The Secret History of the Court of Justinian

( 3 )

Overview

Procopius, the most important of the Byzantine historians, was born at Caesarea in Palestine towards the beginning of the sixth century of the Christian era. After having for some time practised as a "Rhetorician," that is, advocate or jurist, in his native land, he seems to have migrated early to Byzantium or Constantinople. There he gave lessons in elocution, and acted as counsel in several law-cases. His talents soon attracted attention, and he was promoted to official duties in the service of the State. He ...
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The Secret History of the Court of Justinian

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Overview

Procopius, the most important of the Byzantine historians, was born at Caesarea in Palestine towards the beginning of the sixth century of the Christian era. After having for some time practised as a "Rhetorician," that is, advocate or jurist, in his native land, he seems to have migrated early to Byzantium or Constantinople. There he gave lessons in elocution, and acted as counsel in several law-cases. His talents soon attracted attention, and he was promoted to official duties in the service of the State. He was commissioned to accompany the famous Belisarius during his command of the army in the East, in the capacity of Counsellor or Assessor: it is not easy to define exactly the meaning of the Greek term, and the functions it embraced.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480068148
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/8/2012
  • Pages: 158
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Procopius of Caesarea (c. AD 500 – c. AD 565) was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palaestina Prima. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History. He is commonly held to be the last major historian of the ancient world.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    A fascinating read.

    A fascinating read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Disappointed

    This book was written in a mediocre fashion at best, and I did not get nearly enough information out of it to use as a legitimate source for a history paper on Empress Theodora. I was falsely informed that this book would have easily-accessible, abundant information on the empress; however, I would never recommend using this ebook as a source for a paper on her due to the lack of legitimate information.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Procopius, The Secret History of the Court of Justinian

    The modern reader of history must typically depend on the research of equally modern historians. Which is certainly not a bad thing. Modern historians have access to a vast number of resources and often at least strive to present a more objective view of the past, while most ancient historians had no appreciation whatsoever for objectivity in composing their accounts of what would have been for them contemporary events and figures. While true objectivity may be impossible, I prefer a more balanced approach to history over the panegyrics of the past.

    Having said that, it is still a pleasure to read ancient historians now and then, despite their shortcomings. And no historian was better placed to report on the lives of Justinian, Theodora, and Belisarius of the eastern Roman Empire than was Procopius, who produced eight volumes on the history of one of the greatest, most renowned Byzantine emperors - Justinian I. In his Secret History, Procopius not only casts aside panegyrics, but delves perhaps a bit too avidly into the revulsion he felt at his mighty emperor and empress. This is a history certainly worth reading for anyone whose view of Justinian is limited to praise for him as a devoted Christian ruler and appreciation for his sacral architecture, such as the fantastic Hagia Sophia in Konstantinopolis. Procopius details the greed and cruelty of his emperor, as well as the malice and lasciviousness of his wife, Theodora.

    Which is interesting reading, although I can't help but feel it is more than a bit overstated and undersupported. Unfortunately, ancient writers also lacked a concern for citing their sources. You can't simply assume that because Procopius was a contemporary of Justinian, therefore he personally witnessed all that he writes about. Nor does he suggest so himself. In which case, how much of his account is hearsay, is simple rumor based on rumor, and how much of it - if any - can be further documented? I at least walk away from this book with a sense that Justinian and Theodora were extremely suspicious characters. Yet, while Procopius insists that Justinian was the worst ruler in all of history, just how much worse were he and his wife from other rulers in the ancient world? Or, for that matter, our own?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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