Sittas: A Byzantine military commander during the reign of Justinian
The article discusses the career of Sittas, one of the most distinguished administrators and generals during the reign of Justinian the Great. Sittas’ origin is obscure: during his lifetime he displayed numerous connections with Armenia, which led some historians to assume his stemming from that region; but Teresa Wolińska argues that there is no solid source-based proof to substantiate such an inference. During the years 527-531 he was stationed in Byzantine Armenia. At the time, the province was particularly exposed to Persian aggression. Prior to 530, due to his successes in fending off Persian attacks, he was promoted to the rank of the Byzantine officer-in-chief in the region. He also married (most probably in 532) Komito, the sister of Empress Theodora. From 532 he resided in Constantinople, where he attained the office of commander-in-chief of the Byzantine army (magister militum praesentialis). In 535 he took part in the wars fought on the Balkan Peninsula. In 538, once again he was sent to Armenia to suppress a revolt, which broke out there; he was killed during the fighting.
Wolińska emphasizes that in contemporary opinion Sittas was considered one of the greatest military commanders of the day. But he was also a skilled administrator and diplomat, which enabled him during the period 527-531, to stabilize the situation in Armenia politically, and to put up an effective defence against the Persians.