Bel Riose

Bel Riose is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. He was the last strong General of the Galactic Empire, Commander of the legendary Twentieth Fleet, who eventually came to be known as "the Last of the Imperials", and earned this title well. His tactical genius was compared with that of Admiral Peurifoy, and his skill at handling men to be far greater. A man of great military genius, he was also brave, competent, good looking, neither too young nor too old, a taker of calculated risks, and good to his men—in short, he was a popular general.

He was born at a late point during the slow fall of the Empire. Riose yearned for the days when generals proved their worth through the addition of new territory to the empire.

War with the Foundation

Riose got his chance when he heard rumors of the "magicians" from Ducem Barr and others, in reference to the scientists of the Foundation. At this time, the Foundation held a large portion of the periphery in economic control and word of the Foundation was beginning to reach the Empire at the Galactic Core.

As a stalwart and patriotic defender of the original Galactic Empire, Riose was shocked by the legend of Hari Seldon's plan to create a new Empire which would take over from his own; the Foundation was a real threat.

With several of the last great "ships of the line", pinnacles of Imperial technological and military prowess (of which few remained in those degenerate times), Riose set out into the barbarian Galactic Periphery to claim the Foundation in the name of Empire and Emperor.

Seldon had predicted that the Foundation would survive all trials, and Bel Riose knew this, but he bet his living will against the "dead hand" of Seldon's psychohistory.

In combat, Riose repeatedly defeated the Foundation through brilliant tactical and strategic planning. Eventually, Riose's fleet came within a day's travel of Terminus. Before he could complete his conquest, however, he was recalled by Emperor Cleon II, tried for treason, and executed.

All had gone as Seldon predicted. A weak General could clearly never threaten the Foundation due to a lack of adaptability and innovation (the Galactic Empire had begun to stagnate in all things, including military strategy, and could have easily had its pre-planned and often repeated attacks thwarted). A strong General under a weak Emperor would overthrow the Emperor rather than make new conquests since control of the Galactic Empire is obviously more enticing than control over the so-called "barbarian hinterland". Riose, however, served under Cleon II, the last strong Emperor. When both General and Emperor are strong, the General can only keep his attention on outward conquest: that is why Riose was the only Imperial in many years to pose a threat to the Foundation. However, this situation also meant that the strong Emperor would never let the strong general become strong enough to dethrone him. Paranoia ran high in the Galactic Empire due to the staggering number of revolutions and political assassinations. Emperor Cleon II had Riose executed out of fear of his popularity and success.

Ironically, General Riose never had any designs upon the throne and never did anything except to serve his Emperor faithfully.

According to Golan Trevize, in later years Riose was largely forgotten by the people of the Foundation, as their national mythology required that the Mule be made the sole central threat to the rise of the Foundation.


Asimov loosely based Bel Riose on Flavius Belisarius,[1] a great general of the Roman Empire during the 6th century AD. Like Riose, Belisarius served a strong emperor, Justinian the Great, in an empire that had declined from its peak (Belisarius was one of the people, along with Justinian, known as "the last of the Romans", i.e., imperials); helped it to recapture much of its lost territory; and was called back on baseless suspicion that he was angling for the Imperial throne. Unlike Riose, Belisarius was not executed but retired (and, according to unsubstantiated legend, was blinded and cast out of Constantinople as a beggar).


  1. ^ Isaac Asimov's FOUNDATION Novels: Historical Materialism Distorted into Cyclical Psycho-History Charles Elkins, Science Fiction Studies, # 8 (Volume 3, Part 1, March 1976)

Flavius Belisarius (Greek: Φλάβιος Βελισάριος, c. 500 – 565) was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century before.

One of the defining features of Belisarius's career was his success despite varying levels of support from Justinian. His name is frequently given as one of the so-called "Last of the Romans".

Belisarius is considered a military genius who conquered the Vandal Kingdom of North Africa in the Vandalic War in nine months from July 533 to March 534. He defeated the Vandal armies at the battles of Ad Decimum and Tricamarum and compelled the Vandal king Gelimer to surrender. After the conquest of North Africa, Belisarius took over most of Italy from the Ostrogothic Kingdom in a series of sieges between 535 and 540 during the Gothic War.

Cleon II

Emperor Cleon II is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. He is the last strong monarch of the Galactic Empire, and reigned during the time when Bel Riose, the last great Imperial general, was engaging in a successful campaign against the early Foundation. Cleon becomes wary of Riose's success and his popularity with both the Imperial armed forces and the general population, and has him recalled and executed. Following Cleon's death, the Empire falls into a civil war.

As the Galactic Empire is based on the Roman Empire, and Bel Riose is based on Belisarius, Cleon II is clearly based on the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. His name however derives from Cleon, an Athenian politician of the Peloponnesian War.

Dinsdale Landen

Dinsdale James Landen (4 September 1932 – 29 December 2003) was a British actor whom The Independent named as an "outstanding actor with the qualities of a true farceur," who became perhaps best known for his television appearances.Landen was born at Margate, Kent and educated at King's School, Rochester. He made his television debut in 1959 as the adult Pip in an adaptation of Great Expectations and made his film debut in 1960, with a walk-on part in The League of Gentlemen.He first became well known during the 1960s when he starred in the TV series Mickey Dunne and The Mask of Janus, which was renamed The Spies in later series. He also had a parallel career as a stage actor, including as Richard Dazzle in the RSC's 1970 production of London Assurance; and was Olivier Award nominated for his role in James Saunders's play Bodies in the West End in 1979.His film roles include appearances in Operation Snatch (1962), A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964), Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966), Mosquito Squadron (1969), Every Home Should Have One (1970), Young Winston (1972), Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973), International Velvet (1978), Morons from Outer Space (1985) and both The Buccaneers and The Steal in 1995.On radio, he appeared in the 1973 BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Foundation Trilogy, as Dr. Watson in the 1974 adaptation of A Study in Scarlet, and as General Bel Riose and Art Gordo in the 1976 adaptation of Jim Eldridge's novel Down Payment on Death. He portrayed Rupert Purvis in the 1982 production of Tom Stoppard's play The Dog It Was That Died, and played the urbane Ambassador McKenzie in BBC Radio 4 series of Flying the Flag.In 1977 Landen starred in his own situation comedy, Devenish, playing a Basil Fawlty-type character in a Reggie Perrin-type situation, designing board games. In 1980 he starred as Barty in the television series Pig in the Middle with Liza Goddard.In 1984, Landen achieved a memorable performance as Jean-Martin Charcot in the TV series Freud. In 1985, he and his wife, actress Jennifer Daniel, wrote The True Story of H.P. Sauce.In 1987 he played the lead in a BBC TV production of What the Butler Saw, playing Dr Prentice in a production also featuring Prunella Scales, Timothy West and Bryan Pringle.In 1989 he made a guest appearance in Doctor Who, playing Dr. Judson, a wheelchair-using genius, in the serial The Curse of Fenric.In 1992, Landen provided the voice of the arch villain Mr. Tod in the BBC/Fuji Television children's animated series The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends.Dinsdale Landen died at his home in South Creake, Norfolk, on 29 December 2003 after becoming ill with pneumonia. He had been diagnosed with oral cancer several years before his death, but was in remission at the time. He was married to the actress Jennifer Daniel.

Foundation and Empire

Foundation and Empire is a science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov originally published by Gnome Press in 1952. It is the second book in the Foundation Series, and the fourth in the in-universe chronology. It takes place in two parts, originally published as separate novellas. The second part, "The Mule", won a Retro Hugo Award in 1996.

Foundation and Empire saw multiple publications—it also appeared in 1955 as Ace Double (but not actually paired with another book) D-125 under the title The Man Who Upset the Universe. The stories comprising this volume were originally published in Astounding Magazine (with different titles) in 1945. Foundation and Empire was the second book in the Foundation trilogy. Decades later, Asimov wrote two further sequel novels and two prequels. Later writers have added authorized tales to the series. The Foundation Series is often regarded as one of Isaac Asimov's best works, along with his Robot series.

Foundation series

The Foundation series is a science fiction book series written by American author Isaac Asimov. For nearly thirty years, the series was a trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. It won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Asimov began adding to the series in 1981, with two sequels: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation. The additions made reference to events in Asimov's Robot and Empire series, indicating that they were also set in the same fictional universe.

The premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before a second great empire arises. Seldon's calculations also show there is a way to limit this interregnum to just one thousand years. To ensure the more favorable outcome and reduce human misery during the intervening period, Seldon creates the Foundation – a group of talented artisans and engineers positioned at the twinned extreme ends of the galaxy – to preserve and expand on humanity's collective knowledge, and thus become the foundation for the accelerated resurgence of this new galactic empire.

Hober Mallow

Hober Mallow is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. He is the central protagonist of "The Merchant Princes", the final short story of Asimov's Foundation.

List of Foundation series characters

This is a list of characters in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.

List of Foundation universe planets

This is a list of Foundation universe planets featured or mentioned in the Robot series, Empire series, and Foundation series created by Isaac Asimov.

Seldon Crisis

A Seldon Crisis is a fictional socio-historical phenomenon in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series of science fiction novels. They are part of the field of psychohistory, and refer to a seemingly catastrophic social and political situation that, to be surmounted, would eventually leave only one possible, inevitable, course of action.

They are named after Hari Seldon, who founded the field of psychohistory, and who appears as a pre-recorded hologram at the climax of each crisis. Before his death, he used psychohistory to predict and manipulate each event. A Seldon Crisis usually involves both an external pressure (such as threat of attack) and an internal pressure (such as threat of revolt). Both pressures will come to a head simultaneously, and be resolved with the same action.

The Foundation Trilogy (BBC Radio)

Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy was adapted for the BBC in eight hour-long episodes by Patrick Tull (episodes 1 to 4) and Mike Stott (episodes 5 to 8), directed by David Cain, first broadcast in 1973, and repeated in 1977 and 2002.

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