The Secret History (Penguin Classics)

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9780140455281: The Secret History (Penguin Classics)
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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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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The last major ancient historian, Byzantine scholar PROCOPIUS OF CAESAREA (c. 500-565) traveled with the army of Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I as a military adviser, and published his accounts of the wars the emperor fought in his eight-volume History of the Wars.

But what was the real story of life with Justinian, his wife, Theodora, and Justinian's greatest general, Belisarius? Procopius' Secret History was so scandalous that he withheld it during his lifetime, and in fact, it was not published until 1623. In this 1927 translation by RICHARD ATWATER (1892-1998), considered the best available, Procopius gives us all the scoop on:

* how the great general Belisarius was hoodwinked by his wife * how Theodora humiliated the conqueror of Africa and Italy * how Justinian created a new law permitting him to marry a courtesan * Justinian and Theodora: fiends in human form * the deceptive affability and piety of a tyrant * what happened to those who fell out of favor with Theodora * and much more.

An enthralling read, this curio of ancient history will fascinate anyone interested in tales of royal intrigue.

About the Author:

Procopius was born in Palestine around AD 500 and fought for the Byzantine Empire in Persia, Africa and Italy. Very little is known about him.

G.A. Williamson (1895-1982) was a Classical Exhibitioner at Worcester College, Oxford, graduating with a First Class Honours degree. He was Senior Classics Master at Norwich School from 1922 to 1960. He translated Josephus: The Jewish War (1959) and Procopius: The Secret History (1966) for the Penguin Classics. He died in 1982.

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9781502572332: The Secret History

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