2. The patrician, a nephew of the emperor Justinian I.
He was grown up at the time of Justinian's accession (A. D. 527), for soon after that he was appointed commander of the troops in Thrace, and almost annihilated a body of Antae, a Slavonic nation who had invaded that province.
He was sent into Africa on occasion of the mutiny of the troops there under Tzotzas, after the recovery of that province from the Vandals by Belisarius, who had been called away into Sicily by the mutinous temper of the army in that island. Germanus was accompanied by Domnicus, or Domnichus, and Symmachus, men of skill, who were sent with him apparently as his advisers. On his arrival at Carthage (A. D. 534) he found that two thirds of the army were with the rebel Tzotzas (Τζότζας
, as Theophanes writes the name ; in Procopius it is Stotzas, Στότζας
), and that the remainder were in a very dissatisfied state.
By his mildness, he assuaged the discontent of his troops; and on the approach of Tzotzas, marched out, drove him away, and overtaking him in his retreat, gave him so decisive a defeat at Κάλλας Βάταρας
, i. e. Scalas Veteres, in Numidia, as to put an end to the revolt, and to compel Tzotzas to flee into Mauritania.
A second attempt at mutiny was made at Carthage by Maximus; but it was repressed by Germanus, who punished Maximus by crucifying or impaling him at Carthage. Germanus was shortly after (about A. D. 539 or 540) recalled by Justinian to Constantinople. Immediately after his return from Africa he was sent to defend Syria against Chosroes, or Khosru I., king of Persia; but his forces were inadequate for that purpose, and, after leaving a portion of his troops to garrison Antioch, which was, however, taken by Chosroes (A. D. 539 or 540), he withdrew into Cilicia.
After this Germanus remained for some time without any prominent employment. Either his ill success in Syria involved him in disgrace, or he was kept back by the hatred of the empress Theodora, the fear of whose displeasure prevented any of the greater Byzantine nobles from intermarrying with the children which Germanus had by his wife Passara (Πασσάρα
); and he was obliged (A. D. 545) to negotiate a match between his daughter, who was now marriageable, and Joannes, nephew of Vitalian the Goth, though Joannes was of a rank inferior to that of his bride. Even this match was not effected without much opposition and grievous threats on the part of the empress. Germanus had another ground of dissatisfaction. His brother Borais or Borais had on his death left his property to Germanus and his children, to the prejudice of his own wife and daughter, to whom he bequeathed only so much as the law required.
The daughter appealed against this arrangement, and the emperor gave judgment in her favour. Thus alienated from his uncle, Germanus and his sons Justin and Justinian, the first of whom had been consul (he is probably the Flavius Justinus who was consul A. D. 540), were solicited to join in the conspiracy of Artabanes, who, after the death of the empress Theodora, was plotting the murder of the emperor Justinian and his general, Belisarius.
But their loyalty was proof against the solicitation, and they gave information of the plot. Germanus was nevertheless suspected by the emperor of participation in it, but succeeded in making his innocence clear.
In A. D. 550 Justinian appointed Germanus to the command against the Goths in Italy.
He undertook the charge with great zeal, and expended in the collection of a suitable force a larger amount from his private fortune than the emperor contributed from the public revenue. His sons Justin and Justinian were to serve under him, and he was to be accompanied by his second wife, Matasuntha (Ματασοῦνθα
), an Ostro-Gothic princess, widow of the Gothic king Vitiges, and grand-daughter of the great Theodoric. His liberality and high reputation soon attracted a large army of veterans; many soldiers formerly in the pay of the empire, now in that of the Goths, promised to desert to him, and he had reason to hope that his connection with their royal family would dispose the Goths themselves to submit.
The mere terror of his name caused the retreat of a Slavonic horde who had crossed the Danube to attack Thessaloneica; and he was on his march, with the brightest prospects, into Italy, when he died, after a short illness, at Sardica in Illyricum.
He had, beside the children above mentioned by his first wife, a posthumous son by Matasuntha, called, after him, Germanus. (Procopius, De Bell. Vandal.
2.16-19, De Bello Persico,
2.6, 7, De Bello Gothico,
3.12, 31-33, 37-40, Hist. Arcana,
c. 5, with the notes of Alemannus; Theophan. Chronog.
vol. i. p. 316, &c., ed. Bonn.)