Author Topic: The Secret History by Procopius  (Read 1624 times)

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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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

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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

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Re: The Secret History by Procopius
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 03:28:25 AM »
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.
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Offline scamandrius

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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.
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