E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Give an obolus to old Belisarius. Tzetzes, a writer of the twelfth century, says that Belisarius, stripped of all his wealth and honours, was reduced to beggary in his grey old age; that he lived in a mud hut, from the window of which he hung an alms-bag, and that he used to cry to the passers-by, Give an obolus to poor old Belisarius, who rose by his merits and was cast down by envy.