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For not by numbers of men, not by measure of body, but by valor of soul is war to be decided.
— Flavius Belisarius

Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire under Emperor Justinian I. He is famous for being the general that led Justinian's army in his project of recapturing the territories of the Western Roman Empire, which had been lost to the Goths and the Vandals. He is one of the most common recipients of the title "Last of the Romans".

Belisarius was born in a small town in what is Bulgaria in modern day. He joined the Byzantine army at a young age, and quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a bodyguard of Emperor Justin I. He requested that the emperor allow him to form an experimental unit of heavy cavalry for the bodyguard, which proved to be very successful, further boosting his reputation.

Following Justin's death and Justinian's ascension as emperor, Belisarius was given command of an army and sent to fight against the Persian Sassanid Empire. His efforts resulted in a Persian defeat and long-lasting peace. Belisarius also helped to suppress the Nika riots, which nearly overthrew the emperor himself. His success with handling these events served to make Belisarius one of the most powerful men in Constantinople.

Greatly impressed with Belisarius's military prowess, Justinian granted Belisarius command of a large army and sent him to begin his plan to rebuild the fractured Roman Empire. Belisarius first battled with the Vandals in North Africa, and then the Goths in Italy, recovering much of the lost Roman territory. He next was called to depose the Pope in Rome, who had been installed by the Goths. However, frustrated by Justinian's lack of logistical support, and regretting his role in the Pope's deposition, he retired to a life of repentance.

Belisarius was called out of retirement by Justinian when a Bulgar army invaded Byzantine lands. Belisarius put a quick end to the invasion, but Justinian had come to fear Belisarius, and he charged him of corruption and stripped him of his power and titles. Justinian decided to pardon him, but his career was already over. He died in Constantinople three years later.

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