Siege of Naples (536)

The Siege of Naples in 536 was a successful siege of Naples by the Eastern Roman Empire under Belisarius during the Gothic War. The Byzantine army under Belisarius, having subdued Sicily with ease, landed on mainland Italy in late spring 536, and advanced along the coast on Naples. The citizens of Naples, roused by two orators, decided to resist. The siege dragged on for twenty days with numerous Byzantine casualties, and Belisarius was preparing to abandon it when his mercenaries discovered an entrance into the city through its disused aqueduct.[2][3] Belisarius sent engineers to widen the hole in the aqueduct while sending some soldiers to clear out the noise of the engineers working by banging their shields together. After giving the city a final chance to surrender, Belisarius launched his troops in a brutal sack.

The gold and silver are the just rewards of your valour, but spare the inhabitants, they are Christians, they are suppliants, they are now your fellow subjects. Restore the children to their parents, the wives to their husbands; and shew them by your generosity, of what friends they have obstinately deprived themselves.

Flavius Belisarius, to his troops, [2]
Siege of Naples
Part of the Gothic War
DateOctober–November 536 AD
Naples, Italy
Result Byzantine victory
Byzantine Empire Ostrogoths
Citizens of Naples
Commanders and leaders
Belisarius Unknown
8,000 men 800 Goths
Citizen militia
Casualties and losses
? 800 POWs[1]

The Ostrogothic garrison of 800 men was taken prisoner and treated well,[1] but the citizens suffered greatly at the hands of the Byzantine troops, and especially their Hunnic mercenaries. From Naples, the Byzantines marched on to Rome, which they entered in early December.


  • Bury, John Bagnell (1958). History of the Later Roman Empire: From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian, Volume 2. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. pp. 175–178. ISBN 0-486-20399-9.


  1. Brogna, Anthony (1995). The Generalship of Belisarius (PDF) (Master of Military Art and Science thesis). United States Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth: Defense Technical Information Center. p. 67–68. OCLC 227839393. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 January 2020.
  2. Gibbon, Edward (1788). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 7. Basil: J.J. Tourneisen. p. 188.
  3. Procopius of Caesarea (1919) [c. 545]. History of the Wars: Book V: The Gothic War (in Ancient Greek and English). Translated by Dewing, H.B. Harvard University Press. pp. 87–107.