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Siege of Rome (537–38)

POI: 41.900000, 12.500000
The First Siege of Rome during the Gothic War lasted for a year and nine days, from 2 March 537 to 12 March 538. The city was besieged by the Ostrogothic army under their king Vitiges; the defending East Romans were commanded by Belisarius, one of the most famous and successful Byzantine generals. The siege was the first major encounter between the forces of the two opponents, and played a decisive role in the subsequent development of the war.
Background
With northern Africa back in Roman hands after the successful Vandalic War, Emperor Justinian I turned his sights on Italy, with the old capital, the city of Rome. In the late 5th century, the peninsula had come under the control of the Ostrogoths, who, although they continued to acknowledge the Empire's suzerainty, had established a practically independent kingdom. However, after the death of its founder, the able Theodoric the Great, in 526, Italy descended into turmoil. Justinian took advantage of this to intervene in the affairs of the Ostrogoth state. In 535, Mundus invaded Dalmatia, and Belisarius, with an army of 7,500 men, captured Sicily with ease. From there, in June next year, he crossed over to Italy at Rhegium. After a twenty-day siege, the Romans sacked Naples in early November. After the fall of Naples, the Goths, who were enraged with the inactivity of their king, Theodahad, gathered in council and elected Vitiges as their new king. Theodahad, who fled from Rome to Ravenna, was murdered by an agent of Vitiges on the way. In the meantime, Vitiges held a council at Rome, where it was decided not to seek immediate confrontation with Belisarius, but to wait until the main army, stationed in the north, was assembled. Vitiges then departed Rome for Ravenna, leaving a 4,000 strong garrison to secure the city. Nevertheless, the citizens of Rome decisively supported Belisarius, and, in the light of the brutal sack of Naples, were unwilling to support the risks of a siege. So, a delegation on behalf of Pope Silverius and eminent citizens was sent to Belisarius. The Ostrogoth garrison quickly realized that, with the population hostile, their position was untenable. Thus, on December 9, 536 AD, Belisarius entered Rome through the Asinarian Gate at the head of 5,000 troops, while the Ostrogoth garrison was leaving the city through the Flaminian Gate and headed north towards Ravenna. After 60 years, Rome was once again in Roman hands.
The siege
Initial phases
Belisarius, with his small force, was unable to continue his march northwards towards Ravenna, since the Ostrogoth forces vastly outnumbered his own. Instead, he settled in Rome, preparing for the inevitable counterstrike. He set up his headquarters on the Pincian Hill, in the north of the city, and started repairing the walls of the city. A ditch was dug out on the outer side, the fort of the Mausoleum of Hadrian strengthened, a chain was drawn across the Tiber, a number of citizens conscripted and stores of supplies set...   ... (English)
Beleg van Rome (537-538) - Nederlandse -> English  
Осада Рима (537—538) - Русский -> English  
Siège de Rome (537-538) - Français -> English  
Assedio di Roma (537-538) - Italiano -> English  
Sitio de Roma (537-538) - Español -> English  
Setge de Roma (537-538) - Català -> English  
Опсада Рима (537—538) - Српска -> English  
Rooman piiritys (537–538) - Suomalainen -> English  
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