good book about a period of history I knew little about. The author does however rely heavily on Procopius' (sp?) accounts and makes some assumptions based upon the limited sources available, he also presents a very favourabe - although not necessarily innaccurate - portrayal of Belisarius. As a newcomer to the topic I found the book very good but it the conjecture may be frustrating for anyone well versed in the era.
HNC Library
This book was read by Science teacher David Cochrane as part of the Six Book Challenge - here is his review:

"Belisarius - the last roman general to reconquer territories for Rome, is one of my favourite historical characters. This is a biography that's interesting from a military point of view, but disappointing on Belisarius's character and his relationship to his friends and adversaries which are a fascinating story."
Maria Lim
Great book on Belisarius. I think what is special about this book is that aside from presenting his life as we heard it from Procopius and other primary sources, the author gives his insights/possible theories as to why Belisarius did this or that. It gave me a new perspective about Belisarius that I did not get by reading Mahon or Procopius.
Mike Day
Though it gets a bit bogged down in the minutia of seiges and troop movements- especially during its coverage of the torturous gothic wars- "Belisarius" weaves in enough personal information of its eponymous general and broader historical implications for the empire to usually keep things moving along nicely.
Joel Nicholson
Was nice for an introduction to a topic I did not know much about. However I found myself bored and forcing myself to get through it.
George Serebrennikov
From the perspective of military historian, who is interested in weaponry, battle formations and detailed accounts of military campaigns, it is probably very informative and interesting book. I, however, more interested in Belisarius as a man, and I do not think the author did a good job describing that. I also did not like the way the book is written, sometimes I was just bored, and had to put the book away, and it took me a significant amount of time to finish it.
This is a really good modern bio of Belisarius. Highly recommended. After reading this one, I recommend Lord Mahon's classic biography from the 19th century The Life of Belisarius. These two books complement each other nicely.
Nicholas Jordan
Excellent book, a truly fascinating figure in history of which so little is known and written. Mr. Hughes provides new insights and (thank God) maps!
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