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Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last

Book I Book II Book III


Paolo A. Belzoni

Book III: Rome the Eternal

Praise for Belisarius — Book III: Rome the Eternal:

"I'm a Belisarius fan, and I've been looking forward to the third book in the series for some time. Well, Paolo did not disappoint! Like the previous books, Book III is a captivating page-turner that keeps you hooked from start to finish. I especially love that Book III stays close to history, following Belisarius as his career advances through many great battles with the enemies of the Empire. We're also given insight into Belisarius' personal trials as he struggles with rivals, subordinates, and even his own family (who can't relate to that?!). A rollercoaster of a story, we learn how Belisaurius's very soul is tested when he is confronted with one of the great moral dilemmas of his age – conflict within the Church and the deposition of a Pope. This is an engaging story that puts the reader deep into the historical setting but with echoes that resound to our modern day. Whether you pick up this book for yourself or to hand to your teen, you won't be disappointed."
—Maureen Wittmann, co-founder, Homeschool Connections

About Belisarius — Book III: Rome the Eternal
In one brilliant campaign, Belisarius has crushed the Vandal kingdom and restored Africa to the Roman Empire. But the ambitious emperor Justinian has more glorious exploits planned for his audacious Master of Soldiers. The emperor can not rest until Italy and the Eternal City of Rome are restored to his empire. Through deft diplomatic maneuvers and adroit positioning of armies, Justinian sets the stage for the liberation of Rome from the domination of the Ostrogothic kings. But it is not mere flesh and blood that oppose Belisarius in his Italian campaign. Court intrigues and ecclesiastical strife complicate his strategies, while gossip and calumny threaten to tear his own household apart.

Though his principal adversary is the powerful Vitiges, High King of the Ostrogoths, Belisarius must confront a multitude of other rivals who try to take him down. Brutal Stozas, a rebel Roman soldier, raises an entire province against him. Narses, the Grand Chamberlain of Justinian, yearns to supplant Belisarius as master of soldiers. Greedy Theudibert, King of Austrasia and Burgundy, marches his plundering host of Franks over the frontier to strip Belisarius of his hard won victories. Dark forces destabilize Rome at a decisive moment, seeking to replace the rightful Pope with a man more willing to advance the goals of the empress, Theodora. Can Belisarius gain his greatest triumph with so many thrones and dominions, principalities and powers arrayed against him?

Rome the Eternal is the third volume of the Belisarius series, continuing the tale of Justinian’s greatest general. A work of historical fiction that sticks close to the ancient sources, Rome the Eternal brings the often obscure Byzantine 6th century to vibrant life for readers of all ages. It is especially well-suited for young readers interested in the triumphs and tragedies of the Christian Roman Empire.


About the Author:

Paolo A. Belzoni is a writer residing in New Jersey. He has published several works of short fiction and his interests include Roman and Byzantine military history, art, architecture, and archaeology, as well as early Church history. Visit his blog, Gloria Romanorum, for articles on Catholic saints, late Roman history, homeschooling, book reviews, and even excerpts from the books in the Belisarius series.

Belisarius Book III
  2024 ~ 472 pages
3 maps ~ paperback

978-1-935228-27-1 ~ $21.95
with 10% discount: $19.76

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Book II: Glory of the Romans

Praise for Belisarius — Book II: Glory of the Romans:

"Even better than volume one! The court intrigue, seditions, and reprisals made volume two stick to my hands until the last page. Belisarius is someone worth knowing, and his relationship with Emperor Justinian tense. A thoroughly exciting book for readers of all backgrounds. I can't recommend it highly enough."
—Christopher D. Murphy, author of The Rising Storm

"The story of Belisarius continues in this 2nd novel of the trilogy by Paolo A. Belzoni. Like in the first novel, the writing is smooth, simple, concise and yet beautiful in its flow. It is obvious that the author has clearly researched the subject material. This is shown through the warfare, the architecture and the political background of the Eastern Roman Empire. The author brings us into the ancient world by the proper usage of ancient terminologies in both ancient Latin and Greek. Permeated in this atmosphere, we voyage through Belisarius' military campaigns in North Africa and the conspiracies of the Byzantine world. Well written, accurate and entertaining, this is a must read."
—Alfonso Marin, a reader on Amazon.com

"With Belisarius II, Paolo Belzoni continues to demonstrate his incomparable mastery of all the historic resources for the life of our hero, as well as an informed imagination to sustain a storyline that cannot be forgotten or much improved. I enjoyed the second volume as much as or even more than the first. Now, for number three!"
—Right Rev. Constantine-Paul Michael Belisarius,
Patriarchal Archimandrite of Alexandria (Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate)

"Belzoni does a great job of describing court intrigue, battle scenes, and the challenges of daily life in Constantinople....Belzoni does a fabulous job in portraying Belisarius as a man devoted to God and determined to do what is right. (If only Belisarius had had better discernment when choosing his wife!) All in all a good read with a good message. We are eagerly looking forward to Book III. Thank you Paolo Belzoni for making this time period come to life!"
—A reader on Amazon.com
About Belisarius — Book II: Glory of the Romans:
His tremendous victory over the Persians at the Battle of Daras wins Belisarius the adulation of a victory-starved empire but also the envy of his peers in Constantinople. The emperor Justinian now tasks his gifted young general with an even more difficult assignment: a campaign against the powerful Vandal kingdom in North Africa. But before Belisarius can set out on this seemingly impossible mission, he must prove his loyalty amid the ruins of a capital shattered by riot and rebellion.

Glory of the Romans continues the epic tale of Belisarius, the last great general of the Roman Empire. Aided by his resourceful new wife, Antonina, and his stalwart band of 'biscuit-eaters', Belisarius strives to build the most formidable army fielded by the Roman Empire in over a century. But his drive and determination breed only suspicion in the empress Theodora and jealousy in the palace chamberlain, Narses.

From the desert wastes of Mesopotamia, to the burning streets of Constantinople, to the crumbling walls of ancient Carthage, Glory of the Romans follows the daring exploits of Belisarius as his fame and fortune increase while his virtues are put to the test.

2010 ~ 300 pages
4 maps ~ paperback

978-1-935228-00-4 ~ $16.95
with 10% discount: $15.25

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Book I: The First Shall Be Last

Praise for Belisarius — Book I: The First Shall Be Last:

"...The book strikes one as a conservative rallying cry to the 'Christian West' today...It presents and argues for, in an understated way, a Christian way of war, to be waged by manly men who value purity and patriotism for the sake of preserving Christian civilization. Nobiscum Deus, they cry in battle. So does this book. Not that the book deliberately carries a political message. On its own terms, it is an ambitious tale, filled with action, spectacle, and intrigues of all kinds....It is painstakingly authentic in its historical, military, and religious detail, assiduously researched and replete with facts....Not only is it driven by costumed action and Dune-like plots-within-plots, the novel exalts a youthful leader who is virtuous to a fault, is unfailingly loyal to God and country, who manages setbacks with aplomb, is handy with weapons and gets the pretty girl in the end.
—John J. Desjarlais, CatholicFiction.net

"Arx is making a name for itself as the publisher of choice for new, carefully researched, well-written and thrilling historical fiction. Belisarius and his late Roman world are brought to life through Belzoni’s masterful blending of fact and fiction. Courageous and brilliant in battle, hardworking and devout in everyday life, young Belisarius comes across as a man whose virtues, inspired by a firm Christian faith, form the background of a novel that will keep the most reluctant of readers turning pages. Young men and those not so young will eagerly await Book II of this projected trilogy."
—John Moorehouse, Publisher/Editor, Catholic Men’s Quarterly

"A great new resource for those of you “reading your way through history.”...What I really like about this telling of the story is that it is not a white-washed version of the times, or of Belisarius. His virtue is portrayed sensibly without making him appear overly perfect. He is an appealing character, one the reader sympathizes with and roots for. He is often put in situations that appear impossible; many obstacles—from incompetent fellow commanders to conspiring politicians—frustrate his purpose. But, while he is not always victorious, he acquits himself well and his honor increases. The author weaves in a great view of the historical time period in Byzantium: the state of the cities, “the factions,” the movement and assimilation of the barbarians, and the politics of the Empire. The descriptions of the battle scenes are not dry and incomprehensible, but very readable and interesting. The author also includes diagrams of several of the battle formations showing how each side was arrayed and ready to engage. This helped tremendously when trying to visualize the battles."
—love2learn.net, Favorite Resources for Catholic Homeschoolers Blog

"Belisarius is published by the small, yet wonderful, Catholic press Arx Publishing. In a nutshell, I loved it. This is a great one to read yourself, especially if you like historical fiction. You can also give it to just about any high school student. You could give it to a middle school student as well but please know ahead of time that there are graphic war scenes and it does touch on the fact that some characters, well, lack character. That is to say some of the males are womanizers and some of the females have a past. However, a book written with only perfect characters is worthless. How do we learn from their mistakes if they don't make them? How do we learn that we too can be heroes if the book's hero is too far beyond our grasp? Belisarius does possess great humility and piety with just a few stumbles. However, he is not without trials. He rises up from a simple farm boy to a great general in the Roman army. He meets failure on the battle field but perseveres and learns from his mistakes. He is met with temptation, yet stands strong. He is a model for us and for our children that with tenacity, hard work and dedication combined with strong Catholic principles you can achieve greatness for the Kingdom. In addition to being a good, uplifting story, Belisarius can be tied into your history studies. The story begins in 504 AD as the Roman Empire is struggling with the Barbarians on one front and the Persians attacking on another. We follow Belisarius from childhood to manhood and we see how he changes history through his skill and dedication."
—Maureen Wittmann, Homeschool Connections

"That small gap between Emperor Constantine and the recapture of Rome, where Christendom was overshadowed by her towering enemies and in peril of extinction, is a too often neglected era of the Church’s life.  Catholic author Paolo Belzoni specializes in Byzantine history, and the atmosphere throughout Belisarius, both domestic and abroad, is painted with historical authenticity and great research. Journey with Belisarius in this faith enriching novel as he distinguishes himself amongst his peers and rises to be one of the greatest and most saintly generals in Western history."
—Kolbe Academy Little Home Journal

"A superb Ancient Rome tale that brings to life one of the last great generals of the empire....Teens and adults will appreciate this spotlight on the sixth century Roman Empire at a time when the empire--and in some chronicles of the time, the world--was on the brink of collapse as cultures collide."
—Harriet Klausner, #1 Reviewer on Amazon.com

"A well-researched and entertaining book that successfully evokes the 6th century Roman Empire and gets the fascinating character of Belisarius spot on. It also works as a history lesson for the Justinianic period and is well-suited to be read by young people aged 12 and up."
—Right Rev. Constantine-Paul Michael Belisarius,
Patriarchal Archimandrite of Alexandria (Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate)

"I've always wanted to read a novel about the Byzantines, whose day-to-day lives have been vastly underreported, and Belisarius delivered.  Readers will find themselves immersed in a world they probably know nothing about but will come away with deep feelings of empathy and simpatico--a clear testament to the book's narrative drive and the storyteller's skill.  The action is good and the characters well-drawn and even though you are learning (a lot) about the 6th century the book never feels like a history lesson. I was greatly disappointed when the last page arrived and look forward to the next installment of the great general's tale!"
—Nicholas C. Prata, Author of Angels in Iron

"I liked the book Belisarius because it had action, strategy, history, and many other things....I liked it so much I could almost read the book in a single day. I hope you like it too."
—Kevin McGuirk, Age 11

"Here is a book for teens – especially boys.  The story of the most famous general of the Eastern Roman Empire is well worth telling. Some historians consider Belisarius to be the greatest military genius of history.  This first novel is based on his boyhood (of which little is known) and the early part of his career under the emperors Justin and Justinian.  A devout man in a world of pagans, Arians, and less than sterling Catholics, young Belisarius earns his command.  Young readers will learn a bit about the sixth century, one of the less studied epochs of history, while meeting a gallery of interesting characters drawn from all parts of the empire and outside.  A map is provided along with diagrams of major battles."
—Colleen Drippé, Editor, Hereditas Magazine
"Book I in a trilogy about the famed Byzantine general who briefly expanded the Roman Empire again. It begins with childhood vignettes and teenage exploits in fighting marauders, until the hero and his friends leave the Thracian town of Germania to seek their fortune as soldiers under the emperor Justin, and the story takes off....Life in Constantinople, at the imperial court, and in the army, is imaginatively handled. The emperor Justin comes off as a crusty--and crafty--old soldier, whereas Justinian is already depicted as under the influence of Theodora....The Persian wars take up much of the story, and military history buffs will enjoy the descriptions of the various campaigns and battle scenes. A religious theme runs through the story, best embodied in Belisarius' boyhood friend Florentius....Belisarius and most other major characters in the story are well-developed. 
—Irene B. Hahn, About.com, Ancient History
About Book I: The First Shall Be Last:
The year is AD 504. The all-powerfulRoman Empire lies in tatters, its western provinces dismembered into a patchwork of new kingdoms ruled by barbarians. Britain has been abandoned by the Romans for almost 100 years. Gaul, conquered by Caesar, is ruled by a Frankish king. Spain, which produced the Roman emperors Trajan and Theodosius the Great is now the seat of the Visigoths. North Africa, birthplace of St. Augustine, groans under the overlordship of the Vandals. Even Italy and the Eternal City of Rome herself are under the rule of a powerful Ostrogothic king.

In Constantinople, the New Rome, the Eastern Roman emperor is beset by problems. New and dangerous barbarian hordes appear on the frontier year after year. The powerful king of Persia demands tribute and threatens Roman Mesopotamia and Syria. Religious controversies spawn catastrophic military uprisings.

But unbeknownst to all, in that same year was born Belisarius, the greatest Roman general of them all. At a time when Roman power was thought to be practically extinct, Belisarius did what no sane Roman thought possible. He went toe-to-toe with the empire's most powerful enemies.

Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last is a historical novel that recreates the early life of this amazing hero. Filled with action and intrigue, the book is replete with historical and religious detail drawn from ancient historians such as Procopius, Agathias, John Malalas, and many others. The novel is a fascinating introduction to the Justinianic period—the last gasp of the Roman Empire and the infancy of Christendom in both the East and West.

To read an exceprt from Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last, click here.
2007 ~ 248 pages ~ paperback
978-1-889758-78-7 ~ $14.95
with 10% discount: $13.45

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“The name Belisarius was on the lips of all—for to him were ascribed two victories which had never before been achieved by any one man.”
Procopius, History of the Wars, Book VII, Chapter 1

The First Shall Be Last,
Glory of the Romans,
Rome the Eternal
are the first
three books in a projected
series of four. The final book
in the series is tentatively titled:

Book IV:
The Ultimate Victory



Click here to view a map of the district surrounding the imperial palace in Constantinople, featured in Glory of the Romans...
Belisarius + GotR + RtE Order all three books together and save even more!

Order Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last, Belisarius: Glory of the Romans, and Belisarius: Rome the Eternal together and receive an extra discount!

Belsarius: The Last Shall Be First + Glory of the Romans + Rome the Eternal = $42.00


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