Tiberius vs Belisarius vs Alcibiades

?

  • Tiberius

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • Belisarius

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • Alcibiades

    Votes: 1 11.1%

  • Total voters
    9

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,959
Blachernai
But at least he was more in the vicinity than most of our sources!

I'm just embarking on this, which you might have a view on:

Hispania y Bizancio: Una relación desconocida: Amazon.co.uk: Margarita Vallejo Girvés: 9788446029601: Books (Hispania y Bizancio, una relacion desconocida)
I did not know this book, and thanks for the summary! Unfortunately my Spanish is pretty poor - I was reading some archaeological material in Catalan recently but I'd need to put some work in before I could even start stumbling around with Spanish.
 
Dec 2019
68
Fryslân, Netherlands
Belisarius clearly was a great general, but I'd like to understand better why his early career fighting Persia involved several defeats.
The first battle of Belisarius‘ career was a defeat against the Persians. Belisarius was not the commander of the army but a subordinate to Sittas. He then went to join 4 other important Byzantine officers at Thannuris. It has been stated that this battle was really hard fought due to Belisarius’ generalship but in reality the Byzantines probably walked into a trap, Belisarius being the only one cautious enough to not do so and escape with his forces intact. He tried to fight the victorious Persians again at Mindouos (Procopius makes one battle out of Thannuris and Mindouos). Mindouos was probably hard fought but considering Belisarius only had a small contingent with him and the Persians had just been able to defeat a much larger army (there were even many immortals present at Thannuris), Belisarius was probably quite heavily outnumbered. He was eventual pushed off his strong defensive position and defeated. Next was his victory at Dara, followed by the biggest blunder in his career: the Battle of Calinicum. Despite outnumbering the Sassanids (25.000 to 15.000) he was defeated (the Sassanids did have the advantage in troop quality as their force was entirely cavalry). When he caught up with the Sassanids, whose cavalry army he had just chased away using forced marches, he formed a defensive line. He did not position himself on the high ground so he was not able to see the battlefield properly. He neither made a reserve. He was not able to see the Persians concentrating a large force to strike at one particular point in the Byzantine line. When the Persians attacked there was no reserve to stop them, Belisarius gathered his cavalry and fled. The infantry kept resisting the Persians though, if Belisarius had remained he might have been able to drive off the now occupied Persians and turn defeat into victory but alas he just ran off. After this episode an inquiry was started to determine whether Belisarius was incompetent, he was cleared of all charges.
 
Oct 2018
2,090
Sydney
The first battle of Belisarius‘ career was a defeat against the Persians. Belisarius was not the commander of the army but a subordinate to Sittas. He then went to join 4 other important Byzantine officers at Thannuris. It has been stated that this battle was really hard fought due to Belisarius’ generalship but in reality the Byzantines probably walked into a trap, Belisarius being the only one cautious enough to not do so and escape with his forces intact. He tried to fight the victorious Persians again at Mindouos (Procopius makes one battle out of Thannuris and Mindouos). Mindouos was probably hard fought but considering Belisarius only had a small contingent with him and the Persians had just been able to defeat a much larger army (there were even many immortals present at Thannuris), Belisarius was probably quite heavily outnumbered. He was eventual pushed off his strong defensive position and defeated. Next was his victory at Dara, followed by the biggest blunder in his career: the Battle of Calinicum. Despite outnumbering the Sassanids (25.000 to 15.000) he was defeated (the Sassanids did have the advantage in troop quality as their force was entirely cavalry). When he caught up with the Sassanids, whose cavalry army he had just chased away using forced marches, he formed a defensive line. He did not position himself on the high ground so he was not able to see the battlefield properly. He neither made a reserve. He was not able to see the Persians concentrating a large force to strike at one particular point in the Byzantine line. When the Persians attacked there was no reserve to stop them, Belisarius gathered his cavalry and fled. The infantry kept resisting the Persians though, if Belisarius had remained he might have been able to drive off the now occupied Persians and turn defeat into victory but alas he just ran off. After this episode an inquiry was started to determine whether Belisarius was incompetent, he was cleared of all charges.
Thanks for the helpful response! Callinicum certainly does come across as quite the blunder. I suppose we can forgive him for making mistakes early in his career haha. In the case of that opening series of defeats one can also imagine a deteriorating state of morale, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy (as I've seen suggested for Maxentius' forces during Constantine's invasion of Italy). I see however that Procopius says that Belisarius held command together with Sittas in that first battle.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2019
68
Fryslân, Netherlands
Thanks for the helpful response! Callinicum certainly does come across as quite the blunder. I suppose we can forgive him for making mistakes early in his career haha. In the case of that opening series of defeats one can also imagine a deteriorating state of morale, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy (as I've seen suggested for Maxentius' forces during Constantine's invasion of Italy). I see however that Procopius says that Belisarius held an equal command with Sittas in that first battle.
Sittas held a higher rank at the time of the battle. He was soon after promoted to commander-in-chief of the Persian front. Belisarius‘ role seems to have been more like Labienus‘ role in Caesar‘s campaigns, mentioned just like Masséna and Labienus are sometimes put in the commander(s) section on Wikipedia for battles won by Caesar, Napoleon, Schérer and such. That’s the narrative that I went with as Ian Hughes supported it in his book on Belisarius and I tend to agree with him on most issues.