NARSES, ( ?-568). A celebrated eu nuch statesman and general of the Byzantine Empire. He was an Armenian by birth, and was probably sold as a slave in childhood. Ile rose by successive steps to the post of grand cham berlain to the Emperor Justinian. In 532 he aided in suppressing the 'Mika' rebellion. In 538 he was sent to Italy to act in concert with Belisarius (q.v.) in the war against the Goths. After gaining some successes. Narses came into conflict with Belisarius and was recalled to Constantinople in 539. After Belisarius had been recalled, Narses was ap pointed to the chief command in Italy. Near Tagina in 552. after a desperate engagement, the Goths were totally defeated, and their King, Totila, slain. In the following year Teja (q.v.) was defeated near Sorrento. Narses took posses sion of Rome. and completely extinguished the Gothic power in He was appointed ex arch of Italy in 553. He fixed his court at P,avenna, and continued till the death of Justinian in 505 to administer the affairs of Italy with vigor and ability. The only blot on the character of his administration is the avarice with which be is charged by his contemporaries.
llis exactions pressed heavily on the exhausted resources of the population. though their sever ity may be in sonic degree palliated by the splendor and utility of the public works on which lie partly expended the public resources. The Romans, on the accession of Justin. com plained of the exactions of Narses, and that Emperor is said to Katie deprived him of his office. Ile is accused of secretly intriguing with Alboin, King of the Lombards, to incite a new invasion of Italy, at the same time submis sively offering his services to the Emperor for the ptu•pose of repelling the invasion. This ac count. however, seems improbable; and as Narses died at Rome in 568, just on the eve of the Lom bard invasion, no light is thrown upon this story by tin_ actual events of the war. Consult: Bury, Later Roman Empire, vol. i. (London and New York, 1889) ; Hodgkin. Italy and Her Invaders, vols. iv. and v. (Oxford, I885 and 1895) ; Gib bon, Decline and Pull, edited by Bury (London, 1896-1900). See GoTns: JUSTIN IAN.