The Secret History (Formatted with TOC)

The Secret History (Formatted with TOC)

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by Procopius

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Procopius of Caesarea (Latin: Procopius Caesarensis, Greek: Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς; c. AD 500 – c. AD 565) was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I


Procopius of Caesarea (Latin: Procopius Caesarensis, Greek: Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς; c. AD 500 – c. AD 565) was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. 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.

The Secret History was discovered in the Vatican Library and published by Niccolò Alamanni in 1623 at Lyons. The Secret History reveals an author who had become deeply disillusioned with the emperor Justinian and his wife, Empress Theodora, as well as Belisarius, his former commander and patron, and Antonina, Belisarius' wife. The anecdotes claim to expose the secret springs of their public actions, as well as the private lives of the emperor, his wife and their entourage. Justinian is raked over the coals as cruel, venal, prodigal and incompetent; as for Theodora, the reader is treated to the most detailed and titillating portrayals of vulgarity and insatiable lust combined with shrewish and calculating mean-spiritedness.

Thos edition of Secret History is formatted with a Table of Contents.

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The Secret History (Formatted with TOC) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
GeorgeEllington More than 1 year ago
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?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about 1,500 years old, but it's written in a way that's just as newsy and down-to-earth as anything today, which just goes to show you that people don't change. it is basically the history of Justinian and Theodora, two of the most influential rulers of Byzantium ever, from the perspective of a historian who hates their guts. A great way to discover ancient literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW...I didn't believe ancient people would write stuff like this... This book is hilarious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Procopius writes a very readable discription of Byzantium at the time of Justiniun. He takes you to the corrupt court of the emperor giving you details that a tabloid would be proud of. You wonder how much to accept at face value, but the book is well worth reading anyway.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago