Urtica dioica known as common nettle, stinging nettle or nettle leaf, or just a nettle or stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. Native to Europe, much of temperate Asia and western North Africa, it is now found worldwide; the species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation upon contact. The plant has a long history of use as a source for traditional medicine, food and textile raw material in ancient societies. Urtica dioica is a dioecious, perennial plant, 1 to 2 m tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter, it has spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow, as are the roots. The soft, green leaves are 3 to 15 cm long and are borne oppositely on an erect, green stem; the leaves have a serrated margin, a cordate base, an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals.
It bears small, numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are hairy with non-stinging hairs, in most subspecies bear many stinging hairs, whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that can inject several chemicals causing a painful sting or paresthesia, giving the species its common names: stinging nettle, burn nettle, burn weed, or burn hazel; the taxonomy of Urtica species has been confused, older sources are to use a variety of systematic names for these plants. More species were recognised than are now accepted. However, at least six clear subspecies of U. dioica are described, some classified as separate species: U. dioica subsp. Dioica, from Europe and northern Africa, has stinging hairs. U. dioica subsp. Galeopsifolia, from Europe, does not have stinging hairs. U. dioica subsp. Afghanica, from southwestern and central Asia, sometimes has stinging hairs or is sometimes hairless. U. dioica subsp. Gansuensis, from eastern Asia, has stinging hairs.
U. dioica subsp. Gracilis Selander, from North America, has stinging hairs. U. dioica subsp. Holosericea Thorne, from North America, has stinging hairs. Other species' names accepted as distinct by some authors but now regarded as synonyms of one or other subspecies include U. breweri, U. californica, U. cardiophylla, U. lyalli, U. major, U. procera, U. serra, U. strigosissima, U. trachycarpa, U. viridis. Urtica dioica is considered to be native to much of temperate Asia and western North Africa, it is abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia found in the countryside. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil, but is still common, it has been introduced to many other parts of the world. In North America, it is distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii, can be found in northernmost Mexico, it grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest in places where annual rainfall is high.
The European subspecies has been introduced into North America and South America. In Europe, nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings; the presence of nettles may indicate the site of a long-abandoned building, can indicate soil fertility. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for nettles. Nettles are the exclusive larval food plant for several species of butterflies, such as the peacock butterfly and the small tortoiseshell, it is eaten by the larvae of some moths including angle shades, buff ermine, dot moth, the flame, the gothic, grey chi, grey pug, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing, mouse moth, setaceous Hebrew character, small angle shades. The roots are sometimes eaten by the larva of the ghost moth Hepialus humuli. Stinging nettle is found as an understory plant in wetter environments, but it is found in meadows. Although nutritious, it is not eaten by either wildlife or livestock because of the sting.
It spreads by abundant seeds and by rhizomes, is able to survive and re-establish after fire. Urtica dioica produces its inflammatory effect on skin both by impaling the skin via spicules – causing mechanical irritation – and by biochemical irritants, such as histamine and choline, among other chemicals. Anti-itch drugs in the form of creams containing antihistamines or hydrocortisone, may provide relief from nettle dermatitis. In Great Britain, the use of dock leaves on nettle stings is an established folk remedy, revolves around the sap released from rubbing the leaf over affected areas of skin, which provides a cooling sensation. Docks and nettles grow in the vicinity of each other due to both plants favouring the same soil conditions, this may have aided the dock's popularity as a treatment for nettle stings; the term, contact urticaria, has a wider use in dermatology, involving dermatitis caused by various skin irritants and pathogens. In Great Britain and Ireland, the stinging nettle is the only common stinging plant and has found a place in several figures of speech in the English language.
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Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Battle of Mons Lactarius
The Battle of Mons Lactarius took place in 552 or 553 in the course the Gothic War waged on behalf of Justinian I against the Ostrogoths in Italy. After the Battle of Taginae, in which the Ostrogoth king Totila was killed, the Byzantine general Narses captured Rome and besieged Cumae. Teia, the new Ostrogothic king, gathered the remnants of the Ostrogothic army and marched to relieve the siege, but in October 552 Narses ambushed him at Mons Lactarius in Campania, near Mt. Vesuvius and Nuceria Alfaterna; the battle lasted two days, Teia was killed in the fighting. Ostrogothic power in Italy was eliminated, the remaining Ostrogoths went back north and settled in south Austria. After the battle, Italy was again invaded, this time by the Franks, but they too were defeated and the peninsula was, for a time, reintegrated into the empire. History of the Later Roman Empire by J. B. Bury, from Lacus Curtius
The Ostrogoths were the eastern branch of the older Goths. The Ostrogoths traced their origins to the Greutungi – a branch of the Goths who had migrated southward from the Baltic Sea and established a kingdom north of the Black Sea, during the 3rd and 4th centuries, they built an empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The Ostrogoths were literate in the 3rd century, their trade with the Romans was developed, their Danubian kingdom reached its zenith under King Ermanaric, said to have committed suicide at an old age when the Huns attacked his people and subjugated them in about 370. After their annexation by the Huns, little is heard of the Ostrogoths for about 80 years, after which they reappear in Pannonia on the middle Danube River as federates of the Romans. After the collapse of the Hun empire after the Battle of Nedao, Ostrogoths migrated westwards towards Illyria and the borders of Italy, while some remained in the Crimea. During the late 5th and 6th centuries, under Theodoric the Great most of the Ostrogoths moved first to Moesia and conquered the Kingdom of Italy of the Germanic warrior Odoacer.
In 493, Theodoric the Great established a kingdom in Italy. A period of instability ensued, tempting the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian to declare war on the Ostrogoths in 535 in an effort to restore the former western provinces of the Roman Empire; the Byzantines were successful, but under the leadership of Totila, the Goths reconquered most of the lost territory until Totila's death at the Battle of Taginae. The war lasted for 21 years and caused enormous damage and depopulation of Italy; the remaining Ostrogoths were absorbed into the Lombards who established a kingdom in Italy in 568. A division of the Goths is first attested in 291; the Tervingi are first attested around that date. The Greuthungi are first named by Ammianus Marcellinus, writing no earlier than 392 and later than 395, basing his account on the words of a Tervingian chieftain, attested as early as 376; the Ostrogoths are first named in a document dated September 392 from Milan. Claudian mentions. According to Herwig Wolfram, the primary sources either use the terminology of Tervingi/Greuthungi or Vesi/Ostrogothi and never mix the pairs.
All four names were used together, but the pairing was always preserved, as in Gruthungi, Tervingi, Vesi. That the Tervingi were the Vesi/Visigothi and the Greuthungi the Ostrogothi is supported by Jordanes, he identified the Visigothic kings from Alaric I to Alaric II as the heirs of the fourth-century Tervingian king Athanaric and the Ostrogothic kings from Theodoric the Great to Theodahad as the heirs of the Greuthungian king Ermanaric. This interpretation, though common among scholars today, is not universal. According to the Jordanes' Getica, around 400 the Ostrogoths were ruled by Ostrogotha and derived their name from this "father of the Ostrogoths", but modern historians assume the converse, that Ostrogotha was named after the people. Both Herwig Wolfram and Thomas Burns conclude that the terms Tervingi and Greuthungi were geographical identifiers used by each tribe to describe the other; this terminology therefore dropped out of use after the Goths were displaced by the Hunnic invasions.
In support of this, Wolfram cites Zosimus as referring to a group of "Scythians" north of the Danube who were called "Greuthungi" by the barbarians north of the Ister. Wolfram asserts, he further believes that the terms "Vesi" and "Ostrogothi" were used by the peoples to boastfully describe themselves. On this understanding, the Greuthungi and Ostrogothi were less the same people; the nomenclature of Greuthungi and Tervingi fell out of use shortly after 400. In general, the terminology of a divided Gothic people disappeared after they entered the Roman Empire; the term "Visigoth", was an invention of the sixth century. Cassiodorus, a Roman in the service of Theodoric the Great, invented the term Visigothi to match Ostrogothi, which terms he thought of as "western Goths" and "eastern Goths" respectively; the western-eastern division was a simplification and a literary device of sixth-century historians where political realities were more complex. Furthermore, Cassiodorus used the term "Goths" to refer only to the Ostrogoths, whom he served, reserved the geographical term "Visigoths" for the Gallo-Hispanic Goths.
This usage, was adopted by the Visigoths themselves in their communications with the Byzantine Empire and was in use in the seventh century. Other names for the Goths abounded. A "Germanic" Byzantine or Italian author referred to one of the two peoples as the Valagothi, meaning "Roman Goths". In 484 the Ostrogoths had been called the Valameriaci because they followed Theodoric, a descendant of Valamir; this terminology survived in the Byzantine East as late as the reign of Athalaric, called του Ουαλεμεριακου by John Malalas. The Gothic name makes its first appearance sometime between 16 and 18 AD with earlier indications related to the Guti of Scandia or attributable to the Gutones. Procopius wrote of the Gauts in Thule and Cassiodorus mentioned the Gauthigoths amid his list of Scandinavian peoples. Two distinct groups of Gothic peoples are first attested to in 291, the western Tervingi-Vesi and the eastern Greutungi-Ostrogothi. "Greuthungi" may mean "steppe dwellers" or "people of t
A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from Latin: sedere, lit.'to sit'. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, defensive position. An opportunity for negotiation between combatants is not uncommon, as proximity and fluctuating advantage can encourage diplomacy; the art of conducting and resisting sieges is called siegecraft, or poliorcetics. A siege occurs when an attacker encounters a city or fortress that cannot be taken by a quick assault, which refuses to surrender. Sieges involve surrounding the target to block the provision of supplies and the reinforcement or escape of troops; this is coupled with attempts to reduce the fortifications by means of siege engines, artillery bombardment, mining, or the use of deception or treachery to bypass defenses. Failing a military outcome, sieges can be decided by starvation, thirst, or disease, which can afflict either the attacker or defender.
This form of siege, can take many months or years, depending upon the size of the stores of food the fortified position holds. The attacking force can circumvallate the besieged place, to build a line of earth-works, consisting of a rampart and trench, surrounding it. During the process of circumvallation, the attacking force can be set upon by another force, an ally of the besieged place, due to the lengthy amount of time required to force it to capitulate. A defensive ring of forts outside the ring of circumvallated forts, called contravallation, is sometimes used to defend the attackers from outside. Ancient cities in the Middle East show archaeological evidence of having had fortified city walls. During the Warring States era of ancient China, there is both textual and archaeological evidence of prolonged sieges and siege machinery used against the defenders of city walls. Siege machinery was a tradition of the ancient Greco-Roman world. During the Renaissance and the early modern period, siege warfare dominated the conduct of war in Europe.
Leonardo da Vinci gained as much of his renown from the design of fortifications as from his artwork. Medieval campaigns were designed around a succession of sieges. In the Napoleonic era, increasing use of more powerful cannon reduced the value of fortifications. In the 20th century, the significance of the classical siege declined. With the advent of mobile warfare, a single fortified stronghold is no longer as decisive as it once was. While traditional sieges do still occur, they are not as common as they once were due to changes in modes of battle, principally the ease by which huge volumes of destructive power can be directed onto a static target. Modern sieges are more the result of smaller hostage, militant, or extreme resisting arrest situations; the Assyrians deployed large labour forces to build new palaces and defensive walls. Some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were fortified. By about 3500 BC, hundreds of small farming villages dotted the Indus River floodplain. Many of these settlements had planned streets.
The stone and mud brick houses of Kot Diji were clustered behind massive stone flood dikes and defensive walls, for neighbouring communities quarrelled about the control of prime agricultural land. Mundigak in present-day south-east Afghanistan has defensive walls and square bastions of sun-dried bricks. City walls and fortifications were essential for the defence of the first cities in the ancient Near East; the walls were built of mudbricks, wood, or a combination of these materials, depending on local availability. They may have served the dual purpose of showing presumptive enemies the might of the kingdom; the great walls surrounding the Sumerian city of Uruk gained a widespread reputation. The walls were 9.5 km in length, up to 12 m in height. The walls of Babylon, reinforced by towers and ditches, gained a similar reputation. In Anatolia, the Hittites built massive stone walls around their cities atop hillsides, taking advantage of the terrain. In Shang Dynasty China, at the site of Ao, large walls were erected in the 15th century BC that had dimensions of 20 m in width at the base and enclosed an area of some 2,100 yards squared.
The ancient Chinese capital for the State of Zhao, founded in 386 BC had walls that were 20 m wide at the base. The cities of the Indus Valley Civilization showed less effort in constructing defences, as did the Minoan civilization on Crete; these civilizations relied more on the defence of their outer borders or sea shores. Unlike the ancient Minoan civilization, the Mycenaean Greeks emphasized the need for fortifications alongside natural defences of mountainous terrain, such as the massive Cyclopean walls built at Mycenae and other adjacent Late Bronze Age centers of central and southern Greece. Although there are depictions of sieges from the ancient Near East in historical sources and in art, there are few examples of siege systems that have been found archaeologically. Of the few examples, several are noteworthy: The late 9th-century BC siege system surrounding Tell es-Safi/Gath, consists of a 2.5 km long siege trench and other elements, is the earliest evidence of a circumvallation system known in the world.
It was built by Hazael of Aram Damascus, as part of his siege and conquest of Philistine Gath in the late 9th century BC (mentio
The Vandalic or Vandal War was a conflict fought in North Africa between the forces of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire and the Vandalic Kingdom of Carthage, in 533–534. It was the first of Justinian I's wars of reconquest of the lost Western Roman Empire; the Vandals had occupied Roman North Africa in the early 5th century, established an independent kingdom there. Under their first king, the formidable Vandal navy carried out pirate attacks across the Mediterranean, sacked Rome and defeated a massive Roman invasion in 468. After Geiseric's death, relations with the surviving Eastern Roman Empire normalized, although tensions flared up due to the Vandals' militant adherence to Arianism and their persecution of the Chalcedonian native population. In 530, a palace coup in Carthage overthrew the pro-Roman Hilderic and replaced him with his cousin Gelimer; the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian took this as a pretext to interfere in Vandal affairs, after he secured his eastern frontier with Sassanid Persia in 532, he began preparing an expedition under general Belisarius, whose secretary Procopius wrote the main historical narrative of the war.
Justinian took advantage of, or instigated, rebellions in the remote Vandal provinces of Sardinia and Tripolitania. These not only distracted Gelimer from the Emperor's preparations, but weakened Vandal defences through the dispatch of the bulk of the Vandal navy and a large portion of their army under Gelimer's brother Tzazon to Sardinia; the Roman expeditionary force set sail from Constantinople in late June 533, after a sea voyage along the coasts of Greece and southern Italy, landed on the African coast at Caputvada in early September, to Gelimer's complete surprise. The Vandal king gathered his forces and met the Roman army at the Battle of Ad Decimum, near Carthage, on 13 September. Gelimer's elaborate plan to encircle and destroy the Roman army came close to success, but Belisarius was able to drive the Vandal army to flight and occupy Carthage. Gelimer withdrew to Bulla Regia, where he gathered his remaining strength, including the army of Tzazon, which returned from Sardinia. In December, Gelimer met the Romans at the Battle of Tricamarum.
The battle resulted in the death of Tzazon. Gelimer fled to a remote mountain fortress, where he was blockaded until he surrendered in the spring. Belisarius returned to Constantinople with the Vandals' royal treasure and the captive Gelimer to enjoy a triumph, while Africa was formally restored to imperial rule as the praetorian prefecture of Africa. Imperial control scarcely reached beyond the old Vandal kingdom and the Moorish tribes of the interior proved unwilling to accept imperial rule and soon rose up in rebellion; the new province was shaken by the wars with the Moors and military rebellions, it was not until 548 that peace was restored and Roman government established. In the course of the gradual decline and dissolution of the Western Roman Empire in the early 5th century, the Germanic tribe of the Vandals, allied with the Alans, had established themselves in the Iberian peninsula. In 429, the Roman governor of the Diocese of Africa, who had rebelled against the West Roman emperor Valentinian III and was facing an invasion by imperial troops, called upon the Vandalic King Geiseric for aid.
Thus, in May 429, Geiseric crossed the straits of Gibraltar with his entire people 80,000 in total. Geiseric's Vandals and Alans, had their own plans, aimed to conquer the African provinces outright, their possession of Mauretania Caesariensis, Mauretania Sitifensis and most of Numidia was recognized in 435 by the Western Roman court, but this was only a temporary expedient. Warfare soon recommenced, in October 439, the capital of Africa, fell to the Vandals. In 442, another treaty exchanged the provinces hitherto held by the Vandals with the core of the African diocese, the rich provinces of Zeugitana and Byzacena, which the Vandals received no longer as foederati of the Empire, but as their own possessions; these events marked the foundation of the Vandalic Kingdom, as the Vandals made Carthage their capital and settled around it. Although the Vandals now gained control of the lucrative African grain trade with Italy, they launched raids on the coasts of the Mediterranean that ranged as far as the Aegean Sea and culminated in their sack of Rome itself in 455, which lasted for two weeks.
Taking advantage of the chaos that followed Valentinian's death in 455, Geiseric regained control—albeit rather tenuous—of the Mauretanian provinces, with his fleet took over Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. Sicily escaped the same fate through the presence there of Ricimer. Throughout this period, the Vandals survived several Roman attempts at a counterstrike: the Eastern Roman general Aspar had led an unsuccessful expedition in 431, an expedition assembled by the Western emperor Majorian off the coast of Spain in 460 was scattered or captured by the Vandals before it could set sail, in 468, Geiseric defeated a huge joint expedition by both western and eastern empires under Basiliscus. In the aftermath of this disaster, following further Vandal raids against the shores of Greece, the eastern emperor Zeno concluded a "perpetual peace" with Geiseric; the Vandal state was unique in many respects among the Germanic kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire: instead of respecting and continuing the established Roman socio-political order, they replaced it with their own.
Whereas the kings of Western Europe continued to pay deference to the emperors and minted coinage
Siege of Rome (537–538)
The First Siege of Rome during the Gothic War lasted for a year and nine days, from 2 March 537 to 12 March 538. The city was besieged by the Ostrogothic army under their king Vitiges; the siege was the first major encounter between the forces of the two opponents, played a decisive role in the subsequent development of the war. With northern Africa back in Roman hands after the successful Vandalic War, Emperor Justinian I turned his sights on Italy, with the old capital, the city of Rome. In the late 5th century, the peninsula had come under the control of the Ostrogoths, although they continued to acknowledge the Empire's suzerainty, had established a independent kingdom. However, after the death of its founder, the able Theodoric the Great, in 526, Italy descended into turmoil. Justinian took advantage of this to intervene in the affairs of the Ostrogoth state. In 535, the Roman general Mundus invaded Dalmatia, Belisarius, with an army of 7,500 men, captured Sicily with ease. From there, in June next year, he crossed over to Italy at Rhegium.
After a twenty-day siege, the Romans sacked Naples in early November. After the fall of Naples, the Goths, who were enraged with the inactivity of their king, gathered in council and elected Vitiges as their new king. Theodahad, who fled from Rome to Ravenna, was murdered by an agent of Vitiges on the way. In the meantime, Vitiges held a council at Rome, where it was decided not to seek immediate confrontation with Belisarius, but to wait until the main army, stationed in the north, was assembled. Vitiges departed Rome for Ravenna, leaving a 4,000 strong garrison to secure the city; the citizens of Rome decisively supported Belisarius, and, in the light of the brutal sack of Naples, were unwilling to support the risks of a siege. So, a delegation on behalf of Pope Silverius and eminent citizens was sent to Belisarius; the Ostrogoth garrison realized that, with the population hostile, their position was untenable. Thus, on December 9, 536 AD, Belisarius entered Rome through the Asinarian Gate at the head of 5,000 troops, while the Ostrogoth garrison was leaving the city through the Flaminian Gate and headed north towards Ravenna.
After 60 years, Rome was once again in Roman hands. Belisarius, with his small force, was unable to continue his march northwards towards Ravenna, since the Ostrogoth forces vastly outnumbered his own. Instead, he settled in Rome, he set up his headquarters on the Pincian Hill, in the north of the city, started repairing the walls of the city. A ditch was dug out on the outer side, the fort of the Mausoleum of Hadrian strengthened, a chain was drawn across the Tiber, a number of citizens conscripted and stores of supplies set up; the populace of the city, aware that the siege they were trying to escape was becoming inevitable, started showing signs of discontent. The Ostrogoth army marched on Rome, gained passage over the river Anio at the Salarian Bridge, where the defending Romans abandoned their fortifications and fled; the next day, the Romans were saved from disaster when Belisarius, unaware of his forces' flight, proceeded towards the bridge with a detachment of his bucellarii. Finding the Goths in possession of the fortified bridge and his escort became engaged in a fierce fight, suffered great casualties before extricating themselves.
Rome was too large for the Goths to encircle. So they set up seven camps, overlooking the main gates and access routes to the city, in order to starve it out. Six of them were east of the river, one on the western side, on the Campus Neronis, near the Vatican; this left the southern side of the city open. The Goths proceeded to block the aqueducts that were supplying the city with its water, necessary both for drinking and for operating the gristmills; the mills were those situated on the Janiculum, provided most of the bread for the city. Although Belisarius was able to counter the latter problem by building floating mills on the stream of the Tiber, the hardships for the citizenry grew daily. Perceiving this discontent, Vitiges tried to achieve the surrender of the city by promising the Roman army free passage, but Belisarius refused the offer, telling his foe: Soon after the rejection of his proposals, Vitiges unleashed a massive assault on the city, his engineers had constructed four great siege towers, which now began to be moved towards the city's northern walls, near the Salarian Gate, by teams of oxen.
Procopius describes what happened next: The reason for Belisarius' outburst was at first unclear, but as the Goths approached the moat, he drew forth his bow and shot, one after another, three Ostrogoth riders. The soldiers on the walls started to shout in celebration. Belisarius revealed his thought, as he ordered his archers to concentrate their fire on the exposed oxen, which the Goths had so thoughtlessly brought within bowshot distance from the walls; the oxen were dispatched and the four towers were left there, before the walls. Vitiges left a large force to keep the defenders occupied, attacked the walls to the southeast, in the area of the Praenestine Gate, known as the Vivarium, where the fortifications were lower. A simultaneous attack was carried out in the western side, at the Mausoleum of Hadrian and the Cornelian Gate. There the fighting was fierce. After a hard fight, the Goths were driven off, but the situation at the Vivarium was grave; the defenders, under Bessas and Peranius, were being hard pressed, sent to Belisarius for help.
Belisarius came. As