Author Topic: The Secret History by Procopius  (Read 1946 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,337
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
The Secret History by Procopius
« on: November 07, 2009, 02:51:01 AM »


What is this?!?!  It looks pretty darn enticing...

"A trusted member of the Byzantine establishment, Procopius was the Empire's official chronicler, and his "History of the Wars of Justinian" proclaimed the strength and wisdom of the Emperor's reign. Yet all the while the dutiful scribe was working on a very different - and dangerous - history to be published only once its author was safely in his grave. "The Secret History" portrays the 'great lawgiver' Justinian as a rampant king of corruption and tyranny, the Empress Theodora as a sorceress and whore, and the brilliant general Belisarius as the pliable dupe of his scheming wife Antonina. Magnificently hyperbolic and highly opinionated, "The Secret History" is a work of explosive energy, depicting holy Byzantium as a hell of murder and misrule."

Online Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,230
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 02:58:30 AM »
So far as I can tell, it's a collection of rumors, tales, and lies about Sts. Justinian and Theodora. Basically if it was a claim made about these two saints, and it was juicy/gossipy, it probably got into the Secret History of Procopius. That's my understanding of it, anyway. Though I should give a disclaimer, that is not based on having read the actual book, but only based on having read a few books about Sts. Justinian and Theodora.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 02:59:15 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline witega

  • Is it enough now, to tell you you matter?
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,617
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 03:28:25 AM »
Quote
Procopius was not always distinguished for his objectivity--in his writing on buildings, and to some extent in his history of the wars, he is a panegyrist, while in the Secret History he is a malicious pamphleteer--but all the same his works are of inestimable value as a source... History of the Byzantine State by George Ostrogorsky

In my experience, that's representative of the general opinion of historians about Procopius.
Ariel Starling - New album

For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great

Offline scamandrius

  • A man of many, many turns
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,305
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: DOWAMA of AANA
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 05:17:25 PM »
Procopius' Secret History was basically the Byzantine equivalent of tabloid news, but, on occasion it does have some gems of insight.
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline Iconodule

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 14,255
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2018, 08:11:21 AM »
In the middle of reading this now. While it doubtless contains some facts here and there, the basic approach is so over the top that it seems impossible to take Procopius at his word at any given point. Between stuff like his Rosemary’s Baby account of Justinian’s conception, and his obnoxious snobbery, I find it astonishing that the man would expect his narrative to be taken seriously.
Quote
When a time revolts against eternity, the only thing to set against it is genuine eternity itself, and not some other time which has already roused, and not without reason, a violent reaction against itself.
- Berdyaev

If you would like a private forum for non-polemical topics, comment here.

Online Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,230
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2018, 08:42:58 AM »
I've read it since my last post in the thread. Quite entertaining. But I wouldn't be surprised if it had many defenders and believers, especially when disaster struck or things when into decline after the death of Justinian. Though I think the person who comes off the worst is Belisarius, exactly because there are parts about him which aren't too cartoonish but just seem to describe fairly mundane cowardice.

Offline WPM

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,663
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2018, 11:33:36 AM »
Haven't read much Christian Literature lately.
Learn meditation.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,965
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2018, 12:52:42 PM »
Though I think the person who comes off the worst is Belisarius, exactly because there are parts about him which aren't too cartoonish but just seem to describe fairly mundane cowardice.

That, and the last episode of Quantum Leap sucked.
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Iconodule

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 14,255
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2018, 01:43:32 PM »
I've read it since my last post in the thread. Quite entertaining. But I wouldn't be surprised if it had many defenders and believers, especially when disaster struck or things when into decline after the death of Justinian. Though I think the person who comes off the worst is Belisarius, exactly because there are parts about him which aren't too cartoonish but just seem to describe fairly mundane cowardice.

Yeah, the Belisarius bits are more credible because he was in a position to witness much of it firsthand. Even there, though, that also gives him more opportunity to nurture personal vendettas.
Quote
When a time revolts against eternity, the only thing to set against it is genuine eternity itself, and not some other time which has already roused, and not without reason, a violent reaction against itself.
- Berdyaev

If you would like a private forum for non-polemical topics, comment here.