The Secret History

Penguin UK
14
Free sample

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.
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About the author

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


G. A. Williamson (1895-1982) also translated Josephus: The Jewish Wars (1959) and Eusebius: The History of the Church (1965) for Penguin Classics.

Peter Sarris is a University Lecturer in Early Medieval History and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

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3.4
14 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin UK
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Published on
Oct 4, 2007
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9780141915845
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Rome
History / Europe / Medieval
Literary Criticism / Medieval
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Letters of Psellos is the first detailed study of the correspondence of Michael Psellos, a leading Byzantine intellectual, politician, and writer of the eleventh century. Psellos' corpus of over 500 letters represents a historical source of great significance for the study of society and culture of the time: literary masterpieces in and of themselves, yet often complex and difficult to understand in their entirety, they not only rebound with subtlety and humour, but also offer invaluable information on myriad subjects ranging from the political culture of Byzantium and its civil administration to social codes, religious beliefs, and popular culture. This volume consists of two complementary parts designed to make Psellos' letters as widely accessible as possible, both to the specialist academic community and to a wider non-specialist audience. The first part contains five essays offering detailed historical and literary analyses of a considerable number of the letters across a range of different topics, including the financial management of monasteries, the friendship of Psellos and John Mauropous, and the challenges posed by Psellian irony. While the essays are supplemented by individual appendices containing the translated text of the pertinent letters, the second part of the book presents annotated summaries in English of the entirety of Psellos' correspondence, compiled over many years as part of the Prosopography of the Byzantine World project and supported by substantial excursuses and notes. The result is an engaging and accessible shortcut into these bewildering and fascinating letters and an essential resource for the study of eleventh-century Byzantine society and culture through the pen of one of its pre-eminent figures.
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