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Justinians Reconquest

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What do y'all think of Justinians attempt to reconquer the west.

 

Was it ever practical?

 

Was it even possible?

 

Could it have held together?

 

Would it have gotten anywhere without Belisarus?

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Well, Byzantine orthodox church was never really accpeted in the west, and controlling the newely ''formed'' nation-states proved to be difficult. But if islam would not have been born, the Rome would probably been ''reborn'' or ''rerisen''.

 

Also, the army of that time wasn't (to my knowladge) really that great.

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What do y'all think of Justinians attempt to reconquer the west.

 

Was it ever practical?

 

Was it even possible?

 

Could it have held together?

 

Would it have gotten anywhere without Belisarus?

 

 

It was never really practical. Although the Vandals and the Goths were relatively easy to beat, there was little chance of the Byzantines conquering the Franks in Gaul. The Vandals and Goths were Arians, the population Catholic, so the Empire was helped by the population. In France, the Franks were Catholic and so were the population, whilst the Empire was 'Eastern' (you can't really call it 'Orthodox' yet). The Empire would not have received any support from the natives.

 

It could have got somewhere without Belisarius: Justinian actually had some superb generals, many of whom stand up well in comparison to Belisarius himself. Wheteher they would have gone about the invasions the same way and with the same effect will never be known.

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In France, the Franks were Catholic and so were the population, whilst the Empire was 'Eastern' (you can't really call it 'Orthodox' yet). The Empire would not have received any support from the natives.

This is a very good point, Sonic, and one which I believe hasn't been addressed fully on this forum,within the context of similar discussions on this topic.

 

My own view is that the reconquest of Justinian was a disaster - he may have restored the outline of the Empire in geographical terms, but the cities of Italy were destroyed as a result, and a Germanic rulership rapidly adopting Roman ways was displaced. The re-established but greatly weakened Romans were then ill equipped to deal with the Lombard invasions of the late 500's. The Lombards then destroyed material Roman culture in the Italian peninsula forever.

 

I believe that left to their own devices, the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy (which also ruled over Helvetia, Raetia and Pannonia) would have eventually accepted Roman suzerainty, an emperor of the West would have been imposed on those provinces, and then both Eastern Roman and Western (Ostrogothic) forces would have resisted the Lombard invasions. Things would have henceforth been very different.

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What do y'all think of Justinians attempt to reconquer the west.

 

Was it ever practical?

 

Was it even possible?

 

Could it have held together?

 

Would it have gotten anywhere without Belisarus?

 

 

It was never really practical. Although the Vandals and the Goths were relatively easy to beat, there was little chance of the Byzantines conquering the Franks in Gaul. The Vandals and Goths were Arians, the population Catholic, so the Empire was helped by the population. In France, the Franks were Catholic and so were the population, whilst the Empire was 'Eastern' (you can't really call it 'Orthodox' yet). The Empire would not have received any support from the natives.

 

It could have got somewhere without Belisarius: Justinian actually had some superb generals, many of whom stand up well in comparison to Belisarius himself. Wheteher they would have gone about the invasions the same way and with the same effect will never be known.

 

 

which other generals? Narses was good but all the other generals that justinian left to be in charge of italy rarely helped eachother and just squabbled. Thus Belisarius was recalled once again from the persian front

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It was a good ideea and one that could have been highly succesfull.

I doubt that plans for conquest of the Gaul were made but Spain could have been added to the Mediterranean empire and also the southern provinces of Gaul that belonged to the goths.

The superiority of the empire to the germanic succesors was great as proven by the relative initial speed of the conquests.

 

Several factors made the reconquest a mixed succes.

 

First, the persians were fully aware of the danger that a reunited empire represented to them and broke the "eternal peace" to help the hard pressed ostrogoths. Romans had a hard time with them and this diverted resources from the West.

 

The danubian policy of Justinian failed. He was actively raiding slavs north of Low Danube while fortifing the Balkans in depth. Also he was seeking to use longobards and gepids against each other. The gepids occupied some Pannonian cities so when longobards attacked in alliance with avars he did not helped them to keep the balance. To everybody's surprise the gepids were totally smashed. Longobards attacked Italy and avars got a safe heaven in Pannonia were they were relieved of turkish pressure and started to seriously raid the Balkans as slavs and other steppe people were doing. This also diverted resurces from the West reconquest.

 

The third blow was a string of epidemies that greatly reduced the population of the empire shrinking to a great extent the recruit and tax bases.

 

If the reunification would have been a succes the empire could have benefited from a rebirth of trade and culture and from the unity of the christian church under imperial guidance. And it would have greater resources to focus on specific threats in crisis moments.

 

Italian reconquest alowed the empire to retain some serious influence there until the XI C and was the begining of Venice but also of some of the medieval arts and sciences.

The hold on Africa was also quite strong and helped the empire.

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What do y'all think of Justinians attempt to reconquer the west.

 

Was it ever practical?

 

Was it even possible?

 

Could it have held together?

 

Would it have gotten anywhere without Belisarus?

 

 

It was never really practical. Although the Vandals and the Goths were relatively easy to beat, there was little chance of the Byzantines conquering the Franks in Gaul. The Vandals and Goths were Arians, the population Catholic, so the Empire was helped by the population. In France, the Franks were Catholic and so were the population, whilst the Empire was 'Eastern' (you can't really call it 'Orthodox' yet). The Empire would not have received any support from the natives.

 

It could have got somewhere without Belisarius: Justinian actually had some superb generals, many of whom stand up well in comparison to Belisarius himself. Whether they would have gone about the invasions the same way and with the same effect will never be known.

 

 

which other generals? Narses was good but all the other generals that justinian left to be in charge of italy rarely helped eachother and just squabbled. Thus Belisarius was recalled once again from the persian front

 

Good question. Strangely, nobody seems to be aware of some of these men, although they are all mentioned in Procopius.

 

Germanus, the cousin of Justinian was an excellent commander and used around the Empire to plug gaps. However, his relationship to Justinian probably meant that he would not be trusted with a large army - he was too likely to rebel.

 

John the Armenian, who served under Belisarius in the Africa campaign. An excellent general, and trusted by Belisarius to pursue Gelimer, he was killed in a bizarre accident prior to Gelimer's surrender. If he had been in charge, he would not have been killed. However, we don't know whether he would have stood up to the pressures of a lone command.

 

Dorotheus, commander of the foederati. Classed as a good general and liked by the troops, he died of an illness in Sicily prior to the landing in Africa. OK, so he couldn't really have taken much part, but the fact that I can name three off the top of my head shows that Justinian had many good generals in his service.

 

It is possible that the main reason for Belisarius' success was the trust he had from Justinian. Let's be fair, he also squabbled with Narses and others, but he had the piece of paper saying that he was in charge!

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Generals. Peter the Patrician, although perhaps he was more of a diplomat.

 

Procopius of Caesarea is the best source for these events (Procopius at Project Gutenberg) but I think we're still left to speculate why Justinian and his court thought reconquest was a good idea. I really need to reread Procopius sometime.

 

Khusro I Anushirwan, the Persian monarch seemed to be alarmed at Justinian's efforts. Supposedly he said that the entire earth was not enough for Justinian's ambitions.

 

Maybe it was just ambition.

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What do y'all think of Justinians attempt to reconquer the west.

 

Was it ever practical?

 

Was it even possible?

 

Could it have held together?

 

Would it have gotten anywhere without Belisarus?

 

 

It was never really practical. Although the Vandals and the Goths were relatively easy to beat, there was little chance of the Byzantines conquering the Franks in Gaul. The Vandals and Goths were Arians, the population Catholic, so the Empire was helped by the population. In France, the Franks were Catholic and so were the population, whilst the Empire was 'Eastern' (you can't really call it 'Orthodox' yet). The Empire would not have received any support from the natives.

 

It could have got somewhere without Belisarius: Justinian actually had some superb generals, many of whom stand up well in comparison to Belisarius himself. Whether they would have gone about the invasions the same way and with the same effect will never be known.

 

 

which other generals? Narses was good but all the other generals that justinian left to be in charge of italy rarely helped eachother and just squabbled. Thus Belisarius was recalled once again from the persian front

 

Good question. Strangely, nobody seems to be aware of some of these men, although they are all mentioned in Procopius.

 

Germanus, the cousin of Justinian was an excellent commander and used around the Empire to plug gaps. However, his relationship to Justinian probably meant that he would not be trusted with a large army - he was too likely to rebel.

 

John the Armenian, who served under Belisarius in the Africa campaign. An excellent general, and trusted by Belisarius to pursue Gelimer, he was killed in a bizarre accident prior to Gelimer's surrender. If he had been in charge, he would not have been killed. However, we don't know whether he would have stood up to the pressures of a lone command.

 

Dorotheus, commander of the foederati. Classed as a good general and liked by the troops, he died of an illness in Sicily prior to the landing in Africa. OK, so he couldn't really have taken much part, but the fact that I can name three off the top of my head shows that Justinian had many good generals in his service.

 

It is possible that the main reason for Belisarius' success was the trust he had from Justinian. Let's be fair, he also squabbled with Narses and others, but he had the piece of paper saying that he was in charge!

 

Germanus was given an army except he died in Durazzo from a fever i think...

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What do y'all think of Justinians attempt to reconquer the west.

 

Was it ever practical?

 

Was it even possible?

 

Could it have held together?

 

Would it have gotten anywhere without Belisarus?

 

 

It was never really practical. Although the Vandals and the Goths were relatively easy to beat, there was little chance of the Byzantines conquering the Franks in Gaul. The Vandals and Goths were Arians, the population Catholic, so the Empire was helped by the population. In France, the Franks were Catholic and so were the population, whilst the Empire was 'Eastern' (you can't really call it 'Orthodox' yet). The Empire would not have received any support from the natives.

 

It could have got somewhere without Belisarius: Justinian actually had some superb generals, many of whom stand up well in comparison to Belisarius himself. Whether they would have gone about the invasions the same way and with the same effect will never be known.

 

 

which other generals? Narses was good but all the other generals that justinian left to be in charge of italy rarely helped eachother and just squabbled. Thus Belisarius was recalled once again from the persian front

 

Good question. Strangely, nobody seems to be aware of some of these men, although they are all mentioned in Procopius.

 

Germanus, the cousin of Justinian was an excellent commander and used around the Empire to plug gaps. However, his relationship to Justinian probably meant that he would not be trusted with a large army - he was too likely to rebel.

 

John the Armenian, who served under Belisarius in the Africa campaign. An excellent general, and trusted by Belisarius to pursue Gelimer, he was killed in a bizarre accident prior to Gelimer's surrender. If he had been in charge, he would not have been killed. However, we don't know whether he would have stood up to the pressures of a lone command.

 

Dorotheus, commander of the foederati. Classed as a good general and liked by the troops, he died of an illness in Sicily prior to the landing in Africa. OK, so he couldn't really have taken much part, but the fact that I can name three off the top of my head shows that Justinian had many good generals in his service.

 

It is possible that the main reason for Belisarius' success was the trust he had from Justinian. Let's be fair, he also squabbled with Narses and others, but he had the piece of paper saying that he was in charge!

 

Germanus was given an army except he died in Durazzo from a fever i think...

 

Yes, Germanus died, but this was after the recall of Belisarius from Italy, and, at the time of his death, Germanus had an army and was about to invade Italy. Therefore, Germanus would have been available for the initial invasions of both Africa and Italy. Why Justinian chose Belisarius and not Germanus is a different question, but is not necessarily one centred upon military ability!

Edited by sonic

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Yes, Germanus died, but this was after the recall of Belisarius from Italy, and, at the time of his death, Germanus had an army and was about to invade Italy. Therefore, Germanus would have been available for the initial invasions of both Africa and Italy. Why Justinian chose Belisarius and not Germanus is a different question, but is not necessarily one centred upon military ability!

The reason why Germanus was not chosen was probably down to the influence of Theodora, Justinian's wife, Germanus had the military ability that should have guaranteed him a great career under Justinian but because of Theodora's prejudice against him he never really reached the military heights he should have.

 

In my opinion Theodora was the driving force behind Justinian.

Edited by Gaius Paulinus Maximus

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Yes, Germanus died, but this was after the recall of Belisarius from Italy, and, at the time of his death, Germanus had an army and was about to invade Italy. Therefore, Germanus would have been available for the initial invasions of both Africa and Italy. Why Justinian chose Belisarius and not Germanus is a different question, but is not necessarily one centred upon military ability!

The reason why Germanus was not chosen was probably down to the influence of Theodora, Justinian's wife, Germanus had the military ability that should have guaranteed him a great career under Justinian but because of Theodora's prejudice against him he never really reached the military heights he should have.

 

In my opinion Theodora was the driving force behind Justinian.

 

I agree. Belisarius was also fortunate in that his wife was a great friend of Theodora. I wonder if he married her on purpose.....

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Yes, Germanus died, but this was after the recall of Belisarius from Italy, and, at the time of his death, Germanus had an army and was about to invade Italy. Therefore, Germanus would have been available for the initial invasions of both Africa and Italy. Why Justinian chose Belisarius and not Germanus is a different question, but is not necessarily one centred upon military ability!

The reason why Germanus was not chosen was probably down to the influence of Theodora, Justinian's wife, Germanus had the military ability that should have guaranteed him a great career under Justinian but because of Theodora's prejudice against him he never really reached the military heights he should have.

 

In my opinion Theodora was the driving force behind Justinian.

 

I agree. Belisarius was also fortunate in that his wife was a great friend of Theodora. I wonder if he married her on purpose.....

Quite possibly, Belisarius was a very intelligent man, he obviously new which side his bread was buttered on :D ,

I find it quite interesting that two of the greatest men of their time, Belisarius and Justinian had strong willed, intelligent, calculating and often manipulating women in Antonina and Theodora behind them helping and influencing their every decision, sometimes for the good of their husbands and sometimes for the good of themselves.

 

;) Maybe that's the secret to a long and successful life!! :unsure::wacko::P

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The reconquest of Africa and Italy was very possible (considering they were both conquered, even by rather small forces), as was the consolidation of rule in said territories. However, several factors played into the failure of the latter, and almost of the former.

If one can trust Procopios, which I do, except in the Anecdota, then Justinian was quite the penny-pincher when it came to the army. Also, until recently, scholars have underestimated and/or ignored the multiple outbreaks of plague during Justinian's reign. Such an epidemic would greatly reduce revenue and recruits for the army.

Concerning the army proper, some exarchs (military governors) were rather greedy folks who liked to bleed the area dry rather than pacify the locals. Additionally, even though they were able to win important battles, the comparably small number of soldiers sent to Africa and Italy were inadequate to effectively and permanently govern such large areas.

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