Belisarius & Antonina Love and War in the Age of Justinian

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Belisarius & Antonina Love and War in the Age of Justinian by Parnell, David Alan, 9780197574706
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  • ISBN: 9780197574706 | 019757470X
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/16/2023

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A unique look at a powerful marriage in the celebrated age of Justinian

Belisarius and Antonina were titans in the Roman world some 1,500 years ago. Belisarius was the most well-known general of his age, victor over the Persians, conqueror of the Vandals and the Goths, and as if this were not enough, wealthy beyond imagination. His wife, Antonina, was an impressive person in her own right. She made a name for herself by traveling with Belisarius on his military campaigns, deposing a pope, and scheming to disgrace important Roman officials. Together, the pair were extremely influential, and arguably wielded more power in the late Roman world than anyone except the emperor Justinian and empress Theodora themselves. This unadulterated power and wealth did not mean that Belisarius and Antonina were universally successful in all that they undertook. They occasionally stumbled militarily, politically, and personally - in their marriage and with their children. These failures knock them from their lofty perch, humanize them, and make them even more relatable and
intriguing to us today.

Belisarius & Antonina is the first modern portrait of this unique partnership. They were not merely husband and wife but also partners in power. This is a paradigm which might seem strange to us, as we reflexively imagine that marriages in the ancient world were staunchly traditional, relegating wives to the domestic sphere only. But Antonina was not a reserved housewife, and Belisarius showed no desire for Antonina to remain in the home. Their private and public lives blended as they traveled together, sometimes bringing their children, and worked side-by-side. Theirs was without a doubt the most important nonroyal marriage of the late Roman world, and one of the very few from all of antiquity that speaks directly to contemporary readers.
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