The generals of Justinian required significant assistance and support to succeed in their assignments. Beyond political support from the emperor and manpower from their bucellarii, these generals relied upon carefully managed social networks. This essay makes use of the terminology of social network analysis to show the links between generals like Belisarius and Narses and their less famous subordinate officers such as Valerian, Martin, and John. Belisarius and Narses relied upon individuals such as these, with whom they served for many years in different theaters of war. The formation of social networks to rally support was so important for a general that he held war conferences to attempt to win over his own subordinate officers to his point of view. The support of a strong social network was especially critical when the official hierarchy of the army was ambiguous or contested, as was frequent in the 530s and 540s. This essay examines the context for the formation of these social networks, proposes preliminary rosters of Belisarius and Narses’s networks, and considers why social networks were so important to these generals.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 114-135
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.