Ascum

Ascum

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Ascum was a general of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, active early in the reign of Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 (r. 527–565). He was in command of the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum was one of four praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided.The administrative centre of the prefecture was Sirmium , and, after 379, Thessalonica...

. His name is reported by John Malalas
John Malalas
John Malalas or Ioannes Malalas was a Greek chronicler from Antioch. Malalas is probably a Syriac word for "rhetor", "orator"; it is first applied to him by John of Damascus .-Life:Malalas was educated in Antioch, and probably was a jurist there, but moved to...

. Both Theophanes the Confessor
Theophanes the Confessor
Saint Theophanes Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy, who became a monk and chronicler. He is venerated on March 12 in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church .-Biography:Theophanes was born in Constantinople of wealthy and noble iconodule parents: Isaac,...

 and George Kedrenos render his name "Ακούμ" (Acum).

Biography


Ascum was reportedly a Hun
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 and a godson
Godparent
A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who sponsors a child's baptism. A male godparent is a godfather, and a female godparent is a godmother...

 of Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

. Modern historians consider it likely that the "Huns" of the primary sources were actually Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

. Patrick Amory
Patrick Amory
- Early life :Patrick Amory was born in New York City on July 10, 1965 to literary parents. His father, the late Hugh Amory, was noted as the most "rigorous" and "methodologically sophisticated" historian of the book in early America...

 considers the name Ascum to be Germanic
Germanic name
Germanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two elements, by joining a prefix and a suffix. For example, King Æþelred's name was derived from æþel, for "noble", and ræd, for "counsel". Many of these names are still used today, while others have fallen out of use...

 in origin. Ascum first appears in 528, already holding the title of stratelates
Stratelates
Stratēlatēs was a Greek term designating a general, which also became a honorary dignity in the Byzantine Empire. In the former sense, it was often applied to military saints, such as Theodore Stratelates....

 of Illyricum
Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum was one of four praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided.The administrative centre of the prefecture was Sirmium , and, after 379, Thessalonica...

 . His title in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 would be magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

 per Illyricum.

In 528, Ascum joined forces with Constantiolus
Constantiolus
Constantiolus was a general of the Byzantine Empire, active early in the reign of Justinian I . He succeeded Justin in command of Moesia Secunda...

 and Godilas
Godilas
Godilas was a Byzantine general, active in the reigns of Emperor Justin I and Emperor Justinian I .-Biography:Godilas is first mentioned in 518 as one of the officers involved in the proclamation of Justin I as Byzantine emperor. The ceremony is recorded in the De Ceremoniis, compiled by Emperor...

 against an invasion force of Huns/Bulgars. Having passed through Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

 (Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor, "Lesser Scythia" was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to today's Dobruja, with a part in Romania and a part in Bulgaria....

) and Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 (Moesia Secunda), the invaders were at the time raiding Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

. The Byzantine army
Byzantine army
The Byzantine army was the primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine navy. A direct descendant of the Roman army, the Byzantine army maintained a similar level of discipline, strategic prowess and organization...

defeated one group of invaders.

Shortly after their victory, the Byzantine forces were ambushed and routed by a second group of invaders. Both Ascum and Constantiolus were captured in this battle. While Constantiolus was ransomed back to the Byzantines, Ascum "was carried off into captivity". He is not mentioned again and his eventual fate is unknown.

Sources