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This article is about the year 537. For the number, see 537 (number).
Millennium: 1st millennium
Centuries: 5th century6th century7th century
Decades: 500s  510s  520s  – 530s –  540s  550s  560s
Years: 534 535 536537538 539 540
537 by topic
State leadersSovereign states
Birth and death categories
Establishment and disestablishment categories
537 in other calendars
Gregorian calendar 537
Ab urbe condita 1290
Assyrian calendar 5287
Bengali calendar −56
Berber calendar 1487
Buddhist calendar 1081
Burmese calendar −101
Byzantine calendar 6045–6046
Chinese calendar 丙辰(Fire Dragon)
3233 or 3173
    — to —
丁巳年 (Fire Snake)
3234 or 3174
Coptic calendar 253–254
Discordian calendar 1703
Ethiopian calendar 529–530
Hebrew calendar 4297–4298
Hindu calendars
 - Vikram Samvat 593–594
 - Shaka Samvat 458–459
 - Kali Yuga 3637–3638
Holocene calendar 10537
Iranian calendar 85 BP – 84 BP
Islamic calendar 88 BH – 87 BH
Javanese calendar 424–425
Julian calendar 537
Korean calendar 2870
Minguo calendar 1375 before ROC
Nanakshahi calendar −931
Seleucid era 848/849 AG
Thai solar calendar 1079–1080
The combat of king Arthur and Mordred

Year 537 (DXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Second year after the Consulship of Belisarius (or, less frequently, year 1290 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 537 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


By place[edit]

Byzantine Empire[edit]

  • March 2Siege of Rome: The Ostrogoth army (45,000 men) under king Vitiges begin the siege of the capital. Belisarius conducts a delaying action outside the Flaminian Gate, he and a detachment of his bucellarii are almost cut off.[1]
  • Vitiges set up seven camps, overlooking the main gates and access routes to the city, in order to starve it out. He blocks the Roman aqueducts that are supplying Rome with water, necessary both for drinking and for operating the corn mills.[2]
  • March 21 – Vitiges attempts to assault the northern and eastern city walls with four siege towers, but is repulsed at the Praenestine Gate, known as the Vivarium, by the defenders under the Byzantine generals Bessas and Peranius.[3]
  • April – The Goths capture the Portus Claudii at Ostia, the harbor is left unguarded by the Romans. Belisarius is forced to unload his supplies at Antium (modern Anzio), he sends urgent messages for reinforcements to Constantinople.[4]
  • April 9 – Belisarius receives his promised reinforcements, 1,600 cavalry, mostly of Hunnic or Slavic origin and expert bowmen. He starts, despite of shortages, raids against the Gothic camps and Vitiges is forced into a stalemate.[5]
  • June – In Rome, famine brings the city to despair, Belisarius sends his secretary Procopius to Naples for more reinforcements and supplies. Vitiges arranges a three-month armistice for Gothic envoys to travel to Constantinople.[6]
  • November – Belisarius brings his long-awaited reinforcements, namely 3,000 Isaurians and 1,800 cavalry embarked in Ostia, along with a supply convoy, safely to Rome. The Goths are forced to abandon the Portus Claudii.[7]
  • December – Belisarius sends John "the Sanguinary" with a force of 2,000 men towards Picenum, to plunder the east coast of Italy. He arrives at Ariminum (Rimini), where he is welcomed by the local Roman population.[8]
  • December 27 – The construction of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (begun in 532) is completed.



  • Spring – At the Battle of Scalas Veteres in Africa, Byzantine troops under Germanus, crush a large-scale mutiny. Stotzas, leader of the rebellion, flees with a handful of followers to Mauretania.[9]


  • Eastern Wei send an advance guard of three army columns through the Tong Pass to attack Western Wei. The Western army under Yu-Wen Tai defeat one of the columns while the others retreat. Yu-Wen follows up, but runs into the main Eastern army (200,000 men). The Westerners are push back through the pass and the Eastern army emerge from the mountains. Unexpectedly they are charged in the flank by 10,000 Western cavalry, and 6,000 Easterners are killed and 70,000 captured.[10]
  • John Cottistis starts a short-lived rebellion against Justinian I. He is declared emperor at Dara, but is four days later killed by conspiring soldiers.[11]


By topic[edit]


  • The Aqua Virgo aqueduct is destroyed by the Goths, they try to use the underground channel as a secret route to invade Rome.[12]





  1. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XIX, p. 182–183
  2. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XIX, p. 185
  3. ^ Procopius, De Bello Gothico I.XXIII
  4. ^ Procopius, De Bello Gothico I.XXVII
  5. ^ Bury (1923), Ch. XIX, p. 188
  6. ^ Procopius, De Bello Gothico II.VI
  7. ^ Procopius, De Bello Gothico II.V
  8. ^ Procopius, De Bello Gothico, II.VII
  9. ^ Bury & 1958 p. 144–145
  10. ^ Imperial Chinese Armies (p. 42). C.J. Peers, 1995. ISBN 978-1-85532-514-2
  11. ^ Martindale et al. p. 639-640
  12. ^ Procopius, De Bello Gothico II.IX