Where is Belisarius buried?

Nov 17 2010

Nate asks where Belisarius was buried.  This is sort of the Byzantine equivalent of Princess Di and Mother Teresa dying in the same week.  Had the latter expired at any other time it would have made international headlines, but the shock of the tragic royal death drowned out everything else for several weeks in September of 1997.  Belisarius was likewise forgotten.  He died in the same year as the emperor Justinian and- as if that news wasn’t big enough to overshadow him- the historian Procopius also perished leaving the great general’s final resting place unrecorded.  We can, however, make an educated guess.

Belisarius was tremendously popular throughout his career and lived out his last years on his estates on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus.  There were two churches in the vicinity (Saint’s Peter and Paul), and my guess is that he was buried there.  You can still visit the area- now the Turkish district of Kadıköy- but there is little to see.  Aside from the occasional Byzantine arch or bit of masonry, the Roman past has been largely obliterated.  (a disgraceful situation since it is also the site of the famous Council of Chalcedon)  Of course Belisarius may still be there.  If it was still visible, his tomb was probably destroyed during the Turkish conquest of the area in the 14th century, but the raiders would have had little interest in the bones within.  Either they were scattered to mix with the soil, or they are lying in some undiscovered crypt.

I’m choosing to believe the latter.

3 responses so far

  1. Who is the artist of that magnificent Belisarius picture? I can’t deceipher his name on the image. Primarily I would like to find more of his work. Thanks, Kirk.

  2. Kirk,
    Not sure who the artist is because I can’t decipher it either. Here’s a clearer view of his name: http://bit.ly/Pqgt7F

    Hope you’re more successful at it than I am!

  3. hi! I want to visit these churces to see if there could be any kind of indication wheter they he was buried there or not? any ideas if we can single out one of these two churces?

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