The Secret History of the Court of Justinian by Procopius


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Secret History of the Court of Justinian
by Procopius

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Secret History of the Court of Justinian

Author: Procopius

Release Date: July 16, 2004 [EBook #12916]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK COURT OF JUSTINIAN ***




Produced by Ted Garvin, Project Manager; Keith M. Eckrich,
Post-Processor; the PG Online Distributed Proofreaders Team





[Transcriber's Note: Macrons (straight line above a vowel) are
indicated in this text by surrounding square brackets and an =
sign. For example, [=e] indicates an e-macron]





THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE COURT OF JUSTINIAN


PROCOPIUS


_LITERALLY AND COMPLETELY TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK FOR THE FIRST TIME

ATHENS: PRIVATELY PRINTED FOR THE ATHENIAN SOCIETY: MDCCCXCVI_




PREFACE


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.
The term "Judge-Advocate" has been suggested[1], a legal adviser who
had a measure of judicial as well as administrative power. From his
vivid description of the early years of Justinian's reign, we may
conclude that he spent some considerable time at the Byzantine court
before setting out for the East, at any rate, until the year 532, when
Belisarius returned to the capital: he would thus have been an
eye-witness of the "Nika" sedition, which, had it not been for the
courage and firmness displayed by Theodora, would probably have
resulted in the flight of Justinian, and a change of dynasty.

In 533 he accompanied Belisarius on his expedition to Africa. On the
way, he was intrusted with an important mission to Sicily. He appears
to have returned to Byzantium with Belisarius in 535. He is heard of
again, in 536, as charged with another mission in the neighbourhood of
Rome, which shows that, at the end of 535, he had accompanied
Belisarius, who had been despatched to Italy and Sicily to conquer the
territory in the occupation of the Goths. This expedition terminated
successfully by the surrender of Vitiges and his captivity at
Byzantium in 540.

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