Alternate History

Sigeric Bessas (Gepid) (The Ashes of Rome Map Game)

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Sigeric Bessas
Gepid Coin Sigeric Bessas.JPG
An Ardar featuring Sigeric during his time as Consul.
16th Consul of the Gepid Republic
Time in Office 760-768
Predecessor Vithimiric Aric
Successor Amaric Valomer
Time in Office 745-757
Justicar Vidimir Hunigild
Time in Office 730-745
14th Leader of the Assembly
Time in Office 726-729
Predecessor Witiric Hunigild
Successor Witiric Hunigild
Spouse Gudeliva Valomer
Issue Wittigis Bessas

Galarinda Bessas
Rekitach Bessas
Petrus Bessas

Full name
Sigeric Bessas
Language Gepid
House Bessas
Father Frigeridus Bessas
Mother Amerca Umund
Born 710
Buteridava, Gepid Republic
Died 768
Caucasus, Abbasid Caliphate
Religion Nicene Christianity
Sigeric Bessas was the 16th Consul of the Gepid Republic, as well as an important historical figure of the War for the Ashes of Rome, where he served as General of the Second Gepid Mercenary Force under the command of King Peter I of the Franks.

Following the war, he became an influencal member of the Senate, especially after the death of his brother Ansiric Bessas (the 9th Justicar), which allowed Sigeric to become the head of House Bessas. The innactions of the Consul Vithimiric Aric allowed him to be elected as Consul in 760, which leaded to the Gepid Expedition in Caucasus, a military expedition that occupied his entire Consulate, and which costed his life in the end.

Early Life

Born the third son of Frigeridus Bessas and Amerca Umund, he had been preceded by his brothers Ansiric and Valatir. During most of his youth, Sigeric was a lonely kid who had difficulty to take his place into his family, his father preferring Ansiric and her mother Valatir. He was also considered slow when compared to them, which left him with a bitter taste of life.

Since he didn't found any confort in his family life, he focused on his religious education, and rapidly became a fervent believer, and learn most of the bible without help. He also began to show talent on in military training, and many of his instructors claimed that the boy would do a great man of military career.

The death of his brother Valatir at the age of 20 in 723 pushed his father to reconsider the young boy. At the time, Frigeridus was Justicar, and many believed he would run for another mandate in 725, which he did. However, their family was also affected by the death of Amerca the same year, who never recovered from the death of her favorite son.

Never less, Frigeridus made sure to find his son a good wife in order to help both their careers. The girl appear as Gudeliva Valomer, daughter of the General Hermenigild Valomer (who would later became Consul), Gudeliva Valomer,who was the same age as him. They married at their majority (16 years old in Gepid traditions), and had 2 children in the following years: Wittigis and Galarinda. With the influence of his father, he was also elected Leader of the Assembly in 726, an office he held until 729.

In 728, the Consul Galindus Aric organized in Buteridava a meeting where he invited both King Peter I of the Franks and Emperor Leo III of the Byzantines, which would be called Christian Meeting of Buteridava. Among the points agreed during the meeting, the Gepid Republic was to provide a mercenary force to both rulers for their war against the Gothic Empire. The two generals chosen to lead those forces were Vithimiric Aric for the first and Hermenigild Valomer for the Second.

However, in 730 the Senate was in favor of the war, particularly House Bessas, lead by his father Frigeridus. This lead to the election of Hermenigild Valomer as Consul in 730, which left the position of General of the Second Gepid Mercenary Force vacant. Using his influence, Frigeridus was able to elect his son Sigeric as General for the position, a choice which was also suggested by the new Consul, although he was only 20 years old.

War for the Ashes of Rome

He departed from his family and left for Italy. When he arrived, he met for the first time the Frankish King Peter I, who made a great impression on him. Brave, charismatic and a fast thinker, Peter I appeared to Sigeric as the competent and powerful leader that the century needed, and believed that the ruler would certainly lead them to victory. He also met Pope John Francis II, to who he pledged loyalty. During his time with him, the Pope helped him learn some Latin, although he was never a good speaker.

Sigeric and his forces helped the Frankish army to establish themselves in Northern Italy, defeating the Ostrogoth forces. They took Milan as their headquarter for the Italian campaign, where his wife joined him in 734, to his biggest surprise, which lead to the birth of his son Rekitach the following year. This is also were the forces of the Consul Hermenigild Valomer joined them in 733, and where they planned the following moves.

While the main Frankish and Gepid forces made their way as fast as they could to Rome, Sigeric was ordered to stay behind and conquer the western coasts that were still under Ostrogoth control. After each victory, he left the conquered territories under a Frankish commander, so it would go to Peter I like promised.

In 739, he learned with disbelief that Peter I died during the siege of Rome, as he fought the Ostrogoth King Chindaswintha III. In honor of the fallen king, he named is new son (born a few month later) Petrus, which was the biblical latin version of Peter. He passed the following years of the war in Portugal, helping the new king, Peter II, conquering the region, which was standing between them and the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania. However, Sigeric never liked Peter II, who was more rash and less smart and cunning than his father. When peace was finally reached in 745, he was happy to leave and to return home after 15 years away.

After the War

After the war (and the death of his father), Sigeric retired from the army and became a Suspectant of the new Justicar, Vidimir Hunigild. During his time at his service, he helped the man to write what would be known in the Republic as the Six Laws of God, laws that mostly reaffirmed the power of the archbishop and his elective title, as well as clearly saying that no Arian Christian would be allowed in the Gepid Republic.

In 750, his brother Ansiric died of a stroke, which left him in position to be the new head of House Bessas, his hero status and the fact that his father was Frigeridus Bessas helped him a lot, and he rapidly became one of the main opponent to the Consulate of Vithimiric Aric, even if both had been comrades during the War for the Ashes of Rome. He was among the peoples who opposed the Christian Meeting's division of Italy, and believed that it was their rightful possession.

In 750, the Consul accepted to help the Byzantine Empire against the Abbasid Caliphate. But by 760 nothing had been done by the Vithimiric, and the Senate became angry at him. He lost most of his support, which allowed Sigeric to be elected Consul that year, as he pledged to send an expedition to help the Byzantines (although it is widely believed it was done for territorial conquest instead of really giving the Byzantines support).

Consulate and Death

Caucasus Gepid

The Gepid forces in the Caucasus

As soon as he was named Consul, he took with him many generals and their forces in order to organize his expedition, including his brother-in-law Winguric Valomer. When he believed he had enough troops, he launched an expedition in the Caucasus, and walked his troops through the Byzantine Empire.

Sigeric and his troops finally arrived in the Caucasus in 763. The region was in pure chaos, with the Caliphate occupied by its war with the Khazars and the Byzantines. Using this opportunity, Sigeric conquered the coasts controlled by the Caliphate, giving him a place for his supplies ships to land, as well as a direct access in the Black Sea. During his time there, he founded the city of Sigerica on the coast, in hope of making it a future settlement for Gepids.

By 768, he continued his advance into the Abbasid territories. Believing the Caliphate weak enough, he decided to divide his army in order to cover more lands in less time. However, the Consul would end up falling into an ambush, which resulted in a decisive defeat for the Gepids, and lead to the death of Winguric Valomer and the capture of Sigeric. After a week of captivity, he would end up being executed by the troops of the Caliph. His death brought the interim election of Winguric's older brother, Amaric Valomer, as new Consul of the Gepid Republic.


Historians consider Sigeric as the man who lived the turning point of the Gepid mentality in external policies, passing from isolationism and neutrality to foreign expansion during the course of his life. The fact that he witnessed it (and played a huge part into it) made him an important figure of the 8th century Gepid Republic in the eyes of many historians.

However, no substantial part of his legacy was left behind out of the archives of the Republic. His actions in Italy were overshadowed by Hermenigild Valomer, Peter I and Leo III, and no details of his feats is left behind. And for the city he built in Caucasus and named after him, Sigerica, it was destroyed during a popular revolt in 922, and never rebuilt afterward, leaving only ruined and a name in archives to attest of it's existence.


  • Wittigis Bessas (M): 726-771. Became a Monk following the War for the Ashes of Rome.
  • Galarinda Bessas (F): 728-780. Married Leonardo Di Fillipis, who later became the first Prince of Benevento (a Gepid Principality). She is also the mother of Leonardo II.
  • Rekitach Bessas (M): 735-784 . Later became Leader of the Assembly and Archbishop of Buteridava.
  • Petrus Bessas (M): 739-787 . Named after King Peter I of the Franks, became a General.

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