Narses (478-573) was, along with Belisarius, one of the two great generals in the service of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. during the so-called "Reconquest" that took place during the Justinian's reign.
Narses was a Romanized Armenian from the noble Kamsarakan family, which claimed descent from the royal Arsacid dynasty. He spent most of his life as a relatively unimportant eunuch in the palace of the emperors in Constantinople, but when Justinian became emperor in 527, historical events conspired to make him famous.
He was 74 years old in 552, when the ever-suspicious Justinian recalled Belisarius from his campaign against the Ostrogoths in Italy and replaced him with Narses. Despite his age, he proved to be just as energetic and skilled as his predecessor, though history has generally credited Belisarius with the greater strategic genius. He launched yet another campaign against the Ostrogoths, finally defeating their formidable King Baduila at the Battle of Taginae. In 553 he defeated the remnants of the Ostrogoth army at the Battle of Mons Lactarius. In 554, he drove the Franks and Alamanni, who had come to help the Ostrogoths, back over the Alps. Eventually, the surviving Ostrogoths surrendered to him, and Italy was restored to the empire.
Narses remained in Italy as its prefect (governor), but his administration was unpopular. After Justinian's death, his nephew Justin II removed him as prefect and demanded he return to Constantinople. Narses relinquished his post, but refused to leave Italy, instead retiring to a villa near Naples.
The last years of his life are somewhat clouded in suspicion. Many sources at the time say Narses secretly encouraged the invasion of Italy by the Lombards in 568, in revenge for Justin II's taking away his position. Still, Narses, then 90 years old, offered his services to the emperor once more. He was turned down. By the time Narses died, more than half of Italy had fallen into Lombard hands.