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Thinking that this was now his opportunity to support his other Catholics and to reassert direct regulate over the province, Justinian dispatched an army and sent Belisarius through a fleet to assault Sicily, if an embassy set off to get the support of the an effective Franks now cleared up in Gaul. After ~ the loss of the Ostrogothic king Witigis and also the record of Ravenna in 540, imperial administration was reestablished in Italy under the praetorian prefect Athanasius. Rigorous financial exactions and the rapacity of the soldiers do the new regime unpopular. Numerous of the Ostrogoths had never submitted, and after the 2 short and unfortunate reigns that Hildebad and Eraric, they proclaimed Totila (Baduila) together their king in the fall of 541. Totila showed an able leader and in 542 took the attack in southerly Italy and also in 543 captured Naples. In 544 Belisarius to be sent versus him with inadequate forces. City after city was caught by the Ostrogoths until only Ravenna, Otranto, and also Ancona remained in byzantine hands. Belisarius might make no headway without sufficient reinforcements, and in 549 he to be recalled come Constantinople.

Meanwhile, Totila took end the management of the country, though at the expense of alienating the an excellent landowners. He hoped to involved terms with Justinian, but in 552 a powerful army was sent against him under the eunuch command Narses. Totila was beat by superior numbers and strategy and also was mortally wounded at the battle of Busta Gallorum. Narses gotten in Rome and soon afterward beat Ostrogothic resistance at mount Lactarius, south of Vesuvius. Pockets the resistance, reinforced through Franks and Alemanni who had actually invaded Italy in 553, lingered on until 562, when the Byzantines were in regulate of the totality of the country. Justinian hoped to restore the social and also economic wellness of Italy by a collection of measures, the Pragmatic sanction of 554. The country was so ravaged by war that any return to regular life confirmed impossible throughout Justinian’s lifetime, and only 3 years after ~ his death part of the nation was shed to the Lombard invaders.

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On the north frontier in the Balkans the roman provinces challenged continual strikes from barbarian raiders. Thrace, Dacia, and Dalmatia to be harried through Bulgars and Slavs (known as Sclaveni). In 550–551 the invaders even wintered in byzantine territory, in spite of the initiatives of the army to dislodge them. In 559 the Bulgars and Slavs were joined by the Kotrigur Huns, who gained as much south as Thermopylae and also eastward with Thrace to the long wall surface protecting Constantinople. The veteran Belisarius conserved the instance by mustering the civilian population. In 561 the Avars joined the raiders however were to buy off v a subsidy. These assaults from beyond the Danube did tremendous damage, and, back fortifications and also defense works were built and strengthened in the Balkans and also in Greece, the newcomers were neither effectively repulsed nor assimilated through the Byzantines. The Slavs, and also later the Bulgars, at some point succeeded in settling within the roman inn provinces. Failure to store them out is one of the objections sometimes made against Justinian.