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Encyclopedia > Procopius

Procopius of Caesarea (in Greek Προκόπιος, c. 500 - c. 565) was a prominent Eastern Roman scholar of the family Procopius. He is commonly held to be the last major ancient historian. Byzantine Empire at its greatest extent c. ... The Procopii (Procopius or Procopia in singular male/female) were a family of Ancient Rome. ...

Contents

Life

Other than his own writings, the main source for Procopius' life is an entry in the Suda, a 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia that tells nothing about his early life. His birthplace is traditionally assigned to Caesarea (modern Israel). We know, however, that he received an education in the Greek classics, attended law school, possibly at Berytus (modern Beirut), and became a rhetor (barrister). In 527, the first year of Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I's reign, he became the adsessor (legal adviser) for Belisarius, Justinian's chief military commander who was then beginning a brilliant career. Suda (Σουδα or alternatively Suidas) is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopædia of the ancient Mediterranean world. ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 10th century was that century which lasted from 901 to 1000. ... Byzantine Empire at its greatest extent c. ... Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon, 1902 An encylopedia, encyclopaedia or (traditionally) encyclopædia,[1] is a comprehensive written compendium that contains information on all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge. ... Caesarea is the name of several Roman cities and towns, including: Caesarea Antiochia, properly Antioch in Pisidia, near modern Yalvaç, Turkey Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, modern Kayseri, Turkey Caesarea Palaestina: modern Caesarea, in Israel Caesarea Philippi in the Golan Heights Iol Caesarea: modern Cherchell, in Algeria Caesarea Magna or Caesara... Classics, particularly within the Western University tradition, when used as a singular noun, means the study of the language, literature, history, art, and other aspects of Greek and Roman culture during the time frame known as classical antiquity. ... For other uses, see Beirut (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Beirut (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article is about the year. ... This is a list of Byzantine Emperors. ... Justinian depicted on one of the famous mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale. ... Belisarius is thought to be the figure to the right of Emperor Justinian I in the mosaic in the Church of San Vitale Ravenna that celebrates the reconquest of Italy, performed by the Byzantine army under the skillful leadership of Belisarius himself. ...


Procopius was with Belisarius on the eastern front until the latter was defeated at the Battle of Callinicum in 531 and recalled to Constantinople. Procopius witnessed the Nika riots of January, 532, which Belisarius and his fellow general Mundo repressed with a massacre in the Hippodrome. In 533, he accompanied Belisarius on his victorious expedition against the Vandal kingdom in North Africa, took part in the capture of Carthage, and remained in Africa with Belisarius' successor Solomon when Belisarius returned to Constantinople. But he rejoined Belisarius for his campaign against the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy and experienced the Gothic siege of Rome that lasted a year and nine days, ending in mid-March, 538. He witnessed Belisarius' entry into the Gothic capital, Ravenna, in 540. Book eight of "The Wars", and the Secret History, suggest that his relationship with Belisarius seems to have cooled thereafter. When Belisarius was sent back to Italy in 544 to cope with a renewal of the war with the Goths, now led by the able king Totila, Procopius appears to have no longer been on Belisarius' staff. The Battle of Callinicum took place between the armies of the Eastern Roman Empire under the command of General Belisarius and Persians under Azarethes on April 19, 531 AD. Belisarius had been skirmishing with the Persian forces after the Battle of Dara in an attempt to incite a rout, but... Events End of the reign of Northern Wei Chang Guang Wang, ruler of the Chinese Northern Wei Dynasty. ... Map of Constantinople. ... The Nika riots (Greek: Στάση του Νίκα), or Nika revolt, took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in 532. ... Events First year in which Anno Domini calendar is actually used for numbering (in Dionysius Exiguuss treatise) January 11 - Nika riots in Constantinople; the cathedral is destroyed. ... Mundus (died 536) was a Byzantine general during the reign of Justinian I. Nothing is known of early life, except that he was originally a Gepid mercenary. ... The Hippodrome today The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a horse-racing track that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire and the largest city in Europe. ... Events February 1 - John becomes Pope, succeeding Pope Boniface II, who had died in 532. ... The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, generally divided by the formidable barrier of the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... Carthage (Greek: , from the Phoenician Kart-hadasht meaning new town, Arabic: ‎, Latin: ) refers both to an ancient city in North Africa located in modern day Tunis and to the civilization that developed within the citys sphere of influence. ... This article deals with the continental Ostrogoths. ... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban... March 12 - Witiges, king of the Ostrogoths ends his siege of Rome and retreats to Ravenna, leaving the city in the hands of the victorious Byzantine general, Belisarius. ... Ravenna is a city and commune in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. ... Events Byzantine general Belisarius conquers Milan and the Ostrogoth capital Ravenna. ... Events Belisarius is sent back to Italy to once more fight the Ostrogoths who have been making reconquests in the area. ... Totila, born in Treviso, was king of the Ostrogoths, chosen after the death of his uncle Ildibad, having engineered the assassination of Ildibads short-lived successor his cousin Eraric in 541. ...


We do not know when Procopius himself died, and the pre-eminent historian James Howard-Johnson dates his death to 554, but in 562 there was an urban prefect of Constantinople who happened to be called Procopius. In that year, Belisarius was implicated in a conspiracy and was brought before this urban prefect. James Howard-Johnson is an historian of the Byzantine Empire. ... Events The Byzantine general Narses reconquers all of Italy. ... For the area code 562 see Area Code 562 Events Nan Xiao Ming Di succeeds Nan Liang Xuan Di as ruler of the Chinese Nan Liang Dynasty. ... A prefect (from the Latin praefectus, perfect participle of praeficere: make in front, i. ... Map of Constantinople. ...


Writings

The writings of Procopius are the primary source of information for the rule of the emperor Justinian. Procopius was the author of a history in eight books of the wars fought by Justinian I, a panegyric on Justinian's public works throughout the empire, and a book known as the Secret History (Greek: Anekdota) that claims to report the scandals that Procopius could not include in his published history. Justinian depicted on one of the famous mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale. ... Justinian depicted on one of the famous mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale. ... A Panegyric is a formal public speech delivered in high praise of a person or thing, a generally high studied and undiscriminating eulogy. ... Look up Public works in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Justinian Wars

The first seven books of his History of Wars, which were published as a unit, seem to have been largely completed by 545, but were updated to mid-century before publication, for the latest event mentioned belongs to early 551. Later, Procopius added an eighth book which brings the history to 552, when a Byzantine army led by the eunuch Narses finally destroyed the Ostrogothic kingdom. The first book of Procopius' De Aedificiis ("On Buildings") a panegyric of Justinian's building activity in the empire, may date to before the collapse of the first dome of Hagia Sophia in 557, but it is possible that the work postdates the building of the bridge over the Sangarius in the late 550s. For other uses, see 545 (disambiguation). ... Events Jordanes publishes The Origin and Deeds of the Goths. ... Events July - Battle of Taginae: The Byzantine general Narses defeats and kills Totila, king of the Ostrogoths. ... A eunuch is a castrated man; the term usually refers to those castrated in order to perform a specific social function, as was common in many societies of the past. ... Narses (478-573) was, along with Belisarius, one of the two great generals in the service of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. during the so-called Reconquest that took place during the Justinians reign. ... A Panegyric is a formal public speech delivered in high praise of a person or thing, a generally high studied and undiscriminating eulogy. ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Events Beginning of the Northern Zhou Dynasty in northern China. ... The Sakarya (Greek Σαγγάριος, Latinized as Sangarius) is a river in Asia Minor. ... Centuries: 5th century - 6th century - 7th century Decades: 500s - 510s - 520s - 530s - 540s - 550s - 560s - 570s - 580s - 590s - 600s Years: 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 Events and Trends Categories: 550s ...


Secret History

The Secret History was discovered centuries later in the Vatican Library and published in 1623, but its existence was already known from the Suda, which referred to it as the Anekdota ("the unpublished composition"). The Secret History covers the same years as the seven books of the History of Justinian's Wars and appears to have been written after they were published. Current consensus generally dates it to 550, or maybe as late as 562. The Vatican Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana) is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. ... Events August 6 - Pope Urban VIII is elected to the Papacy. ... Events By Place Byzantine Empire Silk reaches Constantinople (approximate date). ... For the area code 562 see Area Code 562 Events Nan Xiao Ming Di succeeds Nan Liang Xuan Di as ruler of the Chinese Nan Liang Dynasty. ...


The Secret History reveals an author who had become deeply disillusioned with the emperor Justinian and his wife, Theodora, as well as Belisarius, his old commander, and Antonina, Belisarius' wife, although it may reflect Procopius' adoption of the genre of invective. 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. Theodora, detail of a Byzantine mosaic in Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna. ... A bitter and injurious term of insult. ...


Among the more titillating (and doubtful) revelations in the Secret History is Procopius' account of Empress Theodora's thespian accomplishments:

Often, even in the theater, in the sight of all the people, she removed her costume and stood nude in their midst, except for a girdle about the groin: not that she was abashed at revealing that, too, to the audience, but because there was a law against appearing altogether naked on the stage, without at least this much of a fig-leaf. Covered thus with a ribbon, she would sink down to the stage floor and recline on her back. Slaves to whom the duty was entrusted would then scatter grains of barley from above into the calyx of this passion flower, whence geese, trained for the purpose, would next pick the grains one by one with their bills and eat.

Her husband Justinian, meanwhile, was losing his head, at least according to this passage:

And some of those who have been with Justinian at the palace late at night, men who were pure of spirit, have thought they saw a strange demoniac form taking his place. One man said that the Emperor suddenly rose from his throne and walked about, and indeed he was never wont to remain sitting for long, and immediately Justinian's head vanished, while the rest of his body seemed to ebb and flow; whereat the beholder stood aghast and fearful, wondering if his eyes were deceiving him. But presently he perceived the vanished head filling out and joining the body again as strangely as it had left it.[1]

De Aedificiis

The De Aedificiis tells us nothing further about Belisarius but it takes a sharply different attitude towards Justinian. He is presented as an idealised Christian emperor who built churches for the glory of God and defenses for the safety of his subjects and who showed particular concern for the water supply. Theodora, who was dead when this panegyric was written, is mentioned only briefly but Procopius' praise of her beauty is fulsome. The panegyric was likely written at Justinian's behest, however, and we may doubt if its sentiments are sincere. Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...


Context

Procopius belongs to the school of late antique secular historians who continued the traditions of the Second Sophistic; they wrote in Attic Greek, their models were Herodotus and especially Thucydides, and their subject matter was secular history. They avoided vocabulary unknown to Attic Greek and would insert an explanation when they had to use contemporary words. Thus Procopius explains to his readers that ekklesia, meaning a Christian church, is the equivalent of a temple or shrine and that monks are "the most temperate of Christians...whom men are accustomed to call monks." (Wars 2.9.14; 1.7.22) In classical Athens, monks were unknown and an ekklesia was the assembly of Athenian citizens which passed the laws. The Second Sophistic is a literary-historical term referring to the Greek showpiece orators who flourished from the reign of Nero until c. ... Attic Greek is the ancient dialect of the Greek language that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Bust of Thucydides residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ... St. ... Temple of Hephaestus, an Doric Greek temple in Athens with the original entrance facing east, 449 BC (western face depicted) For other uses, see Temple (disambiguation). ... Eastern Orthodox shrine Buddhist shrine just outside Wat Phnom. ... Munichs city symbol celebrates its founding by Benedictine monks—and the origin of its name A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, the conditioning of mind and body in favor of the spirit. ... Athens (Greek Αθήνα Athína) is the capital and largest city of Greece. ...


The secular historians eschewed the history of the Christian church, which they left to ecclesiastical history—a genre that was founded by Eusebius of Caesarea. However, Averil Cameron has argued convincingly that Procopius' works reflect the tensions between the classical and Christian models of history in 6th century Byzantium. Procopius indicated (Secret History 26.18) that he planned to write an ecclesiastical history himself and, if he had, he would probably have followed the rules of that genre. But, as far as we know, the ecclesiastical history remained unwritten. Eusebius of Caesarea Eusebius of Caesarea (c. ... Dame Averil Cameron, DBE, CBE, FBA, is Warden of Keble College, Oxford, Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History in the University of Oxford, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. ... Byzantium, present day Istanbul, was an ancient Greek city-state, which according to legend was founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas or Byzantas (Βύζας or Βύζαντας in Greek). ...


A historical novel based on Procopius' works (along with other sources), Count Belisarius, was written by poet and novelist Robert Graves in 1938. A historical novel is a novel in which the story is set among historical events, or more generally, in which the time of the action predates the lifetime of the author. ... Count Belisarius is a historical novel by Robert Graves, first published in 1938, recounting the life of the Byzantine general Belisarius. ... Portrait of Robert Graves (circa 1974) by Rab Shiell Robert von Ranke Graves (24 July 1895 – 5 November 1955) was an English poet, scholar, and novelist. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Further reading

  • Börm, Henning: Prokop und die Perser. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2007.
  • Cameron, Averil: Procopius and the Sixth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
  • Evans, James A. S.: Procopius. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1972.
  • Greatrex, Geoffrey: The dates of Procopius' works. Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 18 (1994): 101-114.
  • Kaldellis, Anthony: Procopius of Caesarea: Tyranny, History and Philosophy at the End of Antiquity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

List of selected works

  • Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia. Edited by J. Haury; revised by G. Wirth. 3 vols. Leipzig: Teubner, 1976-64. Greek text.
  • Procopius. Edited by H. B. Dewing. 7 vols. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press and London, Hutchinson, 1914-40. Greek text and English translation.
  • Procopius, The Secret History, translated by G.A. Williamson. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966. A readable and accessible English translation of the Anecdota.

The covers of Bibliotheca Teubneriana Greek texts through the years: Philodemi De ira liber, ed. ...

External links

Wikisource
Wikisource has original works written by or about:

This article is based on an earlier version by James Allan Evans, originally posted at Nupedia. Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Suda (Σουδα or alternatively Suidas) is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopædia of the ancient Mediterranean world. ... Project Gutenberg logo Project Gutenberg (often abbreviated as PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works via book scanning. ... Nupedia was a Web-based encyclopedia whose articles were written by experts and licensed as free content. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Procopius - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1117 words)
Procopius was with Belisarius on the eastern front until the latter was defeated at the Battle of Callinicum in 531 and recalled to Constantinople.
Procopius was the author of a history in eight books of the wars fought by Justinian I, a panegyric on Justinian's public works throughout the empire, and a book known as the Secret History (Greek: Anekdota) that claims to report the scandals that Procopius could not include in his published history.
Procopius belongs to the school of late antique secular historians who continued the traditions of the Second Sophistic; they wrote in Attic Greek, their models were Herodotus and especially Thucydides, and their subject matter was secular history.
Procopius (usurper) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (304 words)
Procopius (326 - May 27, 366), was a Roman usurper against Valentinian I, and member of the Constantinian dynasty.
According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Procopius was a native of Cilicia.
The ancient historians differ on the exact details of Procopius' life in hiding, but agree that he returned to public knowledge at Chalcedon before the house of the senator Strategius suffering from starvation and ignorant of current affairs.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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