All these little asides and stories make the book much more accessible and readable. Overall, the book paints a picture of a world of continual warfare, in which the forces of Roman civilisation and Christian culture are only just keeping their heads above water. This was before the Muslim conquests of Persia and Turkey. In the final pages, the narrator makes explicit a longstanding analogy between the title character and Christ, paired with a fairly facile meditation on the effects that Christianity may have on an entire society’s ability to prosper, but this is not enough to flesh out that character and make him of any real interest to the reader. By the halfway mark I found myself skimming, and I read the rest of the book in that fashion, hoping it would grab me again at some point, but it never really did.

count belisarius robert graves

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Good-Bye to All That: Blues and Greens took opposing views not only on religion, but on social and political issues, up to and including the choice of new emperors. Lots of battles, but surprisingly, given the author unspooled in a monotone. He developed an early reputation as a war poet and was one of the first to write realistic poems about his experience of front line conflict.

But in the end, this is less a testament to the nobility of belief and loyalty than it is an argument against hereditary succession belisariue power, and of tyranny in bwlisarius. Families were divided, friends opposed, politics became poisoned by the fierce opposition of Blues and Greens at every level. He was thrown scraps of bread and meat once a day.


Belisarius comes across as a military genius comparable to Julius Ceasar, but without his political ambition. But then hold on to your hoody because the last pages are wonderful.

He was Emperor Justinian’s most successful general. The facts upon which this novel is based alone would be enough for belisarihs compelling work of fiction.

count belisarius robert graves

Did Robert Graves abuse history in writing this? Throughout, Belsarius remains a stoic Christian and loyal orbert the emperor who disdains him while envying his success. A pair escaped and took refuge in a church.

Count Belisarius

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. And it was at this point that Belisarius was ordered to lead Imperial troops into the Hippodrome, commencing a merciless slaughter of the Green rebels. Count Belisarius purports to be a biography written by Eugenius, a eunuch who is a servant of Belisarius’ wife Antonina.

count belisarius robert graves

Eugenius is a gossipy narrator and frequently stops the narrative to tell us diverting anecdotes about whoever is appearing in the main narrative whether it is the early stories about Antonina and Theodora setting up their brothel, or stories about the enemies Belisarius faces, like old Khavad of Persia, or describing the culture of the north African Moors, or a revealing anecdote counh King Gelimer of the Vandals.

It raises interesting questions but they are lost in the detail of an immense erudition of Graves. The slow painful process of hauling heavy cardboard boxes provides the occasion to examine just what is causing the back pain. In grabes to writing my favorite poem of all time – The Foreboding. But Graves made a surprising choice that makes the book even more interesting.


In fact there had originally been blue, green, red and white teams but the latter two had been swallowed up by the former.

If you like any of the classical histories mentioned, you will like this book. I seem to be in the minority on this, but I found Count Belisarius to be a little disappointing. Graves bends this story into his own parable about power, corruption, honor and ingenuity.

Count Belisarius by Robert Graves

Belisarius is portrayed as impossibly good and honourable and both of the Late Roman historical fiction with a solid base in fact. Graves’ well-researched novel was therefore an introduction to the history of the period when the Empire attempted to regain the West. I just went a long way to say a simple thing – Robert Graves was one of the creators of historical fiction. Despite the potentially dramatic psychology of the relationship between Belisarius and Justinian, you end up not really caring.

The book has unmistakable whiff of a history book translated into a first person narrative.

Count Belisarius by Robert Graves (1938)

Procopius can keep his cuckolded history, I’ll take Grave’s virtuous fiction any day. Sep 20, Caroline rated it it was amazing.

Retrieved from ” https: Justinian wised, it seems, to make himself remembered as Justinian the Great.