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Ian Hughes
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Belisarius: The Last Roman General

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  212 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A military history of the campaigns of Belisarius, the greatest general of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Justinian. He twice defeated the Persians and reconquered North Africa from the Vandals in a single year at the age of 29, before going on to regain Spain and Italy, including Rome (briefly), from the barbarians. It discusses the evolution from classical Roman t ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2014 by Pen & Sword Military (first published January 15th 2009)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  212 ratings  ·  17 reviews


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Carlos
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book if you are interested in Byzantine politics, with a focus on the time of Justinian. I have always been interested in the Byzantines since to me they signify a glamorous part of history, half ancient , the other half modern. But everyone involved in this subject cannot help and wonder what would have happened had the Byzantine empire been strong enough to reunite the Western part of the Roman empire once more, well The Emperor Justinian tried to do just that in the 6th centur ...more
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
...more
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.
Chris Wray
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This is an ok biography of one of the ancient worlds most interesting characters, the Byzantine general Belisarius.

I'll start with the negatives. In some ways, this book highlights the difficulties and limitations faced when writing the biography of an ancient personality for whom there is only relatively sparse documentary evidence for the biographer to draw upon. This is especially seen in the sections on the military equipment, tactics and organisation of the Byzantine and contemporary empir
...more
John Conquest
This is an unedited excerpt from the 537 Siege of Rome chapter.


King Vitiges: "If I assaulted those walls would you die?"
Belisarius: "It would be extremely painful."

King Vitiges: "You're a big legatus."
Belisarius: "For you."

King Vitiges: "Was getting besieged in Rome part of your plan?"
Belisarius: "Of courshe! Pope Silverius refused our offer in favor of yours, we had to find out what he told you."

Pope Silverius: "Nothing, I said nothing!"

King Vitiges: "Well congratulations, you got yourself besi
...more
Christopher
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Considering most biographies on old Belli' are quite old and often repeat their sources uncritically, this is a welcome and modern update to the saga of one of the greatest Roman generals.
Dom Moulding
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Florentius
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mike Day
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Maria Lim
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Robert
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book.
Nicholas Jordan
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Edward
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5
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